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February 24th, 2013
08:02 AM ET

Pope Benedict leads his last 'Angelus'

By Ben Brumfield and Ben Wedeman, CNN

Vatican City (CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI delivered his final public prayer ceremony Sunday to a crowd of thousands at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

And he explained his decision to step down.

"Thank you for your affection," the pope told the crowd as he appeared at the window of his apartment overlooking the square.

As is customary, he opened the weekly Angelus prayer with a short sermon.

Benedict spoke on the Transfiguration of Christ, one of the key moments in Jesus' life on Earth, when, according to the church, he took three disciples to pray on a mountain. During his prayers, Jesus was miraculously changed and filled with light.

The crowd interrupted Benedict with rousing applause, as he told them that God wanted him to do the same.

Read the full story here

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (405 Responses)
  1. Sara Howells


    ..

    February 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Garbage Alert

      This person is only posting to get hits for their garbage youtube video site.

      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      February 27, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  2. robert

    Good by and thanks for all the fish

    February 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  3. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Pope leads his last analingus? Well, at least they're not trying to hide it anymore.

    February 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Good one, Honey Badger! I doubt if the religies will get it, though.

      February 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, I'll bet they get it, and don't even realize it.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Angelus is usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell, which is a call to prayer and to spread good-will to everyone on Earth. The angel referred to in the prayer is Gabriel, a messenger of God who revealed to Mary that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-38). The painting "The Angelus" by Jean Francois Millet is one of the most celebrated images of prayer in the world.

      It's funny to me that the crass vulgarity of the worldly never really changes but continually thinks it is clever. None the less, in the spirit of the prayer, I wish you peace and goodwill.

      February 26, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Science

      But the pope kicked the angels off the team Bill !

      February 26, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  4. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill would not is not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well and don't want to violate their beliefs.

    Recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    On sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    ===========================================
    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    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.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    February 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • fred

      Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason:
      I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • fred

      Ben Franklin shortly before he died said:
      As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see

      February 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • fred

      Adams and Jefferson had no problem being honest about their faith in God relative to what men have done to destroy it:
      On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed a three-member committee composed of Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams to design the Great Seal of the United States. Franklin's proposal (which was not adopted) featured the motto: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" and a scene from the Book of Exodus, with Moses, the Israelites, the pillar of fire, and George III depicted as pharaoh.

      Who is your Pharaoh?

      February 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      fred, you forgot the next 3 paragraphs from Paine in the very same text:

      But, lest it should be supposed that I believe in many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

      I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

      All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      fred, you forgot the rest of Ben Franklin's sentence...
      "...but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble."

      February 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      fred why do you think Franklin's proposed seal wasn't accepted? Maybe because "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God"
      makes no sense since God is a tyrant.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • clarity

      Most of the Deistic founders of the U.S. government believed in God. Many consider Jefferson to have been more Christian than some of the others because it seems he believed in a God that plays an active role in peoples' lives; but many Deists of that time believed in a creator God that did not play an active role in peoples' lives but that had just set things in motion. They were quite furious with fundamentalist Christian sects that were feuding with each other in their home states.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • clarity

      The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

      (John Adams, from A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America [1787-1788])

      February 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      The Seal was rejected but certainly not because God is a Tyrant. I doubt there were any atheists in congress at the time. Most reasonable people write about their God as being on their side. God is only apears to be a Tyrant if you abuse His people.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • fred

      Clarity
      “It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses”
      =>Sounds good
      The twin sons of Isaac support this view. One son (Jacob) reflected the spiritual heart of man while the other son (Esau) reflected the worldly side of man. Both reflect the revelation of God in their lives as they had the capacity or desire to understand that revelation as given. Both proceeded to establish great nations based on reason and senses. That personal revelation of God as benign (perhaps to the point of non existence) or Divine was the foundation of governance contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
      God exists or does not exist regardless of what our reason and senses tell us as one is absolute (God) and the other is relative. If there is a god this is exactly how God has decided to set up creation and if there is no God we still perceive reality as it was meant to be.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • clarity

      Well remember, fred, this is just some of Adams' thoughts on the implementation of government. Like Madison & Jefferson, he was frustrated with religious persecution in his state too. At times the persecution of Quakers was worse than what was going on in Virginia. I think he may have been the most Deist of the bunch. Maybe being raised Unitarian enabled him to more easily be influenced by it. As I said some of the Deists then believed in God, but not necessarily a god that took an active part in peoples' lives and for many of them they refuted all the magic in the Bible altogether.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  5. Papal rim.

