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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. HeavenSent

    Lisa, do you comprehend righteous versus unrighteous actions and how it pertains to your life?

    April 2, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Doobs

      HS, do you comprehend how to use the reply function so that your comment to Lisa has some context? It would be ever so helpful to know what the fuck you're referring to without having to scroll through 60 pages to find the OP.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Do you comprehend the unrightious verses and unrightious actions of the "god" you hold as perfect?

      (hint: It is a rhetorical question)

      April 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Puppies and Kittens Taste Delicious When Cooked Properly

      The answer is simply choice. Righteous versus unrighteous is merely using superiority-complex religious reasoning as a means to thinly veil the actions of those believers feel are inferior to them by divine authority. Unfortunately, this tactic does not work. If such a thing existed, "righteous" or "unrighteous," then the corrext labeling process would explore the morality of the actions between differing social groups. It is well established that the religious social group of christians for example have a much higher chance of going to prison versus the number of non-religious or atheists. Now, an apologist might surmise this to be a mere direct correlation between citizens and prison populations in that atheists comprise the lowest percentage of convicts. Unfortunately, this does not correlate with the claims of morality from the religious in that the claim states atheists are without moral compass. If this were the case, the percentage of christian and atheist prisoners would be flipped, and atheists would dominate in a higher percentage. But, it is not the case, thus proving that righteousness is nothing more than a prank on the highly gullible. A social experiment if you will.

      The answer is choice. Morality is a choice. One can choose to be a civil, logical member of society that merely goes about his or her business daily without incident, or he or she can choose to be a criminal. The religious more often than the non-religious to choose the latter.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • jim.g

      doobs; you didn't did you? not sure what anyone does here anymore. amazing how cnn could get the dumbest and brightest people together to discuss anything these days. can't wait to see what the folks in Arkansas are discussing today. pretty slick.I'm sure.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ jim

      I didn't what? Scroll through all 60 pages? No, lol, I wouldn't bother.

      April 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  2. Kevin

    The Bible is just a disjointed collection of old myths, I have as much faith in it as the next Ponzi scheme. I do however have faith in reality.

    April 2, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  3. Francisco

    There is an organization called The Clergy Project that helps clergy through the transition of leaving his or her employment. There are many clergy's that have a "loss of faith". Or in other words realized that what they are preaching is a bunch of mythical nonsense. It must be very difficult to be near retirement and realize your a hypocrite. If they are dependent on their income they find themselves in a rock and a hard spot. This organization helps untangle all the problems associated with that. There must be a lot of in the closet atheits out thre.

    April 2, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Puppies and Kittens Taste Delicious When Cooked Properly

      Many atheists are trapped in a closet due to the overbearing attitude of religion as a whole on those that do not partake in its antiquated ritual.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Speed Read

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtO-6Xg3g2M&w=640&h=360]

    April 2, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • meifumado

      Meh

      April 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      I didn't think was so good either...

      April 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  5. Speed Read

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYvw68IneV4&w=640&h=360]

    April 2, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • meifumado

      LOL

      April 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  6. ME II

    @Chad, (cont. from pg 54)
    "sound bite atheism: searching for something to use as a soundbite. for example: 'The bible condones slavery'"

    This is a red herring, whether something can be used as a soundbite or not is irrelevant to its validity. Otherwise similar tactics could be used against 'soundbite theism' such as: "The empty tomb."

    "condone [1.] Accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue. [2.] Approve or sanction (something), esp. with reluctance."
    "As I said before, 'condone' is an incorrect word when regarded in the totality of the definition."

    1) You forgot the numbers. That is not a single definition but separate usages, i.e. "totality" of 1 and 2 is not required, therefore "condone" is a valid description under the "accept and allow" usage.

    2) Even under the "approve or sanction" usage it seems valid to me. If one regulates something, is that not a defacto approval of that action, i.e. is not disapproval of all other slavery practices in fact approval of the ones specified. The passages already quoted regulate when, how, and of whom slavery is approved, according to Leviticus.

    "Were God to destroy anything that was not perfect, there would be no humans left."

    We are not talking about punishment, but judgement. Is it wrong to own another human being? What I think you are saying is that it is wrong except when there is no other option to save a life, correct?

    Is lying, bearing false witness, ever okay? e.g. telling the Nazis that Anne Frank is upstairs.
    Is murder ever okay? murder is a legal definition and depends on the earthly laws e.g. Is killing someone in a duel wrong? If a law is passed that makes killing in self-defence murder, does that make it evil to kill in self-defence?

