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Christ was persecuted, but what about Christians?
Roman persecution of Christians was depicted in paintings such as "The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer" by Jean-Leon Gerome.
March 30th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Christ was persecuted, but what about Christians?

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.

Perpetua’s passion

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.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Easter • Faith • History • Jesus

soundoff (6,965 Responses)
  1. Live4Him

    What a blatant attempt to discredit Christianity just prior to a major Christian holiday! Let me address two quotes from this article to prove my claim.

    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

    Until you can enumerate the number of martyrdom stories and the number of real martyrdom stories, then you cannot advance a claim such as this.

    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.

    If the first statement is accurate then if falsifies the latter statement, but if the latter statement is accurate then it falsifies the first statement. One cannot systematically persecute Christians and at the same time NEVER systematically persecute Christians. So this entire story is based upon disinformation – a distortion of the truth.

    The reality is that Christians were systematically persecuted at times (as in the case of Nero) and at other times were treated like any other religious group. And the stories that survived came out of the times of persecution survived and (most likely) were embellished some. While some of the martyrs were fortunate enough to leave a written record (like Perpetua), most were not so lucky. Because of this lack of information, writers such as John Blake are free to disparage Christianity.

    April 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Lie4Him. "Until you can enumerate the number of martyrdom stories and the number of real martyrdom stories, then you cannot advance a claim such as this." And yet you claim the opposite! Based upon what evidence?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • John BlakeCNN

      Hi everyone. This is John Blake the author of the piece. I'm going to try to respond to come of the comments. As usual stories about religion stir up a lot of response. To one point, it's false to claim that Christians weren't persecuted when I gave an example of Nero roasting Christians aren't persecuted - well I don't follow the logic. The scholars and article never said Christians were never persecuted, just that they weren't constantly and systematically persecuted by Rome.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • John BlakeCNN

      Hi everyone. This is John Blake the author of the piece. I'm going to try to respond to come of the comments. As usual stories about religion stir up a lot of response. To one point, it's false to claim that Christians weren't persecuted when I gave an example of Nero roasting Christians aren't persecuted – well I don't follow the logic. The scholars and article never said Christians were never persecuted, just that they weren't constantly and systematically persecuted by Rome.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "The reality is that Christians were systematically persecuted at times"

      How do you come to this conclusion, Paul?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      *going to get some popcorn while Lie4Ever stumbles over his own tongue.*

      April 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      And......?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • What IF

      John Blake,

      I'm so glad to see that you are reading these comments and are willing to respond. Thank you.

      I hope that you can also be on the lookout for the insidious hijacker(s) - or technical SNAFU - which has infested another article ("Opinon [sic]: Hey Christians, be nice!") and has resulted in many pages and hundreds of posts being deleted.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @John Blake : To one point, it's false to claim that Christians weren't persecuted when I gave an example of Nero roasting Christians aren't persecuted – well I don't follow the logic.

      In your article, you stated both that there were NEVER systematic persecutions AND gave an example of systematic persecution. You wrote that Perpetua (and others) were persecuted because they converted to Christianity – i.e. they were systematically targeted because of their faith.

      @John Blake : The scholars and article never said Christians were never persecuted

      Your statement in the article was:

      The first Christians were never systematically persecuted by the Romans

      Were they systematically persecuted or not? You gave some examples of systematic persecutions: Nero in ~65 AD and Perpetua in 203 AD. At least the first category must be considered as belonging to the "first Christians". Would you like to amend your claim?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      LIe4Ever, why don't you define the word "systematic"? Maybe you aren't clear on what the author means by it. It wouldn't be the first time.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      Live4Him, the answer is:

      It doesn't matter. There is nothing to gain from this, other than knowing that the bible is a collection of myths. The end.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @John Blake,

      Mr. Blake, I'm impressed to see you enter the fray here, to try to address the inability of Christian apolgists here who are apparently unable to read and/or comprehend the written word because doing so upsets their world view.

      Well and bravely done sir.

      Stephen Colbert was 'spot on' in his use of "truthiness" for the beliefs of such people.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @The real Tom : why don't you define the word "systematic"?

      Synonym: methodical

      As in:

      Neros' goal (i.e. methodological) to eradicate Christianity.
      The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus had decreed that any new conversion to Christianity (i.e. a defined method) would result in death.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What makes you think that the author is incorrect, Lie4Ever?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If it was as systematic as you claim why wasn't there a specific law that made Christianity illegal? They tolerated Christians....to a point. They wanted Christians to follow the Pagan sacrifices, which granted the CHristians were opposed to. But "Christians" were not persecuted strictly on the grounds of being "CHristian".

      April 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "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."

      I don't see where you're getting anything from this that says the persecution was "systematic", Lie4Ever. DId Nero torture ALL Christians as described? How do you know?

      April 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers : But "Christians" were not persecuted strictly on the grounds of being "CHristian".

      Christians were persecuted simply for being a Christian during Nero's days.

      Tacitus (55-115 C.E.)
      The Annals, XV: 44
      Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. ... to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And what makes you think your sources are more valid than those cited in the article, Lie4Ever? Or did you put me on the Famous Lie4Ever I'm Ignoring you because I can't answer your questions" again?

      April 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Yes, Nero used them as a scapgoat. It was still not "illegal" to be CHristian, they were a marginalized group, there was not an attempt to eradicate them as you and current Christianity claim and imply. Hence the article....and boy does that have everyones undies in a bundle. This is common knowledge among scholars, both believers and non-believers, it is only controversial among the masses....hmmmm....what does that sound like? Evolution anyone?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Science

      Live 4 Him.................................................................... education works ................does it for you ?

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

      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

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

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

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

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

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

      Peace

      Please watch

      The African Rift

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

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

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

      And the missing link !

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

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

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

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

      April 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  2. David TX

    It's obvious Christians are under attack. Just look at all the nasty things that are said about our Christian President nearly every day on that Australian Rupert Murdochs yellow news show.

    April 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      We have a christian president? News to me. Anyway, it would seem that the most hateful statements I see are coming from christians themselves. I see it and I hear it on a daily basis.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  3. versolalto

    As a Christian I find this article very offensive. This is as if you wrote an article stating that the Jews grossly over exaggerate their persecution in the Holocaust. It is a naive claim that lacks substance. The early Christians were jailed, killed for not worshipping pagan gods, crucified, set on fire, roasted over spits, skinned alive and forced to burry their dead outside of the city in catacombs. To claim these events have been over exaggerated is to mock the very foundations of our faith. I ask that you would write a retraction of your claims.

    April 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      No one said there wasn't persecution, the statement is that it was overstated. Christians are not innocent when it comes to persecution – of different sects as well as Jews and Muslims, nor are they innocent of violence in the name of their religion.
      The history of christianity in Europe is the main reason why the founders wanted religious freedom and separation of church and state.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • John BlakeCNN

      Hi> I'm the author of the article. I'm trying to respond to some of the comments. Sorry you find the article offensive as a Christian. I"m puzzled, though, why you and other Christians are so offended by the article. The article never claims that persecution never happened, just that it didn't happen to the degree most people believe. Even the conservative scholars I talked to said the same: they admitted that a lot of the stories of persecuted Christians were tall-tales. That's history. I can't omit that from a story because I don't like it. I actually think the article is very affirming of early Christians because it points out that their love for others and the inclusive community they created was the it-factor that awed so many in the ancient world. a lot of people died for their religious beliefs in ancient rome, but not too many treated women, slaves, and the sick with so much love. What's not to like about that as a Christian?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • sam

      John makes a very good point, versolalto. Where is the actual offense coming from?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      John Blake, hey, thanks for stopping by. I'd like to answer your question and provide some insight.

      You see, as a former christian, I do not have a unique perspective, rather I simply understand why the prima donnas are easily offended. It lends to the persecution complex. Your article about persecution triggers at a subconscious level the need to be offended. Realistically, this has no bearing whatsoever in reality, as the bible has been proven to by nothing but mythological fables in the guise of a life instruction manual.

      Persecution can take place in any social settings. Look at the gays. They can't catch a break because of persecution from the religious. Self-important simpletons commonly hate anyone that isn't bound to the "moral" standards of verses such as Leviticus 20:13 which commands putting people to death that are not within the primitive social norms of living in caves and sacrificing goats and children and owning slaves. You know, holy, sacred things that all christians are required by biblical law to follow.

      Don't worry about a few of these types that get easily offended as though they're getting paid to be offended. They really don't know what it is they're talking about. I highly suggest writing an article that outlines the importance of reading a bible in order to understand why anyone would be stupid to believe in it.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • ME II

      @John Blake,
      Well said.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Striker

    Yes JMEF I do, God will save his people. God so loved the world that he gave up his one and only son, for whoever shall believeth in him will not perish but have everlasting life. Whats the point in being born and then dieing in a couple of years, that kind of life has no meaning. Serving a God full of love, and carying on in your daily lives treating others the same way, thats what life should be all about, not persecuting anyway, killing people, stealing, lieing. God wants everyone to make the right choices, but if you dont, you will be judged and punished.

    April 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • JMEF

      Not much of an omnipotent god that left out two thirds of the population. Why not knock up 100's of virgins all over the world and give everyone a chance at eternal life? Why just some jewish goat herders were given the chance to grab the brass ring? Face it Striker it just a myth, no god, no eternity and no crutch to help you live your life.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  5. Gabriel Zannu

    The heart of the Father is LOVE unmerited

    April 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      lol

      And now.... the logical explanation.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  6. CHICKEN DUMPLINGS ARE GOOD AND DELICIOUS

    @CHAD HEY DUDE YOU BEEN ON HERE FOR LIKE TWO YEARS SAYING THE SAME CRAP I FORGOT THEY HAD THIS BLOG AND HERE I AM AND YOU ARE STILL HERE SAYING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER MAN KEEP STRONG EVEN THOUGH EVERY ARGUMENT YOU CAME UP WITH TWO YEARS AGO THAT YOU ARE STILL USING HAS BEEN PROVEN WRONG TIME AND AGAIN IT IS PRETTY FUNNY BUT I GUESS THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS

    April 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Thomas

      @CHICKEN "HEY DUDE YOU BEEN ON HERE FOR LIKE TWO YEARS"

      @chad "what research have you done to make you believe this?"

      April 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Dippy

      Turn off your caps lock and learn some punctuation.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  7. DoctorKnow

    Probably the main reason Christians are not persecuted in the USA, is that the most armed group of people on planet earth are American Christians. Game on.

    April 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Which is why I maintain a good ar-se-nal myself. No one is safe in a country where so many people are so prone to willing self-delusion.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Akira

      I'm thinking that guaranteed religious freedom has something to do with it.

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

      Doc, what is your "doctorate" in?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • DoctorKnow

      The real Tom, Not English. :-)

      April 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • dat@

      The most free country has the most 'delusional' leaders?

      The pilots, scientists, doctors, government leaders you trust your life with – are all delusional?

      Sure it isn't you?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • The real Tom

      No sh!t, Sherlock. It's not in the sciences, either, or you wouldn't post such inane drivel.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • DoctorKnow

      The real Tom, You certainly do not have a doctorate in mathematics. You lack that rigor except in finding typos. Yes. I have a problem typing s for some reason every once in awhile. Why do you make a big deal out of it, call me names, and then ask for my qualifications? I am a Computer Scientist. The computations of the evolutionists are in error. DNA is a discrete code making it more in my field than the biologists. DNA is a digital code more sophisticated than any human created code. It was designed.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      DoctorKnow, As I said before your probability calculation was flawed. DNA, common descent over billions of years, distribution, etc. all show that evolution happened unguided. The probability may be low but it clearly happened. You'll need to provide evidence of a god and that that god guided evolution to have a point. I haven't seen evidence of either.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • DoctorKnow

      In Santa we trust, Billions of years does not help. The basic building blocks of DNA break down in UV, H2O, and O2. No where on earth will you find a place where even the building block could form. Billions of years means trillions of catastrophic errors. Your post says it all: "The probability may be low but it clearly happened." It is not just a low probability, it is in the clearly impossible level. Winning the lottery for thousands of years is not a valid theory.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • The real Tom

      " It was designed."