    O'Brien another nail in the coffin.

    February 25, 2013 at 7:48 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    February 25, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!,

      February 25, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  7. Juice Newton

    Christianity – The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    February 25, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • Where is your God now?

      Well, its not really telepathy. God doesn't have to bother with that. He knows what you're going to pray before you pray. Some people say he foreordained your prayer and what you pray.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • AB

      Fake where is your God, ok, if it is not telapathy, then how does God do it? If He does it, then it should be expainable. Otherwise I do not believe you.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      So if god is omniscient and knows in advance what you're going to pray for, and has already decided whether to answer your prayer, why even bother to pray?

      February 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  8. Leon Spinks

    I like eggths. I likes 'em hard boiled, poach over easies, Thunny side up...I loves Eggths.

    February 25, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  9. Reality

    From the topic as previously noted on page one:

    "Benedict spoke on the Transfiguration of Christ, one of the key moments in Jesus' life on Earth, when, according to the church, he took three disciples to pray on a mountain. During his prayers, Jesus was miraculously changed and filled with light."

    But historically was there such an event?

    As per the rigorous analyses by many contemporary NT scholars, it was not. See for example, http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb184.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann' review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 58-61.

    The analyses show that the story was originated by Mark and then copied by Matthew and Luke. (Mark 9:2-10 = Matt 17:1-9 = Luke 9:28-36)

    Strange that the RCC has not rebutted these conclusions but then again maybe B16 saw the "writing on the wall" and decided it was time to get out before the walls come a-tumbling down.

    February 25, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  10. Laurence Ringo

    Wow,atheists,God haters,et.al.-take a deep breath and dial it back a notch,why don't you? Sheesh!! I thought this particular article was about the so-called"pope's"resignation? I never fail to be astonished by the bitter,hateful,vicious vitriol spewed by those of you who claim to be unbelievers;frankly,it borders on the pathological!What is wrong with you people?I'd be willing to wager that few of you(if any)actually know any real Christians;you obviously don't have any loved ones who are!![As for the person who claimed that most Christians are so because of upbringing,frankly,that's just dumb.Any informed person knows that the majority of Christians were converted from other faiths.Get a clue and get educated,sir!Don't posit assumptions you can't prove with verifiable facts!]-At any rate,as I read these posts,I find myself perplexed and bewildered as to how you all can assume any kind of moral and/or intellectual superiority over even the most simple-minded believers given your vile,hateful condemnations of their beliefs and your own appalling ignorance of those beliefs,especially Christianity.I'm of the opinion that Christians should'nt waste their time attempting to engage with you,since all of you are content to live in your own truncated,finite,ego-driven worlds.What a small,cramped,dark,mean little space you all inhabit;I feel so very sorry for you.-Peace in Christ & Love to ALL!

    February 24, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • AB

      Laurence, Christians, Mormons, Islam, etc., cling to religion and continue to endorse it as reality and insist that it somehow should govern morality and law-making. One can lay out all the evidence and build (and have built) an airtight case against every single religion on Earth past and present, but still believers will not budge from their point of view, even when presented with the lies and contradictions in the very scriptures they base their beliefs on.

      Understand, I am not talking about a belief in God. I do understand that. I am talking about religion. Every one of which has been empirically proven false but yet clings like moss to ancient rocks.

      I believe the single most important factor in this inability to see through the foolishness of religion is fear. Children’s stories of heaven and hell. The initial indoctrination for many, simply cannot be undone.

      Secondly, there is a feeling of community that comes with any “club” Naturally this is not relegated to religion so it does not qualify as an excuse.

      Lastly some minds are unable to think creatively enough to imagine the more plausible alternatives. What are those alternatives? Well we have to turn to science, but also we have to accept what we don’t know and keep looking. And in truth, we don’t really know anything about how the universe came to be, what came before and where it is going. If there are multiple universes and time lines through which we move, these would be marvelous discoveries. There was a wonderful article in Scientific American a few months ago regarding a new spin on the Quantum theory. That being the quantum universe could have foamlike fluctuations that rule spacetime, not unlike the 0’s and 1’s that are the foundation of computing and storing information.

      If we wish to believe in the supernatural, we have to make things up. Hence religion. It doesn’t mean there is no god, or gods, or aliens, but it does mean that we don’t have the answers and most likely never will.