    Your God apparently does set relative rules on morality and in certain situations considers slavery ok, but regulating acceptable practices of slavery.

    How can He disapprove of that which He specifies be done? Or, how can He specify doing something that He disapproves of?

    "There isnt a Christian on the planet that thinks God is immoral."

    No one is saying that, I don't think. What we are trying to point out is that according to the text your god can be considered 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."

    It is a lack of 'accepting' Christian theology, but not necessarily a lack of 'understanding' it. My point is that regardless of your theology the text describes an acceptance of immoral, unethical, behavior, a regulation of immoral behavior. Whether your theology creates a justification for such text and/or action is irrelevant.

    April 2, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Vic

      Given the past and current affairs of humanity, it is clear to me that there is no Law or what have you can solve the problems nor justify man! That points directly to the need of a Divine Intervention!

      When we examine what's out there, we find that Justification by the Grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ (the Messiah) as Lord and personal Savior is the Truth!!!

      That is what God ultimately did!!!

      John 3:16,7

      16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.""

      New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      April 2, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Vic

      Given the past and current affairs of humanity, it is clear to me that there is no Law or what have you can solve the problems nor justify man! That points directly to the need of Divine Intervention!

      When we examine what's out there, we find that Justification by the Grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ (the Messiah) as Lord and personal Savior is the Truth!!!

      That is what God ultimately intervened!!!

      John 3:16,17

      16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.""

      New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      April 2, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Vic, like all delusional believers, you are long on claims and short on facts and evidence. Your beliefs are part of the reason the world is the way it is. We don't need more religion – we need less. Time for all religious cults to take their place beside astrology, although I shouldn't be too hard on astrology as it does provide some entertainment.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • BRC

      @Vic,
      Maybe you can help explain this to me, why does everyone make a big deal about Jesus being "God's" "only begotten son"? It's really not that big of a deal, it shoudl be said "god's" only begotten son, so far. He's "God", he can begett all he wants. If "God" wanted to impregnate 12 virgins tomorrow, and create twelve more physical manifestations of himself on Earth tomorrow he could quickly and easily have his own baseball team. If the story was true, and Jesus was the son of "God", yes that would be a very important matter, but the only son thing is not, because "God" can always just make more. Thoughts?

      April 2, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Vic

      Who Jesus is:

      Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God incarnation in the flesh, the Second Person of the Triune God (Holy Trinity,) and the actual Word of God.

      The Holy Trinity (One Godhead three Persons "Father Son and Holy Spirit")

      John 1:1-5
      "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

      John 1:14
      "14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

      John 3:16,17
      "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

      John 14:6
      "6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.""

      Matthew 28:19
      "19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,"

      Now, Jesus Christ, when on earth, was a fully God and a fully man. The "Only Begotten" is a reference, IMO, to Jesus the fully man (human) being the Son of God. No other human can be deity! Jesus the fully God is God the Son who always is!!!

      [All Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)]
      http://www.biblegateway.com

      April 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Madtown

      John 14:6
      "6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.""
      ------
      This is a shame for those human beings in this world who will never learn about Jesus, because God placed them into an area of the world where christianity doesn't exist.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • BRC

      @Vic,
      And that's all very nice (and according to the rules that "God" supposedly made compeltely possible as this universe does not allow one thing to be two things or two things to occupy the same space, but that's not really teh point here), but you didn't answer my question. It doesn't matter if Jesus was just the Son of "god" or if he was "God", the quesiton remains, is there any reason "God" couldn't just do it again?

      April 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Vic

      @BRC

      Beyond what I shared is above my pay grade!

      I listened to Dr. Jack Hayford on TV several times, and he seems to be specialized in this topic. He is very knowledgeable!

      I looked up his ministries' website:

      http://www.jackhayford.org

      God Bless.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Since we've got Vic dumping bible bile on us again by the bushel, it's time to present some other choice bits from his horrid Christian book of nasty. And read more carefully this time, Vic. These, as previously, are from both NT and OT:

      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 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Puppies and Kittens Taste Delicious When Cooked Properly

      Is it possible that the "son" never truly existed? After all, the only "evidence" outside of scripture is that of a man who is believed to have possibly had a hand in writing scripture himself.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • skytag

      Vic, your arguments are truly pathetic. You use no logic and no facts. Basically your argument is "there just has to be a God" and you support it by quoting Bible verses. Unfortunately for you, Bible verses are useless as proof or evidence until such time you can establish the truth of the Bible, which you obviously haven't done.

