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The money man behind atheism’s activism
Todd Stiefel, a wealthy businessman, is responsible for bank rolling many atheism activism projects.
March 23rd, 2013
10:00 PM ET

The money man behind atheism’s activism

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Todd Stiefel is far from a household name, and the odds he gets recognized on a street corner, even in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, are small.

For Stiefel, a slim, scruffy ex-Catholic, his public persona is his wallet and activism. Through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the 38-year-old has made an indelible impact on the nation’s fastest-growing “religious” group: the nonbelievers. Most of the highest-profile atheists campaigns –- flashy billboards in high-traffic areas, news-making efforts to get atheists to come out of the closet, and boisterous rallies - are funded by his fortune.

Stiefel isn’t shy about his far-reaching goals.

“What I am trying to accomplish is multifold, he told CNN. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”

So far, Stiefel has pumped $3.5 million into those aspirations, and his money benefits a number of atheist organizations, from the Clergy Project, a group that helps atheist and doubting clergy out of the closet, to American Atheists, arguably the most in-your-face atheist group in the country.

Stiefel sees his work as far more than just money. For him, this is just the beginning.

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From Catholic school to atheist millionaire

Stiefel was born in Albany, New York, in 1974 to Catholic parents. He was raised in a Catholic household, confirmed in the church, attended Sunday school, went to a Catholic high school.

“I was a cross-wearing, praying, religious-retreat Catholic,” Stiefel said. “You could say there were points that I felt the spirit.”

But his faith, he said, fluctuated during high school. “I was always a skeptic,” he said, “and I always asked a lot of questions.”

At 18, Stiefel attended Duke University to pursue a degree in psychology. To fill an elective, he took an Old Testament history class at the Duke University Divinity School. It was there, he said, that his final “ebb” away from belief took hold.

In the class, Stiefel said he saw a flawed logic in the Old Testament. In particular, he said, he began to see much of the Old Testament as unoriginal stories that had been told in many pagan traditions.

“'Wait a second, is what I believe in really the truth or is it really the accumulation of myths bundled in a package?’” Stiefel remembers asking himself. “That was the end of my faith right there.”

After graduating from Duke, Stiefel went into the family business: Stiefel Laboratories, a company that develops products to combat skin diseases. For 12 years, Stiefel worked with his family and turned the business into a major player in their specialized market.

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In 2009, with Stiefel in an executive position, the Stiefel family opted to sell the company to GlaxoSmithKline. The price tag: $2.9 billion, according to media reports at the time.

“I only got a very small piece of that, for the record,” Stiefel said with a laugh. “I did, however, find myself in a unique and fortunate position where I was able to do whatever I wanted to do.”

And like many who have the luxury of doing exactly what they want, Stiefel began thinking about what he was truly passionate about. After kicking around the idea of starting another business, the answer became clear to the young millionaire: advocating for atheism.

“I wanted to try to help the world,” he said. “I wanted to give back and this seemed like the most productive way to help humanity.”

‘Just doing my part’

Stiefel put $2 million in to begin his foundation. In his first year, according to tax documents, the nonprofit disbursed $700,000 to groups like the Secular Coalition for America, the American Humanist Association and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In 2010 and 2011, the giving continued with the foundation distributing around $750,000 to different atheist and humanist causes. In 2011, he also pumped another $500,000 into his foundation.

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“I am just doing my part within my means,” he said. “Different people have different means. I am doing what I can do, just like the rest of the people in the movement are.”

But recipients of the money, such as David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, see his impact as much greater than just a one-off activist.

“Todd is an example of what major contributions can accomplish for atheism,” he said. “From a donation stand point, he is really leading the movement to a different level.”

Walking the line

One of Stiefel’s major concerted contributions in the last three years was the Reason Rally, an event held on the National Mall in Washington, which was billed as a watershed moment in the atheism movement. The goal of the event was to show to religious Americans that atheism was a powerful minority in American life.

Stiefel speaks onstage at the Reason Rally.

The rally drew a number of high-profile speakers, including Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” and thousands of attendees, despite rainy weather.

In his speech to the crowd, Stiefel talked about what he sees as the most important problem facing atheism: “Discrimination comes from ignorance, and in this case it is ignorance about our beliefs,” he said. “We are told freethinkers believe in nothing, but that’s a misunderstanding. We believe in a lot of things; we don’t all believe the same things.”

Stiefel put $250,000 toward the rally, a contribution that Silverman, the organizer, said was critical.

“He brought the Reason Rally to a brand new level,” Silverman said. Without that money, “we would have had far fewer people and a far smaller event.”

Silverman and the Reason Rally advocated for a specific brand of atheism. Silverman, who regularly calls his group the “Marines of the Freethought Movement,” is not shy in making it clear that he views his goal in calling out religion and elevating atheism.

Stiefel says he doesn't necessarily endorse those tactics wholly, but he does see their validity.

“I try to walk a line,” he said. “I see religious criticism as valuable, and groups like American Atheists are good at that. I do think we have to have a dialogue about who has the right ideas and part of that is pointing out the flaws in religious ideas.”

Stiefel continued: “I also see inter-belief work, though. I do find a lot of value in inter-belief work and I do see a lot of value in general charity work.”

Evidence of that is his work on cancer fundraising.

In 2012, Stiefel approached the Foundation Beyond Belief with an idea of creating networks of nonbelievers around the country to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Stiefel tapped into his atheist network and began organizing different event.

In total, the atheist groups raised $430,000 in 2012, including a $215,000 donation from Stiefel and his wife, Diana.

“Across the country there are 150 local groups of atheists and freethinkers raising money for charity,” Stiefel said proudly.

The key, however, was bridging the gap between atheist and religious communities in the name of charity.

