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April 18th, 2013
10:45 AM ET

My Take: Godless in Boston mourn, too

Editor’s note: Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University and author of the New York Times best-seller "Good Without God." He directs the Humanist Community Project, a national think tank helping to study and build communities for the nonreligious.

By Greg M. Epstein, Special to CNN

Cambridge, Massachusetts (CNN) — After two days of holding back my own feelings to focus on the needs of a community in mourning, what finally split my heart in two was scrolling through the list of donations to the fund-raising page for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter among the tragically injured at the Boston Marathon.

Celeste, the mother, has volunteered for my congregation. She’s basically an aunt to a senior member of our staff. So I cried for the two-sidedness: A member of our community lost her legs below the knees, and nearly lost her daughter. And, in one day, nearly 4,000 people donated more than $250,000 to support them. They seemed to be saying, through their gifts, “Please do this for me too if anything should ever happen to me or my family.”

AC360: Mother lost legs, daughter nearly died in bombing

As a chaplain, I’m struggling to make sense of this tragedy just like any other member of the clergy. And like faith communities across the country, the thousands of people I work with are doing what needs to be done when tragedy strikes close to home. We’re offering one another comfort. We’re calling around to the point of exhaustion, trying to figure out who needs help and how we can provide it.

The only difference is, we are a community of atheists — a congregation of Humanists.

You’ve probably read the statistics: With 18% of the nation’s population now nonreligious, America is less religious today than ever before. This especially applies to young Americans, up to a third of whom now have no religion. That number may be closer to half on many of the college campuses throughout Boston, like the one where I work.

What you may not have noticed, however, is that in addition to the religiously unaffiliated, or “nones” as sociologists have taken to calling them, a new and very significant group of Americans has been emerging — the nonreligiously affiliated. Relatively quietly, many thousands of mostly young Americans who identify as atheists and agnostics have been coming together to form civically active, thoughtful secular community groups that now dot nearly our whole nation.

Sometimes you hear about the debates these groups hold with religious leaders. But while Richard Dawkins and the like are eloquent and controversial speakers on behalf of atheism, most such debates are actually organized by religious organizations. The vast majority of what Humanist and secular communities do is positive, uncontroversial and entirely American. We serve. We meet throughout the year. We help one another raise good kids. We celebrate life, and we grieve death.

So I don’t relish the opportunity — or the need — to say that right now, our community is grieving too, just like any other Boston-area congregation. Boston, in fact, is home to one of the biggest secular/Humanist/atheist/nonreligious communities in the world. (Sure, we don’t know what to call ourselves. But then again neither does the LGBT — or is it GLBT? — or LGBTQ? — community, and that hasn’t stopped them from thriving.) We meet every week. We’re getting ready to open up a large community center. We sponsor service programs where we invite interfaith groups to help us package thousands of meals for hungry kids. You can even join us this Sunday: We’ll be marking our losses together in a memorial gathering.

What is so disappointing to see people do, then, is blame the horrific and traumatizing events of this Monday on the godless, or on godlessness, as way too many on Twitter and elsewhere have been doing. As one young woman in our community said to me, “It’s hard enough to deal with senseless grief, but when people write things like 'Why do people have to be so godless to want to kill innocent people?' it makes me feel like I’m not safe either, like we’re being singled out for prejudice.”

Obviously when people say “I’ll pray for you” or “May God grant you strength,” they’re only expressing their own sincere convictions. But while not everyone holds those same beliefs, we all want to be acknowledged in a way that feels right to us.

And when political leaders like Gov. Deval Patrick or President Obama try to make sense of these moments by assembling interfaith services, it is admirable — far better for a politician to bring different religions together than to only recognize one religion’s view of loss as valid. But for goodness' sake, must the nonreligious continue to be excluded from such gatherings? I’ve seen Humanists knock on the door recently at the interfaith celebrations of political conventions, or after tragedies like Hurricane Sandy or Newtown. We wanted to help and were turned away. I hope this is where people realize: We are part of the community too. We care and want to offer our support just as much as anyone. We, too, are in shock and grief.

Secular people place our faith in the human ability to value life over death. We believe in committing ourselves to love and care and help as indiscriminately as possible, because that is what makes our lives worthwhile. We try our best, despite our doubt, to ensure that the good will that comes from tragedy will ultimately exceed the bad.

All that said, I don’t have a clue what Celeste’s beliefs are, and I don’t care. I just hope she and Sydney and everyone else injured get well. After all, would you believe for a second that every Christian pastor knows whether or not every visitor to his or her congregation truly believes in the Ascension? Nor should they. The point of a congregation, to me, is just to care about the people in it, and better yet, to help bring people together to care about one another. Our community is including everyone, religious or not, in our thoughts and hopes at this tough time. It would mean a lot to us if others do the same.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (3,411 Responses)
  1. ReligionIsBS

    Can we all just take a moment to realize that if there was a god, how truly pathetic he is.

    He just sits up there in the clouds and watches thousands of people every day, kill, torture and starve. But some think he is amazing becuase he helped them find their keys in the morning. Thousands of different religions, most of them praising other dieties than himself. He cant seem to figure out how to get people to beleive in him. If only he had the ability to talk to people like in the bible. If only he could do what mere mortals are capable of, forgiveness without sacraficing your child to yourself. It is lauagble that any adult would continue to fall for this farce. You religous people are hilarious, at least atheists dont beleive in a monstorous god like the one invented in the bibe. And atheists do not say there is not 100% no god, so at least we can admit that if there was a god, he would be a lot more powerfull of a being than the buffoon of the bible. You chirsitians dont have very high standards of what a god actually is.

    April 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you are talking about an all powerful or all good modern Christian type god I agree. But if there were gods that were kind of weak in comparison they could be doing their best and just not be that competent. Or if they aren't all good they could just be jerks. I think it's really only the modern goody goody all powerful Christian type version that has these problems. Other gods often have other problems, but this one is pretty specific.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Scarn

      What's laughable is how angry atheists get over something they claim to not believe in. I think all atheists do believe deep down, they're just angry at God for whatever reason.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Sonny

      "And atheists do not say there is not 100% no god"

      There it is again. I keep reading on this thread that atheists don't discount the possibility of a god. Then why attack Christianity so much? Based on reading these comments, the knowledge of true Christianity is sorely lacking on both sides. If you want to learn about Christianity, go live on Mount Athos for a week. Otherwise don't ridicule what you have no knowledge of.

      Nor should a true Christian ridicule an atheist for being an unbeliever.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Sonny

      Because the choice isn't Christian or atheist. There are thousands of religions out there, with different god/gods, philosophies, and problems. In America, most atheists will speak out against Christianity because it is the majority religion, and the loudest of the Christians want to turn this into a country whose laws are based on the bible (not a good idea), and want to force whatever their tenets are on everyone, regardless of religion, lack of religion, or even denomination within their own religion that would disagree on some things.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Sonny,

      1. Most atheists know more about the xtian religion then the xtians themselves. This has been shown in more than one study.

      2. It is the xtians that are trying to push their religion on everyone else that is the problem. As just two examples, pushing (un)intelligent design in school and legislating the ability to get an abortion out of existence in some states.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Sonny

      Read Lincoln's Second inagural address and tell me we do not live in a nation that developed as a Christian Nation.