      Now we arrive back at fear. What will happen to me when I die? For me, I look forward to an eternity of nothing. Others fear this prospect and prefer to believe in fairies and fantasies and are not even ashamed that their mental description of an after life is akin to that of a 5-year-old’s picture book.

      I believe the Universe and the “everything” are FAR more bizarre than we could ever imagine with the faculties we have thus far obtained via evolution on this planet. And I wonder how many millions of civilizations across the vastness of space and time have pondered likewise.

      Finally, the entire planet is affected by the irrational belief systems of the various mainstream religions. It affects the global economy, it affects world peace, it affects our secular life style in the United States. These ancient belief systems are based on superst.ition and mythology. One would think humans would have moved forward by now but instead we as a species behave in the same self-destructive manner now as we did thousands of years ago.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • CS

      Laurence, maybe you can explain this to me. Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.

      Then he set up his own death so that he could suffer on a cross to "die" (even though he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return and never shows his face again.

      Why?

      I would offer this counter possibility. Mary got knocked up by the blacksmith. Jesus was a cult leader. Jesus broke the law and was punished and died.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Where is your God now?

      Your husband takes you to the company Christmas party. You have long been jealous of his very attractive co-worker Genevieve, and your jealous imagination suspects there is a spark between them. You dress to the nines and look great. The moment comes to say hello to her. She is beautiful, charming and smells intoxicating. You break a heal just as you reach to shake her hand. You spill your drink on both Genevieve and your husband. They look at each other and giggle, holding the gaze a bit too long.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Dr. D. Johnson

      In the Gospel of Truth, it states, "Jesus found the scribes to be ignorant and foul smelling..."

      These men were his employees and Jesus showed a discernible dislike for them. Perhaps out of jealousy that they were educated where he was not.

      The text goes on to say, "...and Jesus thought not of the female form, and from heaven came to remove ignorance"

      Again giving weight to the common thinking that Jesus was a homosexual

      February 25, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Bostontola

      "your vile,hateful condemnations of their beliefs and your own appalling ignorance of those beliefs,especially Christianity.I'm of the opinion that Christians should'nt waste their time attempting to engage with you,since all of you are content to live in your own truncated,finite,ego-driven worlds.What a small,cramped,dark,mean little space you all inhabit;I feel so very sorry for you.-Peace in Christ & Love to ALL!"

      All of you? Your finale is rife with hateful condemnations followed by Love to ALL. Your unabashed hypocrisy is courageous.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      If you consult the dictionary, here is the first definition of God that you will find:

      "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

      Most believers would agree with this definition because they share a remarkably clear and consistent view of God. Yes, there are thousands of minor (and some major) quibbles about religion. Believers express those quibbles in dozens of denominations - Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists and all faiths. But at the heart of it all, the belief in God aligns on a set of core ideas that everyone accepts.

      What if you were to simply think about what it would mean if there were a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe? Is it possible for such a being to exist?

      Epicures thought about it in 300 BCE, and he came up with this:

      "The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"

      In other words, if you sit and think about who God is supposed to be, you realize that such a being is impossible. Ridiculous, in fact.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Doobs

      A lengthy, venomous, intolerant, hateful, judgmental, completely inaccurate diatribe that ends with "Peace in Christ & Love to ALL!"

      Hilarious.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Why are Christians so dumb?

      God has you in his book. He has a plan for each of us. He knows when you will be born and when you will die.

      He is therefore responsible for all death, murder and destruction for all of history including every abortion ever performed, every rape, every murder, every miscarriage, every atrocity.

      He is perfect. He is omniscient. He is omnipotent. So how could this not be so? It is God’s will.

      God's plan" is the way that Christians traditionally explain things like miscarriages, amputations, cancer, hurricanes and car accidents.

      For example, if a Christian dies a painful and tragic death because of cancer, she dies as part of God's plan. Her death has a purpose. God called her home for a reason. Even if something bad happens to a Christian, it is actually good because it is part of God's plan.

      You can see how pervasive "God's plan" is by looking in Christian inspirational literature. For example;

      Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

      There is also this:

      Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.

      Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.
      Take a moment and think about this, "He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death." Let's examine one simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God has pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.

      If the concept of "God's plan" is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason. Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the "exact time" of the death, the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God's plan, are they not? What about all the Christians who are fighting against abortion? If abortion is part of God's plan, why are they fighting it? God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion.

      If God's plan is true, then each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God.