“We welcomed Christians, as well,” he said. “Some of our biggest fundraisers were Christians.”

For 2013, the goal is to raise $500,000.

Expanding the community

With money and resolve comes great influence for Stiefel. He has the ear of many atheist leaders, meaning he can dictate the movement’s focus.

Stiefel said he wants to see the atheism movement expand its footprint.

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“What I would really like to see is expanding out communities to people who may not just be atheists or agnostics and into people who are religiously skeptical and may still have some religious beliefs,” he said. “Nobody is a perfect skeptic and I would like to see more people like that in our community.”

For Stiefel, this is a personal priority. He says his wife, whom he describes as a skeptical Christian, is someone who would fall within an expanded atheist movement.

“My message is not only of anti-theism,” Stiefel said. “I don’t choose to attack religion itself. I see religion as something that provides both good and ill to the world.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

soundoff (7,617 Responses)
  1. Dumbster Baby

    Maybe atheists are missing a few intelligently designed genes somewhere?

    March 31, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Francisco

      Dumpster Baby why don't you attack the issue instead of the person? A good debate for each side using intelligent reasoning is healthy. Bashing people make no sense.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  2. Bill Deacon

    An Atheist’s View on Life:
    I will live my life according to these beliefs
    God does not exist
    It is just foolish to think
    That there is a God with a cosmic plan
    That an all-powerful God brings purpose to the pain and suffering in the world
    Is a comforting thought, however
    Is only wishful thinking
    People can do as they please without eternal consequences
    The idea that
    I am deserving of Hell
    Because of sin
    Is a lie meant to make me a slave to those in power
    “The more you have, the happier you will be”;
    Our existence has no grand meaning or purpose
    In a world with no God
    There is freedom to be who I want to be
    But with God
    Everything is fine
    It is ridiculous to think
    I am lost and in need of saving.
    A Christian’s View on Life:
    (Now...read from bottom to top to see a different view.)

    Happy Easter all.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      I like the literary device.
      Even though it doesn't quite work in a couple of places, it is very interesting to read.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      i think the former is more believable

      happy easter

      March 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      If one's life has no meaning without a god, then that person's life has no meaning.

      My life has meaning, and is full of joy, and laughter and love. I am fascinated by the universe as it is. I don't need someone to construct an arbitrary mythology about why the universe exists in order to thrive within it. I don't need the wisdom of the grouchy ancient ones to determine what morality is. All I need is common sense, and the ability to process simple logic.

      March 28, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon is nothing more than an obsessive and loudmouthed shill for the RCC.

      March 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  3. WASP

    A CHALLENGE TO ALL CHRISTINES: do as 1 KINGS CHAPTER 18

    1 KINGS CHATER 18 VERSES 36-38
    36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
    37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
    38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

    -if your god could prove himself then, why not now? now here is the funny thing, let's try that experiment today.
    1 KINGS CHAPTER 18 VERSE
    24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

    so if god could prove himself to 450 baal worshippers at the request of elijah, one solitary christian; then let's have that same experiment here.
    you cry out for your god and i will watch, if he answers then he is god if not then you are following a false god. lmfao...................deal?

    March 28, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • John

      Have your 'nothing god' create a universe on my desktop here. It's 'so easy' or so science says it is for nothing to do it. Why not now? What's the hold up? I've been asking for some time now and the desktop is still empty of any matter and energy from a universe forming on it. It's rather lame if you ask me... nothing doesn't do anything science claims it does... 'cuz it's nothing... it isn't there... it doesn't do anything. Meanwhile, God did what he said, and I know he's there, know as in knowing he's there. Yes God exists, and your nothing god won't save you.

      You should do the smart thing, put on some life support that will save you: Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Without his sacrifice, you're doomed. Seriously, he exists, so does God, and so does the Holy Spirit. Hurry...

      March 29, 2013 at 2:26 am |
    • Sabrina

      To those who won't believe, no explanation is possible. For those who do believe, no explanation is necessary.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • ME II

      To those who think explanations are necessary; to those who don't think no explanation is necessary.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • fintastic

      How do you explain something that doesn't exist?

      April 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  4. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog-

    Some billboards for specific locations, some recommended for viewing during Passover and "Holy" Week:

    For Salt Lake City:

    There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    For Mecca:

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • لم يكن هناك أي فشل غابرييل الإسلام كدين. فشل المسيحية جزئيا

    For Rome:

    There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • non erat Pascha ie Christianismus totaliter deficit sicut a religionis.

    For Jerusalem:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • • ווי ווייַט ווי איינער ווייסט אָדער קענען זאָגן, עס איז קיין אברהם הייסט די יסודות פון יידישקייַט, קריסטנטום און איסלאם זענען ניט-עגזיסטאַנט.

    • ווי ווייַט ווי איינער ווייסט אָדער קענען זאָגן, עס איז ניט משה הייסט די פּילערז פון יידישקייַט, קריסטנטום און איסלאם האָבן קיין שטאַרקייַט פון ציל.

    March 28, 2013 at 7:56 am |
  5. G to the T

    @Peter – I don't think we're asking for anything unreasonable. You say we have free will and seem to think any kind of obvious proof would invalidate it. I don't see it that way. I'm being asked to make a decision about my entire life (and possibly beyond). Isn't it reasonable to ask for some proof? Any proof, so I can make an informed decision? Let me "see the wounds". It was good enough for Thomas, I'm not asking any more than that...

    March 27, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  6. Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

    I thought there would be more of a warming trend by now, but instead again today I walk out to winter!
    From the 80's Glasgow band, Aztec Camera, it's "Walk Out to Winter".