      No, that is your opinion, Docknownothing. Not fact. If it were fact then all scientists would be in agreement on it. They aren't. You lose.

      Evolution is occurring; it has occurred in the past and it will continue to occur.

      You can wail on and on about it being impossible, but you'll still be bloviating nothing but opinion. Oh, and "computer science"? Hardly a field that makes you an expert on evolutionary theory. Thanks for the laugh, dude.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It is so amusing when Chad, Doctordoofus, and others get on here and proclaim that THEY KNOW exactly this or that and that they are correct and have the only possible explanation for whatever it is they're bloviating about. It's just so cute that they honestly believe that every OTHER scientist or theologian who disagrees with them is just wrong! What friggin' egos!

      If your assertions were irrefutable, you ding-dongs, then EVERYONE would be on board and agree with your thinking. They aren't. They don't. You're not the end-all and be-all and quite frankly, if you have to get on here to make your point, it suggests no one in real life takes you for much more than a joke.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  8. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Well this topic has legs – almost 5,000 posts in almost 39 hours – a sustained average of slightly more than 2 posts per minute.

    Any whiff of a criticism of the accuracy of the evolving Christian mythology (in this case martyrdom) is met with a deluge of opprobrium.

    I wonder how many of the 5,000 posts add something unique or interesting to the discussion?

    It makes a refreshing change from the latest doings of the new Pope anyway.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Criticizing religion = Persecution.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Just like this guy:

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/31/world/africa/egypt-host-questioned/index.html

      He's pretty funny by the way.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I agree non-GOPer,

      The question I keep asking, and are not getting a response to, is what do Christians think about early CHristian vs Christian persecution and how that had a drastic impact on what current Christians believe about Jesus and god...

      April 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      opprobrium? You've added something new to the discussion... never heard that word before.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • snowboarder

      criticism = persecution? in what universe.

      talk about the definition of ent itled, christians scream persecution when removed from their pedestal in society and relegated to the same status as all other religions.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @BATC,

      Indeed so.

      there was a poster last night who claimed that "Catholics persecuted Christians". Apparently he was serious, since he clarified that "at the time Catholics were 'no longer Christian'" or some other apostate nonsense.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Catholics persecuted Protastants, but that was much later, but they were both Christians. I read a book called "Jesus Wars". It was a fascinating book because I didn't know a lot about early Christian theology and how it evolved. It is a book all Christians should read because it deals strictly with the history of the faith and does in no way imply which theology was/is correct.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @BATC

      The history of the Christianity through the first millenia is fascinating – even up until the time of the Muslim conquest.

      Even with Constantine's efforts to define the orthodoxy of Christianity in the 4th century, there were so many different beliefs – mostly varying on the nature of the divinity of Christ which ultimately led to lots of persecution in the Byzantine empire to schismatic groups that did not follow the Chalcedonian doctrine of the Greeks.

      As an example there is one scholarly opinion that groups like the Egyptian Copts aided and abetted the Muslim conquest of Egypt because the Muslims (at that time) were prepared to not interfere with their faith – unlike their Byzantine Greek imperial masters who had replaced the Coptic Patriarch with a Greek one.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Non-GOPer,

      That is exactly what the book deals with, the "nature" of Christ and the religious wars, both political and physical, that shaped their doctrine of faith. One thing I found really interesting is that one conclusion the book came to is that these "faith wars" had a direct impact on the fall of the Roman Empire because the gov't had to deal with the internal struggle and the external enemies had to take a back seat in importance or at least drastically distracted the leadership. This may be old hat to you, but it was something that is not addressed in the history I was taught.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @BATC,

      I agree.

      Culturally we in the west are fixated on the development of western European culture and we are taught to think of the fall of Rome as the beginning of the 'dark ages'.

      Generally we don't get to learn the history of the Levant (since it is considered oriental rather than occidental history) and part of Eastern Orthodox traditions, rather than the Roman traditions we inherited.

      With globalization and the most recent rise of militant Islam (history repeats here) the history of the Levant is much more important than ever. It is complex and requires a level of sophistication that I don't think it can be reasonably be taught in high school – can you imagine getting a discussion on the political impact of monophysitism in the Byzantine empire and how it enabled the Muslim conquest through the Texas School Board? ;)

      April 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I understand that it is too complicated to be taught in K-12 but I have a college degree, I should have at least a concept of the histoical impact of the events.

      And thanks for teaching me a new term "Levant".

      I think the idea that the "nature" of Christ was ever a question or that it has had a huge impact on current events is such a minefield (this article is a perfect example) that it is, and has been, ignored. I now know more about this (and my understanding is rudimentary) than my educated Christian family and friends. It is obvious Christianity would rather not address its own history....which is very telling in and of itself.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @BATC,

      yes, that's the problem – in college you choose what you want to learn. Unless you have a liberal arts degree with at least a minor in oriental history even a college education won't cover this stuff.

      Even then, unless people are interested (or even aware) they won't choose to learn the real history and stick to the 'received myth'. (Of course it's no different with American history either.)

      April 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I have often said, education is at least as much about realizing what we don't know, as it is about learning about what we do know.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  9. Male Cheerleader

    I think it's totally unfair that we get picked on. We are a needed part of an athletic team and if we get picked on then it shows we must be doing our job right providing cheer for the team getting the masses off their asses!! Who's with me!! Gimme a "P!" gimme an "E!" gimme an "R!" gimee a "SECUTION!" whats that spell?

    But seriously, why is everyone so mean to me. I'm a hard working normal guy and everyone at school smirks when they see me. What did I do wrong? It's like i'm living in their world but apart from it, separated by my spirit. But they have to know something, they can tease me, they can call me names and they can throw empty Caprisun packets at me but they will not break my spirit! They will not silence my cheer! They just further fuel my passion to do whats right and lift my squad and everyones hearts to the sky!! Yeah!

    April 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Thomas

      lol, very funny :)

      April 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Wasn't this a Will Ferrel skit?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Interesting gambit that the Ratzinger would retire and almost all the bad press dries up as they appoint the new guy, Franky a Jesuit. Seems to have worked quite well, Billy.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Isaac

    Good article but there was a slight mistake I think......“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...... I've never seen it in any version of the bible where it says the Romans decided to crucify Jesus most text i have read give of the idea that the Romans actually wanted nothing to do with the killing of Jesus. It always seems like it was the exact opposite seemed like they wanted to aviod an uprising because of how long a complete military responds would have taken. If the Jews had revolted Rome would have surely crushed them but not at first and perception of lost of control in a region would have mean big problems

    April 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "If the Jews had revolted Rome would have surely crushed them"

      As indeed they did – in about 66 – 73CE.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      The Romans were terrified by the riots begun by John the Baptist in Judah (120,000 Magis killed) and Paul of Tarsus in Ephesis. Paul's riot disrupted a major revenue generator for Rome. They did not want any more trouble and just wanted these folks to chill.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @Issac,
      " I've never seen it in any version of the bible where it says the Romans decided to crucify Jesus..."

      First, the article is based on more than just the Bible. Second, it stated "the Romans wouldn’t have crucified him" not that they decided nor wanted to but that they did crucify him. Third, that was just one professor's opinion, Liftin.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Paul

      Only Rome had the authority to crucify. If it were up to the Jewish leaders they'd have stoned him and Christians everywhere would be wearing rocks around their necks.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  11. Rob

    What strikes me is why so many non-believers feel the need to attack Christianity and the follower so Christ. If you do not belive so what.....

    Why so much effort is spent trying to convince Christian believers we are wrong I don't understand. You don't have to agree with our beliefs...but why you are convinced it is ok to disparage, demean, and minimize our beliefs is odd. I do wish, though, non-believers would be as respectful and tolerant of Christianity as they claim to be with regard to other religions. Our beliefs do not harm you or anyone else....and they are simple.

    We believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob...the God of David. The God who loved his people so much he came to walk among them in the personage of Jesus Christ. Who continues to guide his people via the Holy Spirit.

    And yes... we believe to not accept Christ will separate you from God and you will spend eternity in hell. We also believe, as it is written in our Bible (and yes these are sacred texts as sacred as texts for any other religion so please be respectful) Israel is the chosen people of God.

    So the fundamental question remains. If my beliefs in God as a Christian are so rediculous why is so much time spent by secular individuals spent trying to discredit them to validate their own.

    Just wish the ever vocal left practiced the tolerance and respect they claim as a core value....

    April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      The same can be said of the followers of the HeyZeus. Who most likely did not exist. Stop spreading "the word." It is false. We don't want to hear anymore about it.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      By the way, it's not just the left that's sick of it. It's everyone. The bible has been proven to be a work of fiction.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • sam

      Sure, Rob. No problem. Justtell your friends to stop trying to make christianity the law of the land, and things will get easier.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      If fundamentalists were not trying to influence US law based on their ridiculous beliefs, everything you said would be correct. But they are. And therefore, the bases of their claims need to be examined.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Rob

      Why attack my views? Am I not governed by the same laws of the land that allow my opinion to be expressed? Don't like them...don't read them.

      Truth is those who disagree with Christianity just cannot wait to try and prove their superiority through cheap shots and belittling of others.

      Never do any of you want to have true dialogue....

      April 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "Why attack my views?"

      Why interrupt our silence with your views if you don't want them criticized?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • { ! }

      @Brown Note FYI, a good way "not to hear about it" is to stay away from the CNN Faith blog. Its astonishing how many atheists this simple fact does not occur to. You think that the message is false? THis must be the old "lack of evidence" schtick. But here is something that is true: all scientists know that an experiment has to be designed. How would you design an experiment to verify God? Would such evidence be available to you? Would you recognize evidence if you found it? Would you understand the evidence if you recognized it? What would be admissible as evidence?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      i do not care what you believe. i do care when believers use those beliefs to deny other their civil rights. When someone bloviates empty proxy threats, I like to tell them to fvck off

      April 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Rob

      Ya'll don't seem very silent to me.

      Aren't you trying to influence the US with you own views and agenda. Am I just supposed to cower to your views because you put exclamation points at the end of a sentence....really!

      April 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "How would you design an experiment to verify God?"

      The rational world has been waiting with bated breath for CENTURIES to see a single religionist answer this question.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Thomas

      "Never do any of you want to have true dialogue...."

      I wonder why? Maybe because your "true dialogue" consists of you tell us that this is the way it is because it says so in the bible and there is no compromising God's laws so we MUST adopt your opinions or we get no support from you and your followers. We have seen this at work in Congress and we can see how well that is going.

      We will have any debate you would like over things you are willing to actually accept when you lose. To hold the position that any debate you have you win because you have a divine operative that can never be wrong even when he is you just stand up and say "Our understanding of that is flawed so however the bible said it may not be what it meant but it's never ever wrong, someone go back to translating and interpreting it till we figure out a way around it's errors, er, i mean, misunderstood or mistranslated passages..."

      April 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • What IF

      {!}

      – An omniscient "God" would know *precisely* what proof is acceptable to each and every one of us individually.

      – An omnipotent "God" would be able to provide it.

      – An all-loving "God" would do so for all of us, equally, and not this ambiguous trail of breadcrumbs, some of which, if followed, lead right off of a cliff.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      Evidence?

      lol

      The evidence that the bible is false is the bible itself. READ IT.

      As for the myth of a deity. Sure, I'd believe if I had evidence. The evidence I'd need to see? The deity itself. Maybe we could settle on a miracle? Oh, I don't know, maybe an amutee's limbs growing back?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Rob

      But that is just it. Why do I need to design an experiment to prove God exists? I already believe He is real, that He exists. What if...and this is just a leap...what if my faith in God has nothing to do with you. What if my expressing this belief is simply an outward manifestation of the joy I live in through knowing I will spend eternity in his presence. What if it has nothing to do with you at all?