      April 3, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  7. the AnViL™

    this giggles person is displaying clear signs of a paranoid delusion.

    they believe that certain posters here are this dorothy person – from some flame war spanning several other websites.

    it's amusing to watch the schizos become all unhinged when anyone points them out for what they are:

    mentally ill, delusional, retarded, bigoted, hate-filled, disturbed, idiots.

    (and that's putting it nicely)

    April 2, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • The real Tom

      What is WITH this "dorothy" thing, anyway? Really, biggies and lol (or are they one and the same) write nothing but gibberish-and boring gibberish at that.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • the AnViL™

      that is a very good question: who is this dorothy?

      as it is with all crazies – if you sit still and watch – eventually they'll tell you all about the precise nature of the bug up their ass..

      in this particular instance – the dorothy business as it relates to this blog – are direct references to Acharya S, whose real name is Dorothy M. Murdock – an author of some arguably controversial books that appear to have caused some butthurt among a few mentally unstable folks.

      it would seem – this is all boil-over from several threads on the skeptics and truthbeknown websites – and what appears to be a flame war that raged across these sites a few years ago.

      the antagonist was banned – and – while it's only speculative – it seems they've found a new home here.

      funny stuff

      April 2, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • The real Tom

      Do they know about the alien corpses hidden in Area 51? What about the second shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas? And the moon landing-they know it was faked, right?

      April 2, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • the AnViL™

      oh – by the way – the real tom... in case you didn't already know....

      i'm dorothy... you're dorothy... damocles, end religion, tttoo, hot air ace, sam stone, meii, saraswati, clarity, science, virtually EVERYONE who posts anything that could be considered antichristian is dorothy.

      we're all dorothy and we must be reported and censored.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Damocles

      I'm a dorothy, he's a dorothy, she's a dorothy.... wouldn't you like to be a dorothy too? Be a dorothy, be, be a dorothy.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      Surrender Dorothy.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Science

      dorthery .....................................code name for the LIST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (spam comes in a can)

      April 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Lola Bunch

      Well, good grief...does HS subscribe to this theory? Because I notice that she does the same thing...

      April 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • End Religion

      We should wear "Kyle Buttons" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_Greatest_Dad) except of course they'd read "Dorothy".

      April 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Lola Bunch

      And you don't think somebody calling everyone "dorothy" is slightly disturbed in some way, lol?? What's *your* best explanation? Your verse could easily describe biggles, too.

      April 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      thanks...I've been wondering about this Dorothy business.

      April 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Well, HS thinks everyone is me, pretty much. *preening*

      April 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The 'dorothy' business was way too obtuse for me – especially with the dotty poster using the handle "." (whom people called "dot" or"dottie", which of course are contractions of dorothy) as s/he spouted about others being 'dorothy'.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  8. the AnViL

    well – it would appear as though i've upset some of the more mentally unstable delusional xian zealots who frequent the cnn belief blog.

    too bad.

    can't exactly understand why though – as i tend to be probably the most cordial and polite poster – ever. i'm sure everyone agrees.

    my messages are uplifting and depict a level of kindness unmatched anywhere on the planet.

    😉

    for the record – i do not hate any people.

    i do however hate bigotry, ignorance, division, racism, brussels sprouts, beef liver, country and western music, rap music, and japanese motorcycles.

    i do not and will not suffer mentally ill people or the enemies of reason... but that's virtue.

    tolerance of religious idiocy is coming to a sure, fine, swift end.... and there's absolutely nothing anyone can do to stop that.

    cha cha cha

    April 2, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • The real Tom

      What happened? Did a lightning bolt land near your house?

      April 2, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • JMEF

      the AnVil
      The trouble being that Chad, L4H, Topher, fred and their buddies will see this as an ad hominem attack, poor babies. After all they come on this blog daily to be rejected and ridiculed; in Chad's case he does not get enough at home from his family.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • the AnViL™

      lol

      nope – no lightening bolts.

      just making note of the epic proportions of butthurt in relation to that mean ol anvil.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • The real Tom

      Didn't notice, An. Has the butthurt index risen? Maybe it's tied to the Dow.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Science

      This might have hurt................................................ playing tag ?

      Tag your turn Haime52

      Hey bethany/chad ............................do you have a Y ?

      Hey Bobie and As-stin Chad/rachel l4h fred Robert Brown loony bethany etc etc All creationists !!!

      Was the bible around back then ?