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE3lTlPwykE&w=640&h=390]

    There's plenty more of the jazzy chords in the extended version:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSUDtDLwT5U

    Also you may remember their hit "Oblivious":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VigbnU3BhPw

    from the 90's one of their music video's "Good Morning Britain":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WyChNh_p-E

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

    March 27, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • clarity

      I see on youtube draw similarity to the Smiths. I'm not sure I get that – maybe.

      March 27, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  7. John

    There are two types of reality:

    – What you see and hear while awake
    – What you see and hear while asleep

    There is another reality when God interacts, and it is obvious when it happens. The bible describes this in sections like Daniel, Revelation, the gospels, etc... The person or people involved can be wide awake, or they can be dreaming, but it's outside those two above, yet within them. It's similar to another person entering a room, but may or may not be noticed by anyone else. It can take over the entire reality of the person receiving it when it happens. For example, Saul being knocked to the ground when Jesus showed up. The others there heard a man speaking, but didn't see him.

    Overall, if God is interacting with someone, or a group, it can be selective what they receive, and it's not guaranteed to be a globally known event. It can be a mix of reality, or overwhelming, taking over the senses, as in Saul's encounter with Jesus. So the point of this is, atheists, is that if you're claiming someone is a lune for having God intereacting with them, it's similar to saying they're a lune for receiving a phone call from someone they know, because phone calls are selective too, they can consume someone's senses, and there's no guarantee that the person calling, will contact everyone over the planet... just to prove themself to someone that isn't a friend... or someone that doesn't love God. Basically, don't expect a phone call from someone you don't like, or care enough about to read their love letter to you.

    March 27, 2013 at 3:46 am |
    • Dan the Man

      John is Austin. Case closed.

      March 27, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • sam stone

      i had the divine interaction after consuming a big handful of magic mushrooms

      March 27, 2013 at 7:07 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      John sez:
      "There is another reality when God interacts"
      Then there is no free will

      March 27, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • Science

      Hey John reality below.................................. good read .

      Origin of Life: Natural Cause no god(s) required.

      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

      December 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the ...

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/fossils_ruins/origin_of_life/

      March 27, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • laststonecarver

      per John
      There are two types of reality:
      – What you see and hear while awake
      – What you see and hear while asleep
      There is another reality when God interacts
      Quick count = 3 realities

      March 27, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • laststonecarver

      and that doesn't even take into account, everyone else's realities, who are not you –
      Now what is the count?

      March 27, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • laststonecarver

      @John,
      realizing the realty of reality can be taxing –
      Basically, don't expect a phone call from someone you don't like, or care enough about to read their love letter to you.
      Phone solicitors do call, and I expect they will call.

      March 27, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • clarity

      Really? So all the dreams and the truck without tires is all wrapped up in a hairy sackcloth with a bunch of triangles?? Get out of town. I should have known.

      March 27, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • John

      LOC, the two realities are what's possible for anyone. God interacting is always possible, just like someone you know can call you, or show up to do something that day, that didn't change the two basic realities you can experience, other than someone is now included within them. God can enter either of those two realities, when you're wide awake, or when you're dreaming.

      For example, Saul was on the road with others, wide awake, and Jesus showed up as a blinding light to Saul. Saul was still awake the entire time, but his reality was modified by his being able to perceive Jesus as a blinding light, talking to him. The others with Saul heard Jesus, but did not see him. They too were wide awake when it happened, but those with Saul, did not see any man, they just heard him.

      There are other instances in the bible where someone was dreaming, and an angel entered their dreaming time, while they're asleep. For example Joseph being told to leave for Egypt.

      The two base realities: wide awake, and dreaming... can be entered by God... because he's always there, but he doesn't always show up within the two realities possible. Most people never experience God or angels showing up within their realities, but when he does, it's obvious... he makes sure it's obvious, so it's not a waste of his time.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Dreaming is in no way a reality. It is state in which which our brains are acting as if called upon to interpret real sensory input when actually experiencing much less coherent stimuli than reality provides. Perhaps more organized than random noise, but still quite disorganized and entirely internal. What's amazing about it is that we can often make up a story out of it that almost makes sense. Imagination works even when we are almost unconscious, and it is not too surprising that we imagine up seemingly supernatural things from this free-wheeling input. Most of us know not to believe any of it. We seem to be designed to forget it much more rapidly than reality-based experiences.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • John

      Tom, you're replying back about something you've never experienced, nor understand. It's similar to if a blind & deaf person who had never seen nor heard their entire life, had tried to describe seeing and hearing. You won't believe anything when God is mentioned, and always want to credit nothing with what God does.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:10 am |
  8. Reality

    Some billboards for specific locations, some recommended for viewing during Passover and "Holy" Week:

    For Salt Lake City:

    There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    For Mecca:

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • لم يكن هناك أي فشل غابرييل الإسلام كدين. فشل المسيحية جزئيا

    For Rome:

    There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • non erat Pascha ie Christianismus totaliter deficit sicut a religionis.

    For Jerusalem:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • • ווי ווייַט ווי איינער ווייסט אָדער קענען זאָגן, עס איז קיין אברהם הייסט די יסודות פון יידישקייַט, קריסטנטום און איסלאם זענען ניט-עגזיסטאַנט.

    • ווי ווייַט ווי איינער ווייסט אָדער קענען זאָגן, עס איז ניט משה הייסט די פּילערז פון יידישקייַט, קריסטנטום און איסלאם האָבן קיין שטאַרקייַט פון ציל.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  9. Unbelievable

    How will the human race ever make any progress while following the same beliefs from thousands of years ago? Why can't people live without religion (which is most always the root cause of war and other horrible things) and still be good people who can cope with mortality without flipping out?

