home
RSS
My Faith: Why I’m going back to church for Good Friday
Brian Spadora chose son William's middle name: Ignatius, after the saint.
March 28th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Why I’m going back to church for Good Friday

Editor’s note: Brian Spadora lives and writes in New Jersey, where he attends Seton Hall University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter at @brianspadora.

By Brian Spadora, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Like many Catholics my age, I am Catholic in name only. I went to Mass every week as a kid and attended a Jesuit high school and college. My wife and I married in a Catholic church, and both of our children were baptized. But I haven’t been a churchgoer since I became too old for my mother to coerce me into a pew.

I haven’t even made the effort to attend Mass twice a year like “Christmas and Easter Catholics.” For my entire adult life, my Catholic faith has been a sort of cultural vestige, like the Italian, Irish and Slovak ethnic heritage from which I’m generations removed.

Despite this, this month I decided I am returning to the church. This turn of events is not quite as miraculous as the multiplication of loaves and fishes, but it’s pretty surprising. It began, innocently enough, with a half-serious promise to my devout Catholic mother.

When Pope Benedict XVI announced last month that he would step down from the papacy on February 28, I emailed my mother, “If they choose a Jesuit pope, I promise to go to Mass at least once every month.”

My irreligious lifestyle felt safe. There had never been a Jesuit pope, and the oddsmakers didn’t include any Jesuits among their favorites to succeed Pope Benedict. I didn’t give the promise too much thought; it was somewhere between wishful thinking and “when pigs fly.”

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Then, along with the rest of the world, I heard the announcement that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became Pope Francis, the 266th pope – and the first Jesuit.

I was in the car when I heard the news, and I literally cheered aloud. While I had long ago left the church behind, my regard for the Jesuit order never wavered.

The elevation of a Jesuit to the papacy is enough to do what years of prodding by my own mother couldn’t.

I owe nearly everything I value in my life to Jesuit education. I entered St. Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1990 as a rambunctious 14-year-old with authority issues. My four years there upended all my conceptions of religion. St. Peter’s, or “the Prep” as we alums call it, taught me how to be an adult, a friend and a Christian. The Jesuits taught me how to love.

During my junior year, a group of friends and I participated in the school’s retreat program. We spent a weekend with faculty retreat leaders in an old house on the Jersey shore, cooking meals together, laughing and praying. We spoke openly about our joys and our pain, as well. We learned that each of us carried within him a burden that could be lightened only by friendship. Our retreat leaders didn’t need to tell us that relieving the burdens of others was the purpose of Christianity. Instead, they lived that example.

Where my previous religious education had prescribed belief, my Jesuit education encouraged thought. Religion was no longer something that stipulated obedience but a practice that demanded action. The Jesuit leadership of the Prep encouraged us students to be, in the words of former Jesuit Superior General Father Pedro Arrupe, “men for others.”

We were fortunate to attend a school like the Prep, and it wasn’t enough to study hard and get good grades. We had an obligation – to ourselves and to God – to serve one another and our communities. The relationships I made during those years remain the strongest in my life, including with my wife, whom I met when we were 17, while she attended the Prep’s sister school.

This teaching was firmly in line with the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus, as the Jesuits are formally known, in 1540. St. Ignatius had been a Basque soldier, as well as something of a ladies’ man, until his conversion while convalescing after a cannonball shattered his leg. In his writings, most notably in his “Spiritual Exercises,” St. Ignatius espoused a theology based on loving deeds rather than loving thoughts or words. St. Ignatius calls us not merely to worship Christ but to imitate him.

As a teenager, I naturally fell far short of the standard my Jesuit teachers had called me to, and I continue to fall short as an adult.

I grew alienated from the church due to what I perceive to be inflexibility on issues like contraception, homosexuality and the role of women in the church, but I continued to look to the example of service the Jesuits set through institutions like the Jesuit Refugee Service.

In times of crisis, I’ve turned to contemporary Jesuit writers, particularly Father James Martin. Although I left the church, the Jesuits never left me.

I’ve remained close to the Prep and the Jesuits whose instruction was so valuable to me. When my son, William, was baptized in 2008, the ceremony was held in the Prep’s chapel. The school’s president, Father Robert Reiser, once my teacher and now a treasured friend, was the priest. My closest high school friend, Michael Zakhar, was the godfather. My wife, Tara, and I chose William’s first name together, but she allowed me to choose his middle name: Ignatius.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Now there is no longer the church I left and the Jesuits I embrace but a church led by a Jesuit.

I know the church won’t transform immediately into the type of institution I’d like it to me. It would be unreasonable and selfish for me to expect otherwise.

As a cardinal, Francis expressed conservative views like his opposition to adoptions by homosexuals, a view with which I disagree assiduously. On the other hand, he admonished an audience of Argentinian priests for forgetting the church’s obligations to society’s most vulnerable.

“Jesus teaches us another way,” he said. “Go out. Go out and share your testimony; go out and interact with your brothers; go out and share; go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.”

Francis seems intent on refocusing the church toward its duties to serve those in need.

So on Good Friday, I’ll be returning to the church with hope that Francis’ example will inspire me - and Catholics in general - as his fellow Jesuits have always inspired me.

I’m keeping my word to my mother and returning to Mass, where I will pray for the strength to follow the example of St. Ignatius, loving others not in word only but in deed.

The opinions expressed are solely those of Brian Spadora.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • My Faith • Pope Francis

soundoff (652 Responses)
  1. Jeebusss

    So....because you made a stupid bet with your mother you have decided to go back to believing in magical sky people and join the organization that is responsible for industrial scale child molestation. Good.....job??

    March 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Alias

      Let's be fair. He always believed in the bible.
      He is associating with the church more now because he hopes it will start to be the kind of organization he wantd it to be.
      He is trying to think for himself. There is still hope for him if he realizes he needs help and goes for therapy instead of church on a weekly basis.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I think most of choice had to do with how he feels about the Jesuit philosophy, "St. Ignatius espoused a theology based on loving deeds rather than loving thoughts or words."

      Not really that bad now is it?

      March 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • brianspadora

      If you read my piece carefully, you'll notice I don't say anything about belief one way or the other. My piece is about my effort to be a kinder human being. I have found the Jesuits to be a great example of practicing that kindness. As far the bible goes, most of the clergy I've known don't read the bible literally, nor do I. Would you express the same contempt for someone who practiced meditation, or read Aristotle's "Ethics," or, as Alias suggested, goes for therapy? I'm not terribly concerned with "sky people" or metaphysical questions of any kind. As I said, I am working, as I hope all people are, to be a more compassionate person. It seems you, Alias, and most of the other commenters have a preconceived notion about me that is really quite far from reality. You have a reflexive reaction to any mention of religion that's not unlike the reflexive condemnation of non-believers that religious fundamentalists express.

      March 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  2. Alias

    From the article
    "I owe nearly everything I value in my life to Jesuit education"
    "a group of friends and I participated in the school’s retreat program"

    Does anyone understand brainwashing?
    Am I the only one who thinks they got into this guy's head while he was young and impressionable – and at a time when he was lost and vulnerable?
    At least they got to him before a hate group found him and gave him their message, and a meaning in life.

    March 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Shocking as it may seem to you but this man is just that....a grown man that has made a choice.

      Under your thinking, you are nothing but a product of your own upbringing. Different brainwashing but same result..you do not own your own thoughts.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • brianspadora

      Alias, I was neither lost nor vulnerable as a teenager, certainly not any more than the average kid. If you'd read the piece carefully and without an agenda, you'd see that what I appreciate about the Jesuits is that their teaching was precisely not the kind of point of view you seem to be railing against. They weren't encouraging me to believe anything. They encouraged me to behave in a certain way–with compassion, particularly for the poor and troubled. The belief in a higher being has nothing to do with that kind of philosophy. Certainly, the Jesuits and clergy of all faiths have that belief. But I was never nor am I now as preoccupied with unanswerable questions as I am concerned with a desire to be a better, kinder person. Attending religious services is just one way toward that goal. It's not essential nor is it for everyone. But the statements of the newly elected pope have resonated with me. "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and "The Brothers Karamazov" also resonate with me. I don't recall being brainwashed by a sect of ancient Sumerians or 19th Century Russians. Believe me, if there was one thing the Jesuits were okay with it was thinking freely. A buddhist friend of mine once told me he spent some time volunteering among Jesuits. He said the Jesuits served the needs of the poor in his community without once mentioning religion. As I said in my piece, the goal is to act a certain way, not to accept a prescribed list of beliefs.

      March 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  3. Steven CaboWabo

    As an atheist I could put some holes in the reasoning presented in the article.
    But it seemed to be mostly presented from the point of view of what works for him, and on that note I don't feel any real desire to counter what works for a person who is not pushing it on others.

    March 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I wouldn't either if he wasn't likely to start putting money in a collection box for an organization which through it's fights against condoms in Africa has killed millions and who have actively worked for years to dismantle my marriage. So yeah, if he's really just going to show up and keep his money to himself and encourage his kid to do the same – all while having a reasonable number of kids that doesn't burden our environment – he can go for it. But this scenario, at least the financial aspect, seems unlikely.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bill

      "I don't feel any real desire to counter what works for a person who is not pushing it on others"

      If he walks through the door with his child he is then "pushing it on others".