      It was that kind of thinking that freed the slaves. We are a nation that is about 240 years old. Why are we so ignorant to think that the last 15-20 years can outweigh those first 220. Especially when those first 220 were fought and struggled through with real sacrifice.

      Again, those that attack Christianity have not a clue what it is really about. That, unfortuantely is the fault of so many Christians who have so disgraced the Faith.

      As Christ said, "Why do you call out Lord, Lord and do not do what I say"?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Sonny

      Honey,
      Abortion is killing a life whether or not you believe in God.

      And Christians should not be pushing teaching intelligent design in school. But nor should secularists force our children to be thought the THEORY of evolution in school either.

      Christians appear to be on the attack, but are in fact on the defensive on all sides.

      And I'm sorry, an atheist can read the Bible a billion times and never have any idea what Christianity is really about. Any true Christian will tell you that. The Bible is a guide in our encounter with Christ. Never meant to be a historical textbook.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Sonny

      There are so many things wrong with your posts that I have no idea where to begin, or if you even want to be corrected.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Sonny

      Please. Enlighten me.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "There it is again. I keep reading on this thread that atheists don't discount the possibility of a god. Then why attack Christianity so much? Based on reading these comments, the knowledge of true Christianity is sorely lacking on both sides. If you want to learn about Christianity, go live on Mount Athos for a week. Otherwise don't ridicule what you have no knowledge of."

      Ive studied christianity for a long time. It doesnt take much more reasoning capable of a 6 year old that christianity is false. There may be a god out there, i dont know, but I do know that christianity is fake. The same way you know scientology is fake. I dont need to like on a mountain for a week to know christianity is a lie.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      And the most ill informed post of the week goes to Sonny!

      Read Lincoln's Second inagural address and tell me we do not live in a nation that developed as a Christian Nation.

      "It was that kind of thinking that freed the slaves."

      It was the christians type of thinking that allowed slaves in te first place, genius. Read Exodus 21:20-21 and get back to us. Sorry, but your book of morals did not preach against slavery, it encouraged it and even gave specific directions on how to treat your slaves. Your stupidity is astounding.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Sonny

      If you read any commentary from the early Church Fathers you would know the way in which the Bible was written, rather than just interpereting on your own. It was never meant to be interpreted on its own. If you knew as much as you claim about Christianity, you should know that as well.

      And what again is the proof that Christianity is false?

      April 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Sonny

      "Abortion is killing a life whether or not you believe in God."
      The issue with abortion isn't about taking a life, it's about the bodily autonomy of the woman. At no other point in a persons life can the law force someone to act as a life support system for any other human being, regardless of their situation. The government does not force me to give a kidney to my daughter if she would need it. It doesn't force me to give bone marrow, or to give a heart if needed, so why would you want to force women to give up their bodily autonomy against their will?

      "And Christians should not be pushing teaching intelligent design in school. But nor should secularists force our children to be thought the THEORY of evolution in school either."
      ID is not a scientific theory. In fact it isn't even science, it merely makes untestable assertions. A theory in science is an explanation of a phenomena that may contain certain scientific "laws", and backed up by evidence, independent verification, and massive amounts of testing. Gravity is a theory. The process that goes on during reproduction is a theory. ID has no place in a school, especially when they teach it was the Christian god, because not all children or parents are Christian.

      "Christians appear to be on the attack, but are in fact on the defensive on all sides."
      On the defensive against what? Not getting the special treatment they're used to? Christianity has had too many passes in our secular society.

      "And I'm sorry, an atheist can read the Bible a billion times and never have any idea what Christianity is really about. Any true Christian will tell you that."
      And which definition of true Christian are you using? The Methodist, Lutheran, orthodox Lutheran, catholic, Baptist, southern Baptist, or any of the other 30,000+ denominations of Christianity all with distinct doctrinal differences?
      Saying that you need to believe the bible to know what it's about is not only confirmatory bias, but it is also dependent on which denomination you belong to. And each would say the same thing you do about atheists reading the bible as every other denomination reading the bible.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Sonny

      the American anti-slavery crusader William Lloyd Garrison (1805 - 1879), who remarked in a speech in Charleston, South Carolina on the day Abraham Lincoln was shot:

      "Abolitionism, what is it? Liberty. What is liberty? Abolitionism. What are they both? Politically, one is the Declaration of Independence; religiously, the other is the Golden Rule of our Savior."

      April 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • clarity

      Regarding Lincoln, Sonny, there are as many opinions on Lincoln's spiritual tendency as the year is long. He did seem to have a high respect for the spirituality in others. But as for him, it still seems to be a great mystery. Some even think he exuded the same Deist tendency as Tyler and the first five presidents. To complement your example of what we know from the inaugural or celebratory Lincoln, consider this:

      John Remsburg, in his book Six Historic Americans (1906), cites several of Lincoln's close associates:

      After his assassination Mrs. Lincoln said: "Mr. Lincoln had no hope and no faith in the usual acceptance of these words." His lifelong friend and executor, Judge David Davis, affirmed the same: "He had no faith in the Christian sense of the term." His biographer, Colonel Lamon, intimately acquainted with him in Illinois, and with him during all the years that he lived in Washington, says: "Never in all that time did he let fall from his lips or his pen an expression which remotely implied the slightest faith in Jesus as the son of God and the Savior of men."

      April 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "If you read any commentary from the early Church Fathers you would know the way in which the Bible was written, rather than just interpereting on your own. It was never meant to be interpreted on its own. If you knew as much as you claim about Christianity, you should know that as well."

      You sure do make a lot of asumptions. How do you know where I studied the bible? Are you aware that I did study the bible at a seminary? Do you realize just because someone is making eexcuses for the horrible nonsense in the bible, it doesnt make it any more true?

      "And what again is the proof that Christianity is false?" The same reason you think Scientology is fales. Absolutely no evidence.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Sonny

      Hawaii,
      Orthodox Christianity holds the same beliefs as the apostles did. Unchanged. St John the Theologian, St Paul, St John Chrystosom, St Basil, St Gregory Palamas, St John Climacus, the Seraphim of Sarov, etc. Unchanged doctrine.

      How can evolution be tested?

      Ever read the Abolition of Man by CS Lewis, former atheist. There is the attack on Christianity.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Sonny

      "Christianity is false because there is no evidence for it". That just doesn't make sense. It's akin to what someone said in an earlier post that atheists don't believe 100% that there isn't a God. A lack of evidence (scientific evidence I should say) doesn't imply something is not true, only that it can't be proven. I'll be the first to say that God can't be proven by science.

      And I would be interested in knowing where you studied the Bible. The belief that we can interperet scripture on our own in no way ties to the Ancient Christian Faith.

      From Acts:
      Coming upon the Ethiopian as he read the Old Testament in his chariot, Philip the Deacon asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
      “How can I,” answered the Ethiopian, “unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:30, 31).

      April 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Giggles

      CS Lewis, former atheist

      Well gosh, he was never a very good atheist.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • LOL!

      Chad aka Sonny

      April 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Scarn:

      "What's laughable is how angry atheists get over something they claim to not believe in. I think all atheists do believe deep down, they're just angry at God for whatever reason."

      By that logic all the Christians who foam at the mouth over Islam really recognize it's truth deep down and all the 1950s Christian's who ranted about Marxism where closet Marxists.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Sonny

      I would suggest going to talkorigins.org for evidence and test that have been done to confirm evolution. It's far to long to really get into here.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Sonny,

      I studied at the Dallas Theoligcal Seminary.

