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My Take: The thin line between God and guns
April 10th, 2013
06:45 AM ET

My Take: The thin line between God and guns

Editor's Note: The Rt. Rev. Edward J. Konieczny is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. He was previously a police officer in Southern California.

By Edward J. Konieczny, Special to CNN

(CNN)  Both sides of the gun control debate think I’m on their side. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, a believer in Jesus Christ and for more than 18 years before entering seminary, I was a police officer.

While I try to preach God’s love and mercy, I also have a concealed carry permit and sometimes take my gun on long drives through the isolated areas of my diocese.

I live with the knowledge that I share responsibility for the taking of a human life in the line of duty and that a good friend on the force was shot and killed after we’d swapped shifts. And I wouldn’t be writing this article if the rifle that was pointed at my head one night by a man in the grip of a mental illness hadn’t failed to fire.

Until very recently, I was adamantly opposed to any expansion of gun control. But as I have reflected on the current debate — and the emotionally charged and morally complex gun-related moments in my past — I find myself struggling and evolving in my understanding of guns in our society. I think it is time for an honest conversation about the assumptions on which both sides in the gun debate base their arguments. It's  time for both sides to acknowledge that neither offers a complete solution to the problems of violence in our society.

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In 1979, one of my best friends, a fellow police officer named Don, swapped shifts with me so I could play in a police softball tournament. During that shift, Don was escorting a man from a bar when the man pulled a semiautomatic weapon from his coat and shot Don in the chest. Don died at the scene.

The man who shot Don was a convicted felon, recently released from prison. He should not have been able to buy a gun, but he had bought the one he used and several others from a licensed dealer.

In 1982, I was leading a team of officers trying to catch a serial rapist who had escaped from prison. Acting on a tip, we spotted the suspect in a car he'd stolen from his latest victim. As he tried to run over us, several of us shot at him — causing him to lose control and crash into a telephone pole. When he tried to retrieve what we thought was a gun in the car, officers fired again, killing him. Although I wasn't among those who fired the final shots — and it's unlikely I fired the fatal one — I still feel partially responsible for his death.

In 1991, a few days before I was to leave the police department to enter seminary, I was dispatched to check on a man with a history of depression who had not responded to his family’s numerous attempts to contact him. No one responded to our knocking, and when my partner and I opened the door to his house, the man appeared directly in front of me with a rifle pointed at my head. He pulled the trigger, but the weapon did not fire.

Later we learned that the man had struggled with serious mental illness for years but was still able to purchase weapons.

My 18 years as a police officer taught me that the law has little influence on some people, that those people are dangerous and that individual citizens have a right to protect themselves. As a priest and bishop, I have walked with those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. And in the quiet of my own meditations, I often remember my friend Don, his wife and children.

By acknowledging the complex part that guns and gun violence have played in my own life, I have come to understand that it is possible, and reasonable even, to be both inured to and incapacitated by violence.

This happens to us as individuals, and it can happen to us as a society. We get used to living with something because we cannot bear the raw emotions we would have to confront to change it.

The horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut,  and the murders in other communities scream out to us. The unthinkable grief of the parents and grandparents who were called upon to bury their children and grandchildren make it clear to all of us that we have to face the raw emotions of gun violence whether we want to or not.

Clearly God’s command to practice mercy and justice requires us to formulate a comprehensive response to gun violence.

We need a reasoned conversation about existing privacy laws that protect the mentally ill but too often fail to protect our law enforcement officers and our citizens. We need conversations about movies and video games that desensitize our children to the effects of violence. We need conversations about loopholes in the laws that allow the sale of weapons at gun shows and by private dealers without proper background checks.

And yes we as a society need to have a reasoned conversation about the need for military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in the civilian sector.

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We need not vilify gun owners nor make it unduly difficult to purchase and register a weapon.

There is no one wise enough to imagine every circumstance in which an individual might need a gun for protection or when a gun in the right hands might save innocent lives. But I would like my grandchildren to live in a world less violent than the one I have navigated, and it would be a moral failing if I refused to play my part in creating this world because I was too proud to change my mind or too mistrustful to work with people whose experiences may be different but who grieve as I grieve and share my prayers for peace.