      March 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • ME II

      @Steven ...,
      I don't disagree. Although I would add that I think the same values and goals can be arrived at without the need for a god or religion.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  4. graceofgod

    religion was invented by man, but faith was given to us by God!.. People that do not believe in God, well, that is your choice and your right in this wonderful country, I will never try to convince a person to beilieve in God and Jesus or try to save them. I feel that only God can do that. The word of God is the only way to save the lost. And in the end God will judge these lost souls.

    If you do not believe, do not tell Faith Christains we are week minded when in reality, having faith requires a stronger mind than anything. Do not call us fools, as you do not know who we are or what we have done!... I put my trust in God, and each and every day, he delivers, I have no evil in my life, nor do I have stress. I walk with God each day in my life. I do not judge others in the way they live, it is not my job.

    All I can say my friends, is that the non-believers at some point in life will be shown the truth of God! You either know he is real or you reject God's love for you, however God will not love you any less!

    Live by the Gracde or God and not by the rules of man!

    March 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Cojono

      You're weak-minded and desperate.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • blahblahblah

      I walk with God each day in my life. I do not judge others in the way they live, it is not my job.

      Live by the Gracde or God and not by the rules of man!

      You, are a sanctimonious hypocrite.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Bill

      "having faith requires a stronger mind than anything"

      Care to elaborate how believing in a magic sky fairy requires a strong mind.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • ReligionIsBs

      "I dont judge others"

      verfy next sentence...

      "Live by the grace of god not man"

      LOL. Thanks, hypocrite. That was amusing.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Johnny 5

      Both were invented by man. Im an ape and so are you. Its hard for some to grasp but the facts are the facts.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • ironman59

      Non of your fairytales exist. Just because we do not have the full answers on how the universe came about does not mean "gawd" created it. At one time we did not know how to control fire, use weapons, have a wheel, cars and numerous other scientific/medical/social advancements. The universe is a large place so it will take time to learn it all but other than the 900 years of the dark ages where science was held back, mankind has done pretty good at understanding the world around him, without the help of your "gawd".

      March 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Alex

      "You're weak-minded and desperate.

      Is name calling really supposed to advance your argument?

      April 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  5. POD

    Whatever gets you though those cold dark nights of existential angst is OK with me.....just keep it to yourself

    March 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  6. M.E.

    Since when do you need a specialist religious order to teach you to be a good person. The closest I've come to Catholicism is looking at those ever so pretty cathedrals (ok, they're damn good architects, give the Catholics that much) and so far I seem to have turned out pretty decent. But I suppose if you want to up your kids chances of molestation, there aren't many choices. It's pretty much the Catholic church or Penn State.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • The Zombie Resurrection of Jesus Christ

      Those pretty Cathedrals are silent testimony to Catholicism's megalomania, and the fact that most of the money didn't go to the poor but to their own aggrandizement.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Tim

      I was pretty happy with that comment till you got to the Penn State and molestation part. Thanks for spreading the hate dude. :/
      (Sincerely, Tim. PSU Class of 2016, Astronomy and Astrophysics.)

      March 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Bill

      "It's pretty much the Catholic church or Penn State"

      Bwahahahaha!

      Having been raised catholic, and living in the Philadelphia area my whole life I have watched with some lack of humility as all the smug nittanies have been forced to accept that Saint Paterno was at best an aloof geriatric nincompoop who had no clue what was going on around him, or at worst a facilitator of Sandusky's evils.

      Either way, suck it PSU!, you sanctimonious blowhards deserve every minute of this.

      YOU ARE PENN STATE.

      Sincerely, a less than impressed RU grad.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  7. NSL

    I respect your decision, as it's yours to make, but I continue to see the Catholic Church as a morally bankrupt and arrogant organization which has never come clean about their abuse of so many youngsters, which likely continues to abuse children to this day, considering many of the priest who abused kids are still in the church, which has used their feelings of self importance that their way is the only way for the world and that the intelligent and moral positions of non-believers and people other religions must be subservient to theirs, and which has now elected a pope who has never come forward and explained his position about the charges he was complicit in Argentina's reign of terror against it's own people, even when fellow priests have made the accusations.

    It's the same old immoral church with new window dressing, and nothing but window dressing. For the life of me I don't see how anyone of high moral character can possibly be part of the Catholic Church.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  8. xirume

    Fool

    March 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  9. Meh

    You never left the church. Your story is so common you may as well have written an article how you discovered that you found drinking water is a good thing. You muppet

    March 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Ever notice that Jesus' miracles sound like something the clown would do at your kid's birthday party?

      He'll claim he was an angry miserable atheist then as well, but now he's saved. They just love their clichés.

      Next he'll work on some way to claim he is persecuted. Christians just fall all over themselves to claim that one.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Bill

      Oh yes, I am being persecuted by not being allowed to force my religious beliefs into our government at the expense of your civil rights.

      "I'm being repressed, come and see the violence inherent in the system"

      March 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  10. Ever notice that Jesus' miracles sound like something the clown would do at your kid's birthday party?

    First of all, you are born guilty because of what some ancient ancestor did. That's wildly unjust in human justice systems, but normal for God.

    You cannot help but sin because god made you a born sinner, then sets up the rules so that there is no way to exist without sinning. That's entrapment on Earth, a wildly unjust situation, but that's standard operating procedure for God.

    God totally invents this my son died for your sins guilt trip to further entrap you, which he meant from the start as a trick to indebt you, which is exactly how con-men operate on Earth. It's not honorable or even legal here, but it's fine with God.

    We won't talk about the concept of hell as cruel and unusual punishment, or the many other injustices God inflicted on the Earth.

    Honestly, God's behavior is so evil that he must actually be the Devil, and his greatest trick was fooling people into believing his system was actually the good religion.

    Good thing God doesn't exist.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • end3r

      What's funny about the story of original sin is that Adam and Eve weren't instilled with the capacity to understand or distinguish right and wrong by God. So God created man without the capacity for right and wrong then punished man for making the wrong decision. You don't just outright listen to God when you inherently lack the capacity for understanding what's up and what's down. So now man carries the burden of original sin which is somehow absolved by pouring water over your head (those poor people before Jesus are screwed I guess) and taking the Lord as your savior.

      Now that story is even more conflicting. God decides humanity needs absolution of its sins so he sends himself down to Earth in the form of a mortal man (who is cleaned of sin?) and then dies on the cross on behalf of humanity where he turns back into God and goes back up to Heaven. Now by doing that strange god-man switcheroo all you have to do is proclaim you love Jesus and you're saved from spending an eternity in Hell...which is a place run by a guy who used to be an angel and apparently is just alright with this new system.

      The logic in the bible never ceases to boggle my mind, but you gotta have faith right?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Sigh! Where to begin? How about your name? Which miracles in particular? Healing the sick? Raising Lazarus?

      We may have inherited our sin capacity from Adam, but its our own sin which condemns us, not Adams.

      No entrapment...did He entice you to lie, take His name in vain, or lust after someone who wasn't your spouse?

      Christ's death was not meant as a "guilt trip"–it was His way to show His unconditional love.

      God hasn't inflicted any injustices....you choose to accept Him or not–Hell is your choice, not His–He just gives you the right to make the choice, because without choice, it is impossible to love.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Eric

      "Occam's Razor" is probably the primary reason I'm an atheist. Whenever I hear a religious person try to "explain" their beliefs, it sounds like a bunch of totally incoherent, incomprehensible gibberish. When I learned things like mathematics and physics, I saw how the rules of the natural world, logic, and philosophy are beautifully streamlined expressions of minimalism.

      I don't believe our Universe was created by an "intelligent designer" simply because I see no proof of that, but even if it was, it cannot be the God in the Christian bible due to the contradiction I stated above.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      A Conversation
      "God hasn't inflicted any injustices"

      I agree with that as I see no evidence for a god, but as a believer how do you justify (just one example of injustice) the thousands of children that die daily from starvation. Did they commit some sin? Is god not omnipotent? Does god not care?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Sensible

      A conversation.....sigh..where to begin. Adam didn't sin because Adam didn't exist. For that matter neither does this hell place you refer to. It's sounds like a nice place to scare the foolish back in line but that would be about it. Christ if he lived died because he ran afoul of the roman authorities not because he loved you. You are right god hasn't inflicted anything because he is only a figment of your overactive imagination.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "God hasn't inflicted any injustices." That's for sure, and neither have Allah, Buddha, and Donald Duck. None of them exist outside of fantasy. This is why I wish the loons would quit telling me I'm "angry" at God. I think they are "angry" at Homer Simpson but I don't go around telling them so. .

      March 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • NJA

      "What's funny about the story of original sin is that Adam and Eve weren't instilled with the capacity to understand or distinguish right and wrong by God. So God created man without the capacity for right and wrong then punished man for making the wrong decision."

      I don't think the Bible says that God withheld the capacity to distinguish between good and evil. The knowledge(experience) of good and evil came from the disobedience which God was trying to keep them from. Now we know when things are really evil( as evil as the Holocaust perhaps) or know/experience good as when you hold your new born child in your hands for the very first time...