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older

      Than Previously Thought

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

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

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

      Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

      Peace

      April 2, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Lycidas

      "tolerance of religious idiocy is coming to a sure, fine, swift end"

      Guess tolerance of all types are sure to follow soon after. Such is the brave new world you seem to want.

      April 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  9. Thoth

    So the poor little persecuted Christians 'rise' to power and do what? The EXACT same thing. From the 4th Century CE up to about 200 years ago (so roughly 1700 years) Christians spread their message via force. They invented torture devices and killing machines to force people to 'convert' or suffer and die. It's also interesting that there's no mention of the barbaric, warring nature of the first sects of Christians prior to 'Jesus'. Yes, they were around before him – waiting for 'Kristos' (Christ/annointed one) They were brutal sects. The notion that Christians were these humble, generous people – and that that is their power – is complete BS. Christianity's power lies in it's nearly 2000 years of brutal fear-mongering.

    April 2, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • The real Tom

      lol?? What is WITH you and the "gubmint" sh!te? Do you know how utterly idiotic your posts are? They make no sense whatsoever.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Thoth

      @LOL – Really? Right here on this continent early protestant christians did the following: held women believed to be witches under water to see if they drown. They burned people alive. They held people down. lay boards on top of them and then stacked rocks on the boards until it slowly soffocated them. None of these had anything to do with the roman catholic church.....

      April 2, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  10. Put-up or shut-up

    Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo, a man with a degree in kinesiology, is offering $10,000 to anyone who can “scientifically disprove the Bible’s creation story.” Dr. Mastropaolo money.is a creationist and dares any evolution theory lovin’ schlub to come try and take his

    April 2, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • tallulah13

      That's chump change. James Randi will give you a million dollars if you can prove god exists.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • The real Tom

      And you're a troll.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well....it's kinda hard to collect on that offer when the facts are dismissed out of hand. And why such a tiny prize. The JREF has a $1,000,000 prize for any demonstration of supernatural or miraculous claims.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • sam stone

      How does one disprove "god did it"?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • sam stone

      It is publicity stunt. He knows it cannot be scientifically disproven any more than one can disporove that we were created my a squirrel named Harry (but his friends call him 6 22 dash zed. Being unable to disprove it does not prove it

      April 2, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Science

      Legal costs might have exceeded 10,000 dollars back in the day........................ of the

      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

      April 2, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Thoth

      @put-up – well, for starts....which creation version in the 'bible'? There's more than one. Both have been disproved by science based on a direct (literal) reading. If you want to get subjective and start making claims about 'what the bible actaully means', then the burden of proof rests with you.

      Additionally, much of Genesis was poorly revisioned material from Sumerian folklore written several thousand years prior to the OT.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Correct. Intelligent Design was dismissed as "not science" and therefore cannot be disproved using scientific principles.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Damocles

      Quote: Dr. Mastropaolo money.is a creationist

      Please do everything after the or in your name.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • The real Tom

      I love that the dolt had to tell us that the guy has a degree in "kinesiology". Because that's just SO pertinent to...nothing.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • SixDegrees

      My god, Thor, promised to rid the world of ice giants. Have you seen any ice giants lately?

      PROOF of Thor's existence! PROOF that Thor keeps his word!

      The Jesus-god promised to bring peace to the world. Look around.

      Where's my check?

      April 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • End Religion

      A degree in kinesiology basically means he's a glorified gym teacher.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      Yup. He'll make minimum wage at the local sweat palace.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • ME II

      @Put-up or shut-up,
      "THE LIFE SCIENCE PRIZE
      FOR EVOLUTIONISTS AND UNETHICAL EDITORS
      374,000 EVOLUTIONISTS SILENCED SINCE 2002"
      (http://www.josephmastropaolo.com/prize.html)

      I'm amazed that this person would advertise being IGNORED by 374,000 scientists!

      April 2, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Put-up or shut-up

      @tom: all you have to do is google his name

      April 2, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Put-up or shut-up

      If people just go to his web site they will learn that evolutionist scientists agree that they cannot disprove creation, but evolution cannot be prove either because they are both speculative science

      April 2, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • OTOH

      Put-up or shut-up,

      1. There is lots of proof for evolution, but no, we don't know everything yet.

      2. When a hypothesis has not/cannot be proved nor disproved, the default/fallback stance is to withhold belief until it is either proved or disproved. Keep looking though...

