CNN examines the tumultuous early years of Christianity in a special narrated by Liam Neeson. Watch “After Jesus: The First Christians,” Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) – She walked into the Roman arena where the wild beasts awaited her. She trembled not from fear but from joy.
Her name was Vibia Perpetua. She was just 22, a young mother singing hymns as the crowd jeered and a lion, leopard and wild cow encircled her.
One of the beasts attacked, hurling her to the ground. She covered an exposed thigh with her bloody robe to preserve her modesty and groped in the dust for her hair pin so she could fix her disheveled hair.
And when a Roman executioner approached Perpetua with a sword, her last words before collapsing were aimed at her Christian companions: “Stand fast in the faith, and love you all one another and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you.”
Millions of Christians worldwide will celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on this Easter Sunday. But the story of how the church rose to prominence after Jesus’ death is being turned upside down.
According to a belief passed down through the centuries, the church grew because of Roman persecution. The blood of Christian martyrs such as Perpetua became “the seed of the church,” said third-century church leader Tertullian. It’s the Hollywood version of Christianity reflected in epic biblical films such as “Ben-Hur” and “The Robe.” Vicious Romans relentlessly targeted early Christians, so the story goes, but the faith of people like Perpetua proved so inspiring that Christianity became the official religion of Rome, and eventually the largest religion in the world.
But that script is getting a rewrite. The first Christians were never systematically persecuted by the Romans, and most martyrdom stories – with the exception of a handful such as Perpetua's – were exaggerated and invented, several scholars and historians say. It wasn’t just how the early Christians died that inspired so many people in the ancient world; it was how they lived.
“You had much better odds of winning the lottery than you would have becoming a martyr,” says Joyce E. Salisbury, author of “The Blood of Martyrs: Unintended Consequences of Ancient Violence.”
“The odds were pretty slim. More people read about martyrs than ever saw one.”
Do Christians have a martyr complex today?
The debate over exactly how many Christians were persecuted and martyred may seem irrelevant centuries later. A scholarly consensus has indeed emerged that Roman persecution of Christians was sporadic, and that at least some Christian martyrdom stories are theological tall tales.
But a new book by Candida Moss, a New Testament professor at the University of Notre Dame, is bringing that message to the masses.
Moss says ancient stories of church persecution have created a contemporary cult of bogus Christian martyrs. She says too many American Christians are acting like they’re members of a persecuted minority, being thrown to the lions by people who simply disagree with them.
Professor Candida Moss, author of "The Myth of Persecution," says most stories of Christian martyrs were fabricated.
She cited former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Romney claimed last year that President Barack Obama was waging a “war against religion,” and Santorum said the gay community “had gone out on a jihad” against him. Other Christians invoke images of persecution when someone disagrees with them on controversial issues such as abortion or birth control, says Moss, whose "The Myth of Persecution" was recently released.
The problem with invoking persecution is it implies your opponents are evil – and no common ground can be found with evil, Moss says.
“When someone is persecuting you" she says, "there is no room for dialogue."
Others say Moss’ claim is dangerous.
People such as Perpetua did die because of their beliefs. The first Christians were tortured, reviled and held in contempt by Romans – and their example helped the church grow, they say.
The Rev. Robert Morgan, author of "On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes, " says it’s true that some of the accounts of martyrdom were “undoubtedly embellished” and that many of the persecution stories were “handed down in an atmosphere of confusion and pressure.”
Still, being a Christian in the first century was a risky move – persecution was significant. Jesus and most of his apostles were executed, he says.
“To deny the history of the movement is a way of attacking the movement,” Morgan says.
Some opposition to contemporary Christians is indeed evil, Morgan says. Christians are being killed today in places such as Nigeria and North Africa.
“Christians do not have a victim’s mentality,” Morgan says. “They take their stands, they know what they believe and they do good in this world. They are the ones who have established orphanages, hospitals and charitable institutions. For some reason, there’s this animosity against them.”
Hatred of Christians is woven into much of the New Testament. Jesus constantly warned his followers to expect persecution. The Apostle Paul wrote many of his epistles from jail. And the death of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, is dramatically recorded in the New Testament book the Acts of the Apostles.
The Easter message itself is a story of martyrdom – Jesus, unjustly executed by the Romans. The idea that Christians are at war with demonic forces in the world is reflected throughout the New Testament, says Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
“If Jesus was just a soft moral teacher who taught us to love one another and petted little babies, the Romans wouldn’t have crucified him,” Litfin says. “Jesus is a polarizing figure, then and today. The early Christians weren’t foisting a narrative out of the blue about being martyrs. ”
'Like the action heroes of the ancient world'
If the first Christians pictured themselves as waging war against the world, the martyrs were their version of the Navy SEALs. They were the elite Christians who inspired and united others of their faith.
There was a purpose behind spreading stories of persecution: Nothing brings a new group closer together than a common enemy, Moss says.
“The idea that you are persecuted forges a concrete identity,” Moss says. “It really solidifies your sense of group identity.”
The stories of Christian persecution were so popular that they spawned a market during the first centuries after the crucifixion. The places where martyrs were born and died became early tourist stops. Towns competed with one another to draw rich pilgrims seeking martyr memorabilia, Moss says.