      March 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  11. billmosby

    There is only one thing more sure than that a Catholic will complain loudly and bitterly about his or her treatment in Catholic school.

    And that is that he or she will send his or her kids to Catholic school. I've seen that happen with every Catholic I have ever known who has kids.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  12. Chad

    So on Good Friday, I’ll be returning to the church with hope that Francis’ example will inspire me – and Catholics in general – as his fellow Jesuits have always inspired me.

    =>my advice, focus not on what "noble men of the Jesuit order" have done, focus on what Jesus Christ did.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why? What has that done for you, Chard?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Ever notice that Jesus' miracles sound like something the clown would do at your kid's birhtday party?

      My advice is to use your brain for a change and realize it was all a sham.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Had a bad weeekend?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Wally

      It's actually "Jesus' bad few hours on Friday, followed by a nice long sleep in and wakey-wakey-eggs-and-bacey on Sunday."

      I always wonder why Christians think of Jesus-On-A-Stick Day as "Good" Friday?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Chad

      "My advice is to use your brain for a change and realize it was all a sham."

      =>other than "you just know it was a sham" or "people make stuff up all the time"
      do you actually have any evidence to support your claim?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, You've never yet provided evidence for a god, your god, or for Jesus being divine or resurrected. Let's see some.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Do you have any to the contrary?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And why should anyone focus on what you think Jesus did? What possible benefit would there be? Do you think you are setting much of an example of the benefits of belief?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Chad, Jesuits DO focus on what Jesus Christ did. This is why they are called Jesuits. My advice is to learn something about the Jesuits before you ignorantly spout off.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      As a deist the idea of a creator is fine with me but the idea that jesus is anything but a myth is pure foolishness. I would not let my kids play in a heavy traffic area and I hope the Brian in the story would not let his kids as they grow older be mentored by a priest.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @JMEF " the idea that jesus is anything but a myth is pure foolishness"
      =>other than "you just know it was a sham" or "people make stuff up all the time"
      do you actually have any evidence to support your claim?

      ===
      @Kenneth "Jesuits DO focus on what Jesus Christ did"
      =>my comment was aimed at the author, not Jesuits..

      March 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Santa " You've never yet provided evidence for a god, your god, or for Jesus being divine or resurrected. Let's see some."

      =>certainly!

      Historical evidence
      - no historical detail in the bible has ever been proved to be incorrect
      - Historicity of Jesus of Nazareth
      - Historicity of the empty tomb
      - Origin of the disciples belief that they had met a resurrected Jesus, a belief they held so strongly that they were willing to go to their deaths proclaiming the truth.

      Scientific evidence for the God of Israel
      Fossil Record.
      From the late 1800's thru 1972 the notion of "Darwinian gradualism" held the world captive. The notion that purely random mutation preserved in the population by natural selection would produce a gradual change, which over time would create the complexity of life we now observe (phyletic gradualism).
      Then, in 1972 the publication of "Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism" by Stephen Gould (atheist) finally forced the scientific world to accept the reality that the fossil record does not show the gradual change over time that Darwin proposed.

      Instead, what the community was forced to acknowledge, is that the fossil record reflects stasis and rapid change.
      This supports the theistic evolutionist claim that God used natural processes to develop life on this earth, as pure chance can never explain the grand paroxysm of necessarily interrelated mutations that are required to occur to accomplish this rapid change.

      Origins of the universe
      For most of scientific history, the universe was thought to have always existed, directly refuting the theistic claim that the universe had a beginning, and a creator.

      Then, a series of discoveries resulted in a complete transformation of thought, we now know that our universe has not always existed, rather it had a beginning, confirming the theistic claim:
      - 1929: Edwin Hubble discovers red shift (the stars and planets are all moving away from each other. The universe is expanding in all directions)
      - 1965: discovery of microwave cosmic background radiation (the echo's of the big bang)
      - 1998, two independent research groups studying distant supernovae were astonished to discover, against all expectations, that the current expansion of the universe is accelerating (Reiss 1998, Perlmutter 1999).
      - 2003: Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin's Past-Finite Universe proves our universe had a beginning

      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

      “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” - Professor Freeman J. Dyson of the Insti tute for Advanced Study in Princeton

      ”The big bang appeared to be a very peculiar kind of explosion. Just imagine a pin balancing on its point. Nudge it slightly in any direction and it will fall. So it is with the big bang. A large universe sprinkled with galaxies, like the one we see around us, is produced only if the power of the primoridial blast is fine tuned with incredible precision. A tiny deviation from the required power results in a cosmological disaster, such as the fireball collapsing under its own weight or the universe being nearly empty” – Alexander Vilenkin

      Now, neither Davies or Hawking is a believer in God. They both believe in fine tuning, they just posit natural reasons for it.

      Evidence from human experience
      - Objective morality exists
      - Free will exists (atheist/naturalist/determinist viewpoint denies free will)

      March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      Well the closest things to the supernatural jesus I have seen are Criss Angel walking the pool at the Luxor Hotel in Vegas and Benny Hinn healing a multi-tude of the sick. Now you probably believe in both but I kind of think it is illusion.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • The real Tom

      " You've never yet provided evidence for a god, your god, or for Jesus being divine or resurrected. Let's see some."

      Still no evidence. There's no proof that "fine tuning" exists. Some people are of the opinion that it does. Many others disagree.

      Chard, every time you post this muck it underlines exactly how little evidence you have for the existence of a god.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • The real Tom

      - Historicity of the empty tomb

      No such thing.

      None. Just belief.

      And for all it seems to benefit you, Chard, I can easily take it or leave it. You don't seem to be a better person for it. It doesn't appear to be any source of comfort or joy to you.

      Why bother?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, That is not proof as is pointed out every time you post it. You quote decades-old quotes or in the case of Alexander Vilenkin partial quotes which appear to support your position. However apart from a few people and places the bible is either unverifiable or wrong. We know it is wrong on the creation myths so we don't need a god for that, there is no evidence for the Noah flood, no miracles have happened since. The bible is not a valid source. There is no evidence of a god or that Jesus was resurrected (even if he existed).

      March 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @JMEF "Well the closest things to the supernatural jesus I have seen are Criss Angel...."

      =>where have you looked? What investigation have you done?

      none?

      How in the world can you expect to know if Jesus is real, if you never investigated it??

      March 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What investigation is necessary, Chard, when we all have you and your posts? Based on those, I've concluded that no god exists, because if one did, it would find a better representative to prove it.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And after all, what good does your belief in a god do you, Chard, when you haven't even the courage to answer the questions put to you? You're so afraid to respond! Why is that if you have god as your shield?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "How in the world can you expect to know if Jesus is real, if you never investigated it??"

      The same way one knows an invisible skinny fat purple cow frog doesn't exist.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It always makes me wonder when Chard posts his question "What investigation have you done?" What investigation have YOU done, Chard? Did you begin from a neutral position and investigate all possibilities before you decided that Christianity was it? Were you an atheist at one time? Did you ever consider any other possibility than belief in the god of israel?

      What other faiths did you discard before you decided on this one?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      I have investigated thoroughly on this very blog. I have come to the conclusion that if I were to believe in the god of Israel, I may turn into you or Topher, L4H, fred, your better half Rachel or many others of your ilk; the horror, the horror, I can not contemplate that horror. So thanks anyway, I will use the free will that you, Chad, have given me and just say p1ss off.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      A tomb is only a tomb . . . . , unless someone fills your head with doom and gloom,
      But a tomb is not a womb,
      And a womb is not tomb,

      (I'm still working on it, but it should be sung to the Bacharach song 'A house is not a home' . . .)

      March 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      The only evidence that is needed is lack of evidence, nothing has ever been observed that been found to have a supernatural cause. No one has come back from the dead, no one has magically healed another person, no one has been born of a virgin, ect.ect. ect.

      Your religion is nothing but empty claims.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Lenn

      Chad
      Still trying with this cut-and-paste, eh?

      I'll try one. You say that "no historical detail in the bible has ever been proved to be incorrect" yet the Gospels depict Pilate as somebody with a conscience who could be easily swayed towards trying to spare an individual Jew accused of a crime whereas Jospehus, the darling outside source for Christian apologists everywhere, describes the man as totally without regard towards the feelings of his subjects. These depictions do not match up, so who do you trust more as a historical source: Jospehus, or the Gospels?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Bravo to JMEF.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • PaulH

      Chad
      People make all kinds of claims, but we're not obliged to believe every single one on their face value, are we? Out of the thousands of gods people have believed over the centuries you claim that yours is actually real where the general consensus is that many, if not all gods, are myth. That places the burden on you to provide adequate proof that you know of an actual god. If you can't and, if your post above is the best that you can do then you clearly haven't, then I'm fully justified in simply rejecting your claim that God is real. Simple as that.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Chad

      @JMEF "I have investigated thoroughly on this very blog."

      =>your "investigation" consists of hurling insults at believers?

      that's not an investigation into the claims of Christianity in any way shape or form...