      April 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Science

      News Release

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

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

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

      Contacts:Matt Hodson, University News Service, mjhodson@umn.edu, (612) 625-0552
      Peggy Rinard, College of Biological Sciences, rinar001@umn.edu, (612) 624-0774

      MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL

      April 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Puppies and Kittens Taste Delicious When Cooked Properly

      Evolution in fact has been proven through experimentation, thus leaving zero doubt to its validity. Your claim is on its best day, not true.

      Even if one believes in the creation myth, there is one thing that completely destroys it. As the myth goes, a deity created man in its image. What did this man look like? Was the man Middle Eastern? Was he Chinese? Was he African? Was he an Irish ginger? You see, even the creation myth cannot escape the result of evolution in the many differences in our own species.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Dr. Greg Graffin's PhD thesis found that the overwhelming majority of evolutionary biologists find no conflict between religion and science so long as religion is recognized solely as a sociological adaptation.
      " My study reveals that the worldview of these scientists is so different from traditional theology in that no gods exist for them, there is no such thing as the incorporeal spirit or soul, there is no life after death — all of the things that are held most passionately by traditional theology, all of them have to be abandoned. And if that condition is met, then religion is perfectly harmonious with the tenets of evolution. The only way to find compatibility in such a worldview is by accepting a religion with no authority on the most meaningful matters of human existence."

      April 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • ME II

      @Put-up or shut-up,
      "If people just go to his web site they will learn that evolutionist scientists agree that they cannot disprove creation, but evolution cannot be prove either because they are both speculative science"

      The concept that a god or gods had a hand in the development of the universe and life cannot be disproven, but creationism, the literal interpretation of Genesis, can be and has been disproven by geology, astrophysics, biology, etc.

      Science does not deal in "proofs".
      Creationism is not science.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Science

      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

      April 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      We all know the ruler of the universe is a man who lives alone (except for his cat which he names "The Lord") in a shack.

      April 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • skytag

      The challenge to prove God doesn't exist is the desperate tactic of people whose logic skills are clearly challenged.

      I have no need to prove God exists, just as no one has to prove Santa Claus, vampires, and leprechauns don't exist. The challenge in on believers to prove God exists.

      April 3, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • The real Tom

      Put up or shut up: You are an idiot if you think someone who has a degree in kinesiology is qualified to render a valid judgment about evolution.

      April 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I feel like persecuting Christians this evening, may I join in? Scientist do sometimes put small bets on some outcomes they may anticipate. At a Cold Spring Harbor meeting several years ago the bet was a few dollars on how many genes humans have. Mr. Mastropaolo's problem is that even considering his wager would make a scientist seem, well, less than serious.There's this too: is there a standard interpretation of the Bible's creation myths? "Creation" seems to magically conform to whatever seems closest to it, not so much in mainstream science, but anything some reputable scientist might have said that might serve to give the idea a bit of cover. The idea Mr. Mastropaolo wants someone to refute isn't even framed well enough to refute.

      April 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  11. Francisco

    I liken die hard believers in this nonsense ideology to someone who invested all his money in worthless stocks. After archeology findings DNA science and just plain old common sense. (If it doesn't make sense it's probably not true). They (religious believers) remain steadfast in denial. In the meantime our lawmakers are making decisions that impede logic.

    April 2, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Which decisions impede logic?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Common sense is a misnomer. In my experience it is decidedly uncommon. This is probably due to a deficiency in critical thinking skills which leads to bad reasoning. If the facts don't support your conclusions then your conclusions are suspect.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Bill

      Well...labeling anything as a sin for starters.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • The Demon Deacons

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Bill, you did not get back to me on what the take was, cash and pledges, at your clip joint, enough to keep you going until Xmas?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Making, or attempting to make, any law because The Babble, or any other Holy Book of Nonsense says that's the way it should be. Trying to ban birth control, teach creationism and denying people their civil rights for example.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • cedarbranchnikon

      "HotAirAce
      Making, or attempting to make, any law because The Babble, or any other Holy Book of Nonsense says that's the way it should be."
      In other words, laws against murder, theft, and other laws should be done away with?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      Are you really so ignorant that you think laws agains theft and murder are based on the Bible? Really? They aren't. They're based on ethics and are intended to protect our individual rights. They predate the bible and are common to most societies.