      But as is the case with most of these posts, non-believers really don't want to hear any dissenting views. You just want people to cower, jump on the politically correct Christianity bashing train, or spend our days proving and apolgizing. Well I tell you NO to all of it.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Wm.

      Rob:
      Are you really surprised that non-Christians might be hostile to you and your co-religionosts? I think for some, it may well be your theology that they find disagreeable.
      For others, it is how your faith plays out in the public sphere. Gandhi was reported to have said the following: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
      Most non-Christians could care less how Christians live their private lives. I'm one of those. If it works for you, helps you get through your 'dark nights of the soul,' good for you What many are afraid of are fundamentalists (I don't care what kind) trying to create a theocratic U.S.
      Closing on a personal note: Thoeologically, what bothers me the most about fundamentalist Christianity is it's simplistic insistance on a pass/fail creedal test. No subtlety, no compassion, no mercy. You want to be loved? Show us you are loving.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • mk

      MAYBE, Rob, just maybe atheists get tired of being called hopeless, soulless, sinners, immoral, lost, unloved, heathens, satan, mindless, aimless, doomed, unspiritual, lowlifes, despairing, unhappy, unchosen and treated like lepers. You may say that YOU personally have never treated anyone like that or said anything like that. But you know full well, as a whole, this is the general consensus among Christians.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Rob, if you don't like it when atheists ridicule your posts, maybe you should write like someone who made it through a couple of years of high school English. You sound like a hick.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Naked Man

      I believe i'm invisible. I know that if I take off all my clothes and head to the local mall no one can see me. However, I remind myself how I ought to be humble so I keep my invisibility to myself at home where it belongs just incase i'm not as invisible as I believe myself to be. Doh! A lack of faith will certainly ruin my invisibility skills....

      April 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Rob

      And still continues with the idea that if you belittle me I will go away, if you humiliate me I will be quiet, if you attack I will disappear....oh wait, if you perscute me through belittling, humiluation and fear I will go away and be quiet. So you can live in your world of self importance without accountability except through your own views.

      The only dialogue that is wanted is for me to agree with you. What you also really want is a verbal fight so you can then go down the road of calling me an uncompromising fanatic. Well let me go ahead and take you there....I AM AN UNCOMPROMISING FANATICAL SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST. If that makes me a hick and all of the other derogatory statements made then so be it. Because on that day I stand before my God and give an accounting of my time in this life he will know that I stood for Him, I did not deny Him, and as for me and my house we serve the Lord.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Super Stish Us?

      I know you all make fun of me when I throw salt over my shoulder and knock on wood but you people have no idea the risks you are taking. If you do not scare away the wood demons that reside in any wood products and they overhear you talking about something you will do in the future they will without a doubt try to stop you from accomplishing that goal. And what about not blinding the demons with salt who follow us around and cause all the bad things to happen in our lives? So what if the people at the table behind me don't appreciate some extra aerial seasoning? And they better not complain because it's my right as an American to push my superstltions in everyone elses face and get upset if anyone asks me not to!

      April 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Rob

      "Just wish the ever vocal left practiced the tolerance and respect they claim as a core value"
      This statement reveals your own bias and close-mindedness. I know atheists who are far right on many things, and I know Christians who are very far left. Do you even want any kind of discussion? It doesn't really seem so.
      Are you actually interested in why non-believers will speak out about Christianity?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Rob, The Babble is a crappy piece of fiction and you don't have a shred of evidence for your god, the jesus myth or that The Babble is the word of any god. Feel free to shove The Babble up your azz. You just got all the respect your delusions deserve.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • John

      {!}, setting up experiments would be easy, but you'd get only belief from the one that participated, and hardly anyone else. The same disbelief you see towards the bible accounts, is exactly what you'd see for present day accounts... except that those that participated would be labeled liars, lunatics, or dreamers, hypnotized, gullible, prompted.... or possibly witches, space aliens, equipt with special transmittors and receivers, poorly designed experiments, etc... it all becomes pointless, because the bible has accounts right now that can be believed. It really comes down to what someone wanted, rather than what the truth is.

      The people that don't believe today, won't believe tomorrow either, even after proof today. Anything right, becomes a coincidence, even when beyond astronomical for chance of it occurring... or a magic trick. If someone describes the contents of a room they've never seen, they become a liar if they get it right. Even close relatives would claim they're having a mental problem rather than believe they simply said the truth.

      Why?

      Because if someone doesn't want something to be true, they look for anything to help them feel better about denying it being true. For that, the answer is simple, if someone doesn't believe the bible accounts, fine. Argue with God later, tell him how you didn't think it was enough, that each and every time he did something logged in the bible, it wasn't enough for you... God wasn't enough for you.

      God is more than enough for me, and I thank him for creating the universe, and sending Jesus to die for our sins.

      April 2, 2013 at 4:10 am |
    • Rob

      Amazing that there so many vocal and nasty voiced non-believers. Mostly though, you all seem to be a load of cowardly bullies. Never do any of you speak so crudely and with such vile against other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, or others. All of these other religions have teachings that certains values, beliefs, and actions must be practiced in order to move into a better after life. And yet it is with Christianity and believers that you all seem to find your voice. Sad pitiful little voices that they are.

      Here is a news flash...I am not worried whether you believe or not. Salvation is a personal choice and once you have heard the choice to be made it all rests on you...go to hell or not...just not my concern. But as much as you criticize me, I will not stand quietly and let you shove your own values on me and the America I live in. As much as you say you raise your voice against Christ I tell you mine is raised higher and louder because it is through His power that it is raised. No matter how much you take to the predictable tactics of abusive verbal behavior we (THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST) will never go away. As a matter of fact, what will be more evident is that we will and do prosper in your midst. In spite of all that you attempt to do to deter and minimize us.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Religion is in decline in modern countries. The only place it is growing is in developing, under educated, countries with high birth rates. It's only a matter of time before the USA becomes a modern country.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Rob

      So....lack of a religion is a criteria to be considered modern???? Really?

      April 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  12. Rjcousin

    Next we are going to hear that the supporting facts are that they unearthed relics that suggest that the Coloseum was built for ancient basketball games and monster chariot races.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Akira

      The coluseum wan't built for persecuting Christians, if that's what you are insinuating.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      The coleseum was built with traesure looted from the Temple in Jerusalem in 69 AD; using 100 princes of Israel as archatechs.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Doobs

      "archatechs"? LOL!

      April 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I caught that one, too, and laughed hysterically. What a tard.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  13. Cyn

    There are many examples of why people hate Christians in these comments.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rjcousin

      Which is why Obama is hedging his bets by being both a Muslim /Christian right? Oh wait... then that would mean that the Athiests would STILL not be able to like him.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • The Brown Note

      I'm an atheist. And I don't dislike obama. I don't particularly care for some of his policies, but that's about the extent of my feelings toward the guy.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Obama is a Christian. Implying otherwise is silly.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  14. Jason

    Perpetua and Felicty are Catholic Saints. And by the way Jaana persectuion of the President is most evident from the Right wing pulpit of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and all the other false prophets of the Republican world.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  15. DoctorKnow

    It is very interesting that the article does not talk about modern day persecution of Christians in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Iran and other countries. Or what about the massacres of Christians in communist countries in the 20th century?

    April 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      Specific events and sources please.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • DoctorKnow

      Lebanon use to be mostly Christian, and now it is run by Hezbollah. Christians were killed and driven out of their own country.
      http://en.wikipedia.Org/wiki/History_of_Lebanon
      Iran, a Christian pastor was sentence to death for converting from Islam to Christianity.
      Source = http://www.foxnews.Com/world/2012/02/22/iran-court-convicts-christian-pastor-convert-to-death/

      April 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      Thank you for pointing out some good examples of why we need to rid the world of religion. You nutters can't help but massacre people based on your delusions.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      What massacres in communist countries?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Drknow
      The guy that was sentenced to death violated the law willingly. By their law he is a criminal and being punished for it. Not really persecution when you williingly violate the law and FORCE the law to take action. He deserves it.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • dat@

      It has been estimated that in less than the past 100 years, governments under the banner of communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 to 259,432,000 human lives.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7mxmxllRNyUAVPRXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1NGdyZjJtBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA01TWTAwNl8xMjA-/SIG=126ugei89/EXP=1364866790/**http%3a//www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/%3fid=50143877n

      April 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  16. TC

    I must say it is a balanced article but the need to argue over the level of persecution is unnecessary. If the persecution would have been too great then Christianity would have been snuffed out – people needed to see the positivity for it to grow.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Romans must have seen lots of positive stuff in the other cults too, because they were pretty popular for a while too. Once Christianity became legal they persecuted the hell out of everyone else. That's how they survived!

      April 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  17. Bob

    Vic has insisted on dumping bible bile on us today by the truckload, so it's time to take a look at what is really in his Christian book of nasty, from both OT and NT:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    April 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      How many names do you want to use? We know its just u already or u r getting very lonely!

      April 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • TC

      An atheist using the Bible to make their point is like a criminal using the law – you don't understand it and you don't believe in it. Mostly an athiest can only point to specific sentences that support their view, you remain incapable of taking it all into proper context.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • CONTEXT!!!!

      @ Numbers 31:17-18
      Destroying entire populations in warfare was a practice that occurred throughout most of the ancient world, and by no means was limited to Israel. The Midianites, the Amorites, the Canaanites and whomever else the Lord gave license to completely destroy themselves more than likely employed the same measures against their own enemies that they conquered in war.

      The whole of the law is do unto others as you would have them do unto you, if the midianites (for instance) can wipe out an entire population of their own enemies in warfare, than it is only just that the same can be done to them. An eye for an eye.

      Israel is also here fighting against them because they are idolaters who turned from worshipping the true God, and this is also a means of executing punishment on them. When Israel forsook the Lord's commandment they themselves were treated like the midianites and the people they had driven out, and were put to the sword by foreign conquerers just as they had done to others.
      -

      These aren't laws written for us! It is a history – truthful history – even the ugliness is shown.

      God sometimes has to allow an evil to happen for a greater good to eventually occur.

      How would you deal with humans that murder and r@pe each other? That was a different time then we live in today.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Akira

      I have only ever seen Bob use "Bob".
      How many names do you use, Atheist, me?

      April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      TC, atheists understand your book better than you do. Your "context" is delusion.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • CONTEXT!!!!

      Context is so important. If these verses say what the atheists claim – wouldn't they have been taken out of the Bible?

      I understand why atheists post these and make their claims. I used to feel the same way. But once I learned more about it I got a better understanding of their meaning.

      You gotta read the words before and after, too!

      April 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Tommy

      All human life belongs to God. Therefore, God can command that lives be taken, even of women and children. The Israelites, though, were a special case in that a certain harshness was necessary to establish the Jewish Faith and people in order to prepare for a Messiah to save the whole world. Because of the sinfulness of the world at that time, and because the pagan religions did much more harm than good, it was necessary for some tribes of peoples to be destroyed by the Israelites at the command of God.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • jjm.g

      bob, I am genuinely sorry you have been so misled about the scriptures and who is and who is not a God. there are so many answers I can give to your ??s but there are so many let me just say this. if you are sincere about finding answers I would love to help, just let me know which answers you want now and lets take them one or two at a time but there are answers to all your ??s. I really hope you will give me a chance to help you find what the Bible really teaches and it will not cost you anything but a little time, jg

      April 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • End Religion

      Tommy, you're an idiot. Might does not make right. Just because you assert one *can* kill everybody doesn't mean it is moral to do so. That you choose to worship an immoral pedophile says a lot about your character.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Tommy

      Jesus is an immoral pedophile?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bob

      As to the silly comments some of you have made about "context" and "more study required", again I say, and some of you should read more carefully:

      If you disagree with my interpretation (and it is sincerely how I interpet the text), ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      April 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  18. Rjcousin

    CNN can't resist bashing Christianity or portraying it as something fake..... why??? Why don't they ever step up and criticize Allah or Mohammad???? Because there would be hell to pay that's why.