      March 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Franklin

      Chad
      "What investigation have you done?"
      What investigation have you done into the existence of vampires? They've been around since bible times, if you believe the stories. Have you done a complete investigation into ruling them out as a threat, or do you wear garlic around your neck, just in case they're real? Can you prove to a true believer that they aren't real? If you can't how do you expect atheists to be able to "prove" to the likes of you that God isn't real either?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "do you actually have any evidence to support your claim?" My friend's uncle once knew a lady whose brother went to school with a guy whose sister was the next-door neighbor of a guy who knew the landlord of the lady who had a baby who grew up to be God, then died and came back and flew away into the sky. So, yes, smarty, I have proof. So there.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Kenneth

      "noble men of the Jesuit order" who focus on what Jesus has done. This young man IS focusing on what Jesus has done by emulating the Jesuits, who focus on what Jesus has done. Do you understand that?
      You are deliberately being semantic, and as that what I see you continuously doing with your "debates", I would expect nothing less from you: being disingenous and deliberately imputing your intent into someone elses behavior to make your disingenuous point.
      I suspect that you are not a fan of the RCC. If you are not, coming onto a blog that that describes another's faith in the same Jesus that you worship seems especially petty. My advice is to stop commenting on another's faith and comment soley on your own.You do not own Christian perspective, Chad. Only your own perspective. Leave it at that.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @PaulH "People make all kinds of claims, but we're not obliged to believe every single one on their face value, are we?"
      @Chad "no, that's why you need to investigate..."

      ====
      @PaulH "Out of the thousands of gods people have believed over the centuries you claim that yours is actually real where the general consensus is that many, if not all gods, are myth"
      @Chad "well,, that's why you need to investigate... "there are a lot of fake Elvis's out there, so that means there never was a real one" is pretty lousy logic.."

      ====
      @PaulH "That places the burden on you to provide adequate proof that you know of an actual god. If you can't and, if your post above is the best that you can do then you clearly haven't, then I'm fully justified in simply rejecting your claim that God is real. Simple as that."
      @Chad "no, for several reasons:
      A. The God of Israel is real independent of my ability to demonstrate it.
      B. If you are claiming that the God of Israel does NOT exist, you have a burden of proof
      C. What investigation have you done (other than hurling insults at Christians that is...)?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Chard, you seem to think you have all the evidence necessary. If one has read all your posts, that should be sufficient evidence. That it isn't is hardly the fault of those reading it.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Still can't answer, huh, Chard? How did you come to believe? Why are you such a coward?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Chad

      @Franklin "What investigation have you done into the existence of vampires? "

      =>A. I dont make a claim that they arent real
      B. Their reality or unreality has no bearing on my life, or on my existence after death.
      C. If it turns out that they are real, and one comes to bite me, I'll deal with it then. There is nothing that I can do at the current time to ameliorate that possibility (real or imaginary).

      the same can NOT be said of the reality of Jesus Christ, which if true has incredibly large implications on your future existence.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Prove it has any implications for my future, Chard.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "- no historical detail in the bible has ever been proved to be incorrect"

      As you've been shown many times, this is incorrect.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "the reality of Jesus Christ, which if true has incredibly large implications on your future existence"

      Are you returning to the point in your cycle of relics of apologetics where you offer people Pascal's Wager, Chad?

      March 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ah Easter.

      The perfect time for the Chad to trot out his delusional "historicity" of the empty tomb.

      Faith is fine Chad, (and I respect that) but it's not evidence. There is zero 'historicity' of the empty tomb. All you have is the Gospels and their inconsistent accounts.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Kenneth "This young man IS focusing on what Jesus has done by emulating the Jesuits, who focus on what Jesus has done"
      @Chad "the most important first step is to understand ones need for a savior, if that is what the author is referring to then we are in agreement.
      In reading his article however, I came away with the sense that he is emulating "holy behavior" of the Jesuits, ie. taking care of the poor, moderate lifestyle, etc.. None of that will save a person, only a recognition of the need for, and acceptance of the sacrifice by Jesus will save you.

      Unlike many of my fellow believers, I have absolutely nothing against the RCC (other than the obvious failure to deal with child abuse in their ranks).

      March 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why does anyone need a savior? Why do you need one, chard?

      March 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • @The real Tard

      I think I speak for most people on this blog, theist or atheist. Do you have anything intelligent to say? Or do you enjoy being that fly buzzing around in one's ear?

      March 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Whatsamatter, honey? Is your mouse broken?

      I love annoying people like you who post your irritation under a name you don't use the rest of the time. It's a hoot.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      Proving that there was an Elvis is not the same as proving Elvis could do magic. Try again.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "I think I speak for most people on this blog, theist or atheist"

      Ahahahhhahha! What a fvckwit. Does your ego know no bounds?

      March 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The people who say "I think I speak for most people" are mostly asshats.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer ". There is zero 'historicity' of the empty tomb. All you have is the Gospels and their inconsistent accounts"
      =>well, that's nonsense, right?

      A. Gospels arent inconsistent, they merely give additional details which one would expect. They do not contradict in any way.
      B. Using the Bible as partial biographical evidence of Jesus is not as completely insane or wall-bangingly circular as it may first seem. Although the gospels are generally published in one compendium known as The Bible, they are separate doc uments and almost certainly were written by separate authors

      Source: http://rationalwiki.org

      March 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I'd go further than that–they're all asshats.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • The real Tom

      There is no evidence for the empty tomb, Chard. There are writings about it. That doesn't mean it happened.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad,

      You just don't get it no matter how many times its spelled out. Your witnesses suck. Not only that, but their testimony is passed down through a structure that for hundreds of years was dictatorial and had a habit of putting dissenters to death and burning works of those who didn't agree with it. You'd have to be seriously committed to your delusion to take this stuff seriously as hard core evidence. No one outside your world view can or will ever see a reason to take these witnesses more seriously than Sai Baba's or the returned Elvis' or alien abductors' or even Joseph Smith's. Do you think we'd have evidence of hit witnesses recanting if the Mormons had had any real power? You can argue and argue but you've got nothing but hearsay and an unreliable chain of evidence.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      "A tomb is only a tomb . . . . , unless someone fills your head with doom and gloom, "

      A tomb is just a tomb . . . . , unless someone tells you lies of gloom and doom,

      OK – that's better – it's gettin' there.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      The Chad is a cruel unforgiving Chad, on one hand HE offers up free will and on the other, if you use that free will to reject his god of Israel, he demands reasons. Oh, and my casting insults, are you not supposed to turn the other cheek and forgive my trespass or you could switch to Rachel mode and pat yourself on the ass.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "Gospels arent inconsistent,"

      You quote from rationalwiki is followed a few lines later with:
      "... most scholars of Biblical history believe that the gospels of the Bible are sufficient evidence to say that Jesus, or some human seed for the stories who we may as well tag "Jesus", did exist, and his existence can be assumed from them.[14][15] And if such a person existed, it is equally likely that major broad themes are based in reality; he likely would have been one of the many teachers or self-proclaimed prophets of the time[16] and he probably ticked off the wrong people and found himself dead.[14] It is likely the rest is highly embellished, made up, or recycled from other mythology.."

      March 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "You just don't get it no matter how many times its spelled out. Your witnesses suck."
      @Chad "how do you figure that??
      multiple different eye witnesses.

      other than your personal belief, what are you actually presenting as evidence to discount that testimony??

      ===
      @Saraswati "Not only that, but their testimony is pa ssed down through a structure that for hundreds of years was dictatorial and had a habit of putting dissenters to death and burning works of those who didn't agree with it."
      @Chad "how does that change, in any way shape or form, the original testimony??
      What people do with information doesnt change the accuracy of the information.

      ===
      @Saraswati " You'd have to be seriously committed to your delusion to take this stuff seriously as hard core evidence.
      @Chad "other than your personal belief, what are you actually presenting as evidence to discount that testimony??

      ===
      @Saraswati " No one outside your world view can or will ever see a reason to take these witnesses more seriously than Sai Baba's or the returned Elvis' or alien abductors' or even Joseph Smith's"
      @Chad "A. The acceptance or non-acceptance of something as fact doesnt change the actual factualness of something.
      B. Billions of people believe in Christianity, this is not some isolated thing."

      ===
      @Saraswati " You can argue and argue but you've got nothing but hearsay and an unreliable chain of evidence."
      @Chad "that is simply incorrect
      A. direct eye witnesses
      B. While there are a few pas sages in the bible that are in dispute, neither of them impact in any way shape or form the Christian message.

      In fact, the history of the bible docu ments a reliable chain of evidence unequaled by any ancient doc.
      that simply can not be argued..

      March 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • The real Tom

      In fact, the history of the bible docu ments a reliable chain of evidence unequaled by any ancient doc.
      that simply can not be argued..

      Nonsense. The bible is not proof. It isn't evidence.

      You are simply wrong.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "You quote from rationalwiki is followed a few lines later with"

      =>not backed up by any information that shows any "inconsistencies", right?
      just a statement...

      March 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I love when Chad quotes something he doesn't read fully and then gets his as.s handed to him wit hthe next line. It's my favorite.