    March 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Christianity has not been tried and found untenable. It has been found difficult and left untried.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Hodor

      unbelievable,

      progress happens, just more slowly. and plenty of people can and do live morally without religion. they're not the fire and brimstone crowd, they can cope with the idea and finality of death.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. I wish Billy would still be around when the temple of the RCC , Vatican City, is sold off and the ugly religion fades to nothing.

      March 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Christianity has not been tried and found untenable. It has been found difficult and left untried."

      it is because its premise is absurd

      March 27, 2013 at 7:10 am |
  10. Hodor

    a reminder to believers. the fact that truth does not depend on whether you believe it or not cuts both ways.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Chad

      Very true, every effort should be made to find out what is true and not.

      What effort have you done to investigate the claims of Christianity?

      (my failure to investigate the claims of Zeus, or the reality of unicorns doesnt really have anything at all to do with your effort to investigate the claims of Christianity.. right?)

      March 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Hodor

      Chad,

      I went to church more times than I can count. I went to sunday school. they got me when i was young. I was confirmed in the church, an ELCA member congregation. I've read large portions of the Bible. I studied the gospels in college extensively. I've prayed. I tried to continue believing, but belief is not a choice. Soon enough, as my thinking became more sophisticated, I simply could not engage in the intellectual gymnastics of faith any longer. It wasn't my choice. Belief is what happens when a mind is presented with evidence, or a lack thereof.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hodor,

      1. What specifically led you to reject the claims of Christianity? What led you to believe that Jesus was not resurrected at all?
      2. Your definition of faith is not the biblical definition of faith.

      Faith:
      A. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
      B. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

      ==============
      Faith has essentially two accepted usages in the English language; atheists In this case discard ‘A’ over ‘B’, then attack Christians in that context only, making a further critical and purposeful redefinition of the word “faith”, claiming that proof obviates it.
      Atheists claim that faith and knowledge of, or evidence of the existence of that which faith is being placed, are incompatible. This is patently nonsense in both current secular usage and biblical context.
      Secular usage: “faith” is an accepted concept in modern law. “Good faith”, fiduciary duty is ingrained in contract law, and nowhere does it require a lack of knowledge about the object in which faith is being expressed. “I have faith in John, he will do what he says”, it does not require that one has no knowledge of the true existence of John. Indeed it is nonsensical to have a faith in something you don’t know exists.

      Biblical context: “ And without faith it is impossible to please God Hebrews 11
      Which faith is being discussed? A faith for which there is no proof? Does proof obviate faith?
      Throughout the bible it is crystal clear that people, whom are commended for their faith, had ample proof of the existence of God PRIOR to their faith being commended.
      Abraham commended for his faith (Hebrews 11) had ample proof (God speaking to him).
      Moses commended for his faith (Hebrews 11) had ample proof (multiple miracles in Egypt, God speaking directly to him, etc, etc).
      In fact, NO WHERE in the bible is definitive proof of the existence of God EVER shown to obviate a person’s faith. Quite the contrary in fact, God promises to reveal Himself, and make Himself known to you if you search after Him. The biblical pattern is ALWAYS the same, God reveals Himself, then asks for a person’s trust in Him. That is biblical faith.

      There is simply no biblical support for proof obviating faith, or the faith that God desires requires a lack of proof as to His reality.
      None..

      March 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hodor, I think you've made an error. Belief or faith is not the result of mental gymnastics or a matter of holding you nose and diving into things incomprehensible. Faith is the result of obedience. I would not expect you to retain any faith because you were subjected to education, training or catechism as child, since those are externally applied. If, however you are sincerely trying to achieve faith, the only sure path is through obedience. Most people would rather serve their flesh and so they construct intellectual hurdles to faith that allow them to serve one master (self) rather than another (God). Good luck!

      March 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Hodor

      chad,

      it would be more accurate to say that the claims of christianity became insufficient as explanations rather than to say that i rejected them. it wasn't a choice i made, it was an epistemic position i found myself in. and there was no one specific thing that changed my mind, it's more like the collection of inconsistencies of christianity collapsed the whole thing for me. but in an effort to please, i would say that when i came to realize that the bible was just a book written by men with an agenda, and that jesus was just a man, i put two and two together. normal dudes don't just wake up from the dead. it would be make a good story though. obviously, it's more complicated than that but hopefully that helps, chad.

      as far as faith, you could have given me the benefit of the doubt. i'll just grant you what you think it means and then i can not be able to do that anymore.

      now, my turn. Is it possible that god doesn't exist? yes or no

      March 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Hodor

      Bill, I was interested in understanding the truth. I assume you feel faith leads you to the truth, no? Faith is merely your tool. And my tool broke.

      March 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hodor "it's more like the collection of inconsistencies of christianity collapsed the whole thing for me"
      @Chad "like what?"

      @Hodor "now, my turn. Is it possible that [the God of Israel] doesn't exist? yes or no"
      @Chad "Obviously I dont believe that is a possibility, how would one explain:
      1. The origin and fine tuning of the universe
      2. The origin of life on earth
      3. The fossil record
      4. The Israelites
      5. The Bible being historically accurate
      6. The person of Jesus, what He did and said
      7. The empty tomb
      8. The relationship that Christians can experience with the living Christ

      how would one explain all that?

      If God doesnt exist, one greater than He must..

      March 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Chad

      truth leads one to faith, not the other way around..

      March 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Bill likes the likes of Marcial Maciel because he knew how to make money for the RCC, right Billy?

      March 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Chad
      "truth leads one to faith, not the other way around.." ???????

      Can't let you get away with that one. So you know the truth, but somehow knowing that makes you need faith? If you know truth, no faith is required. Truth is. It doesn't take a leap to believe it. It IS because it is Truth and therefore all things coincide with it. Gravity is truth. You don't need faith to believe it. 100º is hotter than 0ª... no faith necessary.