“People would go and buy the equivalent of a T-shirt,” Moss says. “You’d have all these little combs with saints on them that people would buy, and lamps with saints on them. People would also buy fruit from trees that grew in the vicinity of martyrs’ graves. Of course, the prices were completely jacked up.”
Church leaders began to embellish and invent stories of martyrdom to inspire the faithful but also to settle theological feuds, Moss says. If, say, a bishop wanted to denounce a rivals’ theology, he spun a story in which a martyr denounced the same doctrine with his last breath, Moss says.
“Martyrs were like the action heroes of the ancient world,” Moss says. “It was like getting your favorite athlete endorsing your favorite brand of soda.”
But how often did Romans force Christians to endure torture or die for their faith? Christianity took roughly 300 years to conquer Rome. The emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 and gave Christians religious freedom. Christianity became the official religion of Rome by the end of the fourth century, scholars say.
For the first 300 years of the church, Christians were often ridiculed and viewed with contempt. But Roman leaders spent about "less than 10 years" out of the first 300 actually persecuting Christians, Moss says. There are only six reliable cases of Christian martyrdom before A.D. 250 out of “hundreds of stories,” including Perpetua’s, she says.
Many scholars have greeted Moss’ contention that Roman persecution of Christians was exaggerated with a shrug. They say it was common knowledge in the academic world.
“There weren’t that many Christians who were persecuted,” says Gail O’Day, dean of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity in North Carolina. “When you actually read the Roman historical records, the Christians just weren’t that important to them. Most Christians just got along with empire.”
When Roman persecution did occur, though, it was vicious. The Emperor Nero covered fully conscious Christians with wax and used them as human torches. Other Christians were skinned alive and covered with salt, while others were slowly roasted above a pit until they died.
One of the most famous martyrs was Perpetua.
She lived in Carthage in North Africa (modern-day Tunisia) and was arrested in March 203 with four others as they prepared for baptism. The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus had decreed that any new conversion to Christianity would result in death.
History remembers Perpetua because she kept a diary during her imprisonment. It’s called "The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity" (Felicity was a slave girl arrested with Perpetua). It’s the oldest-surviving document from a Christian woman. The emotion in the diary is almost unbearable. Perpetua describes the pain of leaving her infant son, who she was still nursing. She describes a prison visit from her weeping father, who kissed her hands while trying to get her to renounce her faith.
Perpetua's father visited her in prison, begging her to think of him and renounce her faith.
A narrator picks up the story in the diary after Perpetua was sent to her death. He says in the diary that Perpetua’s faith was so inspiring it caused the prison’s warden, a man called Pudens, to convert. The narrator also describes Perpetua's death.
While she was imprisoned, Perpetua says God gave her visions to reassure her. After one, she wrote:
“I understood that I should fight, not with beasts but against the devil. But I knew that mine was the victory.”
You can’t discount the power of such stories, even if persecution “wasn’t extremely common,” says Litfin, the Moody Bible Institute professor.
Persecution was central to the rise of the early church, he says.
“How many people in your church would have to be pulled out and executed and tormented for it not to have a tremendous effect for many years on your memory and self-perception,” Litfin says. “The early Christians are not foisting a narrative out of the blue about being matyrs.”
The early Christians' secret weapon
Other scholars say it wasn't simply persecution that helped the church grow. Instead, they say, Christians had a secret weapon.
The martyrs may have gotten all the press, but it was ordinary Christians who got it done by the way they treated friends and strangers.
Life in ancient Rome was brutal and nasty, says Rodney Stark, author of "The Triumph of Christianity." Stark’s well-regarded book gives one of the most detailed descriptions of the early church and ancient Rome.
Forget those antiseptic portraits of Roman cities you see in biblical moves such as “The Robe.” Roman cities were overcrowded, raw sewage ran in the streets, people locked their doors at night for fear of being robbed and plagues were rampant. Soap had not yet been invented, Stark says.
“The stink of the cities in the summertime must have been astounding,” Stark says. “You would have smelled a city miles before you got to it.”
Christians stood out because they created a “miniature welfare state" to help the less fortunate, Stark says. They took in infant girls routinely left for dead by their parents. They risked their lives to tend the sick when plagues hit and others fled in terror. They gave positions of leadership to women when many women had no rights, and girls as young as 12 were often married off to middle-aged men, he says.
Ordinary Romans might have thought Christians were odd but liked having them for neighbors, Stark says.
“If people had really been against them, I don’t think they would have grown like they did,” Stark says.
Christianity became so popular that when Rome did unleash one of its sporadic waves of persecutions, the empire couldn’t stop the church’s momentum, Stark says.
“If you knocked off a bishop, there were 20 guys waiting to be bishop,” Stark says
Christian belonging, not blood, is what drew many people, another scholar says.
The Easter story of a risen savior wasn’t distinctive in Rome’s competitive religious marketplace. Dying for one’s beliefs wasn’t considered heroic; it was expected in the Roman world, says Selina O' Grady, author of "And Man Created God: A History of the World at the Time of Jesus."