      You seem very confused. YOu are implying you beleive in christianity because it cant be proven false. So please, answer this question.

      Why arent you hindu?

      April 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      no, scarn, we are just wary of those who claim to follow this illusion, and the effect they will have on our secular laws

      April 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Its also hilarious that you think the creator of the universe isnt capable of having his holy word written down so that everyone could understand it without numerous theoligians guessing at how to make it look less like garbage. As if there is some way to make Exodus 21:20-21 not look like a pyshcopath wrote it. Like there is some sore of silver lining to being a slave, instead of god just instructing that slavery is bad and it shouldnt be tolerate, instead of giving specific directions on how to beat the pulp out of your slave. Its also hilarious that you think god would reveal himself to one small sect of people 6,000 years ago and have his message mistranslated and misunderstood for the rest of time, when he clearly could have waited until technology was invented and could have show himself to everyone today, and have a book written so everyone could understand it. Again, your idea of an all powerfull god is pathetic.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • there'shope

      We dumb Christians know one thing for sure, and there's no atheists on this earth that can argue this statement...... We are all going to die. You well educated know everything atheists will find out for sure if there is a GOD or not. Then you will see how accurate your scientific evidence was.

      April 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      When you die you know nothing. Your brain just stops working. Nothing. There is no revelation of any god, because there's no operational brain to have such revelation.

      Look up Ecclesiastes 9:5 It's true.

      April 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  2. SoldierOfConscience

    When you dont believe in anything you dont have a support system or internal values. You can then follow "kill or be killed" aka "survival of the fittest" aka evolution with no other constraints like a creator to guide it.

    What you get is kinda like the society we have now.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Kind of funny how you keep claiming we are a religous nation, until a religous nutbag does something like this. Also, your understanding of evolution is pathetic.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Survival of the fittest does not mean what you imply, it means those best adapted for the current environment.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Woof

      Funny how the more secular a nation is, the less major crime it has. And the more educated and prosperous it is.

      And funny how the Bible belt has much higher crime rates than more secular areas like the West.

      Funny how the facts are totally opposite of your claim

      April 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Here are the world's least and most religious countries. Take some time to look at each one and check out the intentional murder rates (most consistent violent crime measurement). Then get back to us:

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/114211/alabamians-iranians-common.aspx

      April 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • ME II

      @SoldierOfConscience,
      " Darwin meant it as a metaphor for 'better adapted for immediate, local environment', not the common inference of 'in the best physical shape'" – Michael Ruse, as quoted on Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest)

      April 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Thoth

      "When you dont believe in anything you dont have a support system or internal values"

      How does not believing in man made gods translate into not believing in 'anything'?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      What Thoth said. Do you even know what a humanist is? Didn't think so.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " You can then follow "kill or be killed" aka "survival of the fittest" aka evolution with no other constraints like a creator to guide it."

      Yes, "You Can" but why would we want to? The rest of us rational humans know that protecting others and treating others well has it's own rewards. Also, many nut's like SoC like to think of "survival of the fittest" more like that old book "The Most Dangerous Game" where we have to hunt humans or something. All it really means is those most adapted for survival will outlive those who are not, nothing more. It's the crazies like SoC that we have to watch out for because apparently without a God telling them it's wrong they would be out hunting humans.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Than explain why so many people who do "believe" act like they do. You logic is so faulty it is pathetic.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Suq Madiq

      Christians = Cartman.

      Respect my Authoritaaay!!

      April 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  3. TeaPatriot

    As usual, the muslims did it. Why do we allow them to come here?

    April 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Segoy

      Two young guys did it...whether "Muslim" has anything to do with anything ahsn't been shown yet.

      And Muslims have been in our nation from the very founding, so what's your problem?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Frank

      Non-muslim chechnians? Really?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Frank, someone having a religion and that religion having to do with their actions are two different things. We cannot assume by someone being a Muslim that that is an influencing factor until it is proven to be the case. If the report this morning that at least one was a recent "convert" is true that certainly ups the likelihood, but it is still not guaranteed. There are a lot of nationalistic and ideological issues that are quite aside from religion. Many who fought for the IRA did not have Catholicism as a major priority.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  4. Salero21

    OK atheists is me here again. Time to remind you all that atheism is stupidity in Full bloom.

    Your extreme Hypocrisy is not taking you anywhere but to the other place that is Not Heaven. Now, I don't want to see any arguments and gibberish about religion this and religion that. That's so stupid! I'm not a religious man anyways and religion or having religion although something granted by God to Humans only doesn't make anyone Godly or nearer to God.

    The Consequences and the end results of Godlessness are in themselves the strongest arguments for Godliness.

    Now Godliness and religiosity are not one and the same thing. You too foolish, ignorant and stupid atheists are in many ways a Fanatical and Irrational crowd. Who believes in Imaginary Particles and in matter creating itself. That's so stupid that is beyond human comprehension! Jesus called Herod a Fox, those who were going to refuse and reject Him and his Gospel, way back He [Jesus] called them dogs and swine. Others who would appear religious though they really don't believe Him, he called them goats.

    Now, as good atheists that you all are and as Jesus said you were like dogs, goats, swine and wolves this is your chance to start barking, bleating, squealing and howling as Jesus Himself said.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      blabbering on about how particles we can actually see are not real, but quoting people who probably never existed as fact. LOL. Please go on meds, or at least TRY to read a science book.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Apollo to Zeus

      I'm convinced. I'm off to the nearest church to sign up.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Salero21

      All atheists reading my post will come down with butt flu just from reading it. Enjoy!

      April 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Um, Sal? Exactly WHAT are you trying to say?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Spoken like a real Christian.

      Please continue. You are a wonderful example of why so many people are leaving the church

      April 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  5. Simple Logic

    I often see Christians on these boards claiming atheism sux because it has no point.

    So then, what is the ultimate point or goal for most Christians? Fluffy eternal existence with a spirit being in an unknown alternate plane of existence? Is that what is required in order to be happy and feel full of purpose? That along with knowing that only a small portion of creation will get the fluffy and the rest get the burny for eterny? Does that make you feel special and elite? Is that why you have such a hard time actually testing your own faith? I know blind allegiance is so much easier than to study and question your own faith, read more than just your brand of philosophy and come to conclusions on your own, but that is whats required to become enlightened. Those who do not will continue to hide in the dark like vampire roaches that scatter in horrified fear anytime the light of reason is shined at their faith.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Ken

      God is a Barbie doll for the mind. It always loves you (unless you want him to be mad at you). It always has the personality you choose for it, and the personalities others have chosen for theirs are WRONG. And there is no person more evil in the world than the person who tells you Barbie is just a plastic doll whose personality is just your imagination.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      A Christian once said to me in explaining her chosen belief "The thing is, none of it matters if there's no eternity for me." I thought that was one of the saddest things I ever heard. I believe there are a lot of people who believe in eternal life who do appreciate every minute, but what I got from this woman and others like her was a world in which no individual minutes mattered, only the theoretical eternity. Essentially no moment of life had value. It's a tremendously sad way to live, and I don't by any means think atheism is the only cure (and, of course, some atheisms do believe in eternal life). But for those people, a seeming large group of Christians, I hope they will one day learn to enjoy the moments of life or they are unlikely ever even to enjoy eternity.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Topher

      Simple Logic

      Hope these answer your questions ...