      Even before you can label a concept as "true", you must first accept it as true, otherwise it remains something you think might be true but you're not sure—A perfect realm for faith if you're not interested in something concrete like evidence.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Chad
      Since you are on this thread, what do you think about the exploitation of the idea of the god of Israel by the religions of Christianity?

      March 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @GodFreeNow "Can't let you get away with that one. So you know the truth, but somehow knowing that makes you need faith? If you know truth, no faith is required."
      @Chad "no, see above for biblical definition of faith.
      Biblical epistemology is based on experience not just reasoning.

      ======
      @The Demon Deacon "what do you think about the exploitation of the idea of the god of Israel by the religions of Christianity?"
      @Chad "define what exactly you mean by exploitation.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I love Chad because he convinces people to believe the opposite of what he intends. We need a word for it. Negative persuasion? Reverse persuasion?

      March 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad's alright. He's just a sod with a strange hobby – like a fellow who chooses to hunt bear with a stone axe, or someone who likes to race walk backwards. He's just decided to defend a view of the world that is entirely consistent with his Bible (I think it's an NIV). Or perhaps a view of his Bible that's entirely consistent with his world. It's a challenge, you must admit. AMDG

      March 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Hodor

      Is it possible that [the God of Israel] doesn't exist? yes or no"

      @Chad "Obviously I dont believe that is a possibility, how would one explain:
      1. The origin and fine tuning of the universe: cosmology, physics
      2. The origin of life on earth: biochemistry
      3. The fossil record: archaeology
      4. The Israelites: history, anthropology
      5. The Bible being historically accurate: you cannot explain something that isn't
      6. The person of Jesus, what He did and said: history, anthropology
      7. The empty tomb: people moved whatever was in there
      8. The relationship that Christians can experience with the living Christ: psychology

      how would one explain all that? Those would be a good start.

      If God doesnt exist, one greater than He must.. incorrect. how do you arrive at that conclusion? regardless, isn't part of the definition of god that there is no greater being? or something like that?

      i'm still not sure how you can have any knowledge of god's will or desires or any of its properties if god is supposedly transcendent of all reality. does it choose to reveal itself on occasion? if many of those revelations are biblical, how are you sure they weren't just made up by the guys writing it?

      March 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Chad

      1. The origin and fine tuning of the universe: cosmology, physics
      =>by definition impossible. Science can never explain how the universe came into being, nor why it is fine tuned. By definition.

      2. The origin of life on earth: biochemistry
      =>nothing no the table now that is credible...

      3. The fossil record: archaeology
      =>cant explain punctuated equilibrium

      4. The Israelites: history, anthropology
      =>cant explain the miraculous existence

      5. The Bible being historically accurate: you cannot explain something that isn't
      =>good luck finding something historically inaccurate, it's never been done 🙂

      6. The person of Jesus, what He did and said: history, anthropology
      =>?? So you are saying He was crazy for claiming to be the Son of God

      7. The empty tomb: people moved whatever was in there
      =>and, you know this ... how?
      who moved it?
      for what motive?
      how did they get past the guards?

      8. The relationship that Christians can experience with the living Christ: psychology
      =>mass delusion?
      no...

      March 26, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Hodor

      though i find chad's views on the relationship of truth and faith and on the impossibility of god's nonexistence wildly entertaining, i do appreciate the civility of his discourse. it's far better than being labeled a dog or rabid wolf or whatever. though i assume chad also believes all atheists and agnostics will spend eternity in hell, which seems harsh. maybe i am wrong.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hodor "also believes all atheists and agnostics will spend eternity in hell, which seems harsh."

      =>what does the bible say about what happens to those people that reject Christ when they die?

      March 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad thinks that the answer "big invisible sky wizard did it with magic spells" is somehow more meaningful than "we know very little and we're still testing and measuring to get more information."

      It's better to have a real can of beans than to imagine you have a steak.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Hodor

      My, your vocabulary has grown. I knew you when all you could say was "Hodor"

      @Chad

      This ole song and dance again? I see you've added some new ones. "The Israelites: history, anthropology
      =>cant explain the miraculous existence" What's so miraculous about it?

      We never did get to finish our conversation about the big bang by the way, our conversation got deleted before you had a chance to respond.

      In anycase, you keep saying the universe is fine tuned but ignoring how that actually makes sense. Not only do we live in a universe where only a infintismal amount of it is actually "finely -tuned" for life, but you seem to think that the universal laws somehow ties in with this concept of fine tuning, which it does not.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "In anycase, you keep saying the universe is fine tuned but ignoring how that actually makes sense. Not only do we live in a universe where only a infintismal amount of it is actually "finely -tuned" for life, but you seem to think that the universal laws somehow ties in with this concept of fine tuning, "

      =>lol..

      you should consider doing some reading...

      Science by definition cannot EVER explain it, as science is predicated on the existence of those laws.
      "Because science begins with the laws of the universe, it can not ever disprove God. Science can never explain why the laws exist, because to do so would require the existence of another law." - Leonard Mlodinow, co-author with Stephen Hawkings of "A Briefer History of Time"

      Fine Tuning of the universe
      In the past 30 or 40 years, scientists have been astonished to find that the initial conditions of our universe were fine-tuned for the existence of building blocks of life. Constants such as gravitational constant have been found, the variation of which to even the smallest degree, would have rendered the universe utterly incapable of supporting life.