The early church, though, was radically inclusive. First-century Rome was undergoing globalization. The peace of Rome had made travel easier. People left homes and tribal ties for Rome. The empire was filled with rootless and excluded people: immigrants, traders, slaves.
The Christian message offered guidelines for living in this strange new world, she says.
“Its universal message, its proclamation of equality, unconditional love, offered everyone in the Roman Empire a new family, a new community, and a way to live,” O’Grady says.
Roman rulers eventually found reasons to support the church, she says.
The Christian message of obeying earthly masters – “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's" – reduced the potential for social unrest, O’Grady says.
“Christianity told the poor and lowly that their status was noble and that there would be recompense in the afterlife,” O’Grady says. “It was a wonderful recipe for creating good, obedient Roman subjects.”
A turning point for the early church was the conversion of Constantine. Scholars still debate Constantine’s motive. By that time the empire was rife with division, and Christians had become a major political bloc with members in the highest reaches of Roman society, says Stark, the sociologist.
“Constantine was interested so much in church affairs for the rest of his life, but I don’t think there’s a reason to not think he was a sincere Christian,” Stark says. “But he was also an egomaniac and an emperor.”
The growth of Christianity was too complex to be attributed to any one factor – whether it be Constantine, persecution or Christianity's message of compassion and inclusion, Stark says.
“I don’t think there was a primary reason,” he says. “It was a collection of things. It was all part of a package.”
Wrapped in that package, though, were the persecution stories of people such as Perpetua.
Today, churches have been named after Perpetua; films and graphic novels have been made about her life. She is considered a saint.
Her words still inspire. People still read her diary. There’s probably a Christian somewhere in the world now facing danger who is taking courage from Perpetua’s ordeal.
One passage in Perpetua’s diary is particularly luminous.
Perpetua stopped keeping her diary just before she was sent into the arena. No one knows for sure what she felt when she faced her moment of death, but she did write what she expected to see afterward.
She wrote that God gave her a reassuring vision while in prison. In the vision, she saw a great bronze ladder ascending to heaven. At the foot of the ladder was a great serpent surrounded by swords and knives.
Perpetua said she ignored the serpent and climbed the ladder. When she arrived at the top, she saw a great garden and a white-haired man in shepherd’s clothing milking a sheep. He was flanked by thousands of others Christians dressed in white.
“And he raised his head and beheld me and said to me: Welcome child.”
The man gave Perpetua curds from the milk of the sheep, and she said it tasted sweet.
She then wrote:
“And I took it with joined hands and ate it up: and all that stood around said, Amen.”
Centuries later, millions of people who look to Perpetua are still saying amen.
!!! SALVATION of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ !!!
"16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
What about John 3:14? Oh you pick and choose – that's right.
So, the son offers to pull you out of the river, but you forget that it was his dad who threw you in to begin with.
!!! HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE !!!
What kind of useless god can only have one son? Why couldn't your god have more than one son?
John 2:45 (It's your after school bell Johnny!)
I've offerd an argument. I welcomed reasons replies. All I got was childish name calling and you saying I'm not worthy to try to cover the fact that you have no reasoned reply. You're really a sad figure.
The only thing you have managed, properly, to do.. is spell Richard Dawkins' name properly.
I've managed to expose you and Tom for the empty heads you are. Not one of you has replied to my original point.
You offered flawed arguments, and twisted logic. What else would you expect?
You've exposed yourself. We know that already.
Have you tried with the kindergartens at Faux?
Both of you still dodging the original point because you have no answer.
My argument is that atheism is a faith. Look up the definition of faith and simply state why it does not fit that definition. I keep getting a lot of hand waving. But no reply
Oh ya we' is dodging like a good christian, but we' is poorerer than de's christian's at it.
Definition of faith from Miriam Webster. "Firm belief in something for which there is no proof"
Oh look a dictionary source. Poor christian wants to define something to others.
Hey "Richard".. could you look up the word 'confidence'?
Say it in a sentence. Do you know how to use that word?
I do not have faith that there are no gods. I just haven't been shown any proof that there are any.
If you want to try to trip people up with definitions of words, you will have to do much better. If you wish, I suppose it could be said that I have faith that I have never seen anything whatso ever that indicates any of the worlds religions have any basis in reality. If you want to call that faith, be my guess
Ultimately you will try an argument based on some sort of definition of something, but ultimatley you will be so concerned with the trivial and picayune, that you will lose sight of your original point. Trying to use definitions to try to logically trap your opponent will not work, and trying to twist logic will also not work.
If you like, you can say I have a sort of faith, in the manner you describe, but like with so many words, faith carries different maening when regarding the religious, so by that reason alone, your line of question to the defintion of fatih is moot.
Odd that you would choose Richard Dawkiins name...he was an educated man...you, not so much
Root post is still an example of the Fallacy of Equivocation.
Dickie, you are truly pathetic. You're almost as stupid as mark the piddler.