We must proceed with humility. But we must proceed.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward J. Konieczny.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Crime • Episcopal • Opinion

soundoff (534 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    April 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • KMDAB

      Yes, it does. It makes otherwise sane people think they can wish things into existence.

      April 12, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Science

      to Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142915.htm

      Peace

      Facts work .

      April 12, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      April 12, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Really?

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

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

      April 12, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  2. His panic

    Excellent article, very good. Too bad some low grades can't see the virtue in it, probably because they are in a State of Panic. Gopers should read this article, same goes for Right wingers, extremists preservatives etc.

    Panic and Hysteria are different terms for some similar conditions. Panic has caused many a riot and irrational stampedes among many people. Hysteria was a term used mainly as a diagnosis for anxiety, depression and an array of symptoms on women. Both men and women are affected by Panic, they both can Panic for the same reason, at the same time and place. However only women can suffer from Hysteria.

    April 11, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  3. aCriticalEye

    Humm.... I agree with the author. But still I hate the religious right, hypocrites.

    April 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    Guns and God ... now that's FOX News' demographic!

    April 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  5. Sue

    The priest in the article is an incredible hypocrite. If his god is going to save him when he dies, why carry the gun?

    Same applies re any argument that he might defend others with it; again, where is his god to do that? The answer, of course, is that his personal god does not exist.

    April 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Only One of Many

      Seriously? That’s what you took away from this article? Let me get this right, you look past the points he is making about some thing we as Americans, need to deal with as a whole. So instead of talking to the point, you rather distract us all with an attach on his religious affiliations?
      Way to dodge the bigger issues and not see the forest through the trees!

      You and those that do this same thing, ARE THE PROBLEM!!!!!! Cant speak on the topic intelligently, so instead, you distract from the topic COMPLETELY.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'm not a Christian and even I will say you really don't get it. Just because you want people to be total imbeciles doesn't make it so.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    drep, another one brainwashed to deny Jesus Christ. What a waste of your parents money.

    April 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • fintastic

      Brainwashed are the one's who believe the mythology of the bible to be reality..... such a shame.

      April 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @fintastic As one who probably embraces the zietgeist, you are the brainwashed one. The spirit of the times tells you that the highest virtues are 'tolerance' and 'open-mindedness'. Then it tells you what to believe in order to be tolerant and open-brained. Then, it tells you to congratulate yourself on being a free thinker.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • fintastic

      @primefailure.......... "The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time."

      Nope I'm afraid not. Nice try at a wild guess though considering you don't know anything about me. My views on religion are based on logic, reason and a complete lack of any evidence to indicate the existence of any god..... regardless of "fashion" or any so called "dominant school of thought".

      April 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • sam

      HS, you're a waste of skin.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      still taking the trailer park on your knees, HS?

      April 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I'd never let a dead cat go to waste. But I hate it when furballs stick in my craw.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      All the mouths babbling with nothing to say again.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I like to brush my teeth with armadillo semen.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  7. Ted Garvin

    Why can't we all be nice to one another?

    April 11, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  8. McArthur

    I'am back!

    April 11, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  9. KIM JUNG UN

    Americans ALL of your guns are not going to saved you from ME. YOU ALL must surrender to my faithfull soldiers. I have 500,000 parachuters ready to invade you. 400,000 special operators, all of them better than seal team 6. My Naval ships are telling me the can see Hawaii already. So yu MUST SURRENDER NOW or else. Obamo will shine my boots, all pretty women will be for my soldiers. The fat ugly women will scrub the floors and sweep the streets. THIS IS ULTIMATUM.

    April 11, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • My name is Bond

      Bring it on kid, by myself I can kick your armies a$$ all the way to the gulf of Tonkin!

      April 11, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • fintastic

      @bond.......... do you have that car that squirts oil out the back??

      April 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • WASP

      hey kim we (the united states military) sent our reply via airmail.
      it should be landing in your lap at any moment.
      ENJOY. 🙂

      April 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • KIM JUNG UN

      Waspi WASP,

      So yu ar the US Army? Are yu soldier parachutists? Yu will shine my boots your pretty girls for my soldiers your fat wife will swept streets and scrub floors.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • My name is Bond

      @ finastick,

      No my car shoots rounds with my gun in the front.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • fintastic

      I like that car better then, I'm so gay!