      "So then, what is the ultimate point or goal for most Christians?"

      Well, there's lots of goals. Know the truth. Spread the Gospel. Know Him and Love Him forever. Go to Heaven. Live forever.

      "Fluffy eternal existence with a spirit being in an unknown alternate plane of existence?"

      Once Christ returns, we will live here on a "new" Earth and will exist eternally in glorified bodies. So it won't be an "alternate plane of existance" at all.

      "Is that what is required in order to be happy and feel full of purpose?"

      We are happy because we will know where we will go after we die. Christianity is the only "religion" that offers assurance. And we are happy because we understand what God has done for us even though we don't deserve it.

      "That along with knowing that only a small portion of creation will get the fluffy and the rest get the burny for eterny?"

      That is a very sad reality. You should repent and trust in Christ right away.

      "Does that make you feel special and elite?"

      Special in that I know God loves me and that I get to go to Heaven, yes. Elite? No.

      "Is that why you have such a hard time actually testing your own faith?"

      Testing how?

      "I know blind allegiance is so much easier than to study and question your own faith, read more than just your brand of philosophy and come to conclusions on your own, but that is whats required to become enlightened."

      Blind faith on some things is OK. But I think there's plenty of info out there to see that a lot of the things the Bible claims are quite reliable. Actually, the Bible itself is quite reliable.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Bent Johnson

      That was excellent, Topher. You totally proved the OP.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "Actually, the Bible itself is quite reliable."

      It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Topher

      Bent

      The "OP?"

      April 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " Go to Heaven. Live forever."
      "we will live here on a "new" Earth and will exist eternally in glorified bodies." lol, pick one and stick to it please.

      "know where we will go after we die. Christianity is the only "religion" that offers assurance." lol, because no other religions have any concept of an afterlife, right?

      "That is a very sad reality." I'm sure you cry about those who you have assigned a fiery judgement in your mind every day.

      " God loves me and that I get to go to Heaven, yes. Elite? No."
      e·lite /iˈlēt/Noun 1. A group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category

      "Testing how?" lol, just lol.

      "Blind faith on some things is OK." No, it's never okay.

      " Actually, the Bible itself is quite reliable" Actually I can't stand people who use the word "actually" because it actually makes them look like morons actually.

      re·li·a·ble /riˈlīəbəl/Adjective: Consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.

      I'm glad you "consistently" follow the bibles laws regarding slavery, eating shellfish or pork, divorce, disobedient children, worhiping a jealous God who was quick to anger but also worshiping the gentle God who turns the other cheek...

      April 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      "And we are happy because we understand what God has done for us even though we don't deserve it."

      More self loathing bullspit from Gopher

      Hey, Gopher, your god is a vindictive, petty pr1ck. And you are a mealy mouthed snivelling cowardly sycophant

      April 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @Topher,
      "Once Christ returns, we will live here on a 'new' Earth and will exist eternally in glorified bodies. So it won't be an 'alternate plane of existance' at all."

      Better hope Jesus hurries it up then, because it is going to get crowded. Unless, of course, the vast majority of people who ever lived end up in hell.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Topher

      Simple Logic

      " lol, pick one and stick to it please."

      Well, it's both. Those in Christ who die now will go to a temporary place we call Heaven. But after the return, we will be back here on Earth ... which we also call Heaven because we'll be with God.

      " lol, because no other religions have any concept of an afterlife, right?"

      Of course they do. But the point is that Christianity is the only one that says you can KNOW which place you will go to after you die. All others say you will "maybe" get to go there provided you meet certain requirements.

      " I'm sure you cry about those who you have assigned a fiery judgement in your mind every day."

      It is a very deep concern of mine because it includes my parents and my sister and her family.

      " e·lite /iˈlēt/Noun 1. A group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category"

      Dude! I'm not the best anything. I'm a vile, wretched sinnner. I deserve Hell. Christians aren't better than anyone else. They are just saved from a Hell that they deserve.

      "No, it's never okay."

      Why not? I agree it's unnecessary, but some stuff we can only take on faith.

      "re·li·a·ble /riˈlīəbəl/Adjective: Consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted. "

      Yep. The Bible is completely trustworthy.

      "I'm glad you "consistently" follow the bibles laws regarding slavery, eating shellfish or pork, divorce, disobedient children, worhiping a jealous God who was quick to anger but also worshiping the gentle God who turns the other cheek..."

      Ah, here we go. Now we're getting somewhere. You clearly don't understand the Bible's teachings. Those things did not continue over into the New Covenant. We broke the Old Covenant, so God made a new one with us. For instance, read Act Chapter 10. Peter is told he can eat anything he wants to. That there is nothing "unclean." As far as divorce, I'm married and never getting divorced and I agree with God it is bad. Slavery in the Bible is also not the kind of slavery we know from U.S. History. Slaves were often there voluntarily or just to pay off a debt.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " the vast majority of people who ever lived end up in hell."

      Yup, thats what they are hoping for at least. They only want the M & M's that have an "M" printed on them so they are hard at work throwing out all the ones with "W's"...

      April 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Topher

      ME II

      "Unless, of course, the vast majority of people who ever lived end up in hell."

      Unfortunately, that's probably the case.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " Christianity is the only one that says you can KNOW which place you will go to after you die. All others say you will "maybe"

      Does it hurt your head just a little bit every time you tell a lie? Just curious.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Topher apparently thinks he can judge himself instead of his god. He also seems to think he can take the place of his god and judge where others will and have gone. Doesn't that go against the very bible he holds so high on the totem pole?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "Yep. The Bible is completely trustworthy."

      It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      "Now we're getting somewhere. You clearly don't understand the Bible's teachings. Those things did not continue over into the New Covenant."

      Right. Just because I read and studied the bible for over three decades reading it cover to cover numerous times I "clearly don't understand". I know what you and the rest of Christianity has claimed about the bible. I know the difference between Mosaic law and the Abrahamic covenant and the new covenant Christ left his followers. The part you don't seem to understand is the definition of the word "con·sist·ent /kənˈsistənt/Adjective 1.(of a person, behavior, or process) Unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time."

      The bible has changed and adapted so many times thorughout history it's not even funny and it's been used to prove anything and everything the reader wants to. That is the exact opposite of consistent.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Topher

      Simple Logic

      "Does it hurt your head just a little bit every time you tell a lie? Just curious."

      Not sure what you think I've lied about. Do you know of a religion that guarantees Heaven outside of Christianity?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Topher

      Simple Logic

      "The bible has changed and adapted so many times thorughout history it's not even funny and it's been used to prove anything and everything the reader wants to. That is the exact opposite of consistent."

      I agree there are a lot of people who want to change the Bible or make certain verses work to their favor. And that would be wrong. God is the one who determines what He says and what those words mean. We have no right to do those things. But if your concern is that the Bible we have today is different than the ones used by the early church fathers, it is the same. We have copies from within 25 years of the originals and so we know what they looked like then and how our's stack up. Are there some changes? Yes. Chapters and verse numbers were added. Some books were split into two. We have copy errors (spelling) and translation errors. But we know what they were originally and thus know none of these things change the Gospel and so are minor.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Do you know of a religion that guarantees Heaven outside of Christianity?"

      Religions that guarantee heaven: Hinduism Buddhism Shintoism – Christianity does not guarantee heaven, if it did, there would be no hell.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Topher

      Huh?