      "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires." - Paul Davies

      "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the mas ses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life - Stephen Hawking

      : "If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature - like the charge on the electron - then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop." Dr. Dennis Scania, Cambridge University Observatories

      "If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all." - Dr. David D. Deutsch, Insti tute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

      "The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life - almost contrived - you might say a 'put-up job.'" - Dr. Paul Davies, Adelaide University:

      "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars - Sir Fred Hoyle

      "how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quanti ties had slightly different values." - Dr. Gerald Schroeder, former professor of physics at M.I.T.

      beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. - Professor Steven Weinberg

      The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bullseye one millimeter in diameter on the other side." - Michael Turner, astrophysicist University of Chicago

      the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding, namely an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros!" That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros. Penrose continues, "Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe - and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure - we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment." - Roger Penrose University of Oxford

      March 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      and pathetically once again you fall back into quotations you have barely understood, most likely don't understand and avoid actually answering questions. I love how you keep trying to say how ignorant I am without ever actually showing me HOW I'm ignorant.

      My absolute favorite though has to be when I disagree or touch on a point with even one of these people, you seem to take their words from on how and present them as infallible even though science changes all the time.

      Chad, why do you never answer questions? Are you afraid to actually articulate your own thoughts or do you not trust your own words?

      March 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's true that Chad's God has not provided him with enough material to frame an argument for its existence, much less its identity as Creator, or qualities of omnipotence and omniscience, or even status as a necessary being. He turns to unbelievers for help. Perhaps they will one day, if they become aware of Chad's quote mining, respond as Newton might have done:

      "Thus the method which earlier he (Leibniz) wanted, asked for, received, and understood with difficulty, he discovered forsooth either first or at least by his own effort."

      In fairness, Chad does not claim their work as his own, only that he owns the best interpretation of it.

      March 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad, why no empirical evidence for your weakling god?

      March 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      I have a chair.
      It has four legs.
      It has an armrest and a backrest.
      Therefore, it must have been designed and built by Juancho's Furnishers, 134506 Woodard Street, Abilene, Texas.

      March 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @End Religion "why no empirical evidence for your weakling god?"

      =>I'm still waiting for you to articulate the science experiment that can be performed to prove an ancient persons existence 🙂

      March 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @TANK!!!! "I have a chair., It has four legs. It has an armrest and a backrest."
      =>Your fellow atheists cringed when you posted that.

      no one would dream of claiming that the chair just happened, by a random combination of particles, to as.semble itself in that manner.
      The utter improbability of that screams for a designer.

      how much more complex our fine tuned universe?

      March 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • History Channel's "The Bible" Parts 3 & 4 - In Under 11 Minutes!

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTRn28iZD_g&w=640&h=390]

      March 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Science

      Chad

      Was the bible around back then ?

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older

      Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

      No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

      March 27, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • Bob

      And a reminder for Chad(Rachel), you'll be needing not one chair, but 2, for your fat double backsides.

      Still no thigh gap for Rachel(Chad)? Better get back on that workout program...

      March 27, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Scienec

      Hey Chad you have a current photo (2013) of your god ?

      March 27, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • HotAirAce

      The first "chair" was probably a rock, no god designer required.

      March 27, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "good luck finding something historically inaccurate [in the Bible], it's never been done"

      This is incorrect as you have been shown this many times.

      March 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      I've already gone over exactly how we would prove an ancient person exists. For instance, we just found a lost kings bones, how did we know who's bones it is? A couple of ways, one is find a living descendent and match the dna. two is carbon date the bones with the surround area to see if there's a difference. These specific bones were found near a 12th century monk cemetary, if said bones in questions are older and dated to around when the king lived, it's a good bet it's probably the king. third, we have bits of writings from 800-900 years ago saying they were moving the bones to a different location than where he was originally buried. All of these things separately would not prove anything, but together it makes a solid case for this specific king to have been alive.

      Now, to prove that he actually did the things that he's claimed to have done... well that's near impossible to prove one way or the other.

      March 27, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Science

      Hey Chad can you read a map ?

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

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

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

      March 28, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Science

      MODERATED POST

      Origin of Life: Natural Cause no god(s) required.

      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

      December 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the ...

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/fossils_ruins/origin_of_life/

      It would be NICE......... but

      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda who

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

      Peace

      Please watch

      The African Rift

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okWkmgkS00w&w=640&h=390]

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      And the missing link !

      Looks like that funky talking snake ?........................is the fairy in the fossil bed ?

      Strange Spaghetti-Shaped Creature Is Missing Link: Discovery Pushes Fossil Record Back 200 Million Years

      Mar. 13, 2013 — Canada's 505 million year-old Burgess Shale fossil beds, located in Yoho National Park, have yielded yet another major scientific discovery – this time with the unearthing of a strange spaghetti-shaped creature.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313142526.htm

      Looks like that funky talking snake ?........................is the fairy in the fossil bed ?

      Strange Spaghetti-Shaped Creature Is Missing Link: Discovery Pushes Fossil Record Back 200 Million Years

      Mar. 13, 2013 — Canada's 505 million year-old Burgess Shale fossil beds, located in Yoho National Park, have yielded yet another major scientific discovery - this time with the unearthing of a strange spaghetti-shaped creature.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313142526.htm

      April 5, 2013 at 5:18 am |
  11. Salero21

    He is just a fool among other fools, probably the worst of all fools. No, wait all fools are equal!

    March 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Jesus? god?

      March 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • ME II

      "...anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Mt 5:22)

      March 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Hodor

      is it not foolish to believe in something only because it's what most other people around you believe, because that's what they were taught and because an old book makes claims that are unsupported?

      March 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Salero21

      ME II

      You can't get a double dip!

      Either you believe or don't. It is God and the Bible that says there is a hell. If you don't believe there is God neither believe in a Heaven or a Hell, then you can't come back quoting the Scriptures you don't believe in the first place.

      It is God who says the unbeliever is a fool. I'm just quoting. Therefore if I quote correctly it is not I but the Scriptures. You don't believe therefore you can't then turn around and try to get a double dipping. That's highly hypocritical which adds to your foolishness.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • ME II

      @Salero21,

      I'm just quoting your own source. If you don't believe it applies to you, then who is being hypocritical?