    No wonder their ratings are lower than whale crap.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      Because Christianity is a fraud, just like Allah and Mohammad. Did you know Mohammad and your God are also pedophiles? Religion is some creepy stuff...

      April 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      End Religion
      You must be very tired!

      April 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Rjcousin

      and if this is all made up... how can you say that God and Mohammad were pedophiles?

      April 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      RJ, you're catching on! Take your pick: either they're false, or the books are right and you worship pedophiles. Choose wisely.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • sam

      Ermahgerd!!! Adding extra punctuation!!!!!!!!!!!! tells everyone how much you mean it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chuckles,
      "It's sort of funny that I have to tell a 'loving christian' that slavery and racial discrimination are immoral. Makes you wonder how loving a christian really is when they debate on the side of 'pro-slavery'"

      For a minute there I was wondering if Chad was going to trot out the "they are better off as slaves" argument.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • ME II

      previous post was a mistake and is reposted in the previous comment below.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Conger"? A conger is a genus of marine congrid eels.

      Really, fred, it's hard not to laugh when you start trying to pretend you're some sort of scholar.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      how can someone do 'evil' before they know what 'evil' is?

      April 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  19. Chad

    @Blessed are the Cheesemakers "you would worship an immoral being "

    =>you say that all the time

    how in the world would you back up that statement? What does the God of Israel do that is "immoral"?

    April 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • meifumado

      Hmmm..

      tell people to sacrifice their own children, tell people they will eat their own children.

      There's plenty more.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      meifumado
      You are dumb!

      April 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "tell people to sacrifice their own children, tell people they will eat their own children."

      =>what???

      are you supposed to be talking about Christianity?

      The level of misinformation amongst atheists is astonishingly high..

      April 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad, questions like this make me wonder why I ever said you were a smart guy. On one hand your god tells you killing is a sin – period – no modifiers, then he tells his followers to wipe out entire populations (plus their livestock as an added bonus).

      Come on, the guy r@ped his own mother. You can dance and spin and "hermeneutic" it all you want but the dude you choose to worship is an immoral prîck, and you're a reprobate for not being able to see that or to chalk it up to "he's god he can do what he wants."

      April 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      You interpret the bible according to the Christian apologetics web sites that you cut and paste from and you shape your reality to fit that narrative. People that do not accept the bible than other than fiction based on myth interpret the story differently. Why do you insist that everyone see the world as you do when even the minority, Christians, can not even agree with how they interpret the bible?

      April 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @End Religion "On one hand your god tells you killing is a sin – period – no modifiers"
      @Chad "actually, that is incorrect.. more misinformation on your part.
      God said murder is wrong, that is distinguished from killing.

      An extremely important distinction to understand..

      ======
      @End Religion " then he tells his followers to wipe out entire populations (plus their livestock as an added bonus)."
      @Chad "see above re distinction between killing and murder."

      ======
      @End Religion "Come on, the guy r@ped his own mother"
      @Chad "your misunderstanding of Christian doctrine is really appalling.. Please do some reading on the "immaculate conception" you have apparently crossed your wires with some other religion.."

      ====

      so, with this new understanding, please indicate how in the world you can claim that God of Israel is immoral?

      April 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      rotflmao

      so much for objective morality.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • meifumado

      Deuteronomy 28:53-57
      Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you. Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities. The most gentle and sensitive woman among you – so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot – will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For she intends to eat them secretly during the siege and in the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in your cities.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • meifumado

      "Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. And he shall s.natch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm." - Isaiah 9:19-20

      April 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • meifumado

      "And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them." - Deuteronomy 28:57

      April 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • I wonder

      @Chad "your misunderstanding of Christian doctrine is really appalling.. Please do some reading on the "immaculate conception"

      No, you need to look up what the "immaculate conception" refers to.

      (*hint: it's not the legend of the virgin birth)

      April 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Your logic is flawed. Asking the quesion "How is god immoral" can't be answered according to you because god "created" morality and thus can't be immoral based on his own scale. If we take the objective view and try to apply morality based on current American tradition god is immoral in a number of ways. Based on his actions alone, he kills people based solely on their religious beliefs, condones sla.very and ra.p.e under certain conditions, and is a dead beat dad (impr.egnating a woman outside of wedlock and then allowing his son to be raised by another man).

      Since you base your morality on gods scale, you are blinded and not objective when actually judging gods actions. Like others of your faith you rely on god doing the terrible things he's done as something for the greater good and any perc.eiv.ed evil is actually good given enough time and hin.dsi.ght.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • meifumado

      Deuteronomy 21:18-21

      18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      @meifumado said, "tell people to sacrifice their own children"

      Did God not tell Abraham to sacrifice his own child? Is it not viewed as good that he was willing to do so? How is that moral?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @MEII

      The God of Israel demands blind obedience.

      Sounds like North Korea's succession of 'Dear Leaders".

      April 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad = sophistry derived from solipsism.
      Chad is hopelessly ignorant or hopelessly disingenous...My thanks to Redzoa.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "tell people to sacrifice their own children, tell people they will eat their own children."

      @Chad "what??? are you supposed to be talking about Christianity?

      @meifumado "Deuteronomy 28:53-57 Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you"

      @Chad "ah, ok, good opportunity for me to clear up a complete misunderstanding that you have.

      God is not commanding anyone to do anything there, he is merely telling them what will happen as a result of being besieged by neighboring peoples (which was done as judgement).

      so, God knows before hand what will happen, and is telling Israel this.
      He is not commanding anyone to do anything..

      April 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Did God not tell Abraham to sacrifice his own child? Is it not viewed as good that he was willing to do so? "
      @Chad "Yes (of course knowing that He wouldnt allow it to complete).
      It is viewed as good that Abraham was obedient.

      The God of Israel, NOWHERE, commands human sacrifice.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "Your logic is flawed. Asking the quesion "How is god immoral" can't be answered according to you"

      @Chad "no..
      I cant be demonstrated, but you can (but wont) provide an answer to it.

      how do you claim that God is immoral??

      so far, it has been based on misunderstanding of the biblical text..

      April 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad, you have explained away nothing. You can dance and spin and "hermeneutic" it all you want but the dude you choose to worship is an immoral prîck, and you're a reprobate for not being able to see that or to chalk it up to "he's god he can do what he wants."

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

      @Chad
      "Yes (of course knowing that He wouldnt allow it to complete)."

      Are you saying that Abraham knew he wouldn't have to kill his own son? What obedience is there in that?

      "The God of Israel, NOWHERE, commands human sacrifice."
      Oh, He commanded it alright. He may have stopped it but He did command it.

      Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” ( Gen 22:2)

      April 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Chad

      @End Religion

      what I see from most atheists, and you are an excellent example, is a desire to make God into something you want Him to be, but are unable to do so using the bible.
      That's why you continuously advance utter nonsense that no serious atheist historian would even dream of claiming..

      April 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Did you not read the latter half of my post? I showed you exactly where he's being immoral according to American standards. That first part was merely pointing out your bias and why you believe god to be completely moral because you think god created morality. It's easy to be moral when you judge youreslf based on your own scale.

      The instances I referenced above are not misunderstandings but just statement of fact. If god were to be judged by modern American standards, he would be judged very immoral. It's only by convincing his followers that his immoral acts are moral that you come to believe that we are somehow misunderstanding gods evil acts and that if we only read the bible again we'd somehow see that when he killed all the first born of egypt, or impregnated a married woman and left her with a kid or that he's fine with slavery under certain conditions as good things.

      We do not and it's high time you don't let god get away with it either.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @End Religion,

      as an example, lets look at this complete nonsense claim on your part that the God of Israel had a physical union with Mary.

      A. That is nowhere in the bible, in fact it specifically says that is NOT the case
      “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Luke 1

      In fact, we know that no human can even see the God of Israel and survive.
      You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live Exodus 33

      B. so, where are you getting this idea from? and why do you cling so persistently to it?
      that's the weird part, I can only as.sume that you simply are unwilling to give up that misunderstanding as the truth would be to much in conflict with your incorrect world view, and you simply have to much invested in it.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • meifumado

      So god saying it will happen is not him commanding it?

      So why did he not say instead that a herd of cattle will appear to feed you all?

      And what of the example from kings? where a woman asks to eat the kings son?

      April 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "So god saying it will happen is not him commanding it?"
      @Chad "correct"

      ====
      @meifumado "So why did he not say instead that a herd of cattle will appear to feed you all?"
      @Chad "because that wasnt what was going to happen"

      ====
      @meifumado "And what of the example from kings? where a woman asks to eat the kings son?"
      @Chad "???

      A. Your level of ignorance with respect to the bible is really amazing..
      B. More astonishing is how that can co-exist with a belief that the Bible is not true..

      how is that possible? How can you be so sure something is false, when you dont know the first thing about it?

      April 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And Chad continues to promote the idea that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of his holy book has not read it merely because he is so blindingly arrogant he thinks it's impossible for anyone to read the bible and disagree with him.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad = sophistry derived from solipsism. Over and over again.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "he kills people based solely on their religious beliefs
      @Chad "incorrect.. genocide of the Amalekites was not solely based on their religious beliefs..

      @Chuckles "condones sla.very and ra.p.e under certain conditions"
      @Chad "no in both cases..

      April 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      hawaii: "And Chad continues to promote the idea that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of his holy book"

      By the way, FYI, Chad, unto himself, is Christian denomination #26,498.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Just like Docdoofus–they are certain they alone are correct and everyone who disagrees is just not proficient, can't read, doesn't understand, blah, blah, blah.

      If Chad had all the answers, he wouldn't need to get on here every day to blabber about them. The world would beat a path to his door and everyone would be convinced because there'd be no other option. The conclusions would be obvious and undeniable. They aren't. That never seems to dawn on Chard. There are thousands of scholars who don't agree, yet he alone is correct. Good grief. What an insufferable bore.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "condones slavery "

      Does it not say in Colossians and Ephesians both, essentially, 'Slaves, obey your master.'
      How is that not condoning slavery?

      April 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Agnes

      I have yet to find any two Christians who agree completely on their religious views. There are, in essence, as many Christian denominations as there are self professed Christians.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • meifumado

      2 Kings 6:26-29

      As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, "Help me, my lord the king!"

      The king replied, "If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?" Then he asked her, "What's the matter?"

      She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we'll eat my son.' So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, 'Give up your son so we may eat him,' but she had hidden him."

      April 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      Yes, hawaii, and I think quite often they do not realize how ridiculous they sound when one (versus the other) will disenfranchise an entire group of people, yet both will say that particular issue is not really a disagreement because it's not a "central" tenet of Christianity.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Does it not say in Colossians and Ephesians both, essentially, 'Slaves, obey your master.' How is that not condoning slavery?"

      =>A. What kind of "slavery" is being referred to there?
      B. What is the difference between allowing something, and encouraging something?

      You need to understand both if you want to really answer the question.. Of course, that isnt necessary if all you want is a sound bite not grounded in any biblical fact.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • meifumado

      You just don't get it.

      If your god is telling you what is going to happen, then he is making it happen if he is not changing it from happening.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "And what of the example from kings? where a woman asks to eat the kings son? 2 Kings 6:26-29"

      =>The woman wasnt asking to eat the Kings son..

      read it again..

      April 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Does anything happen that isn't a part of your gods plan?

      April 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "If your god is telling you what is going to happen, then he is making it happen if he is not changing it from happening."

      @Chad "100% incorrect
      He is allowing it to happen, but not making it happen.
      God does not abrogate free will.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      You personify the seductive power of absolute belief, the inscrutable va-garies of biblical interpretation, and how a mind can shape reality to fit the narrative. This allows sophistry based on your extreme egocentrism, in short, allows you to lie your ass off.

      April 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad

      @meifumado "tell people to sacrifice their own children, tell people they will eat their own children."