It's just too funny. Dickie seems to be under the misapprehension that he can tell atheists how to define atheism. He refuses to answer the question as to just why he wants to do this, but his lack of honesty and transparency just makes his argument more idiotic. For some reason, doofuses like this think that if they can just force atheists to say that they have a belief that there are no gods, it will prove something. Of course, the fact is that not all atheists think the same way about a supreme being. If Dickie weren't so fvcking dumb he'd have figured that out by reading the posts here. Some atheists are adamant that no gods exist. Others simply do not see any evidence that gods exist. Dickie's so dumb he cannot seem to figure out that these two statements are not equivalent.
"The emperor Constantine converted to Christianity" - The historical record is pretty clear that this never happened. Only Catholic appologists cling to this flagrant falsehood.
Not true. Constantine prayed for a vision and claimed to see a cross. He chose not to associate the image with Apollo and picked the image of jesus on his cross. Marched on Rome, sacked it, and credited the god he allyed himself with. Converted his entire army, and stopped persection of the christ followers. This was approx 328 C.E. There is a book you can read that is a collection of letters from this time period from Constantine himself, his wife, aides, etc. GREAT READING!
Christians suffer in this world for their beliefs. Not usually physically, though Christian churches being burned today in Africa – and occasionally we hear about a killing or two, but there has always been, and currently is, an insidious negativity in the way Christians are viewed in society. Journalism seems to not favor Christianity as exhibited by this article. If you are not a Christian, try this: pretend you are for one month and promote your ideals as if you were devoutly Christian. Walk a month in our shoes and then reread this article with a open balanced mind. Afraid to?
Or try living as an outspoken atheist in America...persecution at its finest from christians.
Try pretending that you"re an atheist for a month. Tell everyone that you know that you've stopped believing that God is real and see how all your Christian friends will react. I've been on both sides. I've been a Christian and an atheist and, believe me, I know which one is an easier road to travel.
This is a part of continuing effort from the anti Christians in CNN.... This is another effort from Satan trying to push his agenda through its people in CNN and the author like this one. But CNN was not the one to do these things first- we have seen these kinds of efforts throughout the history from Devil..... Beware of the anti Christians in CNN folks...
Go play with yourself.
Just look at the way you call on another delusional character. Get a grip tool.
And I asked you to provide evidence that either CNN or John Blake, the author of this article, is doing so the first time you posted this assertion.
Answer. My reply was to Tom not you. I'm not dead because I enjoy life. Pretty simple. Whatever happens after that I have no idea.
You enjoy being pathetic. It shows.
And you can't even manage to use the reply button. Good job there, Einstein.
Try posing your inane challenges to your dog, sweetie. Maybe you can fool him.
So on a scale of 1 to 10..
Just how pathetic are you, "Richard"?
Pan back from 2013. See many lifetimes from above. Centuries trickling into millenia. Many hundreds of thousands of years and into "a million". Then try and comprehend (as best we can with our current brains) those millions of years stacking up. Most humans cannot effectively process the next rhyme, billion. So this myth, like all creation myths that humans have written/told during our evolution, 1. creates a creator. 2. promises eternal existence. 3. promises happiness for the believer. 4. promises death/pain for the unbeliever. 5. has no shred of proof. 6. Makes no logical sense in the light of what we have learned about "life" thus far.
There are 2 further conclusions. 1. All of mankinds religions are false. 2. conclusion number 1 does not in any way shape or form negate the possibility that universes were 'created'.
You are absolutely right. You can set christianity, and any other religion aside, and how the universe came about is still a mystery. The bible doesn't even come close to expaining it.
to Cartoongodshavecartoons2 & Ed Dugan: Why such large numbers? Arent billion and trillion of years are guesstimate by people? Didnt people try to guesstimate in our weather? In Genesis, it gives an account of the beginning of this world. I came from a background of engineer, science, mathematics, and of course I was an Atheist. Yes, I made fun of these so called Christian, wouldnt even date a girl from that background. I had a hard time believing in Genesis written account. After a year of research, witnessing miracles, reading on Jesus life.... you have to admit that this man lived a perfect life. But is He God???? Does God exist? I mean our eyes cant see it? We cant see microscopic biological germs, but know they exist too. So, people say you need faith? Isnt it interesting, but is faith blind? Dont we put our faith in many things? Like the traffic light, trusting the light that we can walk w/o getting hit by a car? Or the bridge will not collapse? Or the elevator will not break down?
I agree, religion is man made. No one said the Bible brings happiness but it does give us a hope. And in response, the joy of knowing that hope. This one man who existed about 2000 (2013) years ago. changed history and our calendar. 11 out of the 12 apostles died of a gruesome death, did they do this to gain glorification in this world? Would anyone want to be tortured with a slow death? Jesus did it, for you and me. No one else would do the same. He knows your heart, pain, and sorrow, and died so if you and I believe in Him, shall not perish but have a hope for Eternal life. Knock on His door and ask Him to show you the truth, if you seek it earnestly and not with a harden heart, He will show you the way. Happy Easter my friend
@ Z – The things you mention are not faith. We have confidence in traffic lights, based on our past experience with them and our understanding of how they are constructed, what the lights mean, etc. In other words, we have EVIDENCE.
Faith in God is based simply on a belief without ANY evidence, and a desire for something to be true. It's just wishful thinking.