      March 27, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  12. Chris Hogan

    I think a healthy debate and challange of religion is exactly what is needed, and I say this as a Christian myself. Let us shake the tree of religion, and the dead parts will fall off.

    March 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • That's what we are doing here

      ..

      March 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  13. laststonecarver

    C an
    H ardly
    R eason
    I 'm
    S o
    T hreatened
    I n
    A ttaining
    N eurologic
    S tructure

    March 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  14. frespech

    while you had Hawkins in your presence perhaps you could have asked him to produce a DNA molecule from a bunch of elements and water, now that would be evidence.

    March 26, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • ME II

      Do you mean Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins?

      March 26, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • debbie338

      You do understand that it has been done in a lab, right? Or does Hawking have to personally do it himself with his crippled limbs in order for you to believe it?

      March 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Science

      News Release

      3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

      University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

      Media Note: To request high resolution images of Dr. Seelig and/or of a 3D structure of the evolved enzyme, please contact Matt Hodson at mjhodson@umn.edu.

      http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_429344.html

      March 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  15. ME II

    @Chad,
    "'the OT is in the NT revealed, and the NT is in the OT concealed'. "

    I'm sorry, what? This sounds like nonsense. What does this mean exactly? Can you reproduce the OT from the NT or vice versa?

    "It sounds like even you as an atheist utterly unfamiliar with the bible were able to pick up on that "

    I am utterly unfamiliar with nonsense, yes. 🙂

    "You cut a key piece of info out of your cut and paste from the NIV"

    It did not seem "key" to me. While "a few manuscripts" include the verses in question, they are not the earliest manuscripts, so there was in fact changes since the earliest manuscripts.
    "Exclude pericope. Papyri 66 (c. 200) and 75 (early 3rd century); Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (4th century), also apparently Alexandrinus and Ephraemi (5th), Codices Washingtonianus and Borgianus also from the 5th century, Regius from the 8th, Athous Lavrensis (c. 800),..." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_the_woman_taken_in_adultery)

    You said, "There is zero evidence of any later adaptation.." and I provided what seems to be evidence that there are differences between the earliest manunscripts and what is current canon. So, if you want to define "adaptation" as 'changes that we don't agree with', then you may be correct, but even your pro-pericope site admits, "It is not in the earliest manuscripts (with one exception); in those manuscripts where we do find it, it is not found in one place. "

    I see two possibilities. 1) It was included after-the-fact when it "shouldn't" be. 2) It wasn't included in the first place when it "should" have been.
    It seems that either way there is a problem. Either the earliest manuscripts are wrong or the current canon is. Furthermore, if the earliest manuscripts are wrong then how what do you base current canon on, but if earliest manuscripts are correct the how can current canon be?

    p.s. No comments on Mark 16? "Most scholars, following the approach of the textual critic Bruce Metzger, hold the view that verses 9-20 were not part of the original text." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_16)

    March 26, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • ME II

      misposted reply to posting on pg 62

      March 26, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Chad

      @ME II ""'the OT is in the NT revealed, and the NT is in the OT concealed'. " I'm sorry, what? This sounds like nonsense. What does this mean exactly? Can you reproduce the OT from the NT or vice versa?"
      @Chad "it means that they are not disjoint, the OT points to the messiah, the messiah is a fulfillment of the OT.

      What you see as "invention on the part of NT writers" is simply fulfilled prophecy, validating the identi.ty of Jesus as Messiah.

      =====
      @ME II It did not seem "key" to me
      @Chad "of course not, it refutes your claim 🙂 "

      ======
      @ME II " While "a few manuscripts" include the verses in question, they are not the earliest manuscripts, so there was in fact changes since the earliest manuscripts."
      @Chad "not quite as simple as that, you'll have to do some more reading".

      http://www.tektonics.org/af/adulterypericope.html

      Not most importantly that since the bible is the most heavily researched book in the history of the world by wide orders of magnitude, scholars have thoroughly examined textual criticism issues such as this, and the Christian can rest assured that:
      – the bible we have is over 99% original text
      – none of the verses under issue affect the Christian message of salvation through faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross at all, not even the smallest amount.

      March 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "of course not, it refutes your claim"

      Incorrect. You claimed there were no changes in the NT, I provided evidence, earliest manuscripts, that are not the same as what is current canon, i.e. it changed. 🙂
      (Unless you mean something else by "adaptation")

      "not quite as simple as that, you'll have to do some more reading."

      I'm sorry, did it change or not?
      No where does that site, whoever wrote it, dispute the fact that the earliest texts did not include the pericope.

      "– the bible we have is over 99% original text
      – none of the verses under issue affect the Christian message of salvation through faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross at all, not even the smallest amount.
      "

      Well, that's different than "zero evidence of any later adaptation..". Regardless of whether I made a case for "adaptation", there is clearly evidence of change since the original texts, therefore your claim is inaccurate.

      If what you really meant was, 'honest, it still means the same thing,' that is a different debate.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Chad

      "of course not, it refutes your claim"
      => lol.
      the reason you didnt include it is simply because it highlighted what you didnt want to talk about, namely that ANY passage in dispute is clearly identified as such, AND that nature of the dispute makes it VERY clear that whether or not there was a later change or not is still not determined by any measure.

      otherwise you would have grabbed the entire thing, you had to work harder to just grab a part (it's called cherry picking..)