      =>what???

      are you supposed to be talking about Christianity?
      .
      Actually he is talking about your god of the NT and OT.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Chad
      If god made everything, and knows what is going to happen until the end of time, then at the time he created everything, he knew what was going to happen, so he made it happen by creating everything in the first place...therefore free will is not existing, or god did not create everything... you can't have it both ways

      April 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yoo hooo
      Chaaaaaad.
      Will you answer my question? Or am I still on your mental ignore list for unknown reasons?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      @meifumado "And what of the example from kings? where a woman asks to eat the kings son? 2 Kings 6:26-29"

      Chad: "=>The woman wasnt asking to eat the Kings son.."

      Chad – have you personally cleared this issue up with every Christian already? If not, then I think the best plan is for you to start with the states of Mississippi and Alabama and then spread that "clarity" out from there.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "A. What kind of 'slavery' is being referred to there?
      B. What is the difference between allowing something, and encouraging something?"

      A) “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly." (Lev 25)

      B) "to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless"
      (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/condone )

      Seems fairly straightforward to me. Slavery is ownership of another person as property and the Bible "treats" it as acceptable by addressing it directly and determining the "acceptable" way to own other people.

      "Of course, that isnt necessary if all you want is a sound bite not grounded in any biblical fact."
      Same applies to you, I think.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      You know, the more I think about it, Chad – the only way possibly I see you clearing these points up is for you to get a regular TV show on Sunday mornings on a good cable channel. You could make it a call-in show – and we'll just call in with our concerns and questions.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      "God does not abrogate free will." So I assume that I have free will to accept the God of Israel as I deem fit no matter what investigation I choose to conduct, right? Why do you assume that you can interfere with the choice HE granted me, why would anyone have to answer to YOU?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • meifumado

      Read it again?

      She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we'll eat my son.' So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, 'Give up your son so we may eat him,' but she had hidden him."

      Um... What do you not understand here?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Chad

      @JMEF "So I assume that I have free will to accept the God of Israel as I deem fit no matter what investigation I choose to conduct, right?"
      @Chad "that is correct"

      ===
      @JMEF "Why do you assume that you can interfere with the choice HE granted me"
      @Chad "i'm not interfering, I'm just showing you instances where your understanding of what the bible says is completely inaccurate. Just giving you information"

      ===
      @JMEF "why would anyone have to answer to YOU?"
      @Chad "who said you had to answer to me?"

      ====
      @ME II,
      you forgot the most important thing: What kind of 'slavery' is being referred to there?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "And what of the example from kings? where a woman asks to eat the kings son? 2 Kings 6:26-29"

      @Chad: "The woman wasnt asking to eat the Kings son.."

      @meifumado "She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we'll eat my son.' So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, 'Give up your son so we may eat him,' but she had hidden him."

      @Chad "now you see, always best to actually read it :-)

      she wasnt asking to eat the kings son(as you first claimed), she was complaining to the king that she had made a deal with the women to eat here son first, then hers. There was a terrible famine in the land.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Just wondering, why is it you feel it necessary to ignore every question I pose? What is it about the question that you choose not to answer? Is it to short with very little to twist into whatever you want it to say?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      So Chad – "Does anything happen that isn't a part of your gods plan?" (This would be a good one to start the new TV show out with.)

      April 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "you forgot the most important thing: What kind of 'slavery' is being referred to there?"

      What are you talking about, I said specifically owning another person as property and provided the Bible passage that state that.
      Are you asking about whether they are paid for in cash, in-kind trade, or some sort of installment plan? I fail to see how that matters.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      So why do you come on this blog day after day asking the question "What investigation have you done into rejecting the God of Israel?" if you do not want an answer? You remind me of John Nash and his story, A Beautiful Mind, you really need some serious therapy, there is something wrong with your logic and reasoning.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • meifumado

      Deuteronomy 22:23-24

      23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

      That's Mary ,so looks like god broke his own rules when he boinked her they both should have been stoned to death!

      April 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      ME II beat me to it, but it's unbelievable that you are trying to rationalize slavery, regardless the of "type" and this is why we view god as immoral while you still think god can be moral and outline when it's acceptable to own a slave.

      Here's the real question chad, do you think it's acceptable under ANY circu.mstance to own another person? To see them as property and give that person to one of your children upon your death as part of an estate?

      If you think that is wrong then you are at direct odds with your god who condones slavery, a.k.a outlining when it's acceptable and not punishing people who do own slaves. I'm not in anyway saying or even implying that god is encouraging because as far as I know god isn't commanding people to go out and make other people slaves, but he's sure as heck allowing it in the bible which I find immoral and reprehensible.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hawaii,

      its fairly rare that you actually ask a question, most of the time it's just insults and I really dont bother reading your posts..

      =====
      "Does anything happen that isn't a part of your gods plan?
      =>It's a long answer (which I know you have no interest in, being a sound bite atheist), but in summary:
      A. God allows us to make our own decisions.
      B. God is indeed omniscient and omnipotent.
      C. Omniscience, omnipotence and free will are not mutually exclusive

      April 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "What are you talking about, I said specifically owning another person as property and provided the Bible passage that state that."

      =>was it voluntary or involuntary?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      hawaii: [ "hawaiiguest - Yoo hooo - Chaaaaaad.
      Will you answer my question? Or am I still on your mental ignore list for unknown reasons? ]

      I was wondering about that hawaii. Maybe it's like when you get a ticket in one state and they have reciprocity with the next state – you know – the points will can be copied over into your state. Maybe there's like a CBRA (Christian Bloggers' Reciprocity Agreement) whereby you can suffer being added to one list, if say you somehow get onto L4H's list.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Then what about Ephesians 1:11
      "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"

      Also, when I insult you, it's because you continue to use arguments that you have failed to justify before. You merely reasserted those arguments when challenged, and did absolutely nothing else. That's when I will gladly insult because those arguments are deserving of it.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Chcoked

      If you commit a crime – you become a slave to the state.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      OK I see there is an answer now. I guess it's sometimes like just presses 0 on the phone until some person picks up.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Chcoked

      @ hawaiiguest

      You remind me of Fred Phelps – he believes the gays are deserving of his insults.

      -–

      April 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Chcoked

      If you commit a crime* – you become a slave to the state.

      If you get convicted of committing a crime*

      April 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • meifumado

      So your saying during a famine it's ok to eat your children?

      April 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      Goodness, meif, not without a blessing first.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chcoked

      "It's ok to insult, use slurs and demean people... if they believe differently then you."

      HawaiiGuest 4/1/2013

      April 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Agnes of Dog

      Chcoked – out of context and all you had to do was copy what he wrote above – idiot. Also, hawaii wouldn't say "then you", azzhole.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chcoked

      Trying to twist it to equate a "slave of the state" as a person going through the penal system for committing a crime and slavery where a single person owns another single person as property is the not the same.

      It is nuts that so far you and Chad have both tried to rationalize slavery. Anymore "loving" christians out there want to give ratinalizing slavery a go?

      April 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @meifumado "So your saying during a famine it's ok to eat your children?"

      =>what??

      how in the world do you get that?

      April 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chcocked

      Thank you for twisting my words that much. When a person needs to build up a Straw Man like that it's very telling about the person. In other words, try actually addressing what I say instead of what you want me to have said.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "Then what about Ephesians 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated"

      =>you'll need to do some reading and learn what that means.

      Hint, it doesnt mean "God decided to obviate your free will and make you believe in Him"

      April 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad
      "was it voluntary or involuntary?"

      It does not matter, owning another person is considered wrong. Whether or not the person is forced into a situation where they feel they must sell themselves (think prosti.tuion or human trafficking), the person who claims ownership of another is committing a ethical wrong. Voluntary status is irrelevant.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Looks like you're the one that needs to read. No where did I say god would "force" people to believe in him. I asked you, very straightforward, does everything happen according to your gods plan. You couldn't even answer that honestly.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "was it voluntary or involuntary?" It does not matter, owning another person is considered wrong

      =>I'm not asking if you think it's right or wrong, I am asking you if it was voluntary or involuntary

      April 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      Even your Bible recognizes what I just posted, but unfortunately, only for Israelites.

      39 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you;" (Lev 25)

      p.s. Racial discrimination is also considered immoral.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Robert

      Hey atheists- what 's up with the herd mentality in your responses?
      Why can't one of you converse with a christian on a thread?
      Why does it need a battalion of you all at once to respond?
      Good job, Chad .handling posts from different directions is no easy feat.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "I'm not asking if you think it's right or wrong, I am asking you if it was voluntary or involuntary"

      And I'm saying it is irrelevant. What's your point?

      April 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert

      I've had conversations with religious people before on here, but there's a big difference between them and Chad. They were actually interested in conversation and trying to be honest, whereas Chad loves to twist anything said and not answer a single thing. That's how he can respond to so many people at once, he doesn't actually answer questions or defend his position honestly.
      If it were the same tactics used by a Hindu or Muslim, you wouldn't be congratulating him at all.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Hilarious. Robert seems to be under the impression that all atheists get together in a room and decide to "gang up" on Chad.

      Robert, this isn't a private chat. Anyone can respond to any poster. Nothing's stopping you from jumping in to help Chad. Do you think atheists will accuse him of needing a "battalion" if you do?

      April 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "I'm not asking if you think it's right or wrong, I am asking you if it was voluntary or involuntary"

      @ME II "And I'm saying it is irrelevant. What's your point?"

      @Chad "well, the point pretty clearly is that you wont answer the question because you dont like the answer :-)

      here's the reality, there was no social safety net. Selling oneself as a slave to avoid starving to death was common, and preferable to starving to death.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "p.s. Racial discrimination is also considered immoral."

      =>no it isnt

      "making a distinction in treatment based on race" is not enough information to judge morality, you would indict all affirmative action?

      nonsense.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Robert

      A) It's a free country. Someone says something ridiculous, why should I sit by and wait for someone else to answer.

      B) Chad can and does choose often who he does and does not want to respond to.

      C) Instead of asking stupid questions, would you like to actually converse on a topic, maybe also rationalize slavery as Chad and Chcoked are currently attempting to do?

      April 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "well, the point pretty clearly is that you wont answer the question because you dont like the answer "
      There you go again, claiming to be a mind reader.

      "here's the reality, there was no social safety net. Selling oneself as a slave to avoid starving to death was common, and preferable to starving to death."

      Offering oneself, or feeling it is necessary to sell oneself, is not wrong, but owning someone is. As someone Christ-like might say "If someone offers to sell themselves to you, sell yourself to them instead."
      In other words, help them but do not buy them. That seems rather obvious to me.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad
      "making a distinction in treatment based on race" is not enough information to judge morality, you would indict all affirmative action?"

      Good point. I would argue that compensatory discrimination does not make discrimination any less wrong, but I won't debate the point further.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Like ME II and I have pointed out, it does not matter whether the slave was a slave voluntarily or otherwise, mostly because the passage quoted by ME II also does not focus on why the slave is a slave, but a blanket statement about them all. Furthermore, we live in a world where slavery was condoned for a while and now in modern America it is taboo because owning another human being is a reprehensible act. Do you think slavery should be reinstated but only if people want to be slaves because god allows it? It is immoral to own another person, whatever rationalization you've made fails in light of that fact.

      As for racial discrimantion, it might not be immoral in the bible because that was accepted practice back then just the same as it's completely acceptable in parts of the world still. However, in modern America, racial discrimination is immoral and unethical which is why we have hate crime laws in place and groups like the NAACP, SPLC, HRC and the ADL to combat that sort of hate.

      It's sort of funny that I have to tell a "loving christian" that slavery and racial discrimination are immoral. Makes you wonder how loving a christian really is when they debate on the side of "pro-slavery"

      April 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Chad

      So, in summary, your attempts to portray the God of Israel have all fallen.. right?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chuckles,
      "It's sort of funny that I have to tell a 'loving christian' that slavery and racial discrimination are immoral. Makes you wonder how loving a christian really is when they debate on the side of 'pro-slavery'"

      For a minute there I was wondering if Chad was going to trot out the old "they are better off as slaves" argument

      April 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      So I take it you're ignoring me again because I call you on your spin?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II

      is it better to be dead, or sell yourself off as a slave?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad
      "So, in summary, your attempts to portray the God of Israel have all fallen.. right?"