      "Religions that guarantee heaven: Hinduism Buddhism Shintoism – Christianity does not guarantee heaven, if it did, there would be no hell."

      Buddhism doesn't have an eternal place of Heaven. Hindus believe in reincarnation, not an eternal destination. But whether they have a Heaven or not isn't the point. Only Christianity teaches that its followers are guaranteed Heaven.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • .

      "Only Christianity teaches that its followers are guaranteed Heaven."

      There will still be some who call themselves Christian that do not get into heaven, it's not a guarantee Topher. Even if you believe in Christ there are rules to that too and if you don't follow those even if you believe in Christ you will not go to heaven. It is NOT a guarantee. The fact you don't know this probably means you will not make it into heaven.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • ME II

      @Topher

      ME II: "Unless, of course, the vast majority of people who ever lived end up in hell."

      Topher: "Unfortunately, that's probably the case."

      And you are okay, with a god that sets up the universe in such a way as to condemn most people to eternal torture? Or put another way, will you be happy in heaven (provided it exists and you make the grade) knowing that most everyone else is being tortured... forever?

      April 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @MEII,

      I think you'll find that a lot of Christians are happy with exactly that. When you get into the research on what makes people happy it is rarely absolute conditions of wealth or material being once you get past starvation and have a minor social group. What makes people happiest is to believe they are better off than others, and since most people either don't know this or refuse to believe it a large number of irrational beliefs and actions go unchecked in order for people to support their sense of being better or than, or superior to, others.

      Since to some extent people need this illusion to be happy you don't want to burst every bubble (I'd let the majority keep on thinking they are better than average drivers who are more attractive than the norm), but you have to check it where the beliefs and actions are actually causing harm...as with outdated beliefs.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Topher

      .

      "There will still be some who call themselves Christian that do not get into heaven, it's not a guarantee Topher."

      There's a difference in those who "call" themselves Christians and those that are. I called myself a Christian for 10 years but I was not saved.

      "Even if you believe in Christ there are rules to that too and if you don't follow those even if you believe in Christ you will not go to heaven."

      Such as?

      April 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Topher

      ME II

      "And you are okay, with a god that sets up the universe in such a way as to condemn most people to eternal torture? Or put another way, will you be happy in heaven (provided it exists and you make the grade) knowing that most everyone else is being tortured... forever?"

      First, I'm more than fine with God punishing the lawbreakers. It means He's just and consistant. But those people have no excuse. He also set up a way to be forgiven ... He paid our fine. Second, how could I not be happy living in a perfect world, with the God who loved me so much He died for me, And back to being tortured forever ... I don't want that to happen to you. That's why I keep pleading with you to repent and trust in Christ.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Topher's immoral doctrine is in full display today.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • .

      ""Even if you believe in Christ there are rules to that too and if you don't follow those even if you believe in Christ you will not go to heaven."

      Such as?"

      The fact you don't know demonstrates you don't really know the bible or Jesus's teachings. The bible clearly teaches that to follow Jesus a person has to strive daily to show detachment from material possessions and pleasures within the world and take up the cross. If you don’t then you are not a true follower of Christ and you will not be welcomed into heaven. There's a whole list of things you have to do that Christ spelled out in the bible which many Christians today do not follow. So, it's NOT a guarantee.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Topher

      .

      Where does it say that? If you have to do anything other than repent and trust, that would be a work and the Bible is clear works won't help you.

      "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment." Isaiah 64:6

      And that we are only saved by God's grace.

      "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

      April 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      gopher: you have stated repeatedly that you have evidence not only of A god, but the god of the bible. you said you would provide it. you did not. that is a lie. you are a coward.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • .

      ""For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.""

      You really don't know the bible do you. It has nothing to do with good works that Jesus in the bible laid out on what you have to do in order to get into heaven. There are rules you have to follow that he spelled out and if you don't follow those rule you will NOT get into heaven and even Jesus's grace can save you..

      April 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Unfortunately, that's probably the case.:"

      Do you have even a minute shred of evidence that it's "probably" the case, Gopher? Do you have ANY evidence that there is any such thing as hell at all? No, you don't.

      April 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  6. Reality

    In case you missed the BIG KIBSOSH:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • True Reality

      In case you missed the BIG KIBSOSH:

      Putting the kibosh on all of Reality's stupid copy/paste in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, Reality has offered no evidence on the alternative of what it means if there was no Abraham.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, Reality never has shown who created the concept of Moses if there was none or how Judaism ever formed if not for a founder.

      • Reality fails to show where the concept of Gabriel ever formed. He never will provide real evidence.

      • Reality fails to show what it is then that Christians celebrate around what they call Easter. Realit completely fails as a intellectual.

      Reality fails to understand that NO ONE EVER ASKS FOR MORE INFORMATION.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Woof

      Reality's posts are cut-and-paste bore-fests that I virtually never read, but that response was, remarkably, worse.

      Reality and True Reality and Dumb and Dumber.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " offered no evidence on the alternative of what it means if there was no Abraham." lol

      Let's try this another way:

      " offered no evidence on the alternative of what it means if there was no Steve."

      " offered no evidence on the alternative of what it means if there was no Harold"

      " offered no evidence on the alternative of what it means if there was no Jennifer"

      Why would anyone need evidence of "what it means" if a person didn't exist. What it means is they didn't exist. Period.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Segoy

      If I may comment on this..

      "Why would anyone need evidence of "what it means" if a person didn't exist. What it means is they didn't exist. Period."

      If a person who supposably existed and through his actions changed world history profoundly didn't exist....then for serious historians and intellectuals...one would want to know how it all came about if he didn't exist.

      The purpose Reality says Abraham didn't exist is merely a lame attempt to minimize the importance of the Abrahamic religions. If he was serious about truth and fact, then he should be able to show how the faith really began if not for Abraham. I would think it easy for such a fact driven person like him to do that. But he never has and he never will.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Walter

      Segoy, Achilles and other characters in the Odyssey and the Ilaid profoundly influenced history for hundreds of years. Alexander the Great was obsessed with being like Achilles, which drove much of his conquest.

      And they are fiction. But they weren't to the Greeks and Romans.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Now Now

      Can you show how ancient Egyptian religion began since you don't believe in Horus?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • ME II

      @Segoy,
      " If he was serious about truth and fact, then he should be able to show how the faith really began if not for Abraham."

      Not that I agree with @Reality, but that logic seems faulty to me. "Faiths" commonly begin around myths and legends. Where else do you suspect all those "faiths" that, I suspect, you think false, came from?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Segoy

      "Achilles and other characters in the Odyssey and the Ilaid profoundly influenced history for hundreds of years. Alexander the Great was obsessed with being like Achilles, which drove much of his conquest."

      Yes, but in those cases we can actual trace back to the writers of those stories or find the evolution of those characters. No one just said, "they are not real" and left it at that. True science dictates that if something is not what we thought, then it should be investigated for what it is.

      If Abraham did not exist, then where how did the foundation of the Jewish faith begin? When was the concept of Abraham created? These are relevant questions when someone says he did not exist.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " If he was serious about truth and fact, then he should be able to show how the faith really began if not for Abraham."