      – Excellent support exists for both Mark 16 and John 7 being included as is in the original text.
      – If someone upon investigation of the two sides of the issue determines that they dont personally believe one or both was part of the original text, removing them does not change Christian doctrine one iota.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • At any rate

      Christ did not rise from the dead and there's nothing to celebrate. Unless you just need an excuse to hide colored eggs from mentally-challenged children.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @At any rate "Christ did not rise from the dead "

      =>how do you know that to be true?

      March 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "the reason you didnt include it is simply because it highlighted what you didnt want to talk about"

      Are you claiming to know my thoughts now?
      You misunderstand my argument. I don't claim that there was "adaptation" or change; I'm merely showing that there does, in fact, exist, evidence to support that claim. I didn't include the second sentence because it was not relevant to what I was pointing out, namely that the earliest manuscripts are evidence to support such a claim, not that such a claim has been "proven".

      Again, your claim was "zero evidence", not that a case for "adaptation" is made, but that there is "zero evidence". The very reason that there is any dispute is precisely because there is evidence, i.e. earliest manuscripts, that there was some change. Whether it actually happened is irrelevant, there is evidence.

      "- Excellent support exists for both Mark 16 and John 7 being included as is in the original text."

      Excellent support exist for it not being included, i.e. the earliest manuscripts. Regardless, of whether it was, there is evidence that supports it not being included.

      "- If someone upon investigation of the two sides of the issue determines that they dont personally believe one or both was part of the original text, removing them does not change Christian doctrine one iota."

      This is opinion and irrelevant to the claim of "zero evidence".

      March 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • At any rate

      Do you think Christ rose from the dead Chad? Why? No one has risen from the dead. Dead means dead as in dead and gone.

      March 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Are you claiming to know my thoughts now?"
      @Chad "you left something out.. why? The content of that which was left out makes figuring out the why pretty darn easy dont you think?

      ===
      @ME II "Again, your claim was "zero evidence", .... Whether it actually happened is irrelevant, there is evidence."
      @Chad "ok, fair enough, I will amend my earlier statement as such: "While there are several passages that are disputed as having been included in the original text, there is zero evidence that the biblical text has been adapted or changed in any way. The Christian message today is identical to the Christian message ~2000 years ago."

      ==========
      @At any rate "Do you think Christ rose from the dead Chad?
      @Chad "yes"

      @At any rate "Why?"
      @Chad "because He did"

      @At any rate " No one has risen from the dead."
      @Chad "How do you know that to be true?"

      March 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Truther.

      Jesus Christ has conquered death. He lives.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "The content of that which was left out makes figuring out the why pretty darn easy dont you think?"

      Apparently, not, because you were wrong. (re: "ok, fair enough...")

      "While there are several passages that are disputed as having been included in the original text, there is zero evidence that the biblical text has been adapted or changed in any way."

      The "original text", which no one has, is in dispute, correct?
      The dispute exists specifically because there exists different versions of the text, correct?
      The earliest texts that we do have, are not the same as the current text, correct?

      Therefore, because the "original text" is in dispute, because there are different versions, there is evidence of change. That evidence is the exact same multiple versions that caused the dispute in the first place.

      If you want to claim that the current version is identical to the "original text", or that it has not been "proven" that there have been changes from the original, that is up to you, but you cannot claim that there is "zero evidence that the biblical text has been adapted or changed in any way."

      Also, if I understand what you are trying to say, i.e. that no changes have been "proven", then the opposite is equally true, i.e. that the fidelity/accuracy of the current text has not been "proven" either, and for exactly the same reason, i.e. no one has the original text.

      March 27, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • clarity

      I just thought of a new gambling game we could implement. But of course the winners and losers would have to agree on the terms. Not sure what you could win – something related to supporting someone else's argument if you lose, perhaps. But anyway it would be one game per day, and at the end of the day the people who guessed the right number would be the winner(s). What you would have to guess is exactly how many pages behind the current page (at the end of the day) is the latest debate with Chad (**that is still active – that is – replies were made on the day that game ends)

      *** batteries not included

      March 27, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  16. laststonecarver

    – Perception of the Environment –
    – Open all your eyes – Take a good look around, at your environment –
    – Your environment includes thoughts, thinkings, knowledges and hopefully understandings, make these inclusive to your life –
    – realize continuity with your environment –
    – your environment overlaps other ent-ities' environments –
    – there is no guarantee that if you respect another's environment, that they will respect yours –
    – take some time to learn other environments, incorporate concepts from what you have determined from your environment –
    – Change is essential, Stagnation = Death –
    – All time and space lies before you, journey well –

    March 26, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  17. winfreyr

    A personal faith is likely ineradicable; the tendency to make assumptions beyond our scope of knowledge is, if not natural, incredibly ubiquitous. The reasonable (atheistic) impulse is to corral it in free-society to the point of material benignity.

    22oftheday.blogspot.com

    March 26, 2013 at 4:59 am |
  18. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    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 were 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.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS 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.

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

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

    March 26, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      When challenged that the anonymous gospel writers plagiarized, all that several early Christian apologists could come up with as an excuse was that the devil had set up things to look bad. They claimed that he disseminated the fake pagan stories to come before the "real" gospel stories. They may have just as well had said "Don't look at that man behind the curtain, we are OZ!" wink wink

      Read about 'plagiarism in anticipation' (Justin Martyr and others).

      March 26, 2013 at 1:03 am |
  19. Fundies Gone Wild!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0-04VDrCbM&w=640&h=390]

    March 26, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • debbie338

      Wow. That was CRAZY! Well done. 🙂

      March 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  20. Salero21

    Just another fool, one more fool among many.

    March 26, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • PaulB

      Talking about yourself?

      March 26, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • sam stone

      Including yourself, Salero

      March 26, 2013 at 6:36 am |
    • Quest ion

      How much is many?

      How much of a fool is he?

      Can someone be rich and educated and still be a fool?

      March 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.