      If God does not intend for us to perform abortions, is it then wrong that God has a plan? If God has a plan, is he not the direct cause of every abortion? Simply think it through, and you will begin to see the problems in this proposition.

      Think about Adolph Hitler. He was evil incarnate, and Hitler is well known for the atrocious things he did. What I would like you to do right now is to consider this statement: "Hitler is part of God's Plan." Think about this:

      He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

      God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.

      If God has a divine plan for each of us, then he had a divine plan for Hitler too. It is when you stop to think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.

      Now let's imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they would still die. The idea of a "plan" makes the idea of a "prayer-answering relationship with God" a contradiction, doesn't it? Yet Christians seem to attach themselves to both ideas, despite the irresolvable problem the two ideas create.

      Think about what God's plan means for you personally. If the plan happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four times, then that's what will happen. It would be the same with any disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months later, that is God's plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the plan - no amount of prayer will help - because your death will have meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the plan.

      Who will you marry? You actually have no choice in the matter. God has pre-planned your wedding in minute detail. "God knew that those two individuals [your parents] possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom 'you' that he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you." Therefore, your spouse was pre-chosen by God for you so that you would create the children who are a part of his plan. You also have no choice in the number of children you will have - God has pre-planned their births.

      In addition, this sort of universe means that Hitler is blameless. Hitler was not "evil," because Hitler had no free will at all. Hitler was simply an actor forced to play his role in God's plan. God planned for millions of people to die in the Holocaust - he planned their deaths in exact detail. Hitler had to kill those people. Hitler was God's puppet in making that those millions of deaths happen right on schedule.

      In the same way then, every murderer is blameless. Since God has planned each of our deaths in exact detail, murderers are actually essential to God's plan. Why do we punish them? We should be rewarding them for doing their God-planned duty. What if you get raped tomorrow and get pregnant? God did that because he planned the exact time of that child's birth and death. God actually pre-planned your rape, and the rapist was God's puppet. Rather than hating the rapist, we should celebrate God's plan.

      Do you believe that murderers and rapists should be rewarded? Do you believe that Hitler was sent by God to kill millions of people in the Holocaust? Do you believe that God is the direct cause of every abortion on this planet? Do you believe that you have no choice in your spouse or the number of children you have? Probably not. But that is what you are saying when you state that Hitler or cancer or anything else is part of "God's plan."

      If you think about it as an intelligent person, you will realize that the statement "It is part of God's plan" is one of those meaningless palliatives. When you sit down and think it through using your common sense, the statement makes no sense.

      By definition, a kingdom is immoral. That is one of the most ironic inconsistencies with mono-theistic belief systems. They abhor dictators, but then turn right around and worship one.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      Laurence, "Any informed person knows that the majority of Christians were converted from other faiths.Get a clue and get educated,sir!Don't posit assumptions you can't prove with verifiable facts!]"

      I actually grew up in a christian home as did most of the people that I knew in my 18 years of going to multiple churches in 3 different States. Since you seem to be such a fan of verifiable facts, I wonder where you are getting yours? Do you have some statistics to back up your supposition?

      February 25, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You lose your wager, honey. I do know many Christians, and none of them are as vile as you and your pals here.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Where is your God now?

      You've worked like a slave in a biotech start-up for nine years making a fraction of what your mates make in their cush jobs in the big pharmas. But you've developed technology that is badly need in medical diagnostics. Cancer, Mendelian disorders are all waiting for it. A giant corporation snaps up your company. You get a 4x salary farewell bonus from the original owners, a 2x salary bonus from the new owners and a $35K raise with a yearly bonus exceeding $30K in stock options. Where is your God now?

      February 25, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Damocles

      'Stop being so hateful you vile, evil, hateful people.' 'Stop making the assumptions that I assume you are making.' 'You can't possibly know any true believers because I am the only true believer.' 'You people hate, but we believers tell people they are doomed to an eternity of flames because we love them.' 'I see dead people.' 'Waaahhhhh people are mean to me.' 'The crow flies south and the bread is in the oven.' 'The Bruins will play the Celtics next year in the Super Bowl and many will claim it to be the finest game ever played.'

      February 25, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Laurence Ringo shops at Hypocrisy-R-Us

      And Laurence Ringo violates the Ninth Commandment, as well as do upto others, judge not, yeah, and all the rest.