Christianity grew because it was adopted by the Roman Empire, there was no point in killing people for their beliefs, it was better to assimilate the Christians and the rest of society and have them under their control than killing them, if they killed everyone, who would pay the taxes or be used as laborers?
Yet the Byzantine empire grew withour Rome at all, but nice try.
As the story goes, Constantine couldn't care less about Christianity until he had an experience where he believed that he was able to slaughter his enemies by having his army wear the cross. Success through mass killing; the same old story for BibleGod.
As a Jesus-admirer myself, you have to be skeptical and realize that every faith, religion, war story, etc. is tainted by embellishment. I do agree with Candida Moss' point that Christians have this "us-versus-them" mentality that causes them to have this belief that they form some "thin line" against all the evil against the world. This, despite the fact that Christianity has been, still is and will, for the foreseeable future, continue to be the world's biggest faith/religion.
Christianity is growing rapidly in Africa and China, where they are persecuted.
Christianity is fading rapidly in Europe and North America, where they have education.
In Europe Christianity has faded, but in the USA the numbers are steady these past 20 years. Chances are we will see a rise of Islam in Europe, as a consequence.
The article is about American Christians who feel that they, personally, are being persecuted because of their Conservative values. It isn't about the missionary encroachments into Africa and China, where Christians are causing political unrest that the authorities see as a threat to their power.
This is a part of continuing effort from the anti Christians in CNN... This is another effort from Satan trying to push his agenda through its people in CNN and the author like this one. But CNN was not the one to do these things first- we have seen these kinds of efforts throughout the history from Devil..... Beware of the anti Christians in CNN folks...
Actually, the best trick I ever did was calling myself YHWH and Jesus, and making people think my system is the true religion.
Considering all the persecution that Jews received at the hands of Christians I'd say that if Satan helped start Christianity as a way of hurting God's chosen people he did a fine job of it. He could have been that voice that Paul heard at the roadside. Paul was the point where it stopped being a Jewish sect and became a new gentile religion, one with a particularly good reason to hate Jews. Was Satan clever enough to do this?
That [men] may know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.
Acronym for Jehovah is JHVH
christians, the world's biggest religion, loves to pretend they are persecuted rebels. LOL
They claim over a billion and a half (or more members) and they still want that persecution label for themselves.
It's comic gold.
The persecution of Christians in America is terrible! Just terrible!
Did you know that someone in New York City said "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"?
When will the persecution end?!?!?!?
That is a good point you bring up. There are tons of other religions out there they could legitimately claim persecution. Christianity is not one of them. As a Jesus-admirer, I find it laughable that the world's largest religion that is STILL GROWING could ever legitimately claim that they are under fire. And no, disagreement does not equal persecution.
In God We Trust ! Really ! Than what is it with the tanks,guns,missiles,and fighter jets ? Why does the Pope need a bullet proof car . Does even the Pope think that God would not save him ?
In Zeus we trust.
In the Spaghetti Monster we trust.
What about our current brothers and sisters in Christ who are currently suffering in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, China and all over the globe? Nothing is said about it. Nothing is every reported about it. One would think the millions of believers around the world being persecuted right now because of their simple faith in Jesus Christ would be worthy of a special on CNN or FOX or any other major media network. Those men, women, children and families suffering persecution right now are experiencing the reality of following Christ and Christs promise that to follow Him was to live a life apart from everyone else and that you may be called to suffer for His namesake. Pray for the persecuted.
Oh poor things.. they can't procreate faster than those muslims. Pity them.
Go buy them a hot dog or something.
obviously prayer isn't working, otherwise it would have ended by now.
And there are many stories of persecution, all the time.
You heard about it from somewhere, didn't you?
Yet another moron who doesn't bother to read the many stories CNN has done on those topics, including the one below.
Why do Christians just lie like that? So many of you do it, just pull some "fact" out of your butt and claim it true? Okay, Neen says Jesus is a fart, so maybe all your religion emanates from your butt, but really . . .
Most of that suffering would stop if people dropped their silly belief's in things that can't be proven to exist.
nothing was said about christians persecuting others either, and there are plenty of examples of that around the world.
For their stupid beliefs alone they shoud be persecuted. Brothers and sisters my fanny. That's what they get for following a religion instead of using the brains god gave them. Or better yet, where is their "savior" when they need him the most?
The Christian god emanates from the ..... EVILbible.com ... (please visit this website)
So thank goodness the Christian ..... GODisIMAGINARY.com ... (visit this website too)
How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.
"Don't be stupid."
–This is the only phrase you'll ever need in life.
I'm chriatian or catholic or whatever, actually atheist but i do like the stories of jesus' time. they are like little aesop fables minus the talking animals. it's sad to see that christians of the now aren't just cruel and intolerable but how they originally appeared to be more atheist (or even hippy like) in their beginnings. if jesus did come down i bet even he would want to feed more than one gun toting christian or two to the lions. heck, i'd pay to see that.
To believe that the stories of Bible are actually true is to believe the Harry Potter stories as actually true. It works for children until age of 10. Beyond that you have to question the IQ and sanity of the believers.
Hippies are the latest incarnation of the KKK, who worship Ba'al.