      April 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • My name is Bond

      @ finastic,

      In the pool I swim with my girl ONLY.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • McArthur

      You are doom Kim Jong,

      This time Truman is not here to stop me, this time you will be BOMBED!

      April 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • KIM JUNG UN

      MACACUS,

      ME JUNG UN no afraid of yu or Bond my soldiers been train for years since they were boys. They teach lesson yu will shine my boots. 500,000 parachutist beat yu to hell. 400,000 special operators train by fathers better than yu. 10,000 tanks, 5,000 planes 2,000,000 infantry. Me be you great leader. you fat ugly women will scrub floor in barracks of my soldiers. Yu ALL surrender now or face result of sea of fire.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • fintastic

      You know you've made it when an @-hole steals your handle.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • His panic

      Wow! 2 millions infantry men, that's what I call being in a State of Panic! I'm his Panic.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • fintastic

      @ fake fintastic,

      Can't handle yourself?

      April 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • My name is Bond__

      I like little boys.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:57 am |
    • My name is Bond

      I love to play kiddie games.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:58 am |
  10. My name is Bond

    Shaken not stirred please. I'm packing my package.

    April 11, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  11. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    there is a thin line between Islam ism and Insane ism

    April 11, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Quest ion

      Is it not Islam the Foundation of the American Constipation?

      April 11, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  12. Robert

    Jesus freaker, my prayers are for you to see the Light. Who are we, as humans, to presume to understand the "ingenuity," as you put it, of God, the Creator of the universe??!!! How arrogant are you and others who try to understand His motives, His logic, His ways of teaching? May the omniscient God of my fervent beliefs open your mind to His almighty mercy–and His almighty justice!

    April 11, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      How arrogant are you and others who try to understand His motives, His logic, His ways of teaching?

      Don't blame me; I didn't write the Bible. Try reading it for yourself.

      April 11, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • faith

      we never went to the moon, either. could u throw a rock that far? do you know how to breathe w/o air? ain't got nottin. only hollywood made spoofs. did you go to the moon? i didn't think so

      April 11, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Colin

      You say, "How arrogant are you and others who try to understand His motives, His logic, His ways of teaching?" and then go on to claim you know "he" experiences the human emotions of love and mercey. Which is it? Can we understand your sky-fairy and "his" motivations or not? You can't have it both ways, claiming those who support your childish fiction CAN know he is kind, mercifull etc. and then say to those who doubt his existence that mere humans CANNOt understand him.

      April 11, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • clarity

      Lol – wow, Colin, looks like the looney bin bus broke down early at the Belief Blog on their way to the country buffet.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yep. The crazy train went off the rails. The Belief Blog is too full of trolls to be fun anymore.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • clarity

      I'm so High I can't get down, help me!

      April 11, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Winter type storm.

      Lot of people must have had their therapy session cancelled.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Gandolph The Lundren

      Well, if we were created in the image of your deity as stated in your book of fiction, then we absolutely would understand the logic and reasoning of your deity. That was the point of stating it in the book. So that followers would know that the deity and they reason at the same level. Any time something bad happens, the excuse is, "We aren't meant to understand why the beautiful majestic deity of our skies has destroyed everything in our lives." This claim is useless, as your own "Guide to Avoiding the Wrath of The Almighty" AKA "The Bible" tells you otherwise. For those of you that continue to believe can now state without doubt that your deity must hate a lot of people based on all of the natural disasters alone. And that's just a start. I trust this will help you understand your own book.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • sam stone

      free people do not need saviors, robert

      April 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  13. saggyroy

    Does anyone know if there are any bible gun camps north of the Mason-Dixon?

    April 11, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • Saraswati

      Bible gun camps? That's something I don't even want to google as it sound like al qaida training camps.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • WASP

      @sara: XD mourning.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:56 am |
    • fintastic

      "bible gun camps".......... LOL

      April 11, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Gandolph The Lundren

      I find that the "good book" is best suited as a target or a target stand.