      Everything we think we know about Abraham was written down hundreds of years after he supposedly lived. It all comes down to whether or not you believe in Moses account or not. We know for a fact that Moses got the Genesis account wrong regarding a global flood, the invented story of Adam and Eve and the lineage from Adam to Noah as we have DNA evidence showing our species goes back much much further than any reading of Genesis could account for. So why should we believe the rest of what Moses wrote down as he tried to bring a nation of slaves together under one banner? The answer is, we shoudn't and one of those stories is that of Abraham and without that story the rest of Christianity falls apart without it's linchpin of a covenant between God and man.

      Just out of curiosity, what religion was Abraham and how did he worship? Apparently whatever he was doing was the right way if he became such good friends with God. Did he wear a pointy pontif hat? Did he just bow his head or get on his knees when he prayed? What name did he use for God if any? How much of his earthly goods or wealth did he give to God? Or was the final act of taking his son up onto a mountain in order to kill him enough so he didn't have to give anything else?... Since we only have Moses account several hundred years later, how do we confirm anything about Abraham?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Woof

      No you can't No scholar thinks Achilles and the rest were created by Homer. The origins are lost in time, just as is Moses, and only the story exists. Science cannot say if there was an Achilles or proto-Achilles. Same with Abraham, Moses, and the others.

      You are playing a disingenuous game. There is no evidence at all, and you are insisting that people disprove a negative. Very disingenuous. The burden is of course on the people making the claim, which is you saying they existed, and you can't for there is no evidence.

      Abraham has exactly the same level of evidence and Achilles.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Segoy

      "Not that I agree with @Reality, but that logic seems faulty to me. "Faiths" commonly begin around myths and legends. Where else do you suspect all those "faiths" that, I suspect, you think false, came from?"

      That's part of the point. There is no science that can show the alternative to the statement that "Abraham didn't exist". Reality is making a statement that seems to be fact based but is just his factless opinion.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Segoy

      Woof- "You are playing a disingenuous game. There is no evidence at all, and you are insisting that people disprove a negative."

      You are quite wrong with this. In no way have I asked anyone to prove or disprove a negative. I am asking them to prove the alternative they must believe in. If one does not believe that Abraham exists...then they must feel that the concept of Abraham was created by a someone. That would be the most logical @ssumption wouldn't it?

      But they are unable to prove this anymore than those who think he did exist

      April 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Segoy

      You're wrong in your insistence. If someone says "I don't believe X", that does not mean they need to prove what they think. What they think is irrelevant to the original assertion. Abraham doesn't automatically exists if a person who doesn't believe he did cannot prove someone made him up. That's not how logic, and reason work.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • laststonecarver

      @Now Now,
      The Cippi of Horus – the Metternich Stela – not about gods or goddesses –
      Every picture tells a story –
      This story, the Cippi of Horus is about Perceptions of a Child – a personification
      worth another look, without preconceived notions, like religious notions

      April 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Reality

      Sources – Part I

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      April 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Reality

      Sources – Part II

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel
      "The prophet Ezekiel described an incredible vision of cherubim angels in Ezekiel chapter 10 of the Torah and the Bible, mentioning that the angels’ wings were “completely full of eyes” (verse 12) and “under their wings was what looked like human hands” (verse 21). The angels each used their wings and something “like a wheel intersecting a wheel” (verse 10) that “sparkled like topaz” (verse 9) to move around."

      For a rather extensive review of angel wings, see http://angels.about.com/od/AngelBasics/a/Angels-Wings-And-Things.htm

      April 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Reality

      Sources – Part III

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Reality

      Sources – Parts IV and V

      Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      April 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Reality

      And for those who are reading-challenged with respect to reading background materials other than the bible:

      From a PowerPoint Slide:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details previously given.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Reality

      (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      April 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Plumbing.

      Segoy "If Abraham did not exist, then where how did the foundation of the Jewish faith begin? When was the concept of Abraham created? These are relevant questions when someone says he did not exist.”
      I do not need to be an expert plumber or be able to provide the history that led to occurrence, in order to tell that the toilet is broken

      April 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Segoy

      @hawaiiguest- "If someone says "I don't believe X", that does not mean they need to prove what they think. What they think is irrelevant to the original assertion."

      Except this is a pseudo-debate. It's fair to ask what they think the alternative is and if their is evidence for that position..or at least more evidence than the original theory.

      "Abraham doesn't automatically exists if a person who doesn't believe he did cannot prove someone made him up. That's not how logic, and reason work."

      Never once said or implied any of that. I have however, implied that the ignorance of those who say that Abraham doesn't exist is just as high as those that say he did.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Segoy

      "I do not need to be an expert plumber or be able to provide the history that led to occurrence, in order to tell that the toilet is broken"

      Umm..yeah, this would only work if the question had to do with the religion and not the founder of it. Nice try though...in that...it wasn't.

      Good grief Reality...NO ONE asked for any of that crap. Your appeals to authority are old and played out. Try answering questions ppl actually asked.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Segoy

      Why are you so obsessed with telling others that the MUST provide an alternative or they cannot question assertions? It's really just plain ridiculous.

      April 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  7. Segoy

    Well, I wonder if all the "I bet it was a Christian fundie" people ever thought it would have been a Chechnyan teen they would be after.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF BULLSH.IT

      ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Doobs

      Well, I wonder if all the "I bet it was an atheist" people ever thought it would have been a Chechnyan teen they would be after.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Segoy

      @Doobs- I doubt it.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I am so fracken happy that this wasn't done by disloyal Americans that I could cry. Maybe there's some hope for this country after all.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Woof

      The word is "Chechen."

      And most of us said it would be religious dingbats, either Muslim or Christian.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Segoy

      "And most of us said it would be religious dingbats, either Muslim or Christian."

      And thus far...neither has been shown to apply to these guys. Who knows, maybe they are.
      Though I would also hope that the dingbats on here don't make the same mistake others have with confusing actual motive with what a suspect's background is.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Woof

      You know nothing of Chechens if you think they were not practicing Muslims while in Chechnya and Kazakhstan.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      A classmate interviewed this morning reported at least one had "converted to Islam". I haven't heard a hard confirmation.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Segoy

      Woof- "You know nothing of Chechens if you think they were not practicing Muslims while in Chechnya and Kazakhstan."

      I've never said that they were not Muslims. I have said though that there is currently no evidence that being Muslim had anything to do with their motives.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Segoy,

      I have no idea if they were motivated by religion or not, but if I was asked to place a bet I know where I would put my money.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Ummmm. . .

      One of the two brothers, the one that is still at large, is an American. . .

      April 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Segoy

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers- you're not the type I am talking about with my comments. Your opinion is based on probability and past history that is weighed with life experience.
      My comments were aimed toward the anti-religious fundies on here that tend to point fingers at every bad thing and say it's due to religion.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  8. there'shope

    Fear and Hate you say, you need to go back and re-read the part where we are all condemned to eternal separation from a HOLY GOD because of our sinful nature that we are all born with. Read the part( JOHN 3:16) that says (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. So you tell me that is fear and hate, that is what LOVE is, for GOD himself to give his life for me and YOU, so we can spend eternity with him, that's TRUE LOVE. Also if you have problem's with the BIBLE you need to talk to GOD about it, after all it was written by men under the INSPIRITATION of the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD. GOD has never and will never send no one to HELL, you send yourself by rejecting his ONLY way, it's your choice. Oh by the way the BIBLE is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. It is a LIVING text that brings about CONVICTION in the human conscious.