      Oh Chad, you're a riot. Just declare victory, eh?

      No, the Bible condones slavery as I've demonstrated and it is considered unethical to own another person, hence your God is unethical / immoral.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad
      "is it better to be dead, or sell yourself off as a slave?"

      According to your book, dead, right?

      As I said before it is not immoral / unethical to offer oneself when desperate, but accepting that offer is wrong because it is wrong to own another person.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why didn't your extra-special all-knowing god tell his people that they should free their slaves instead of keeping them? Why didn't your omnipotent god tell slave owners that owning people was wrong and that they should instead pay their slaves as free workers?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Simple question. Would you ever, under any circu.mstances buy another human being? For instance, if a person offered themselves to you as a slave to you, would you actually buy them or just employ them and let them remain free?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • fred

      The real Tom
      “Why didn't your extra-special all-knowing god tell his people that they should free their slaves instead of keeping them?”
      =>That was not the economic reality 3,400 years ago. God is revealed through people where they are in time and place not where they could hypothetically be.
      “ Why didn't your omnipotent god tell slave owners that owning people was wrong and that they should instead pay their slaves as free workers?”
      =>You’re the secular naturalist and should know people progress over generations not by waves of a hand. Barbaric peoples did not have a stable economy to pay for slaves. Slavery goes back to Abraham and Chosen Ones received a 450 year lesson on what it is like to be a slave with a Egyptian barbaric master.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "No, the Bible condones slavery as I've demonstrated and it is considered unethical to own another person, hence your God is unethical / immoral."

      =>was that slavery voluntary or involuntary?

      i know you hate that question :-)

      April 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Owning a person is owning a person. No matter how much you want to steer the conversation away from that. If owning a person is not moral, then whether it's voluntary or not is irrelevant. If owning another person is immoral, then making provisions and instructions on owning another person is not moral.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "was that slavery voluntary or involuntary?"

      i know you hate that question "

      Not sure why I would hate it. As I've explained I think the voluntary status is irrelevant, please explain exactly why you think otherwise.
      Essentially, do you think it is okay to own another person as your own personal property, chattel, goods?

      April 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Answer the question chad

      Would you ever, under any circ.umstance enslave another person?

      April 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Chad

      "Essentially, do you think it is okay to own another person as your own personal property, chattel, goods?"
      "Would you ever, under any circ.umstance enslave another person?"

      =>sound bite atheism..

      the reality of that time was that people sold themselves into slavery to avoid starvation.
      Do you consider that practice, at that time, immoral?

      I dont consider the practice at that time (~2000 years ago), of selling oneself, or purchasing another to be immoral within the rules of conduct that the bible specifies.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • fred

      The Bible is the story of God redeeming a people. Beginning with the creation of all matter and energy known to man down to the Garden all was created for the redemption of souls to the glory of God. God promised the children of Abraham would enter the Promised Land and own it. All things were created by God for these people. The slaves were created for and given these people in order to bring about the redemption of souls. The fact they “bought” these slaves was fair compensation to the barbaric heathens that owned them (note they received their reward). The Chosen Ones now have full ownership before God of how they treat gifts provided by God. They are given very broad guide lines so their true hearts could be revealed.
      Do not confuse Gods economy with mans economy. One is perfect to accomplish its purpose onto heaven the other is not. Slave and owner are equal in the eyes of God and a fair price was paid for both. Both are given the same opportunity to reveal the eternal nature of their soul.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      So you agree that the Bible condones slavery... for that time and situation, correct?

      In addition, yes I think it was wrong, even at that time, to own another human being. The same effect could have been achieved by temporary employment, as the Bible itself stipulates for Israelites (Lev 25:39). Why is it immoral to enslave an Israelite, but not a foreigner of the exact same time and situation?

      April 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Damocles

      See chad, it's like I always told you, there is no morality, only acts and consequences.

      @fred

      I fail to see how being owned by wholesome believers is better than being owned by barbaric heathens. A gilded cage is still a cage. Neither you, nor chad, would be willing to promote 'beneficial slavery' to black people.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Not by waves of the hand." Why not? You say your god did this, did that, did the other. Why not command his people to release their slaves?

      Why do you idiots lie so much?

      April 1, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Damocles

      So this supposed deity can create all of the universe with a mere wave of its hand, yet seems to have a difficult time getting the idea cross that slavery is wrong? How does this make sense? Ohhhh, it's all powerful when we need it to be, yet acts like any evil person would when it's trying to get a point across. Come. On.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      “I fail to see how being owned by wholesome believers is better than being owned by barbaric heathens.”
      =>Most is speculation as to just how barbaric the former owners were. What we do know is that the Chosen Ones were to be separate from them as a holy people of God. In the presence of a holy people they could learn of God rather than continue in the ways of the world (symbolized by Egypt and the heathens)

      “ A gilded cage is still a cage.”
      =>We are all in a cage. The suggestion that life in gilded cage is better or worse than the life of the owner who changes the paper on the bottom and puts food in the dish is a godless delusion. The assumption is that the owner has greater advantage , pleasure or other goodie. The reality is that to whom much is given much is expected. Thus the owner has greater accountability before God for actions than does the slave.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      So 1. you're afraid to answer the question because you get put into an interesting situation. Either you disagree and are fine with owning a person. You align by gods practices, unfortuantely you've just told a whole forum full of people that you condone slavery. If you answer that you yourself in no way would own a slave under any circu.mstance, then you have shown that you believe slavery to be immoral, unlike god, and show that god is immoral.

      What a quandry.

      2. Without answering a question you maintain that since slavery was a common practice back then, that god was only setting rules for the people of the time. Which leads us to ask, what rules are in place then for modern humans in 2013? You keep stressing 2 points here. One is that some slaves voluntarily became slaves to support their families which is clearly irrelevant because we're focusing on the immorality of the owner of a slave, not the slave itself. Two that at the time, slavery was acceptable and so the rules only applied to ancient israelites and not anymore.

      Keep ignoring me Chad if you want, but keep in mind, the longer you do, the more posts you're going to see from me challenging you on your stance on slavery which shouldn't be in question but somehow has come to this point.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "So you agree that the Bible condones slavery... for that time and situation, correct?"
      @Chad "sound bite atheism :-)

      NO, the bible does not approve or sanction slavery, it allows it within rules of conduct to ensure humane treatment at a time where there was simply no alternative.
      Sorry to rob you of your sound bite, but it is not accurate.

      ====
      @ME II "In addition, yes I think it was wrong, even at that time, to own another human being. The same effect could have been achieved by temporary employment, as the Bible itself stipulates for Israelites (Lev 25:39)"
      @Chad "LOL
      you have ZERO understanding of the practice at the time, over 30% of the Roman population was slaves.
      again, you are simply engaging in sound bite atheism.

      ===
      @ME II "Why is it immoral to enslave an Israelite, but not a foreigner of the exact same time and situation?"
      @Chad "for the same reason that it is immoral to favor a white person over an african american for job selection, but NOT immoral to favor an african american over a white in job selection (within certain industries and to achieve specific goals).

      April 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "sound bite atheism"? Sounds like you learned a new phrase to make you think that atheists, and not christians, are some how cherry picking lines. Another sad attempt at trying to turn the tables and failing.

      "NO, the bible does not approve or sanction slavery, it allows it within rules of conduct to ensure humane treatment at a time where there was simply no alternative."
      – Well which is it chad, does it not approve or sanction slavery, or does it allow it? You literally wrote an oxymoronic statement here. There also clearly is an alternative and christianity was also known for being radical for its ideas and practices, so why wouldn't a moral god also stipulate that slavery was wrong regardless of situation? You seem to think god is somehow beholden to man's laws or the time and simply would rather go with the flow instead of upset the status quo.... This is strange coming from the guy who was also stating how revolutionary and different god and jesus was and how jesus was all about upsetting the status quo.

      "over 30% of the Roman population was slaves.
      again, you are simply engaging in sound bite atheism."
      – Why does it matter how many people in Rome, or around the world, were slaves? There was no law in rome stipulating you needed to have a slave or be enslaved. You are just pointing out again that it was common practice but it still doesn't matter. If god thought that slavery was completely immoral, 100% then instead of telling believers how to treat a slave humanely, he would have ordered them to free and employ these slaves.

      "for the same reason that it is immoral to favor a white person over an african american for job selection, but NOT immoral to favor an african american over a white in job selection (within certain industries and to achieve specific goals)."
      –You are talking about racial discrimination and affirmative action rather than ensalvement. You can't equate the two, they are on a completely different level from one another. I won't even talk about why affirmative action is in place and how it can still be immoral and ethical.

      Answer my question Chad, would you ever, undre any circu.mstance, enslave another human being?

      April 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • fred

      The real Tom
      "Not by waves of the hand." Why not? You say your god did this, did that, did the other. Why not command his people to release their slaves?”
      =>Moses said “ The Lord my God commands let my people go”. What happened? The Pharaoh simply hardened his heart instead of being compliant. If there is a God then it must be assumed God knows how to accomplish His purpose.
      God commanded the Chosen not to treat slaves harshly as they were treated (450 years) when slaves in Egypt. I am the Lord your God who freed you from captivity. Jesus freed us from the bondage of sin in the same manner.
      I would be speculating as to why one should not free these acquired slaves into a land where they (slaves) could not survive without an owner.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "sound bite atheism"
      I'm sorry but, "sound bite atheism" is a sound bite if I ever heard one :)

      "NO, the bible does not approve or sanction slavery, it allows it within rules of conduct to ensure humane treatment at a time where there was simply no alternative."

      "Definition of condone
      verb
      [with object]
      accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue:"

      (http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/condone)

      Since you are so interested in sound bites, I thought I'd provide a British accent. :)

      "you have ZERO understanding of the practice at the time, over 30% of the Roman population was slaves.
      again, you are simply engaging in sound bite atheism."
      Does that make it right? Are you arguing for moral relativism, now?

      "for the same reason that it is immoral to favor a white person over an african american for job selection, but NOT immoral to favor an african american over a white in job selection (within certain industries and to achieve specific goals)."

      What? As I indicated before two wrongs don't make a right.
      So, slavery is okay in some circu.mstances, is that what you are saying?

      April 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad's God establishes what is moral and what is not. Things are not moral apart from God. A command or law from God is moral because it comes from God. If such a thing seems immoral we are mistaken: either God didn't actually originate it or it is moral in some way that we don't understand. See how that works?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • ME II

      Need to leave, sorry.

      Peace

      April 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Now I wonder why the god of OT appears amazingly human???? Flaws and all.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      “So this supposed deity can create all of the universe with a mere wave of its hand, yet seems to have a difficult time getting the idea cross that slavery is wrong? How does this make sense?”
      =>Looks like that supposed deity got his point through you just think that you have a better way.
      =>People especially the Chosen Ones do not obey their Lord, their God and their own laws. Because we refuse we get to learn everything the hard way. This is our choice and God allows it in order that we can reveal the true character of our heart (soul).
      =>God spoke all we know into existence it was not magic (wave of the hand) but the Word of God. That Word goes out and does not return empty. What you see could just as easily be our soul experiencing an apparent physical manifestation of the Word intended to redeem or bring about the desirable attributes intended from the beginning.
      =>be on alert when the Word of God shines a light into your soul.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Damocles

      @chad

      The bible doesn't condone slavery, it just allows it. Ok, sounds like condoning to me, but whatever floats your boat.

      @fred

      So your deity couldn't teach slaves about itself unless they were slaves to other people. O. K.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • The real Tom

      =>God spoke all we know into existence it was not magic (wave of the hand) but the Word of God. That Word goes out and does not return empty

      Then the Word could just as easily gone out and ended the practice of slavery.