      Really, why don't people like you get a education?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Laws against murder, theft, etc. have been enacted because they are good for society and have been shown to predate The Babble.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • BRC

      cedarbranchnikon,
      Do you recognize and understand that none of those laws came directly from or required religion to be formed? All of them were out in place by societies because they are critical to the survival of a cohesive society, they are common sense laws, no religion or holy text required.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • The real Tom

      The Code of Hammurabi predates the bible. It contains the same sorts of laws. Why don't you know this?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Our sons are not members of any religious cults and as far as I know have not murdered or stolen, or otherwise committed a mortal sin. Well ok, one of them attended church once but that was only because that's what his girlfriend demanded before he could get into her pants, but we have forgiven him for going.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Ha Ha Ha ..." before he could get into her pants" . Priceless...only because they also have this major taboo fixation on sex too. Even though everyone knows the preachers daughter is always the most wanton.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Bill, Teaching creationism as science does impede reasoning skills (as does teaching the bible as literal truth). There is so much evidence that it is not literally true.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Reasons for Christian persecution by the Romans:
    1. Their refusal to recognize the Emperor as a God. This was also in common with the Jewish population, but was condoned by the government as long as they didn't force the issue in public. Also, Jewish Romans would offer sacrifice in Honor of the emperor, but not to him. Christians refused to do so, usually with great public comment.
    2. Thanks to misinterpretation of the story of the Last Supper, early Christians were accused of Human Sacrifice (of infants) and Cannibalism.
    3. Early Christian populations expressed strong anti-intellectual opinions, destroying books and manuscripts that did not agree with the teachings of the Church Fathers. These included scientific treatises concerning the earth, the stars and planets, human anatomy, medicine, and other disciplines that are still being fought by some modern Christian groups.
    4. This one is my personal favorite – they would enlist in the Army then refuse to fight, claiming that killing the enemy, even in time of war, was the sin of murder. This greatly undermined the discipline the Roman Legions were famous for, and partially resulted in the greater enlistment of Foederati to bolster the Roman Military machine.

    April 2, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • anonymous

      There's a really interesting analysis of these and other problems with Christians in Dr. Moss's book

      April 2, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    If you're a white, Christian, American male it's awfully hard to take seriously any claims of persecution.

    April 2, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  14. Austin -----the paradox revealed

    Truth Prevails 🙂
    "All quoting scripture does is prove your inability to think for yourself. I'd rather have a million books based on evidence than one book...what a sad pathetic world to only rely on one book and not see the horror in that book...sick weak minded gullible fools....what a true waste of the ONLY life you will ever have or know."

    Funny that you should use this handle to refer to people with faith as "sick weak minded gullible fools and the infer that our lives our wasted." God is holy and yes, we walk as sinners speaking of salvation, a doctrine including sin. but we are not mitivated to peddle a sin issue or ask for money. dont give to the church if you are paranoid. but dont default to satan's prison. You area obviously here with your posse to hurl insults. This is hatred is persecution. We are blameless for receiving faith as God is God and is Risen. You on the other hand are involved in the satanic assault on the cross.

    April 2, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Yeast is Risen, No God Required

      Seriously, put up some evidence for your sky creature or shove off already.

      April 2, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Rick

      So, is there any criticism of your faith that you wouldn't consider demonic? Seems to me that you all have put up this as a shield against listening to anything that is in any way critical of how you choose to interpret the Bible. You end up with dogma that cannot be questioned.That's rather dangerous, isn't it?

      April 2, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You are not hated. Perhaps some people hate the obscene religions of blood sacrifice and atonement. They are reminders of the worst things that religion can inspire, which are probably the worst things imaginable. You are criticized for believing such things and encouraging other people to do so.

      April 2, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Austin

      By all accounts you and your fellow believers are preoccupied with death and what you believe happens afterward. To you this life is nothing but a test. A minor precursor to what you think awaits. This is the "waste" that TruthPrevails refers to. You have forsaken this one experience of living in favor of the next. Let me ask you this. How would you choose to live your life if you thought you had no soul and this experience was all that there is? Would you waste it away in prayer and worship of non-existent gods or would you strive to enjoy to the fullest what life has to offer? For us who think this life is finite and terminal we waste no time thinking about what might be after death. We cast aside thoughts of mythical beings such as demons, spirits or gods. Those things were conceived by backward primitive men who didn't know any better.
      Clearly you have convinced yourself. But your dreams and the stories in the Bible are not convincing to others such as myself.