      April 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  14. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    there is a thin line between living miserable life here on earth and living with 72 hoors (virgins) in palace of Allah, alla-U-Fakbar

    April 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • wjshelton

      It is obvious that you are not Muslim but are no more than a troll.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:20 am |
    • STFU

      @Mohammad A. Dar, What is Allah? your Wahabi Kejer consti tution is based on principle of Kutta-ran, not Qu-ran, Denial of GOD is called filthy Sunni kenjers, so is Wahhabi secular ism filthy self center ism, every Wahhabi kenjer denier of truth absolute like kafers, take your filthy kenjer secular ism, ignorant donkey ism, and move to junnat gutter of Theen Allah secular ism, ignorant donkey ism called Medina. you will not be a stranger in zoo of wahhabism ignorance.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Quest ion

      Is it true or not, that Islam is the Foundation of the American Constipation?

      Is it true or not that Mohammad was a pedophile?

      Did he ra-pe or not the little girls?

      April 11, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  15. Reality

    From today's news: "New Jersey police: 6-year-old dies a day after being shot – by a 4-year-old" .

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

    April 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Roger that

      In Tennessee a 4-year-old shoots and kills a sheriff deputy's wife.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:23 am |
    • Saraswati

      When I lived in NC the big gun proponents used to call these incidents "natural selection" because they killed off the families of people they thought were too dumb to handle guns.

      April 11, 2013 at 6:43 am |
  16. T-roy

    "Guns and God"

    They are similar in the fact that the people who vehumately support both are delusional...

    April 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Roger that

      And dangerous.

      April 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Gandolph The Lundren

      I'm trying to locate the exact meaning of "vehumately ." Thus far, my queries have yielded zero results.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  17. Bob

    Seeing as how there is no evidence of any higher beings with control over our world, why should we dictate our laws based on what are obviously really old fairy tales?

    April 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Salero21

      Grrreat example of the stupidity of atheism!

      April 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Akira

      There is a reason for separation of church and state.

      April 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • the real Tom

      Salero, can you explain what is "stupid" about basing our laws on the preservation of rights and freedoms and not on the Bible?

      April 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Get out of grip of truth absolute, if you can, hindu ignorant, you will not exist without truth absolute FOR A SECOND, TRUTH ABSOLUTE, CONSTANT regulating your breath. THERE IS NO OTHER TRUTH, BUT TRUTH ABSOLUTE, LORD GOD OF UNIVERSE.

      April 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Cupcake

      And the reason, .........is. Because Thomas Jefferson is a mason.

      god does not want serperation. Give to Cesar was not submission.

      The extent of free will is l also rasped as
      God who abandons the world to sin until the dayof the Lord. And He is risen.

      God reveals miracles to the elect. And the Holy spirit testifies on the tablet of the heart.

      April 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • the real Tom

      What? Could you please translate that into English?

      April 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • T-roy

      Atheism is the lack of belief in a supernatural power due to lack of evidence. I would hardly call this stupid. I would call it skeptical. Careful. Thoughtful. Logical. Faithless. However, calling someone stupid for not agreeing with you is very communist. The Chinese love to criticize anyone who does not believe completely what they are told to believe. People who are free thinkers are called stupid...

      April 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Akira

      Ah, no, Cupcake. That isn't the reason.
      Jefferson wasn't the only FF who contributed to the Constitution.
      The reason for separation of church and state was put in place because the warring factions of religion at the time deemed it necessary that no one religion would codify their specific beliefs into our secular laws.
      They were foresighted enough to see it would be a problem...and they were correct.
      This is yet another reason that there is no official religion of the United States.
      The FF knew what they were doing.

      April 11, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Grrreat example of the stupidity of atheism!"

      LOL as opposed to believing in something in which there is no proof.........re...tard

      April 11, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • clarity

      Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

      The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.

      –James Madison, 4th POTUS, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights

      April 11, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  18. the only thing worse

    Can't find the new Bourdaine show on my Windows Media Center to record it. Fuck.