Wow, John, psycho much?
It is the identical religion hippies and the KKK have, as the hippies were the klansman's children. Black history credits hippies with destroying the civil rights movement. You are welcome to the education.
For the word of the LORD [is] right; and all his works [are done] in truth.
" Black history credits hippies with destroying the civil rights movement. You are welcome to the education. "
Either delusional idiocy or over zealous trolling. Take your pick.
There really is no better way to humiliate yourself than claim hippies and the KKK were the same, or that hippies "destroyed" the civil rights movement. But it's very funny!
In the 1960s hippies were called "the dead and in hell", but modern populism teels a different tale of these devil worshippers.
Troll harder, JPT. This is certainly not your best work.
Christian values were a threat to the Roman economy, so of course they persecuted Christians. Any other notion is just a plain old lie.
An economic threat? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Eighty percent of the Roman cnoy as a competing eligion.
Care to try that again in English?
The editor does not allow the posting of the name of the Roman goddess, or her practices. She was 80% of the Roman economy.
A goddess was 80% of the Roman economy?
Are you really that stupid?
History is not your strong suit.
The bulk of the Roman economy was trade and agriculture, neither of which can be attributed to any goddess.
You have simply asserted something without even saying what it is, much less supporting it, then you go for lame ad hominem instead.
Diana worship was a major part of Roman trade and taxation.
Diana? You are really an idiot!
According to a belief passed down through the centuries, the church grew because of Roman persecution.
It wasn’t just how the early Christians died that inspired so many people in the ancient world; it was how they lived.
Actually, the truth is, the reason the church grew is NOT because of anything the Christians did, or survived. It is because of the spirit of the Lord.
God created the church, not man.
a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” - Acts 5
Nope. If humans just ignored it, your god would be a forgotten footnote. Humans did it, not god.
lol. No, thats not the way the world works, sorry. Human beings did it, not any god.
I'd recommend serious therapy but you sound too stupid to benefit from it.
I'm not smarter than everybody, but I'm definitely smarter than answer and Tom....I can only conclude from your childish posts
Well, look at that, Dickie Dawkins ran away. What a shock!
In tom's sad pleasure at thinking his cruel words have run another person off...what a sad existence you have little man. Perhaps he got bored and has a real life unlike you
I'm back. Did somebody finally come up with anintelligent counter argument?
Awww. Poor baby. As anyone who's been here longer than an hour knows, I'm female.
There's no "counterargument" needed, Dickie-poo, since you haven't presented an answer to the question put to you. Now run away again. You are really terrible at this.
What question was put to me...or maybe there was another poster using the name Dickie Dawkins. What was your question!
Go look for it. I can't help it you're a crummy reader.
Oh I get Tommie a gender reassigned I am cool with that
Fu tommy boy. You're not worth thr effirt
I can predict the future! Just watch: in a moment, Dickie will come back with the claim that he can't recall the question and isn't going to look for it because he's just not that interested or because he'd have to wade through pages of posts, etc.
But I still haven't seen any intelligent post by you Timmy boy
What a riot. " I win"". At what Tommie girl being an aaaaaazzzzz. Hole you are you are the winner!,
Too, too amusing. Really, I am chuffed and pleased at having outed the little trolls yet again. Dickie, you can go back to using your previous moniker now; no reason to pretend you're anyone else.
You've been outed.
Enjoy your spring break, kiddies! Back to 8th grade in a few days now! Better get your jollies while you can–it's the last quarter of the year and you've got to get those grades up!
Religious rejects, go suffer for your delusions and meet a street car face to face.
Good for you. Apparently that's really important to you. Restate whatever question you asked and ill respond. Don't be so scared
You still can't read? I've posted the question more than once. I'm not going to indulge you little turds again. Either go look for it and answer it, or find yourselves fully deserving of ridicule.
Here's a question for you religious tools.. why aren't you dead already?
Hey, there, Answer! A streetcar would be far too merciful and ending for these little teenybopper trolls.
The ridicule of an idiot doesn't bother me.
The ridicule that doesn't bother you and the number of posts that your christards pour out in your defense shows it.. really well. LOL
Of course it does or you wouldn't even have responded, sweetie-pie.
What do you estimate the ages of the twerps to be, Answer? About 15? Sixteen?
I like to encourage the fastest demise for their ilk. All they know are cars anyways.. that's why they love NAScar.
We can hurl insults at each other all day. The only point I've made in my posts is that atheism is a faith. Faith, by definition is a belief in an idea that can't be proven. Why don't one of you superior atheists explain how your belief doesn't fit that definition
The really sad thing is that they're so boringly bad at trolling. So obvious and clumsy.
And when I say faith a lot of atheists seem to confuse that with me calling atheism a religion.
Oh, please. You think you have a definition of something and that it makes you look like you have a big dick.
What a laugh.
Teeny boppers in about 16 – 23. Most definitely – they're the most retarded for this religion junk.
Still no intelligent response to my point tommy boy.
"And when I say faith a lot of atheists seem to confuse that with me calling atheism a religion."
There's that sh!tty writing again. Really, no wonder you're going to have to go to summer school.