      Why didn't it, fred?

      I know why. Do you?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      This thread has shown the exact kind of people fred and Chad are. They think ownership of another persons life is perfectly fine if god gives some arbitrary rules. Forget the fact that they're perfectly happy to say owning people right now is completely immoral.
      It's a sad state of affairs when otherwise normal people are willing to defend complete immorality and horrible atrocities just because it's part of their religion. They need to twist, spin, redefine, and be flat out dishonest.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      If I, a mere mortal, can at least think of a better way, why could the all powerful thing not make it so? Here again, you run into an issue of the concept of eternity. If a deity is eternal, it should be eternally patient. Why then is your deity so seemingly concerned with what happens in the space of 70-80 years? Why the knee-jerk reactions such as murdering the world? Sounds mighty impatient for an eternal being.

      Yes, this could all be my dream, could be your dream, could be the dreams of a unicorn etc etc.

      Why should I have to go into red light alert if a supposedly loving deity takes notice of me? Because it's hateful?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad's God establishes what is moral and what is not. Things are not moral apart from God. A command or law from God is moral because it comes from God. If such a thing seems immoral we are mistaken: either God didn't actually originate it or it is moral in some way that we don't understand. See how that works?

      =>Yes, the truth has set you free.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps it is right and good for this God to make unrighteous, morally weak, ignorant unbelievers slaves under the control of the people who do believe and obey its Word. That would be for their betterment. See how that works?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Damocles

      @hawaii

      They are like topher and his idea that murder is ok as long as it can be couched in the word 'justice'. Anything is fine as long as they think a deity wills it, leaving them open to any suggestion coming from a supposed speaker for the deity.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      So you are so weak-willed that you would willingly do what you knew to be wrong.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • fred

      The Real Tom
      “Then the Word could just as easily gone out and ended the practice of slavery.”
      =>as well we could have spared poor old Job the boils on his tenders. Better yet put a worm in the apple so Eve does not find it so appealing.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • The real Tom

      fred, why do you even bother to waste the space here?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      Yes, the deity could have put a worm in the fruit, or just let A&E have no knowledge of the tree. So, why would it allow this to happen?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Other One
      “Perhaps it is right and good for this God to make unrighteous, morally weak, ignorant unbelievers slaves under the control of the people who do believe and obey its Word. That would be for their betterment. See how that works?”
      =>no, as we see the story unfold these Chosen Ones did not believe and seldom obeyed the Word. God did not make unrighteous, morally weak, ignorant unbelievers slaves. Man was never created to live outside of the will of God. Everything you say happened because we live outside the will of God.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      what sort of deity lays traps tor those it makes 'in it's own image'?

      April 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Yes yes, we all know your interpretation of the bible is equal to whatever might support your proposed non-answer at any given time. Now tell us how eternal torture equals love.

      April 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      “Yes, the deity could have put a worm in the fruit, or just let A&E have no knowledge of the tree. So, why would it allow this to happen?”

      =>God is not a respecter of man He is God and out of perfect infinite goodness creation flows to the glory of God not the glory of man. Otherwise God would have remained in a void of eternal abyss but it is self evident this is not God. A&E could have remained in God as intended with the Garden and the presence. Man stepped outside the presence (will) of God and this is reality outside of that which was intended for man. That did not change God as God does not change as Gods infinite goodness continues to flow to the glory of God.

      The Bible shows mans journey from that point with hints about direction and ending position of man. The timeline is ours not Gods. To say God “allowed it to happen” would be putting our thoughts and ways on God which cannot happen given the different dimensions of space and time.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      "God does not change"
      I've asked before, but you never answered.
      Why aren't you killing gays, hunting witches, stoning adulterers, drunkards, and people of other religions? Why are you not following all 613 commands that your god laid out?

      April 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • fred

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      “what sort of deity lays traps tor those it makes 'in it's own image'?”
      =>God does not lay traps. If you go back to Genesis we see God creating and it is very good then God rested. When Jesus died on the Cross Jesus said “it is finished”. There are no traps as past, present and future sins are atoned for. Perfect Goodness has joined with perfect Justice in Christ (tree of life). That tree of life was in the Garden in the beginning.
      =>no traps the Bible is the living Word of God to this day. Note how even the issue of slavery 3,400 years ago is taken up to reveal the true heart of those who hear the Word.
      Apparently you think existence should move according to a different plan. How could you know if it was the right plan if you cannot see beyond this moment and only conger up ideas about the distant past?

      April 1, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Why is it that you only have the same pathetic arguments and tactics? Why is it that you need to spin, ignore people, try to derail a conversation, and completely misrepresent everything?
      Do you truly believe that being as dishonest as possible to justify your immoral beliefs is a good thing? I used to say it as a joke, but I'm starting to think that you actually think that way.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Conger"? A conger is a genus of marine congrid eels.

      Really, fred, it's hard not to laugh when you start trying to pretend you're some sort of scholar.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • lol??

      whackoes

      April 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “Why aren't you killing gays, hunting witches, stoning adulterers, drunkards, and people of other religions? Why are you not following all 613 commands that your god laid out?”

      =>so much to do and so little time……….

      =>actually, the history of man is not a good one. We are a mean non compassionate bunch ….the opposite of what Jesus showed us life was about. God has not told me to do any of what you say and Jesus made it clear in his time that even to think negative thoughts towards others was equivalent to murder.
      God does not change as His attributes are eternal and infinite thus already complete in any conceivable way.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "God does not lay traps."

      sure he does...

      "Don't eat from the tree (of knowledge of good and evil)" (the trap)
      Woman hands man knowledge of good and evil
      They now realize what they did was wrong.
      God jumps out from behind the tree and says "Bazinga!"

      "Murder your son"
      Ibrahim of Ur raises the knife ...
      God says "Bazinga, just testing you"

      How many more do you need – David, Job, Peter (before the rooster crows) etc etc.

      Swell guy that God of yours.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So god has told you personally not to follow his own commands in the old testament, yet he never changes.
      Two things:
      1) Cognitive dissonance is thick in your post.
      2) The arrogance you display is very telling.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "Note how even the issue of slavery 3,400 years ago is taken up to reveal the true heart of those who hear the Word"

      This one is really funny – a preemptive move from @fred.

      Yes, fred, I've read "The Polar Express" too. The bell only rings for those who truly believe. Sounds like a delusion to me.

      Morality is relative. It was OK in the bronze age. It's not now. What changed fred?

      April 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "We are a mean non compassionate bunch"

      Yahweh too, I'd say.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • fred

      The real Tom

      ""Conger"? A conger is a genus of marine congrid eels."

      =>yeah, then why is it called a conger gation where I attend Church and at noon my teacher lets us go out to the playground where we all conger gate

      April 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • fred

      'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      "God does not lay traps." sure he does...

      =>no, you confuse good and evil. We are tested in many ways. When it is of God the test is to bring out a character of goodness that brings glory to God. When it is not of God it bring out evil or punishment
      We do this throughout or lives. The godless respond to a trial or testing as do believers. In both cases the true us at the time is revealed.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred, – reposted

      how can someone do 'evil' before they know what 'evil' is?

      how can God demand acts that are 'evil'?

      April 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I wonder if I will be ignored again by fred in favor of spinning other posts. Then the inevitable claim of having "lost' a thread. Truly pathetic and predictable.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “So god has told you personally not to follow his own commands in the old testament”
      =>Jesus summarized the Law of the Prophets into two and promised the Holy Spirit would lead all believers in the truth. When you follow those two commandments from Jesus all of the old fall underneath and you find yourself in compliance. Go ahead and try to violate the old while loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself.
      “Cognitive dissonance is thick in your post.”
      =>If I had a cognitive dissonance disorder would I be able to pick up on it?

      “2) The arrogance you display is very telling”
      =>unintended, but I am working on it.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Oh so now it's scripture telling you what to do, yet you still haven't answered anything. Why don't you kill gays, supposed witches, drunkards, people of other religions, etc? You keep trying to spin around in circles yet not answer anything whatsoever.
      I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. You never actually address points anyway. The day you do will be quite the day indeed.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Fred

      do you not have spell check?

      Conger – animal

      CongREgate and a ConGREgation are two very different things and have literally 0 things in common except that the root word and the marine animal have kind of not really hom.ophonic sounds.

      April 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • fred

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      “how can someone do 'evil' before they know what 'evil' is?”
      =>I assume you are referring to Adam and Eve. Evil was present in the Garden as represented by the serpent. Eve knew not to touch or eat form that tree. In the presence of God there is no evil. We are not told if they were aware of evil or not but do know that then as now those in God (Christ) fear no evil and are kept from it. We must move outside of Gods will as Eve did and look to the serpent. The error (not evil) was to ignore what God specifically tells us and at that point we have broken faith and trust in God (rejected His good and perfect will for our lives). Outside the will of God we easily doubt as the serpent and atheists say “did God really say that you will die?”
      “how can God demand acts that are 'evil'?”
      =>Gods eternal perfect goodness cannot.
      =>I assume you refer to the sacrifice of Isaac for example. God demanded perfect obedience and faith. Take note that Abraham expected God to provide the sacrifice. God stopped Abraham from evil and the error of man as God did provide the sacrificial lamb just as God provided His own son at the Cross as the perfect sacrifice for atonement.

      April 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad
      "A. God allows us to make our own decisions.
      B. God is indeed omniscient and omnipotent.
      C. Omniscience, omnipotence and free will are not mutually exclusive"

      Thousands of children die daily from starvation and your god allows that because they exercised free will and chose the wrong parents?

      April 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      fred, As you don't follow the OT, you don't believe the creation story or believe in the ten commandments?

      April 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "Eve knew not to touch or eat form that tree.

      She was told not to. But, how did she, not yet having eaten from of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, know that disobedience was wrong?

      Not having eaten of the fruit, she cannot possibly have known that disobedience was wrong.

      Then she does, realizes her mistake and God says "Bazinga, I gottcha!"

      As a bonus, if, as you say, in the presence of God there is no evil, how does the serpent exist in the garden?

      April 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sorry – "tree of knowledge of good and evil"

      April 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      I was trying to be funny when Tom ran a spell check on conger. I failed.

      April 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And fred is ignoring my response once again. Twice in one thread is pretty rare.
      Fred, why are you so afraid to actually answer questions and address posts?

      April 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      This focus on people willingly selling themselves into slavery is a blatant attempt at distraction. First, even today you could argue that same case for anywhere in the world where starvation is occurring. Yet slavery isn't the only option and, just as in ancient Greece and Rome, standard employment scenarios are an alternate option. Second, even if you give that these scenarios are "voluntary" (really...if the state allows a scenario where slavery is the only employment option????) they were just a fraction of the slave population.

      All I got out of this is that Chad thinks slavery is just fine under the right scenarios and that there was no need for the state or a moral authority (like, say, god) to point out that alternate labor scenarios, as practiced in many cultures, might be preferable. I also gather that if God did have any issues with slavery he didn't think it worth spelling out the scenarios under which is was and wasn't all right because, after all, it just wasn't that big a deal.

      Charming.

      April 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      I've seen a lot of silliness on the belief blog, but on the Joel Osteen topic, I was gobsmacked by the number of apologists for Biblical slavery coming out of the woodwork.

      They all had variations on the theme of
      - it was voluntary indentured servitude not slavery as we know it
      - Jews were required to treat slaves well
      - etc
      Even to the point that the slaves should have been grateful that they could 'work for food'.

      All ignored the very clear distinctions made in Leviticus for the two sets of rules for Jewish servants and gentile slaves.

      Perhaps this had more impact on me seeing a clip from last Tuesday's Daily Show where an attendee at CPAC2013 incredulously said:

      "For giving him food and shelter all those years?" (justifying slave ownership)

      In a seminar called: "Trump the race card: Are you sick and tired of being called a racist when you know you're not one?"