      @Blessed is the Cheesemakers
      This is hardest part for Chad to understand. He believes that if you prove a person actually existed then it must mean everything about them is true. Jesus's existance is tenuous at best but if I were a betting man I would say a man by the name of Joshua bar Joseph, a roving preacher turned prophet who created a small cult off shoot of Judaism did exist, however that's about it.

      Chad on the other hand believes right as you concede that jesus probably did exist it is somehow illogical to then dismiss everything that jesus apparently did.

      it's because chad is either a) an extraordinary poe with a sh.itload of time on his hands. b) incredibly stupid and only with the aid of the internet has been able to debate as long as he has c) terrible reading comprehension and can only get into about a paragraph of whatever is written before losing interest and filling in the rest or d) Is just stupid and can't connect the dots that the mere existance of a thing does not prove anything other than it did indeed exist.

      Then again, it could be e) all of the above.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • ME II

      What is more problematic is when the gospels can be compared with known historical reality they contradict it:[26]
      Luke 2:1-4 claims Jesus was born in the year of a universal tax census, but the first such census did not occur until 74 CE (and it is not in the other gospels).
      Luke 2:2 KJV specifically states "And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria." Cyrenius is the Greek name for Publius Sulpicius Quirinius who came to this position in 6 CE.
      Herod's Slaughter of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18) is not recorded in any other history — even Josephus, who really didn't like Herod and meticulously catalogued his other misdeeds.
      Jesus is depicted as hugely popular in the gospels. Yet he is unrecorded by non-Biblical historians.
      None of the miracles described biblically, such as the dead saints rising from graves and visiting Jerusalem or a three hour long eclipse following Jesus' death, are picked up on by contemporary writers such as Pliny or Philo. One would reasonably expect that such events would be noticed.
      Many of the stories in the gospels do not make any sense historically, such as the trial and crucifixion on Passover.[37]

      - http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

      March 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "multiple different eye witnesses."

      You don't even know that these "eye witnesses" actually existed. You cannot verify that what was later written was accurate. There's no proof that accounts were not fabricated in part or in entirety.

      What part of this can you deny, Chard? Historians do not believe that the bible is factual in its entirety.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      Yes, ME II, Chad sometimes leaves out the most important parts. Another example was regard what Vilenkin initially wrote and some of his comments about what he wrote where apologists have grabbed only the vague comment about intelligent design versus specific answers as to whether or not he thought their work indicated intelligent design.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      ( regarding )

      March 29, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chuckles,

      "This is hardest part for Chad to understand. He believes that if you prove a person actually existed then it must mean everything about them is true."

      Yep, this is precisely the leap Chad makes over and over.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II,

      earlier census, as we have discussed numerous times .. :-)

      March 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "Using the Bible as partial biographical evidence of Jesus is not as completely insane or wall-bangingly circular as it may first seem. "

      I'm not debating the historicity of Jesus, or the Buddha or Confucius, or Lao Tsu, or Mohammad for that matter.

      You regularly use the term "historicity of the empty tomb" and did so again in this thread. The 'empty tomb' is not historical fact. It's 'historicity' is zero.

      Believe in the Gospels all you want if it gives you purpose and makes you feel better – it doesn't make the resurrection a historical fact.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And now we get emoticons. Pretty soon it'll be =======> and "ummm" and more of "what investigation have you done" and the like.

      Same old Chard, different day. No evidence. Just belief.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The bible doc uments magic in history.

      Magic has never been shown to be real.

      Therefore the bible is completely unreliable as being historically accurate.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad, we've been through all of this before, nothing new. There was a time when the majority of the world's population had world views that involved a flat earth; the number of believers don't make it any more true.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Saraswati

      "@Chad, we've been through all of this before, nothing new. There was a time when the majority of the world's population had world views that involved a flat earth; the number of believers don't make it any more true."

      – If that were true, the Muslims would be right anyways.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad

      not-GOP wrote: "You regularly use the term "historicity of the empty tomb" and did so again in this thread. The 'empty tomb' is not historical fact. It's 'historicity' is zero."

      What he said. This is definitely the weakest part of your argument. This is Elvis sightings and alien abductions all over the place.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "earlier census, as we have discussed numerous times .."

      1) What earlier census?

      Apologists try to handwave this conflict away with various claims that are not supported by history. Here is the historical reality of the period 6 BC to 6 CE:
      Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was fighting some two provinces to the east from 12 BCE to 1 BC so he could not have effectively done a census during this time.
      Publius Quinctilius Varus oversaw the area covered by Herod the Great's kingdom from c8 BCE to 4 BCE as docu[]mented by Josephus.
      In Antiquities chapter 17 verse 27 Josephus expressly stated as long as Herod the Great lived he province of Judea was exempt from Roman taxation. Ergo Luke's taxation census must have occurred after Herod's death while Matthew requires it to have happened before.
      While Herod Archelaus removal as Ethnarch of Judaea made it subject to Roman taxation Herod Antipas remained Tetrarch of Galilee clear until 41 CE making its subject exempt from the Judaean census.
      The Greek word "βασιλέως" used in Luke 1:5 doesn't always translate as "king" but also can translate as leader of the people, prince, commander or lord of the land. In fact, Mark 6:14 uses this word for Herod Antipas who was Tetrarch of Galilee and not king proving this point.

      You should read the articles you quote :)

      March 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Kenneth

      @Chad "the most important first step is to understand ones need for a savior, if that is what the author is referring to then we are in agreement.
      In reading his article however, I came away with the sense that he is emulating "holy behavior" of the Jesuits, ie. taking care of the poor, moderate lifestyle, etc.. None of that will save a person, only a recognition of the need for, and acceptance of the sacrifice by Jesus will save you."

      How do you know that he doesn't? Did Jesus not feed the poor and live humbly? Is that not what Jesuits do? Do you not understand that you have taken what Christ wants us to do and completely put your own spin on it?
      You call it "saved". Catholics believe essentially the same thing, but they do not use that word specifically. So?
      Jesuits do not do these things because they think it will get them into Heaven. They do them because...and I want to to read this slowly so you understand....THIS IS WHAT JESUS DID, AND THEY WORSHIP HIM.

      Research the Jesuits. Investigate them, as you want people to do with your assertions. EDUCATE YOURSELF.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Chad

      "He believes that if you prove a person actually existed then it must mean everything about them is true"

      =>actually, that is demonstrably untrue in several ways.
      A. Jesus can be demonstrated to have been an actual historical person using extrabiblical information alone.
      B. The Gospels, being multiple independent eye witness accounts, can simply not be "disallowed by default" as so many atheists irrationally seek to do.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "being multiple independent eye witness accounts"

      They AREN'T "eyewitness accounts." They were written over centuries by nameless monks, translated by others, fabricated by some, and are no more reliable than fairy tales.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Kenneth,

      "Research the Jesuits."

      Just be careful what you read. There's a lot of twisted Jesuit haters out there that like to extrapolate far into conspiracy theory.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      A. Jesus can be demonstrated to have been an actual historical person using extrabiblical information alone.

      -Whether he existed is really besides the point, the question is could he do magic.

      B. The Gospels, being multiple independent eye witness accounts, can simply not be "disallowed by default" as so many atheists irrationally seek to do.

      If the witnesses are claiming to witness magic they CAN simply be "disallowed by default" and it would be irrational not to do so.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Sara nailed it, Chard. You continue to insist that the bible is evidence. It is not. There are just as many religious scholars who don't believe it is factual as there are believers like you who swallow it hook, line and sinker. The empty tomb isn't a fact. It's your belief and nothing more.

      You have been on here for how long and failed to convince anyone that the bible is a compendium of facts or that a god exists.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • John

      @Chad

      Wow, none of that confirms anything about any God. The Bible has been proven wrong on several accounts, you just must have skipped those parts. Atheist views don't deny free will, it fully accepts it. You're so backwards on this its sickening.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @John, Just for the record there are differing opinions among atheists (and Christians for that matter) regarding free will. I am a non-believer and I don't believe in anything that I would term "free will" – certainly not the type most Christians believe in. Then again, Presbyterians don't either. (along with most Buddhists, most philosophers and most professional psychologists)

      March 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @chad

      "=>actually, that is demonstrably untrue in several ways.
      A. Jesus can be demonstrated to have been an actual historical person using extrabiblical information alone.
      B. The Gospels, being multiple independent eye witness accounts, can simply not be "disallowed by default" as so many atheists irrationally seek to do."

      I know it's untrue, which is why I think the next sentences that you put are also untrue. If Jesus can be demonstrated to have been historically real. to the extent that we can say with a degree of certainty that a roving man named Joshua Bar-Joseph went around preaching to a small cult about an off-shoot religion of Judaism was real. So A) is true

      B) is where you make the wrong leap and why we both agree on my initial statement but you somehow missed the actualy content. The Gospels are "disallowed" because of how the accounts were accrued. It makes them iffy but not just tossed out because it's hearsay years after the fact. What makes them "disallowed" is the fact that they make claims that are impossible. Until you can prove that the impossible is actually possible, the gospels can be chalked up to Historical Fiction.