    April 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "you need to go back and re-read the part where we are all condemned to eternal separation from a HOLY GOD because of our sinful nature that we are all born with."

      I have, it is the most immoral, absurd and awful part of the bible and the reason I am no longer a christian. It is offensive and teaching this idea to children is abusive.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • The Looney Tune Christians are really going bonkers this morning

      That's like saying the Jews sent themselves to Auschwitz by choosing Judaism.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "you need to go back and re-read the part where we are all condemned to eternal separation from a HOLY GOD because of our sinful nature that we are all born with."

      =>A. Where does the bible say that??
      B. Does it bother you that your view of the God of Israel is completely false? That your reasoning for rejecting Him is based on an utterly inaccurate view of what the bible actually says?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Try reading it again, Chad. Cheese was quoting the root post.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Chad

      guess you missed the part "I have, it is the most immoral, absurd and awful part of the bible and the reason I am no longer a christian. It is offensive and teaching this idea to children is abusive."

      somehow...

      April 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • midwest rail

      And yet you chose deliberately NOT to quote that part in your response. And you wonder why so many other posters here regard as as disingenuous.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Nagle

      How old are you, Chad? You act like you are 15.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Chad

      did you really not understand that @Cheese was agreeing that the bible endorses that statement and then declaring it to be the reason he feels God is immoral?

      "you need to go back and re-read the part where we are all condemned to eternal separation from a HOLY GOD because of our sinful nature that we are all born with."

      April 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Nagle

      How old are you, Chad?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Chad – your original response quotes the root post, and then attempts to portray that quote as coming from Cheese. It did not, it came from a Christian poster. This is why your reply is disingenuous.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Nagle, Kids learn as young as 3 or 4 that they can get grown-up attention by asking even meaningless questions. That's why so many will just repeat the word "Why" over and over even when it has no applicability. It's a normal social instinct, and part of good child-rearing, to answer even the silliest questions these kid's pose, so people like this will usually continue to get the attention they are seeking.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Nagle

      Oh I understand that, Saraswati. I just would like Chad to be honest and answer the question.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Chad

      so... you'll ignore the fact that Cheese agrees with the statement, and that my points are valid.. instead attempting to obfuscate the entire discussion and avoid answering the questions..

      The questions make you that uncomfortable?
      A. Where does the bible say that??
      B. Does it bother you that your view of the God of Israel is completely false? That your reasoning for rejecting Him is based on an utterly inaccurate view of what the bible actually says?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      That is what I was taught as a Christian, that is what many christians were taught. Claiming you have the correct "context" to accurately describe what the bible "meant" is pretty arrogant and is another reason why I reject christianity. Your opinion is just that, opinion, and you frame your opinion as "fact".... that is deceitful.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Why do you ignore the fact that the root poster who made the statement is a Christian ? Why do you not call him out on being "wrong" ? Why did you attempt to portray the quote as coming from someone that it did not ? No, Chad, the disingenuous one here is clearly you.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "B. Does it bother you that your view of the God of Israel is completely false? That your reasoning for rejecting Him is based on an utterly inaccurate view of what the bible actually says?"

      My point exactly.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Nagle

      How old are you, Chad? I'm 53.

      Can't you be honest and tell us?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      it is god who set this sting up on the first place. god could have forgiven without a blood sacrifice, no?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers

      where does the bible say that?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Nagle

      Chad? Chad?

      Gosh, I wonder why Chad won't answer the question? It's not like we don't already have a very good idea.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • WASP

      @ALL: chad is a useless TROLL that has the appt.itude of a 10 year old. i spend my days at work teasing and showing co-workers what this febile minded TROLL saids and we all have a good laugh at it's expense.

      at no time has "chad" ever made a single point that made me stop and think for more than a second, yet the laugh value is great.
      he will twist words and dance around the fire of intelligence doing it's best not to get burned, regardless his breed is dying out and the age of true intelligence and understanding is at hand.

      bye bye chad i hope you enjoyed your time on earth because we will enjoy making the world an even better place once you're dead..................but thanks for the laughs.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Chud is a wonder of sophistry and disingenuity. I doubt there is a single fallacy he has not used.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @Nagle,

      not that it matters, but I'm between the ages of 50 and 60.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Nagle

      I'm finding that terrible difficult to believe. Your behavior is classic early teenage.

      But thank you. Now share with us your level of academic achievement. I have Masters in both English and History from one of the top 3 universities in the world.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      I know what you are doing. I am sure you don't deny that this is what many, if not most. christians are taught. The bible can be used to justify this position, just as you can use the bible to justify yours. Arguing about which interpretation is correct would be a waste of time. You continue to be dishonest.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Chad

      2 masters, 1 undergrad, engineering

      not from one of the top 3 universities in the world

      April 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers

      where does the bible say that?

      You seem to be on the verge of admitting it doesnt..

      April 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • .

      Saraswati

      Gospel of Chad:
      (Updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      Atheism:
      1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
      2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See # 1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
      3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then, since all atheists agree with him/her, I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.

      Free will:
      6. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      7. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

      In fact, I brilliantly argued “If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future.”

      On April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      After reading a bit more about fatalism and determinism I decided to change my tune to a claim that determinism leads to fatalism (and to pretend this was what I was saying all along). I’m sticking to reading easy pop philosophers, though, and selective websites on the topic as anything more complex makes my head hurt. I have read snippets from a couple of websites now so that ought to put me on par with people who’ve read dozens of books on the topic, understand neurobiology and have written on both the philosophical and cultural aspects of free will and people’s belief in the topic. Oh, yeah, I know what I’m talking about!

      Telling lies:
      8. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      9. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      10. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over. When they refuse to play your game or you don’t like the answer add some sarcasm, but use an emoticon to soften it so they’ll know your snide remarks are all in good fun.

      Science:
      11. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      12. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #8.
      13. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #12 on ignoring anything else.

      General truths about the CNN belief blog;
      14. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      15. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact opposite thing from what I’m claiming. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice.
      16. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      17. I will personally save all those mentioned in number 16 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah...education doesn't equal smarts. Sad but true.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Nagle

      Now I know you are lying.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Talking about Jesus being the savior will not make it so. John 3:16 by the way is a single attestation in the NT and many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Ludemann, Borg and Fredriksen) have concluded that it was not said by the historical Jesus. It was, they conclude, an addition to embellish the life of Jesus to gain converts/money to/for the cause.

      See added commentary at http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/350_Jesus_to_Nicodemus and in Professor Crossan's book, The Historical Jesus.

      ( And from Professor 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 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • lol??

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers sayz,
      "you need to go back and re-read the part where we are all condemned to eternal separation from a HOLY GOD because of our sinful nature that we are all born with.............."
      Creatures reproduces after his (own) kind. Stop denying your inheritance.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      I wonder how a 50-60 year old has time to sit on the computer all day every day writing responses? Does he live on food stamps? Is he robbing his boss by pretending to be working while he is really here?

      I too tend to think he's really a home schooled 14 year old who is lying. His behavior is extremely immature for a grown adult, and almost inconceivable in someone with advanced degrees.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      So which part are you taking issue with? That the bible says we live in a fallen world? That the bible says we need salvation because we live in sin and that can be only obtained through Jesus' sacrifice in order to be redeemed? I don't even know what part you disagree with.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Apollo to Zeus

      @Saraswati

      That was simply EPIC!