It's funny that you question the maturity of other posters when your post are the most juvenile in this thread. Can you say ironic? Still no intelligent response from you. It's becoming clear you are not capable of one.
I know, Answer. They couldn't be much more clueless. They sort of remind me of the stupid fat feline in "Cinderella", trying to set some trap for the mice and confounded when they find themselves empty-handed–or is that empty-headed.
So why aren't you christards dead?
You retards haven't replied to it.
How is that shifty? faith and religion are two distinct things. Apparently that difference is to subtle for your limited intellect to grasp
Oooohh. The little Dick is mad now. Did I spoil your Easter hunt? Poor baby. You'll have to try to find some other prey, darling Dickie.
I never claimed to be a Christian. And we'll all be dead soon enough
Hey christards.. going to make you think for a bit. It'll be absolutely dreadful for ya.
You know the story of your st. peter and his post at the pearly gates?
What's the point of the gate? Who else also has a job in heaven? XD
That's just sad. You don't even recognize what was sh!tty about your sentence there, do you?
Wow. Your teachers must have a blast laughing at you in the faculty lounge.
I'm not mad. I'm just rationally pointing out your immaturity. Still no intelligent post from you
"And we'll all be dead soon enough"
No, you can't be dead soon enough to suit me.
Now you're just a bore and I have far better things to do than read some sh!twit's crummy posts. Try setting your little trap for your kid sister, dude. She might be dumb enough to fall for it.
You'll be dead soon enough.. and yet you cling to life. What for?
Go to your silly heaven. Ask your god to come down and fetch you. What are you waiting for?
***You have an excuse to stay or something? Some shiat saying that your god has plans yet for you? LOL
Really. Wishing death on another person because disagrees with your point of view? Now who's mad? How perfectly psycho of you.
Oh, that's not why, DICK. I don't wish death on you because I disagree with you–it's because you're so boringly stupid.
Wishing for your death.. nope. You couldn't be more wrong.
Just highlighting your opportunity to end it. You don't get it because you're an idiot.
You see that knife at the counter .. go ahead by all means. Do yourself in.
Your ticket is already approved, so why not today?
The one who is boring is the one who has nothing to offer but insults.
This "one" is offering insults because they're what you earned by being so thick-headed that you couldn't even manage to pose an intelligent question or provide an honest answer to one.
You deserve what you've gotten here-your ass handed to you.
So this is what you see as handing my ass to me. Any intelligent person who reads this thread will know that you are childish and have no insight into anything.
"Insight to anything" <<– LOL
Oh look at that. The troll wants to state "I'm better".
I wonder how hard it was for you "Richard" to come up with a nickname to use. And the reason, why, you're fascinated with Dawkins.
What Athiests go through, volume 1:
You and 2 of ur friends are in a car, and one of your friends drop a nasty S.B.D. (Silent but deadly)
You ask who farted, they both reply with "not me", all the sudden they hit u with a "Whoever smelt it dealt it", you hit them back with a "Whoever denied it supplied it" and the debate on who farted lasts the whole car ride, with no verdict determined.
Now you are angry. You're mad at yourself as well as your friends. You know one of them farted, you smelled it. You almost passed out & crashed the car because of it, but you are helpless. You then realize that you must accept the fact that no one farted, as they both denied it & there is no physical proof that that nasty smell was caused by your friend passing gas.
So in this story, god is the fart?
“Whoever denied it supplied it” LMFAO! Never heard that before. Filed away for future use.
Your fable is cute, but don't quit your day job.
That is indeed one of the ways that you can interpret the story. God as the fart. Hopefully now it made sense in your mind, and lets see your response if God plays out as the fart in this story! =D
BWA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
I can't believe a Christian used a fart as an analogy for Jesus! I mean, I agree, the whole Christianity thing is pretty farty, but . . .
Wait, I have to stop laughing. BRB.
Actually, most sane people would just open a window instead arguing about it.
It's generally frowned upon to let 12 year olds drive, anyway.
That is far too funny.
Glad u got a kick out of it brother!!
Why wouldn't a Christian be allowed to use a fart as an analogy of Jesus?
Is a fart frowned upon by God or society? Lol...
Akira, good way of drifting away from the point! I agree, most sane people would just open a window & keep driving!
It's not a good analogy though as everyone has evidence of the fart.
The difference with religion is that the bible is touted by many as the literal truth when much of the important stuff (the creation myth) is disproven and the majority of it is either impossible (Noah's story, Jonah's story, etc.) or unverifiable. So pushing a literal interpretation of the bible is a losing hand.
A fart can be demonstrated to be real...your imaginary friend can't be. It's such a 5 year old child like analogy.
Okay, so if an atheist said Jesus was a fart, you would freak out in PERSECUTED rage, but it's okay for you to do it.
Just admit to yourself that you just made a royal fool of yourself, change your handle to hide the fact that you are an idiot, and pretend it didn't happen. It's the Christian way.
In Santa we Trust,
Where is the proof of the fart? The smell? Are you know claiming that it is impossible to have a smell relevant to one of a fart without it actually being caused by a fart?
Kior, how are you making such a false claim? Do you know me to say what I would do if you called Jesus a fart?