      Proving that jesus exists in no way supports the claims that are made about him. Which is wha tI argue all the time and you continually misinterpret.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad you are grasping at straws as usual. "multiple witnesses" serious???? lol

      March 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bill

      Amen Chad!

      March 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      Chad needs a lot of straw. Exactly how many stables did Solomon need to outfit?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      The bible is clearly evidence of mythical beings and magical stories. There is ZERO physical evidence of any of the magical items or magical powers of a sky wizard. It is purely mythology.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Bill

      Hey EVER NOTICE ... exactly what miracles are you refering to that are like party tricks. Raising the dead? Restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf? Healing the lame?
      Just curious.
      And I'm very curious why you would attack a religion that teaches forgiveness, mercy, love, patience, grace, helping th poor, tending to the sick and hope for eternal life.
      Exactly what problems do you have with the teachings of Jesus?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Amen" what? Chard has not done a thing here to make his case. He just reiterates the same nonsense–that there are "multiple eyewitnesses" (no evidence that this is so), that the bible is inerrant (not true), that there is evidence for the god he likes best (no, there isn't; he just ignores anything that contradicts his beliefs).

      March 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Kenneth,

      again, I am not condemning in any way shape or form the Jesuits.

      I am telling the author that step 1 is a saving relationship.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And you're the authority, Chard? Says who?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Bill/(possibly) Chad

      Disembling christianity does not mean anyone attacks the ideas of "love" "forgiveness" "mercy" et al. Those were before jesus's time as well and are practiced in many other religions to this day.

      Do you actually read what is written or do you just think all atheists hate love because your pastor told you so?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill,

      The problem with Christianity is that it is an immoral concept.

      The premise of the Christian dogma..... that we all deserve punishment because we live in a fallen world because of something someone did thousands of years ago and now we can get out of that punishment if we only BELIEVE certain things is not a "Good Plan". It is an awful plan. The whole premise is immoral and I get tired of hearing how moral and "just" it is when it is one of the most vile concepts man has created.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      "Raising the dead? Restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf? Healing the lame?"
      .
      Miracles of the gods are a dime a dozen. Please tell me outside the biased heresay writings of men, is there actual evidence? Hey Benny Hinn heals people to....let me guess you believe his act is real????

      March 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      ******Hey EVER NOTICE ... exactly what miracles are you refering to that are like party tricks. Raising the dead? Restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf? Healing the lame?*****

      The difference is party tricks can be demonstrated as being completed real and natural in cause. Those things have never been demonstrated as being real or natural or EVEN POSSIBLE.

      Big difference.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      One more try, what investigation have I done? You did the investigation for me and have presented the results of your investigations over and over again on this blog that I almost have your five points committed to memory, empty tomb and all. So since you have kindly done all that work for me and I still think your arguments are just so much BS, I reject the god of Israel and all the investigations you have done. Thanks anyway.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • John

      @Saraswati

      Oh I know, but he tried to blanket it as one view, which it clearly isn't. The accepted view in the field of Psychology is now a balance of "Nature" and "Nurture", as it is no longer seen as one vs. the other. I can't believe how blinded Chad is. Sad, really.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @John, If you look into how Christians use the term "free will" it's actually something beyond both "Nature" and "Nurture". That's the nutty part of the whole thing. If you're just talking abut a combination of "nature" and "nurture" there's no justification for damning people to eternal hell.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati ""How in the world can you expect to know if Jesus is real, if you never investigated it??" The same way one knows an invisible skinny fat purple cow frog doesn't exist."

      =>you mean, by as.suming it doesnt?

      you figure that is solid reasoning?

      Sounds like you'll be astonished to find out that new species are discovered almost every day. Claiming that "nothing can exist unless I have seen it" is demonstrably false..

      right?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "invisible skinny fat purple cow frog"

      Are you denying one of these exists? Are you asserting that one does exist?

      Where's your evidence?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "I am a non-believer and I don't believe in anything that I would term "free will" – certainly not the type most Christians believe in. Then again, Presbyterians don't either"

      =>come again?

      A. Didnt have a clue, just guessed
      B. Realized what you were saying was wrong, but said it anyway
      C. So completely misunderstand the notions of "predestination" and "foreknowledge" that you thought what you were saying was correct, when in fact you werent even sorta-kinda close..

      'A' , 'B', or 'C'?

      March 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Chad

      "Are you denying one of these exists? Are you asserting that one does exist?"

      =>neither.. I am agnostic on the subject of purple cow frogs

      March 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • The real Tom

      There's no reason to be anything other than agnostic on the subject of your god of israel, either.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,

      Not sure if you missed my comment of 'March 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm', but what earlier census?

      March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati " No one outside your world view can or will ever see a reason to take these witnesses more seriously than Sai Baba's or the returned Elvis' or alien abductors' or even Joseph Smith's"

      @Chad "A. The acceptance or non-acceptance of something as fact doesnt change the actual factualness of something.
      B. Billions of people believe in Christianity, this is not some isolated thing."

      @Saraswati "We've been through all of this before, nothing new. There was a time when the majority of the world's population had world views that involved a flat earth; the number of believers don't make it any more true.

      @Chad "clearly that is not what I said, right? :-)

      March 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II,
      see here as an example of an exhaustive and objective treatment of the subject
      http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/01/once-more-quiriniuss-census.aspx

      The summary:
      (1) Luke’s census is not a historical impossibility.49 Rather at all points, historical analogies can be drawn.50
      (2) Quirinius was not the official governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth. The Syrian records and the current accepted chronology of Jesus’ life simply prevent this conclusion. However, Quirinius’s personal chronology is not fully known, particularly around the years of Jesus’ birth. Thus, it is not impossible that he held another office at the time which Luke appropriately describes with (h[gemoneuontoj thj Suriaj) hegmoneuontos tēs Surias, a description as we saw which could also appropriately describe the office from which he took his well-known census. In short, it is most likely under this otherwise unattested office that Quirinius officiated over what Luke describes.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Chad, I stand by what I said. Different Christian sects have very different ideas of what free will is, and the Calvinist tradition is quite far removed from other branches on this subject.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • John

      @ Sar

      Oh I know, I'm not talking about the Christian view. I studied all major religions for 2 years and have a good grasp on all of their major concepts, as well as many of the details. I'm just saying that free will isn't rejected by atheists and the like, but its obviously not the same as the Christian view.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      re: your gymnastics over the dates for the census ...

      My observation on your comments is that's an awful lot of rationalization to justify the so-called 'inerrant word of God'.

      Couldn't God get it written down more clearly?

      March 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • John

      There is no historical record of Jesus. None of the gospels are eyewitness accounts. They weren't written until after Jesus was claimed to be alive. The first written account was actually by Saul, or Paul of Tarsus, who had no mention of anything up to the death, resurrection, and him ascending into heaven. He says it was a vision. I'm convinced that most Christians know less about their book than those who have actually studied it in a rational manner.

      The level of ignorance saddens and sickens me.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "However, Quirinius’s personal chronology is not fully known, particularly around the years of Jesus’ birth. Thus, it is not impossible that he held another office at the time " – http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/01/once-more-quiriniuss-census.aspx

      But as my earlier quote stated,
      "In Antiquities chapter 17 verse 27 Josephus expressly stated as long as Herod the Great lived he province of Judea was exempt from Roman taxation. Ergo Luke's taxation census must have occurred after Herod's death while Matthew requires it to have happened before."

      So even if Quirinius’s was free, which seems unlikely as he was fighting a campaign elsewhere, there was no Roman census in the time of Herod, according to Josephus. You wouldn't want to doubt him would you?

      March 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad is a slimy creature living in the shadows of double speak – not impossible, could, not fully known, most likely, otherwise unattested. . .

      March 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati " I stand by what I said. Different Christian sects have very different ideas of what free will is, and the Calvinist tradition is quite far removed from other branches on this subject."

      =>sorry, no. Not to put to fine a point on it, but you are standing on ignorance of the subject..

      March 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer

      =>"gymnastics"?

      lol
      no, it simply awaits archaeological discovery. Same as the atheist gleeful proclamation that Pilate was ficticious.
      never, ever, bet against the bible.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Well, Chard, if the pupils aren't learning, it's the fault of the teacher. Get right on that.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "no, it simply awaits archaeological discovery."

      BWAAHAHHAHAaa! Oh, that's just too delicious! If there's no evidence for something, it's because it is still buried!

      March 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      your evasion of my genuine question, through an attempt to be dismissive about an adjective I chose, is duly noted.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      The more investigation you post for me the more I reject the god of Israel and re-enforce my position as a modern deist, keep up the good work.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Tom,

      "BWAAHAHHAHAaa! Oh, that's just too delicious! If there's no evidence for something, it's because it is still buried!"

      And ironic too don't you think? Particularly when the Chad goes on and on about fossil records and punctuated equilibria.

      Even more so for the anti-evolution creationists of course, but we'll let Chad off the hook there.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "=>sorry, no. Not to put to fine a point on it, but you are standing on ignorance of the subject.."

      Oh, and now I say in return thatyou, Chad, are ignorant of the subject. My, what an intelligent discussion we are having.