      I always love seeing hypocrites like Ringy telling others how they don't live up to the satndards standards.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • OTOH

      Laurence Ringo,

      Others have covered many of the problems with your post quite well. I'll just add another observation.

      Look at this:
      ".What a small,cramped,dark,mean little space you all inhabit;I feel so very sorry for you."

      You know how body language can belie a person's spoken words? Well, here we only have 'post presence' to go on; and the look of your tightly squeezed presentation there (and in your whole post) could sure point to one who himself occupies a small, cramped, dark, mean little space.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:06 am |
    • ..

      OTOH, you mean that Larry's whole post is devoid of spaces? Yeah, pretty cramped indeed.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:15 am |
  11. Dark Matter

    That door is the only way. Listen to me nose bleeders. Open the door and see it is closed then see it is open. Don’t look back. Don’t find the noises. Stand still and bash the wall with your pipe. I hope you can find the bolt cutters. I hope you don’t see the doctor. I hope you don’t die today. Jesus wants you to come in but you shouldn’t.

    February 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  12. AB

    You are the son of the late child molester and freak face Michael Jackson and your name is Blanket. Where is your God now?

    February 24, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Remember when good things used to come in specially marked boxes of Cheerios or Captain Crunch or maybe Frosted Flakes? Now that doesn't seem to happen any more and I don't know where to look for God.

      February 24, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • AB

      Did you look for God in a box of Freakies?

      February 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  13. Big Shiz

    Fuk the pope

    February 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      It's "fuck."

      February 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  14. Bootyfunk

    and behind closed doors, the pope led the last Dictus Pentratus Boyus - it's where all the cardinals gather in the Vatican dungeons, with two boys each. they light incense, shave the boys to make sure they're smooth, then lube them up with holy oil. when the pope rings the bell, the sacred carnal delights start - and each time the pope rings the bell again, the cardinals switch to the next two boys and it goes all the way around the room. at the end, the pope has all the little boys at once, as is the custom. then they return the boys to their parents - no harm done.

    February 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      A love song for Priests and Altar Boys around the world, celebrating "Jesus' Love". In typical rock n' roll style the lyrics say "she" so the song doesn't suffer backlash...

      February 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    You believe and claim there is no God. Is the belief justified or, alternatively, do you have a method for arriving at your belief such that:

    1. If God does exist and you were to use your method to arrive at a belief as to whether or not God exists, then you would believe through that method that God does exist.

    And

    2. If God does not exist, and you were to use that method to arrive at a belief as to whether or not God exists, you would believe, through that method that God does not exist.

    Just curious. Believers can't be engaged in this sort of thing.

    February 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry, that was for Bostontola.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Of course a believer in God's existence could be asked the same questions.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom,
      No one needs to justify their belief in non factual matters.
      1) if god presented itself and performed supernatural acts I would immediately be a believer in god.
      2) my belief that there is no god is Laplacian, there is no need for that hypothesis. I believe that all we see and experience can and will be explained by science.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I think if God were well defined then there would be a fact: it either exists or it does not. Since it's not well defined then there's no room for a belief or claim about it.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Tom - you're asking for someone to prove a negative. how do you do that? give me an example, pls. most people think that's impossible, but apparently you're much smarter. pls tell us how to prove a negative. for instance, can you prove my left nut isn't god? by your logic, my left nut must be god since you can't prove otherwise.

      but here's the answer you're not looking for - god is a silly idea with no evidence to back it up. that's why we don't believe. ask yourself why you don't believe in leprechauns - same answer, seriously.

      realize you only believe in the christian god because you were born into a christian family in a country where the majority is christian. same for muslims, hindus, buddhists, etc. 99% of people believe what their parents told them as a child. it's hard to break out of the mental shackles. once you do though, you realize you were in a cult. all religions are cults - religion just means it's accepted by the society at large. once a religion has no more followers, it becomes a mythology. education and the internet (free exchange of ideas and information) are killing religion. people are realizing it's all a fairy tale.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom,
      I disagree. Belief is exactly what is in order until it is factual. God doesn't need to be well defined for belief. The poor definition will lead to arguments that run past each other but doesn't preclude belief. For me, god would have to be able to perform acts not possible/consistent with physical law. You can have your own definition.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'd rather focus on a whether "God does not exist" can be a fact. I can prove a negative: There is no even primer number greater than 2, for example (the usual definitions and axioms of number theory apply, of course). If "God does not exist" is a fact, perhaps it can be proved. Perhaps it can be known that God does not exist.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Bostontola

      While mathematics can prove statements within it's systems, science doesn't. Science doesn't try to prove things, that is outside the scientific method. I don't believe the statement "god does not exist" is provable by finite capability beings.