    April 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  19. the only thing worse

    Please understand happy understanding fun geologic time. There are no people. No creatures, no sun. There is an exchange of positive and negative. No more. Fear the nun.

    April 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • hippypoet

      not aimed at you, just love your post and felt a second to it.

      we exist in the Virgo Super cluster, a super cluster of galaxies made up of clusters of galaxies made up of galaxies made up of billions of stars – one of those stars has a planet with life on it – how arrogant is it of anyone to even entertain the notion we are the only life that exists first, but to think that we are, even in the slightest, significant is to show the level of your understanding of the reality of our existence!

      April 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • the only thing worse

      Hi HP!!
      cs

      April 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  20. Age of Reason

    ..."No one knows if this Jesus christ existed, and if he did, NOTHING is known about him!"
    Why I am not a christian Bertrand Russell 1928

    April 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Yeah denying domething happened 1928 years ago is based on firsthand knowledge if you are Bertrand Russel!

      April 11, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      Believing something that happened 2000 years ago as if it is based on firsthand knowledge is delusional.

      April 11, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • o

      Planned out centuries before is almighty hand, and not delusional.

      April 11, 2013 at 3:38 am |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      If it was planned does that mean there is no free will? If your god is guiding life on earth, explain the disease, starvation, etc.
      Oh and do you have any evidence for your statement?

      April 11, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • WASP

      @O: "Planned out"
      means if any of your family die from a horrible accident or illness, don't worry "Planned out centuries before is almighty hand"
      you can take your ill grandmother to a doctor, however if it violates your god's plan he won't let her get better.

      religion = no free will.

      April 11, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Saraswati

      Reminder:Religion Christianity

      April 11, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Saraswati

      Religion does not equal Christianity (character set problem)

      April 11, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      If your god is guiding life on earth, explain the disease, starvation, etc.

      That's the ingenuity of God. He is testing you or tricking you into an eternity of tourture because that is the sick son of a b that he is.

      April 11, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Poltergiest

      I can explain starvation. Humans waste 50% of food crops grown on average. Who's doing is that?

      Virtually every human disease that developed in the west was a result of uncleanliness and people living in very close proximity to their live stock. This is why there was virtually no disease in South America when the Europeans arrived.

      Now on to free will. In atheism you only believe in physical laws and the physical world. That means, to an Athiest, the future is entirely a matter of cause and effect. This also means the very last thought you had was just a result of previous events. This would imply that if I could collect enough data and build and accurate enough model, I could determine your future thoughts and actions just as easily as I could predict where mars would be in 30 years. Doesnt sound all that free.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Poltergeist,

      "In atheism you only believe in physical laws and the physical world"

      The fact that most atheists believe only in physical laws and the physical world does not make that an inherent part of atheism. An atheist by definition just doesn't believe in gods and so could believe in witchcraft, the power of crystals, libertarian free will or any other silly magical ideas and still be an atheist. Additionally, an atheist may not even believe the physical world is real or predominant.

      Even among strict materialists who don't believe in the supernatural many are not determinists. I do not personally thin that you can derive a meaningful christian style concept of free will from that world view, but it is a position and belief system many hold that makes as much sense as the Christian version of free will

      April 11, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Gandolph The Lundren

      Poltergiest, yes, it is free. We have the choice to act or not act on any "prediction" made on your theory. We can't predict most natural disasters with accuracy. We don't know if a comet the size of England is going to hit the Earth in 200 years. With so many variables, prediction becomes impossible.

      However, with an all-knowing deity that knows everything, every thought you will ever have, knows in advance which section of hades to plant you before you are even born. How is THAT free?

      April 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • WASP

      @Poltergiest: umm companies already do that. they record your data on the net, your phone, tablet, etc etc etc and can calculate what products and choices you will make based off of other products and choices you have made.
      seeing humans are creatures of habit, thus if you buy pepsi you most likely don't buy coke due to the difference in the tastes; so companies will target you with pepsi ads instead of coke cola.

      the main reason no human has ever achieved being able to "know" exactly what a person will do in the future is called the "HUMAN FACTOR".
      humans are unpredictible on many different levels, those you thought would stand an fight end up running away and vice verce.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:48 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.