      Don't forget I've discussed free will with you before so I know exactly how much you know on the subject which isn't a heck of a lot. Have at it...you're just boring when you don't even try to include content. There's no room to play when you don't even throw out a ball.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • The real Tom

      He's a piece of work. All his crapola about how all the evidence supports theistic evolution and then he comes up with THAT turd and lays it in the middle of the table!

      March 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "lol
      no, it simply awaits archaeological discovery. Same as the atheist gleeful proclamation that Pilate was ficticious.
      never, ever, bet against the bible."

      – So all this time you claim that atheists are being bias and incorrectly accusing them of begging the question and yet here you are, unabashedly using confirmation bias and claiming the bible is 100% correct because you as.sume parts will be confirmed later but you have no evidence, just assumption.

      Honestly, how can you seriously claim that atheists do "x" and "y" thing when you are the only repeat offender of these specific claims?

      March 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      so is the bible the inerrant word of God, or is a functional knowledge of classical Greek, Aramaic Hebrew and extensive research on bronze and iron age history required to sort out all the inconsistencies into a 'rational' (I should say rationalized) context – as you appear to attest?

      Seems like it would be simpler to have the canon written consistently in one language as the 'word of God' and require all believers to learn that language. I wonder which religions do that?

      March 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,

      That site is grasping at straws.
      As such, I. Howard Marshall is probably right when he suggests that Luke’s full vindication lies buried somewhere, waiting to be unearthed.51 Until then, Luke’s historiographical track record (well-doc[]umented in other places52) and the implausibility of such a monumental miscalculation, especially considering his method of and purpose for writing (cf. Luke 1:1–4),53 should forestall the rather premature conclusions noted initially.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chuckles,
      Not just "no evidence", but evidence against it. What they are waiting for is evidence to explain the obvious inconsistencies.

      March 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @ME II

      That's right, good catch. Chad constantly demands evidence of no god from the unbeliever but has stated many times that he will accept no evidence nor can think of anything that would be considered evidence in his mind.

      It's like he's trying to set up a Kobyashi-Maru and then missing the whole concept of why the Kobyashi-Maru exists in the first place. By demanding the impossible and then triumphently claiming victory when the impossible is confirmed.

      I understand that christians in general have to perform a lot of doublethink in order to understand their faith (You have free will AND destiny. God loves you so much he'll send you to eternal hellfire, etc...). It's just honestly sad that a person like chad would reject reason so vehemetly. I still say it's because he's probably constantly made fun of by his family and is always on the defensive.

      March 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "That site is grasping at straws."

      =>you are obviously incorrect.. The problem stated clearly and all sides are examined objectively.

      remember "Pilate was a Christian invention" or "The Hitt ites never existed"?

      all biblical claims gleefully pointed to as mistakes, then confirmed archaeologically.

      March 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "=>you are obviously incorrect.. "

      Well gee =====>OBVIOUSLY, since you disagree with THE CHARD, he of the emoticon kingdom!

      March 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad,
      "all biblical claims gleefully pointed to as mistakes, then confirmed archaeologically"

      Why do you persist in posting untruths? Apart from a few places what has been confirmed archaeologically?
      The creation myth has been disproven, the Adam and Eve story is disproven, the Noah story is unproven but could not have happened as described, the Jonah story is unproven and is impossible as described.
      I know you'll find a minor point to take off on a tangent – do you do it just to practise sophistry or does you employer pay by the word?

      March 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "you are obviously incorrect.. The problem stated clearly and all sides are examined objectively."

      Objective, hardly?

      "Mission Statement
      ...

      This information disseminated and the activities of the organization shall be for the purpose of:
      - Demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible
      - Resolving apparent conflicts between the findings of archaeology and science, and the Bible"
      ...
      Statement of Faith

      1. We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the verbally inspired Word of God, and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.

      11. We consider the patriarchal narratives to be historical, and accept the Biblical chronologies of the Old and New Testaments as accurate (although not necessarily exhaustive)."

      (http://www.biblearchaeology.org/about/)

      "Pilate was a Christian invention"

      Was there evidence contradicting Pilate, or just a lack of evidence?

      March 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "We consider the patriarchal narratives to be historical, and accept the Biblical chronologies of the Old and New Testaments as accurate (although not necessarily exhaustive)."

      Talk about apriori conclusions!

      March 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • JMEF

      In Santa We Trust, I like that,
      Chad = sophistry derived from solipsism.

      March 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad

      " no, it simply awaits archaeological discovery"
      .

      I hear you brother, I am waiting for them to discover the remains of fire breathing dragons and fairies. Then it will show I was right in my faith.

      March 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Was there evidence contradicting Pilate, or just a lack of evidence?"

      =>same as the missing census, just lacking archaeological corroboration.

      March 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati

      =>Free will is a very easy concept to understand, I dont accuse you of misunderstanding it. I accuse you of not understanding Calvinism.

      March 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer,

      Are you seriously claiming that it shouldnt be necessary to understand the culture, norms, language etc of the author when reading ~3000 year old text??

      March 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      still evading the question I see. So sad, so Chad.

      March 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Chad

      lol,

      perhaps you'd be so kind as to illustrate exactly how I evaded the question?

      just kidding!!! just kidding.. I know that isnt your thing :-)

      March 29, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, good. Snark, sarcasm and emoticons. I guess that's what Jesus died for, right, Chard? So you could be a fvcking ass?

      March 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Science

      In santa we trust

      By the word !!!

      March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      Couldn't God get it written down more clearly?
      So is the bible the inerrant word of God?*

      * given all the hoops you have to jump through (aka gymnastics) to rationalize the inconsistencies in census dates alone.

      Those are just from today in this thread. But I truly don't care to see an answer because you are pure sophistry anyway.

      Happy Easter Chad.

      March 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      A tomb is just a tomb . . . . .
      especially since no one saw anybody leave the room . .
      And a tomb is not womb,
      And a womb is not a room,

      OK that part I got. Bacharach sure didn't make things easy for that recently departed Hal David. A lot of syllables to assign...

      March 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "i>re: your gymnastics over the dates for the census ...My observation on your comments is that's an awful lot of rationalization to justify the so-called 'inerrant word of God'. Couldn't God get it written down more clearly?
      @Chad "I completely disagree that any gymnastics needed to be done, and in any case, ALL of your supposedly "evaded" questions, were in fact answered.
      right?
      you in acknowledged they were answered, by claiming I had to go thru gymnastics to do so...
      right?

      so, you must have had something else in mind when you accused me of evasion?. perhaps you could explain where I evaded something?

      thanks in advance!

      March 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Science

      Was the bible around back then Chad ?

      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 30, 2013 at 6:28 am |
    • PaulH

      Chad
      "no, that's why you need to investigate..."
      And I have, but I still haven't found the evidence needed to actually believe that nay god exists. You think you have it, enough to convince yourself, but it isn't very convincing to me at all. The difference, it seems, is that you are in love with the idea of God being real, and I'm just interested in the truth.
      ====
      "well,, that's why you need to investigate... "there are a lot of fake Elvis's out there, so that means there never was a real one" is pretty lousy logic.."
      There once was a real Elvis, but nobody have ever demonstrated that any god was real.
      ====
      "no, for several reasons:
      A. The God of Israel is real independent of my ability to demonstrate it."
      Which is a claim that you need to back up with proof. You could just as easily say the same thing about invisible pink unicorns. It's just talk, and we all know what the value of that is.

      "B. If you are claiming that the God of Israel does NOT exist, you have a burden of proof"
      I'm not claiming that any more than I'm claiming to know, for certain, that vampires aren't real. There are thousands of legendary beings like God and vampires that can't be disproven for the same reasons, but that doesn't mean that we have to therefore believe that they DO exist. Believing in things that might, possibly come true is no way to live your life. If it was, then you'd be justified in not buying lottery tickets and not saving for your future because somebody you know might win big and choose to share with you. It could happen, right?

      "C. What investigation have you done (other than hurling insults at Christians that is...)?"
      I know that you're going to say that I haven't investigated enough, but I could say the same thing about you too, right? In the end I'm not convinced that God exists and I'm not willing to live as though he does, just in case, when thousands of other gods could equally exist. You're convinced, but my aim is not converting you. You have to realize for yourself that it's a false belief.

      March 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Funny that Chard was invited to present his "research" and has apparently run away...again.

      March 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Chad you lost in space ?

      March 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "same as the missing census, just lacking archaeological corroboration."

      Actually, no.
      There is evidence that Quirinius was in another area fighting a war at the proposed time of the ficticious census as well as there being evidence, Josephus, that the Romans would not have asked the client kindom of Judea to perform a census. Your archealogical evidence needs to counter existing evidence, not just provide evidence where none existed previously.

      March 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Alex

      Chad
      @Santa " You've never yet provided evidence for a god, your god, or for Jesus being divine or resurrected. Let's see some."

      Not proof but something to think about.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/shroud-of-turin-real-jesus_n_2971850.html

      April 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  13. palintwit

    Evangelicals gladly crawl a mile over broken glass just to sniff the tire tracks of the truck that took Sarah Palin's dirty underwear to the laundry.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Yes, yes, we know....because you've posted this many times before (taking a page out of Reality's book are we?).