      February 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Answer

      "I don't believe the statement "god does not exist" is provable by finite capability beings."

      ==The more relevant fact is the profound LACK of evidence FOR any gods.

      February 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Answer,
      I think both angles are equally relevant.

      February 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      As a scientist you might embrace model-dependent realism and reject or ignore anything that can't be described in a model by use of some kind of mathematics (mathematics can be constructed in different ways) believing that such is the only reality we can know. Still, you might try to build an argument of God's existence based on something like mathematics. For example, Gödel's ontological "proof" for the existence of something that might work as God. In it, definitions are problematic: something is God-like if and only if it has essential properties and these comprise all the properties that are positive and only properties that are positive. What's positive? Who knows? Some requirements for the set of positive properties that Gödel needs for them to have:

      - If a property belongs to the set, then its negation does not belong to the set.
      - The set is closed under entailment.
      - The property of having as essential properties just those properties which are in the set is itself a member of the set.
      - The set has exactly the same members in all possible worlds. – The property of necessary existence is in the set.
      - If a property is in the set, then the property of having that property necessarily is also in the set.
      (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/)

      Evil and additional properties required by the rules for this set would work as positive properties. Probably not what believers would want.

      Believers need to define the attributes of God, its essential properties. It's really up to them. Until they do there is nothing in which we can claim we don't believe.

      February 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom,
      Godel is one of my heroes but this line of reasoning doesn't comport with mine. Godel makes axioms regarding all possible worlds that I don't know how to deal with. Your assertions regarding what can be believed based on definitions I don't agree with. I like your approach to a rigorous definition. I don't think a mathematical proof is the right line but if certain definitions are in conflict with the natural world then those definitions can be considered disproven. I don't know how you can disprove all definitions however.

      February 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  16. Correctlycenter

    Less posting for satan (small s)– more of reading God's true word. He gives you the free will, and HE will judge YOU someday whether YOU believe it or not...

    February 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      do you have any evidence for that claim?

      No? I thought not.

      You may go.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • JWT

      So your version of the gods will judge me ? Not going to happen.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      Sodom and Gomorrah provide evidence and example of the coming judgment as does the flood of Noah. Live and learn.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense, lol/chad/jill/chrissy.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chrissy

      Myths are not evidence.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • End Religion

      Here we go with the flood again. As if there isn't a world full of evidence against it...

      February 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chrissy,
      Are the Puranas evidence that Vishnu is blue?

      February 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • ..

      Sodom and Gommorah were not destroyed because of gays. Repeatedly using this fallacy is dishonest bigotry, asshole.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      Sodom and the other cities have probably been found, what is left of them. They are also referenced in archaeological finds. You are standing on the aftermath of the flood and do not recognize it because you think of it in terms of modern day disasters instead of the continent forming event it was. Not hardly the stuff of "myth" when actual evidence exists to the contrary, would you say?

      February 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • ..

      Chrissy, they may have existed. Big deal. No eveidence they were destroyed by God, however. And even if what you say is remotely true, which it isn't, that didn't stop Lot from fucking his daughters, did it? The whole thing is "the Big Book Of Porn."
      And the flood is another unsubstantiated myth, which has been disproven again and again. Believe all you want, but don't try and sell a badly written work of fiction as some sort of truth.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chrissey

      The myth is not that Sodom existed. The myth is that those cities were destroyed by God. And there is no evidence for the flood. Water does not magically appear, and even if the ice caps completely melted there would still be plenty of dry land. But since I know that you are going to maintain this belief in a world wide flood I have one question for you. Where did all the water go?

      http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/happen-polar-ice-caps-melted

      February 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      jesus is waiting, Corruptlycenter. You could be on your knees within a fortnight, having the savior spray into the back of your throat. Don't forget to swallow the essence, because it is sinful to catch some on the cheeks

      February 25, 2013 at 5:15 am |
  17. Jealous Angry God of Love

    I shall curse the world with a plague of nincompoops called "Christians"!

    February 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Huebert

      I've herd that this plague can be cured with a generous application of education.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      You "herd" (heard) wrong.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chrissy

      Thanks for proof reading that for me.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • JWT

      Although herd does have it's applications on this topic.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      A little education might do you the world of good huebert, no wonder you wanted me to sp oon feed you those Bible references. Do you still need help?