You are making false claims buddy...not a great start to your 12 step Athiest rehab!!
I've said it before & ill say it again, I can care less if you guys believe in Jesus or not! Regardless I love u & will pray for you brother!!
Oh dear! Neener is going to digress into farty smells as a way of proving god. Someone with an IQ above Gump would just move on, but Neeny is going to run it into the ground.
You're comparing the beginning of the universe to a fart???
Go sit on the stupid bench with Dickie and Geesh and RATT.
Just remember that every time you fart, you are worshiping Jesus.
I am not drifting away from your point, Neen; I am just saying that when confronted with an odorous emission within a car, most sane people would simply roll down a window to let said emission escape.
And that the ones likely to use statements like "he who smelt it dealt it" and " he who denied it supplied it" arguments are likely to be 12 year olds, who are generally relegated to the back seat of a car instead of navigating it.
Every time I fart I do worship Jesus! I worship Jesus every chance I get!!
I love how you guys all focused on the fact that it was a fart rather than having the analogy process in your head & come up with an intelligent answer!!
Lets change the story up a little since you all are adults & the fart analogy was just too childish for you to come up with a smart answer...
Your wife/fiancé/girlfriend comes home after being gone for two hours & not answering your phone calls...
You ask her where she's been, she says at the mall & she forgot her phone in the car. Does this mean that she was for certain at the mall because you have no physical proof/evidence to prove otherwise?
Or how about,
A cop pulls you over & writes you a speeding ticket claiming that you were going 10 miles over speed limit. Does this mean that the cops claim is 100% true?
I have a million of them if you guys can't comprehend those analogies either.
Peace & Love!!
The problem is that those are false analogies. A true analogy would be four guys are in a car with windows rolled up, and one of them starts going on and an about the terrible smell of a fart, how horrible it is, OMG and all that, but the other three don't smell a thing, not even a hint of a fart. He keeps going on about it, but for all their sniffing, the others can't smell it. Then the guy says it is the worst leprechaun fart he ever smelled, and the owner really should have the car de-leprechauned.
Now you can ask if the fart was real, and use it as an analogy for religion.
Ahhh okay Leppo, I apologize that the analogy was not in proper format...so let me ask this...
Do you believe in aliens? Do you believe in Ghosts?
If you answered "No" & "no" then I can't blame you, as your thought process only consists of "I'll believe it when I see it"
So this means that aliens and ghosts don't exist.
So you stand firmly on there is no other life forms on any other planets because you don't see it.
I hope that the science that you rely on proves you wrong one day!!
Because I believe in aliens, but if any of you believe in aliens than your whole stand on religion is invalid, based on the little evidence of aliens existing.
That's a straw man fallacy.
You were doing better with the fart angle.
My friend to you, everything must be a fallacy. Lets see how far it gets you!!
You want PROOF of a BELIEF....I just don't understand how someone as educated as you would ask for PROOF for a BELIEF, instead of being happy & not judging people for what they believe in!! I can careless that u think we came from monkeys & you are in darkness forever!! Just like you were in darkness 1000 years ago when u didn't exist? o.O
Before u come back again trying to sound sophisticated please remember that it's called a belief for a reason. There is little evidence backing it up. But yet you keep asking for proof, like you know what happens when you die. Give me proof that your beliefs are correct.
What happens when u die??
..............don't worry, ill wait...
neen, it's a serious doctrinal error to say the lost are a Christian's brother.
Neen. "Where is the proof of the fart? "
You agreed that in your analogy god was the fart, so where's the proof of god?
Neen, Why do you believe in aliens if you have no evidence of them? Do you believe in unicorns, or Zeus, or Krishna, or Kokopelli? Why not? You have no evidence for or against, so why disbelieve. Don't you see the parallel? You believe in aliens and your god with no evidence yet discount other gods and mythical creatures with exactly the same evidence.
In Santa we trust: the moral of the story is the fart existed with no proof.
So you don't believe in aliens, that's cool & totally acceptable. But show me proof to show that they don't exist.
My point being, just like I can't show you proof to back my beliefs, you can't show me proof to prove otherwise! =D
The only eveidence for god is in the minds of believers.
and the hope that there is not a God is forever in the mind of the non-believers.
Happy Easter DE :)
Mark, actually no, atheists don't think of it one way or another, but thanks for playing. :)
That's why it's called faith.
Hey, I am only warming up period :)
You've been "warming up" for years now, Mark, with nothing more to show for it.
Just cause your arguments fall into dust is no reason to be upset. When Hitchens died and he thanked those of Faith for their prayers, even though he did not believe that they meant anything... and many of you Rabid Atheist lost your ever loving mind... your weakness was exposed as some of you just another hate group.
Oh, look. It's the Piddler, still writing like a high-school dropout and posting more manure than any barn ever saw.
Good grief lady, still unable to put together a argument, debate or a point. Just name calling over and over believing that you made a position.
Come on Pipers son.... or are we to just have a flame debate with just name calling on the playground.
...and yes, I gave up blogging for Lent :)
Go fvck yourself, you dimwitted dweeb. You're an ass.
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