      April 2, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • sam stone

      Without this concept of "sin", Christianity is dead in the water

      April 2, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • sam stone

      Tom Tom: I think they want to feel hated. It comforts them that they are closer to Jeebus

      April 2, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Austin: I don't hate you or your posse. I dislike the fact that you can't seem to get past the fact that your book no longer has value in the world or at least in the public square. If all you have to back your claims is a 2000 year old book that has been debunked numerous times over and has been shown to be wrong, then you have very little. When you quote scripture, you are not proving anything to us nor are you convincing us to believe. Most of us were once believers ourselves and were able to leave it behind and accept the world for what it is. We tend to live better lives due to accepting this as the only life anyone is guaranteed of (there is no justification for believing in heaven or hell). To clarify this, if we don't believe in your god, we certainly do not believe in your satan, so that too is futile on your behalf. Why you would wish anyone suffering in eternal torment is beyond comprehension. What about the children who don't know about your god...will they too be sent to hell? If so, does it make you feel good knowing this?
      You keep coming back with the fact that your own spiritual revelations prove your god, yet you fail to see that revelations such as yours have been proven wrong (do some research).
      You'd think if your god was so real and so loving it would stop the questioning and show itself and until it does, there is simply no good reason to believe in it.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • The real Tom

      How can someone be involved in a satanic assault when one doesn't believe there's any such being?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • HotAirAce

      But, but, but!, The Babble is the inerrant word of some god! It is perfect – there is not a single contradiction in it. Over 700, no make that over 200, sorry I meant 38, prophecies have come true. Err, no, we cannot provide a definitive list – we're still trying to find the evidence for a god – we can't ever seem to find it when we really need it. . .

      But never mind all that – god exists, jesus was divine and The Babble is inerrant. Case closed!!

      April 2, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Science

      Hate to say it austin ............................it is in your head/brain ............................not mine.

      Is it to easy for you to figure that out ?

      April 2, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Science

      To Austin might want to read AGAIN !

      Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven; it's a fairy story'

      In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the cosmologist shares his thoughts on death, M-theory, human purpose and our chance existence
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/may/15/stephen-hawking-interview-there-is-no-heaven

      April 2, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Stephen Hawking

      Great scientific mind... not sure I'd seek him for spiritual help.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Stephen Hawking

      Be glad when you are hated by those who are perishing, Austin.

      Read Proverbs 25!

      God bless you all. God allows atheism for a very good reason. God's will, not ours be done.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • The real Tom

      Wait–Truth Prevails has a POSSE??

      How does one go about obtaining a posse? I demand a posse of my own! If you don't give me one, it's PERSECUTION!

      April 2, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • HotAirAce

      But it is ok for religious shamans and charlatans to pose as scientists. . .

      April 2, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  15. Reality

    (from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

    "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

    "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

    "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    April 2, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Substitutional atonement is immoral. The idea of someone taking the blame for someone else is simply wrong.
      And dead is dead...nobody has or ever will come back from that. That's why all accounts of people coming back from the brink are classed as near-death experiences. Because they were "nearly" but not quite dead.

      April 2, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "I can personally testify with personal proof, which is truth, that He is risen and He is the Word of God."

      Dead Cat....is still dead.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • The real Tom

      You forgot to add that it was 550 feet from his house.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  16. Anvils Godly Image....the canaanites cleaner uper?

    Anvil's godly disposition...........
    "tolerance of religious idiocy and ignorance must be stomped out and not be allowed to survive into the proceeding generation."

    April 2, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Shi!tiswati

      Research conducted by the astroastroastro.org has concluded that there is overwhelming response to intelligent arguments. You may ask, where does it come from? Where else, make molten images for yourselves and worship 'it'

      April 2, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Hoover

      I worship owls and my vacuum.

      April 2, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Science

      Hey lol??............................ learn about your family tree/generations .....................it is easy !

      Just go here link provided !

      https://www.23andme.com/ancestry/deep/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GDN-Image&gclid=CNr3vc2FrLYCFe5AMgodBEkAUw

      April 2, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Rick

      Austin
      When the actual Jesus, not Jesus in a dream or one of you followers, talks to me about all this I might find it compelling, but right now it still doesn't make any sense to me. Sorry!

      April 2, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • The real Tom

      I have never like scarabs. Ever. But at least I know that the word isn't capitalized.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  17. Coming Judgment

    To the writer of this article: Do you still doubt persecution of Christians? Just look at the droves of people who clicked on this article specifically to mock and speak out about Christianity. Isn't that also considered persecution? If it still happens today in our "enlightened" society, why do you doubt it happened then?

    April 2, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • Science

      Who is enlightened ?

      Earth’s timeline works better than the bible's timeline !

      Trace our planet's geological and biological ages .

      http://www.nbcnews.com/id/33184839/ns/technology_and_science/

      Peace

      Interactive timeline
      East to find FACTS.