      February 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      Jealous Angry God of Love, is there anything we can do to slow the spread of these short-bus riding sadistic voodoo Christians? I have heard that spreading Disappearing Cream on their heads may work. Is there any truth to this?

      February 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • ..

      If you actually lived by those Bible verses, it would be a fucking miracle, chrissy hitchens.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chrissey

      I see you are one again resorting to insults because you can't make an actual point. When you have something to say please let me know, your vitriolic prattle is rather tiresome.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • ..

      "Proof
      Creation."

      Proof
      Shoehorn.
      Means about the same.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Bostontola

    I'm a believer, I believe there is not and has never been a god with supernatural power.

    February 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      Since god small g is your statement you may be right. Small g god is used to refer to an idol and no idol has supernatural powers.To God what we call supernatural is natural.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      But do you claim there is no god?

      Do you know there is no god?

      February 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Why do you feel that that you can define other people's terms thereby putting words in their mouth. Have you been imbued with special rights by your God?

      February 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom,
      I claim there is no god, as I said, that is my belief (as strong as any god believer).
      I don't know there is no god because that is not knowable.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      Who are you talking to?

      February 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chrissey

      I do not believe that there has never been any deity with any form of supernatural powers. What we call supernatural, does not exist.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chrissy,

      Why do you feel that that you can define other people's terms thereby putting words in their mouth. Have you been imbued with special rights by your God?

      February 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      bostontola
      Simply read YOUR statement as YOU printed it and interpreted it as it was written. Problem?

      February 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • ..

      Hitchens, and your God has supernatural powers? Prove it.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Alvin Snert, the God without supernatural powers

      I must admit that it is quite difficult to beany sort of god if you don't have supernatural powers. I haven't found anything particularly goddy to do since I don't have supernatural powers.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      Proof
      Creation.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chrissy,
      You defined what I meant by god small g. I know what I intended, you don't. Your use of caps also communicates an arrogance that does not seem to be supported by the depth of your comments.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • clarity

      oh chrissy – I know you can do better than that.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Creation? Of what? You don't have any evidence there was any divine being who created anything. You believe there was. That's all.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  19. Correctlycenter

    What was Jesus' reply to the devil when tempted with Satan's lies and promises? Christ response was: It is written (scriptures). I rest my case, thank you unbelievers for making my point. God bless...

    February 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • ..

      Lol. Pre-emptive prophecy fulfillment. I'll make one of my own: it will rain this spring.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • End Religion

      @CC: you hardly have any point at all since there was no jesus and there is no devil.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      What point did you make, incorrectlycenter?

      February 24, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  20. The church seems to be disintegrating right before our eyes

    Going out with a small bang and a big whimper

    February 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      Actually you are mistaken, the church of Christ is growing larger every second all over the world.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not here in the US, chrissy.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Evening

      Church.....
      Intresting that the rats seem to be flocking to a sinking ship (the Cardinals) usually it is the other way around.

      February 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Huebert

      Church membership in America has been falling for a while.
      http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-02-16-church_growth_15_ST_N.htm

      Atheism is on the rise.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

      Do you see how this works? I make a point, then I post a source to back it up. This makes my arguments far more powerful.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      The USA is a part of the world and the church is growing by leaps and bounds here as well. Megachurches are coming into existence daily. Join one.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • chrissy hitchens

      huebert
      Sadly you are without power as no one really cares.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not on your tintype, you dishonest little POS. They're filled with people just like you–snide, snarky liars, chard.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're wrong about that, too, chard/chrissy. I care and I have a hell of a lot more respect for people when they can back up what they write. You've fallen far short twice just on this page.

      February 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chrissey

      My personal power is irrelevant to the discussion. My argument has power. You are posting falsehoods and since you cannot refute what I am saying you are attempting to insult me. This is a remarkably childish tactic, not to mention a logical fallacy. And since you are responding you obviously care. Now would you like to post another "argument" for me to take apart? :)

      February 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      chrissy, the megachurch growth is because many small churches are closing up. The church is falling apart and consolidating into regional megachurches.

      "Of course this rapid growth of megachurches doesn't mean church attendance has increased. On average 50 small churches close their doors every week in America. We've seen 40 years of the Walmart effect - consolidation rather than expansion. "

      http://www.outofur.com/archives/2011/11/skye_jethani_th_2.html

      February 24, 2013 at 6:23 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.