      See it at 3:15 here:

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-march-26-2013/republican-minority-outreach

      April 1, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Chad

      "sound bite atheism: searching for something to use as a soundbite. for example: "The bible condones slavery"

      NO it does not

      condone Accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue. Approve or sanction (something), esp. with reluctance.

      The bible does not approve or sanction slavery, it allows it within rules of conduct to ensure humane treatment at a time where there was simply no alternative. As I said before, "condone" is an incorrect word when regarded in the totality of the definition.

      that's why you so badly want to use it :-)

      ======
      The aspect of all of this that you are of course ignoring, is that God deals with humans.
      God (perfect) deals with humans (imperfect)
      Were God to destroy anything that was not perfect, there would be no humans left.
      Gods interaction with humans throughout history has been with one goal: salvation.
      Did you ever wonder why Jesus never really spoke out about social issues? Ever wonder why? Did you ever wonder why Jesus healed only some people? Did you ever wonder why God seems to use way more stick than carrot?

      The common thread is salvation. God deals with us where we are, to bring us to where He wants us-redeemed.

      God is not interested in making us better..

      Even if you dont believe Christianity is true, you still need to understand Christian doctrine to speak intelligently about it (now, that all as.sumes you WANT to be able to speak intelligently, and you have some reason for being here other than just to mock without understanding).

      There isnt a Christian on the planet that thinks God is immoral. The reason for that is NOT ignoring supposed immoral acts, it's having an understanding of how God works with broken humanity. Trying to claim that God IS immoral, is betraying a real lack of understanding on your part in Christian theology.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "All ignored the very clear distinctions made in Leviticus for the two sets of rules for Jewish servants and gentile slaves."

      =>treating races differently CAN be fine/moral for the same reason that while it is immoral to favor a white person over an african american for job selection, it is NOT immoral to favor an african american over a white in job selection (within certain industries and to achieve specific goals).

      April 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And once again, Chad proposes the idea that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation isn't doing it right. He once again shows that he finds it inconceivable that anyone who reads the bible can come to a different conclusion than he has.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      NIV (2011)
      Leviticus 25:44
      "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves."

      How does that not condone slavery Chad?

      April 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "All I got out of this is that Chad thinks slavery is just fine under the right scenarios and that there was no need for the state or a moral authority"

      =>read and make an attempt to understand my post above at April 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      April 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "treating races differently

      I said nothing about races. The bible condones slavery – not of Jews (who get perferential treatment) but of foreigners.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer,

      please read my post above at April 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      if you dont find that your question was answered, read it again..

      April 1, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad,

      "Trying to claim that God IS immoral, is betraying a real lack of understanding on your part in Christian theology."

      This only makes sense if we as.sume that what is morwl is defined by Chritianity. Certianly if you accept that a Christian god defines morality AND is all good and all powerful then he cannot be immoral. But you can't as.sume that everyone has agreed to your god as the root of morality. On the ethical system to which I adhere your god is immoral. There is nothing lacking in understanding in saying that. Rather you need to understand that when we say your god if immoral we are working with ethical premises that do not involve your god as a basis for defining morali and then on our ethical systems (which are not all the same) we are deeming your god immoral. You can dislike this all you want, but it just means we disagree even though we may understand.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Chad even seems to now be extending his thought that the bible is infallible to his own writings. Anyone who doesn't agree with his writings needs to read it until they agree, otherwise they didn't read it enough. Pathetic.
      And Chad, why is it that you still can't answer whether everything happens according to the will of your god, as it says in Ephesians 1: 11?

      April 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “Oh so now it's scripture telling you what to do, yet you still haven't answered anything. Why don't you kill gays, supposed witches, drunkards, people of other religions, etc?”
      =>I have already answered this directly. I personally do not have the capacity to harm others. I don’t know what else to tell you.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "All ignored the very clear distinctions made in Leviticus for the two sets of rules for Jewish servants and gentile slaves."

      @GOPer "I said nothing about races."

      =>Jews and Gentiles are different races..

      April 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So it should be done, just not by you? You don't have the spine to actually practice what you preach? Or is it that you know that those things are not moral, not by a god, let alone one that supposedly "loves" us?

      April 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "The bible ... allows it within rules of conduct to ensure humane treatment at a time where there was simply no alternative.

      So you're ready to agree that morality is relative – to times and circvmstances and societies.

      The bible still condones slavery – in a bronze age context. There is simply no way around that and I don't have an issue with it. Morality after all is relative. In bronze age cultures, slavery was societally acceptable. In the 21st century it is not. Morals change.

      The issue is the notion of divinely inspired absolute/objective morality which is bunk.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "Jews and Gentiles are different races"

      No they're not – not in a contemporary definiton of "race". One semitic goat herder who happens to be Jewish, is no different racially from a semitic goat-herder from over the hill and across the river who the Jew calls a Gentile.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati “On the ethical system to which I adhere your god is immoral”
      @Chad “please define exactly how God is immoral by your ethical system.

      Remember, to discuss the morality of the God of Israel, you are going to have to accept free will as possible for the purposes of the discussion. To deny the existence of free will is to deny the possibility of God, and prevent the discussion in the first place.”

      April 1, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "So you're ready to agree that morality is relative – to times and circvmstances and societies."
      @Chad "absolutely not.
      Is all killing murder?
      no it isnt, there is moral killing, and immoral killing. The fact that there are both does NOT make morality relative, it means that one needs to know more than simply that a death of one person occurred at the hands of another person to judge the morality.

      =====
      @GOPer, "Jews and Gentiles are [not] different races"
      @Chad "Yes they are http://forward.com/articles/155742/jews-are-a-race-genes-reveal/?p=all

      April 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Hubert

      Chad

      I call your god character immoral because he tortures individuals for eternity for thought crime, believing in the wrong god.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      morality is relative, as you have acknowledged regarding slavery, to society and time. It is relative because it changes with time and society. This is empirically obvious.

      "Jews and Gentiles are [not] different races"

      Feel free to subst!tute the word "foreigner" instead of "Gentile" if it makes you feel better. I was not talking about race. You (probably deliberately) miscronstrued what I said.

      April 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      I'm signing off. This page is too long anyway – it takes way too long to reload.

      April 1, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      If god did not condone slavery, he would have banned it the way he banned many other activities. It's that simple. By formulating rules on how to treat a slave that's tacit acceptance of slavery. As you keep pointing out, during those times many people had slaves and for some reason you believe there was no alternative a.k.a. for some reason you HAD to have a slave.

      Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds by the way? Saying there was no alternative to slavery? Just think about that for a while, let it sink in. Mull it over.

      Next, answer my questions, would you yourself in any circ.umstance every buy and own another human being?

      April 2, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Saraswati

      Ok, Chad, let's start then with free will. If we manage to ignore the logical absurdity of the Christian meaning of this term, it was immoral of God to introduce it in the first place when all it did was introduce the possibility of eternal suffering when without it all could have been offerered eternal happiness.

      But as far as I'm concerned I just made an argument based on the premise of invisible yellow howling mute amphibian tree monkeys, so this isn't a line of debate I plan to carry on too long.

      April 2, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      Ahh fred, c'mon, think about what you are saying.... first the supposed creator does not even respect the creation? That's like making a cake and then going 'meh' as you toss it against the wall. I like cake, fred, why doesn't your deity like people? Are we not better than cake? Secondly you mention 'perfect goodness', whatever that means, I'm pretty sure you don't. So, the deity, rather than just letting A&E go about their merry way and letting them bask in its glory instead points out the very tree that would be their downfall. Why? The deity has two worshipers who were fine.... until he pointed out the tree. They didn't have to go searching for it, they were told where it was. 'Don't eat the fruit of this tree, this tree right here that I'm pointing out to you.'

      Let's look at this from the perspective of us lowly mortals. I have kids in the house. I also have a gun in the house. Do I tempt the kids by telling them I have a gun and then give them the combination to the safe that the gun is in? I could, but only a couple of reasons come to mind on why I would do that. 1) I'm a freakin moron. Is your deity a moron, fred, a perfect moron? 2) I hate my kids, want them dead, yet want my hands semi-clean. Does your deity hate its creation, fred, yet want some kind of plausible deniability?

      April 2, 2013 at 4:52 am |
    • Damocles

      @@chad

      Let's have a quick definition of murder... wait... had it here a second ago *shuffles some papers around* ahhh, here it is:

      mur·der [múrdər]
      n (plural mur·ders)
      1. crime of killing somebody: the crime of killing another person deliberately and not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circu-mstance recognized by law

      So, let's look at the flood, shall we? Oh, wait, I guess the first question should be whether or not you think murder is wrong. I sure do, but maybe you think it's ok. I'll as-sume you agree it's wrong until you tell me otherwise. Anyway, back to the flood. Was it deliberate? Yep. Was it in self-defense? Nope. Any extenuating circu-mstances? None that would make sense in a court of law.

      Now, another quick definition:

      gen·o·cide [jénnə sd]
      n
      murder of entire ethnic group: the systematic killing of all the people from a national, ethnic, or religious group, or an attempt to do this

      So, would a global, deity induced flood have wiped out people of different nationalities? Yep. Ethnic groups? Check. Religious groups? Oh yeah.

      Shall we have a mock trial?

      April 2, 2013 at 5:15 am |
    • Science

      Hey Chad you lost in space ?

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/30/christ-was-persecuted-but-what-about-christians/comment-page-36/#comments

      April 2, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Science

      Hey Chad no mention of gods in the article ???

      Supernova Remnant 1987A Continues to Reveal Its Secrets

      Apr. 1, 2013 — A team of astronomers led by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has succeeded in observing the death throws of a giant star in unprecedented detail.

      April 2, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Science

      Chad ........................looks like you are STUCK in the SOUP !!!!!!!

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/comment-page-44/#comments

      How Did Early Primordial Cells Evolve?
      February 28, 2013 — New research on bacteria examines how primordial cells could have evolved without protein machinery or cell walls. While the vast majority of bacteria have cell walls, many bacteria can switch to a ...

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/search/?keyword=primordial+soup

      April 2, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • ME II

      reply posted on pg 60

      April 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  20. Troy

    The Romans really didn't care about your religious beliefs. The empire tolerated countless cultural and philosophical traditions, and was happy to collect taxes from followers of each of them. They did care if you were using it to stir up trouble. Even the Jews didn't really get persecuted as long as they weren't actively revolting. Not to say that the Romans weren't brutal, but I think it's often not understood the Romans weren't simply persecuting anyone who believed differently, as Christianity eventually would. They were simply doing what all empires do; cracking down on those who appear to undermine the state.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Ah yes! Hitler's lawyer

      April 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Akira

      This is a fact that most people overlook.
      Even Jesus said "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; render unto God that which is God's."
      He said this for a reason.
      He never meant His ministry to become political, which religion decidedly was back then...and what many people use it for today.

      April 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • meifumado

      @ Atheist, me?

      Do you have a problem with the truth?

      April 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • toms

      Satan can apear in many shapes....

      April 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • I wonder

      toms
      "Satan can apear in many shapes...."

      If so, he could've easily appeared as Yahweh, Moses, Paul of Tarsus, The Council of Nicea and King James!

      April 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • CHICKEN DUMPLINGS ARE GOOD AND DELICIOUS

      SOME OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN BY THE ROMANS AS A MEANS TO CONTROL THE PEOPLE HENCE THE CEASAR'S PAY CRAP ABOUT FORCING TAXES NOTICE HOW IT'S CAESAR AND NOT JUST "GOVERNMENT" MAKES YOU THINK DOESN'T IT BECAUSE THE BIBLE IS JUST A BOOK FOR CONTROLLING PEOPLE AMEN <3

      April 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      According to most American "pilgrims / first Thanksgiving" myths, King James I of England was satan.

      After all he was the "evil king" that the pilgrims had to "flee to escape persecution".

      Ironic that he commissioned the fundies favourite translation, isn't it?

      The stories of the pilgrim's actual persecution have been greatly exaggerated too.

      April 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.