      April 2, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • Science

      oops easy

      April 2, 2013 at 6:52 am |
    • Typical over exaggerating Christian

      Do you really think that someone disagreeing with you on a blog is equivalent to being torn apart by lions?

      April 2, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Shi!tiswati

      Deal with it! It's not like you know anything about this article. I have read all the books cover to cover, here is the reasoning;
      (Purport) there is knowledge in my brain
      (Purport) there is evidence to confirm that knowledge in my brain
      (C) therefore one categorically conclude that the knowledge I have is all powerful and full of 'knowledge'

      deal with it!

      April 2, 2013 at 7:13 am |
  18. Bent Faurschou Hviid

    The one good thing you can say about Christians is that they make blondes look pretty smart in comparison.

    April 2, 2013 at 2:37 am |
    • Shi!tiswati

      We have read these books cover to cover and there is no meaning, don't even go there, Studies conducted by the iamitelligenetali.org reveal that the intelligence revealed far surpasses the knowledge out there. The goal is simple, if you do not like to argue nonsense then why would you come here? Simple,right?

      April 2, 2013 at 7:18 am |
  19. harri

    the apostle pete knew about and witnessed the suffering the lord endured and he knew his future would be painful when he wrote II Peter

    April 2, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Agnes of Dog

      You do have something in common with Pete. He couldn't write for shit and that's why there is very little known about him. Great communication skills on display in your "replies" below by the way. Would this lol??, Gave Them Up, HarryGP, Salero21 perhaps???

      April 2, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      Harri ... the person who wrote 1 and 2 Peter was not the apostle Peter. Not a single author of the New Testament was a witness to anything that allegedly occured. The earliest accounts of what "happened" weren't written until at the very least a full generation AFTER your supposed "savior" died. Everything they wrote was either a 30 year old story handed down to them, something they heard on the street, or their own opinions, or in the case of Revelation, a really, really bad acid trip.

      April 2, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • _

      Good idea to read 2 Peter, thanks!

      April 2, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • biggles

      II Pete was written by Pete.

      April 2, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • o

      It's an excellent letter

      April 2, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • Science

      Look who is back................................. morning o little knowledge

      April 2, 2013 at 6:02 am |
    • Shi!tiswati

      Read the eastern mysticism, it is full of life and meaning, in the practice of medication there is truth that one comes to know the supreme being by an all powerful knowledge of this supreme being. Have you done 'yoda'.The research conducted by the group that put together 'Yoda' concludes there is healing power in the stars and you add stars it is of astrological war proportion.

      April 2, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • o

      I would be better off talking to myself in an empty room

      April 2, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  20. harri

    Rick

    Mark
    Plenty of "God's words" are really rather horrific and megalomaniacal all by themselves. It takes some very imaginative, inventive theology to make them appear loving

    sure bothers you

    April 2, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Agnes of Dog

      Who is quoting who here? What is the point by "harri", and to whom?? There are three names there harri, Mark, and Rick.

      April 2, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      My guess is "harri" is Austin and he is getting nuttier by the minute.

      April 2, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • Shi!tiswati

      The hypothesis that is inversely proportional to the evidence presented is the hypothesis that can be tested by repeatable experiments.in other words if you read a book cover to cover you can categorically deny that eastern mysticism is all powerful and the philosophies have mathematical inference to the derivative conclusion that one cannot mistakenly ignore. I do 'yoda'

      April 2, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Rick

      I wrote the top part to Mark, and harri is saying that this bothers me somehow, I suppose. Sure the Bible bothers me. I can't see how anyone can read about fathers offering their daughters to be gang ra.ped, fathers being willing to kill their own children, genocide, the killing of babies and all the other horrible things that are in that book without being bothered. It bothers me that people are eager to believe that it's all literally true and that the God behind it all is actually "good". Anyone who can see any possible good in things such as this I simply don't trust not to OK any modern atrocity as long as they believe that this same God wants it.

      I can remember growing up in the 50s. There were plenty of preachers who taught that God wanted America to strike the Soviets first, killing them all. If we had, pretty much the only people who wouldn't have condemned us as all as war criminals would have been Conservative Christians. It's really very twisted.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Science

      Science led to gay families: Law should follow
      By Debora L. Spar. Special to CNN
      updated 11:12 AM EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
      http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/opinion/spar-same-se-x-marriage-kids/index.html?hpt=hp_bn7

      April 3, 2013 at 1:42 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.