      Hyperbole has a use, and this isn't it. Your post is childish, moronic, and serves no purpose. Now, please head back to class, the rest of the 7th grade special education class is waiting for your return.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby

      * poot *

      March 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      You are going to have to explain this "palin" stuff now. What's a palin? Dictionary says it's a stake used to hold surveyor's strings.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bill

      Evangelical Christians... of which I'm one ... are pretty sure Sarah Palin is NOT a Christian.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Willam Biggs

      Bill, there are No True Scotsmen...

      March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Billie

      There are many true Bill's, but I'm the best of them.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bill

      No I am

      March 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  14. Steph

    Good for you. I have very similar feelings. I was raised in church and wholeheartedly endorse the teaching and acts of Jesus but had a hard time reconciling some of the church theology (and actions of those in charge) with my own conscience. I am going to Good Friday Mass today for the first time in seven years...being excited about the new direction that Pope Francis hints at is a big part of that.

    To the atheists on the blog: I respect your opinions and won't try to evangelize you. Please respect me and do the same.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Qwerty Elemeno

      Ah, that Christian need to tell everyone else what to do and how to behave.

      Who elected you Blog Fuhrer, and why do you think everyone must obey you?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      As long as you aren't giving money to an organization that actively fights donations of condoms to Africa and prohibiting same-se.x unions I can respect you. If you start financially supporting harmful works my respect will drop very quickly. Respect is earned, not handed out because you want it.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • billmosby

      All that, plus there is a good chance that your feet will get a good cleaning soon.

      lol.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Steph, He does appear to want to set a new tone with his personal conduct, but to be fair he hasn't made many significant changes yet.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Donna

      Saraswati
      Actually, I've always taught my kids that you should always assume that people deserve your full respect, until they prove otherwise. Your way makes it sound like you treat everyone at the zero mark and then add to it with time, maybe. That's no way to make a first impression.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Donna,

      Here are the definitions of "respect" from the OED (which lists in order of usage):

      respect
      noun

      1 [mass noun] a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements:the director had a lot of respect for Douglas as an actor

      • the state of being admired or respected:his first chance in over fifteen years to regain respect in the business

      • (respects) a person’s polite greetings:give my respects to their Excellencies

      • informal used to express the speaker’s approval of someone or something:respect to Hill for a truly non-superficial piece on the techno scene

      2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others:young people’s lack of respect for their parents

      3. a particular aspect, point, or detail:the government’s record in this respect is a mixed one

      ===

      I am talking about definition one, while you are talking about definition #2. Yours is certainly a valid definition, but so is mine. Yes, I respect everyone on usage #2, but not on usage #1.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • brianspadora

      Thanks very much for your comment. I am glad you enjoyed the piece.

      March 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  15. Bill

    I hope you do not plan to bring your children back to the catholic church with you.

    It is unsafe for them there.

    March 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Pablo

      You and people like you are so full of it. It's just as dangerous to go to a public school. The narcissism, focus on self and ignorance of the anti-type people help me all the more to keep the faith.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bill

      "It's just as dangerous to go to a public school"

      There is no state or federal agency that tracks public school assaults. So exactly how do you know that public schools are "just as dangerous". There are no statistics to back that assertion up. None, you are just talking out of your backside.

      The RCC reports that approximately 4% of the 110,000 US clergy member have been accused of a child crime. There were over 4000 reported incidents.

      There are 3.3 million teachers in America. There would have to be 132,000 reported assaults.

      Do you have any source that shows 132,000 child assaults by teachers in US public schools?

      No, you don't.

      In the last 100 years, there has not been one case of mass child assault, coverup, facilitation, and evidence suppression that even comes remotely close to what the RCC has done globally for the last five decades.

      I was raised catholic. I have four brothers. I have seen this first hand.

      What the RCC has done for the last 50 years is unconscionable and unprecedented. Your outgoing pope commanded his laity to NOT cooperate with authorities under risk of ex communication, while simultaneously shuffling from parish to parish known criminals.

      How do look at yourself in the mirror and support this organization?

      Do you shower when you get home from Sunday services?

      Is it even possible to wash that filth from your skin?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • The Zombie Resurrection of Jesus Christ

      Do public schools obstruct justice for decades and reassign known molesters to safe new places where they can molest again?

      March 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bill

      My wife is a public school teacher. Last year a teacher was fired to taking pictures of girls in the classroom. This was during regular class time, doing class activities. Nothing provocative or unseemly. He got fired for violating school policy about teachers photographing students without prior consent. Good policy, he should have been let go.

      If it were the RCC he would have been relocated and promoted.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Donna

      It was unsafe in the days when people trusted priests without question, but I doubt that many do that anymore. From what I can gather right now people are placing the same level of trust in the youth pastors over at the evangelical churches, and with the coaches who promise to help make kids star athletes. It's always the people you trust, or the places you are greedy to send your kids, that are the places you should be wary of.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • todd

      Bill, it is not hard to Google the public school abuse issue. Try these two for starters:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-215_162-1933687.html

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

      March 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  16. 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 29, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Pablo

      There are 40000 denominations, but only one church. You seem to lump them all together. All the denominations seem to accepts entire or parts of early Catholic councils. The use the bible which had the n.t. Cannon put together and preserved by Catholics. They celebrate Easter and Christmas as they come from the Catholic Church. Satan worshipers mock the Catholic mass and Eucharist. It's the one church, and the 40000 are the product of what following someone's own biblical interpretations formed by their presuppositions rather than keeping the faith that is one, connected and apostolic. Satan hates this church more than anything on earth, and reading these posts shows this perfectly.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Cherries

      "Satan hates this church more than anything on earth, and reading these posts shows this perfectly."

      You are puuting forth the theory that Satan hates the RCC more than any other Christian Church? Interesting. Citations, please.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bill

      "They celebrate Easter and Christmas as they come from the Catholic Church"

      Both of these two celebrations are of pagan origin and significantly older than the RCC. The winter "yule" and spring "easter" celebrations date back to the neolithic period.

      Your "faith" co-opted them in order to try to bring pagans into the fold.

      Amazing how stupid and ill informed religious people are.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Sensible

      Pablo..Satan hates this church...really. You speak of Satan as if its real and you have some evidence of it. You really need to get grip my friend. This religion thing really has your brain going in many different directions. You need to maybe take a step back and rethink this thing if possible.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ" Because the Anti-Christ will be so overwhelmingly popular that most churches will replace Jesus with him? Wake me up when THAT happens with Obama, ok?

      March 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    March 29, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding prayer and atheism are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      March 29, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Jesus

      yES, WE KNOW! You put this on EVERY religion blog. You know what else changes things? Getting a job!

      March 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I might take you a smidgeon more seriously if you ever once in your thousands of postings of the same thing bothered to include any supporting evidence.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Has it EVER changed your diaper, buddy? Snap out of it.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • .

      Prayer is life changing so prayer does changes things only a moron would argue otherwise, as evidenced by the replies.

      March 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • 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!

      March 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      March 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  18. Seven Words from the Cross

    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

    Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

    When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:26-27).

    “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”(Matthew 27:46)?

    “I thirst” (John 19:28).

    “It is finished” (John 19:30).

    “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

    March 29, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And these seemingly random alleged quotes are supposed to say what?

      March 29, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • What Jesus REALLY said on the cross

      "Oh No! It's the Judean People's Front Crack Suicide Squad!!!"

      March 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • idobelieve

      I will be contemplating on these words today between 12:00 and 3:00. What a sacrifice Christ made for us, out of love.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Cherries

      Can you show me any evidence, at all, that Jesus was crucified between 12 and 3? And does it matter which time zone a person is in? I've always wondered this; I grew up Catholic, and when I used to ask, I was never given an answer; the subject was changed rather swiftly.

      March 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Bill

      "I grew up Catholic, and when I used to ask, I was never given an answer; the subject was changed rather swiftly"

      When I asked questions, they just beat me with whatever they had handy. They did not even bother to change the subject.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "I grew up Catholic, and when I used to ask, I was never given an answer; the subject was changed rather swiftly."

      Christianity doesn't like questions, it like unquestioned answers.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Cheese is right–just look at what Lie4ever and Chard do every time they don't like the answers they'd have to give if they had an honest bone in their bodies–they run away like little girls.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @The real Tom,

      Some little girls are kick ass in a fight...let's give them their due.

      March 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, I agree, but then I am a girl, too. Can we call them sissies?

      March 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Probably...I've never really been sure exactly what that word meant though!

      March 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Sensible

      Cherries and Bill, that was funny...you made me lol!! Changing the subject and using force is what religion does best when it's confronted with a reasonable question. Or the just have faith in god nonsense. smh!!

      March 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Religion is the opiate of the masses." – Karl Marx

      It might be the opium of the people, but on some of them, religion acts more like PCP.

      March 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Cherries

      Oh, I got my share of beat-downs, too...I thought that went without saying, LOL!

      March 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  19. MUST SEE Creatard Pwnage Par Excellence

    March 29, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  20. Erik

    Reblogged this on It's the Question that Drives Us.

    March 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.