      April 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Science

      Better one for you Chad go help Bill Deacon OK

      Twisting good aye.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • .

      "So which part are you taking issue with? That the bible says we live in a fallen world? That the bible says we need salvation because we live in sin and that can be only obtained through Jesus' sacrifice in order to be redeemed? I don't even know what part you disagree with."

      The people are born sinners because they are not, which is why children get to go to heaven. The problem is no one really knows the time line on that one but once in your teens you're a sinner unless you accept Christ as your savior. The problem is most churches do preach that we are all sinners until that point regardless of your age, which yes Cheesemaker I would say falls into the area of being abusive to children.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Woof

      If children are not sinners until they are teenagers, why did God insist they be stoned to death for bad-mouthing their parents?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • .

      "If children are not sinners until they are teenagers, why did God insist they be stoned to death for bad-mouthing their parents?"

      I believe that's OT and doesn't apply. That's the problem with this topic no one knows the cut off line. LOL! What's funny is I am NOT a christian. LOL!

      April 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Woof

      Funny how God changed his universal morality.

      It did once apply. Did god change his mysterious unstated not-in-the-Bible age of consent?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bob

      It is clear that "Chad" and "Rachel" are exactly the same age. Funny, that.

      So Chad, done your morning workout yet? Still no thigh gap for poor Rachel? Get back on that treadmill.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "The people are born sinners because they are not, which is why children get to go to heaven."

      Chad

      Ok, I know many christians would disagree with you, and many would agree. I don't really care as I don't think it makes a hill o' beans difference to my point. If you are born into this sinfull world and live long enough you will eventually commit enough sins as to warrent eternal seperation (punishment) from god unless you accept certain beliefs. Still immoral, still absurd, still abuse.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • lol??

      It figures, cheesie, you socies don't believe in any KIND of inheritance.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Woof,

      "If children are not sinners until they are teenagers, why did God insist they be stoned to death for bad-mouthing their parents?"

      That's one of the scarier things about some forms of Christianity. Even without this kind of explicit dictate parents can argue that they are morally justified in killing their children because it is a guaranteed ticket to heaven. What could be kinder on that logic? And what could be crueler than leaving them to live long enough for eternal damnation? Very scary stuff which is fortunately usually overridden by both the parental instincts to keep one's kids alive and a selfish desire not to want to spend eternity in hell, even for the eternal well-being of your kids.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Beth

      Yes we are born sinners at birth.

      Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

      Psalms 51:5 – Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @sam,

      "Yeah...education doesn't equal smarts. Sad but true."

      No, but it does usually correlate with level of knowledge in the field of study. Unfortunately for Chad none of the discussions here revolve around engineering and the rest of his knowledge in other areas seems to come from Wikipedia or undergrad philosophy papers he found online.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Science

      Or Chad is this your PAYING JOB ???

      Mine is stoney iron metteorites !

      April 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheese

      where does the bible say that we are all condemned to eternal separation from a HOLY GOD because of our sinful nature that we are all born with.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Is Chad now arguing that the bible doesn't teach about Hell? Has he fallen to that much of a dishonest contrarian?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      If you want to argue symantics in Christian theology, find another christian who will disagree with you. Beth has posted a couple of verses you can address if you feel the need to validate your position.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      chad is every bit the apologist toady that gopher is. must be tough being them, having to justify faith in their pr1ck god

      April 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I could see Chud as an engineer. They have a tendency to assume there's an owner's manual for everything and that everything runs by strict rules. Actually, it is a much more materialistic view of the mechanical world than my own, since I agree with the Grateful Dead that sometimes there is a ripple when no stone's been thrown. I suspect that the physical world we see is the tip of an iceberg, and our discovery of the Higgs continuum may be just the second layer of an impossibly complicated layer cake of universes.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      I would be interested to hear your opinion on those verses, especially the Romans one.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, why aren't you challenging the original poster that made the initial, incorrect according to you, claim about what The Babble says? Sorry! I forgot you have a stated policy of not arguing with other members of the dead jew zombie death cult aka christianity. Another Chadism to add to the list, if it's not already there. And lying scumbag pseudo intellectual would be a good overall summary.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      HotAirAce,

      Did he really state that he wouldn't argue with other Christians? Not that it would surprise me but shouldn't it be as important, if not more so, to correct other believers as much as non-believers? After all they are spreading misinformation about his "true religion". That logically should be more concerning.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Thanks HotAirAce. I’ve added it to the updated list. Good one since he's even explicitly stated this. It’s really a fascinating study of how a deluded and irrational mind works.

      Gospel of Chad:
      (Updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      Atheism:
      1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
      2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See #1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
      3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then, since all atheists agree with him/her, I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.

      Free will:
      6. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      7. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

      In fact, I brilliantly argued “If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future. (On April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm)

      After reading a bit more about fatalism and determinism I decided to change my tune to a claim that determinism leads to fatalism (and to pretend this was what I was saying all along). I’m sticking to reading easy pop philosophers, though, and selective websites on the topic as anything more complex makes my head hurt. I have read snippets from a couple of websites now so that ought to put me on par with people who’ve read dozens of books on the topic, understand neurobiology and have written on both the philosophical and cultural aspects of free will and people’s belief in the topic. Oh, yeah, I know what I’m talking about!

      8. A determinist cannot believe that humans can change. This would, of course, mean that nothing can change. Which would mean…oh…crud…better put my head back up my ass.

      Telling lies:
      9. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      10. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      11. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over.
      12. When they refuse to play your game or you don’t like the answer add some sarcasm, but use an emoticon to soften it so they’ll know your snide remarks are all in good fun.
      13. Consider asking completely nonsensical questions that can’t even be understood, let alone answered. Best yet include something the person didn’t say as a premise. For example, you might ask an atheist opponent “You say you like murdering small children on Wednesdays, could you explain how this fits with your beliefs about string theory?” Then when your question is ignored accuse the person of avoidance and make up wild hypotheses as to why they are avoiding you.
      14. Above all else keep asking questions while avoiding answering any yourself.

      Science, math and psychology:
      15. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      16. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #9.
      17. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #16 on ignoring anything else.
      18. Infinity = all finite numbers according to the Chad. Thirty or forty years of constraint is the same as eternal torment.
      19. Rehabilitation and deterrence are the same thing. Yep…convincing a drug addict not to use drugs in case they are shot dead and getting them off the addiction would be the same by my wondrous Chad logic.

      General truths about the CNN belief blog:
      20. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      21. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact opposite thing from what I’m claiming. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice.
      22. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      23. I will personally save all those mentioned in number 22 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.
      24. Phrase everything as if it’s a lecture so you look like you know what you’re talking about. See #20 about atheists being idiots and #21 about people not reading anything you post you’ll see that the silly atheists will fall for it every time. In particular they won’t look back to the earlier part of the discussion to see how I’m contradicting myself. This is very well aided by another tactic:
      25. As soon as you make an ass of yourself break the conversation into a new thread. That way all the newcomers (see #22 on how they are waiting to have their souls saved) will not bother to read back and see how ignorant you are.
      26. If someone points out to you that citing Wikipedia is not an adequate source for the discussion at hand you can always find a good undergraduate philosophy paper to cite instead.
      27. Never question another Christian no matter how incorrect or offensive their position.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I am certain he did but I readily admit that I did not, and do not intend to, look for the actual post. Internal consistency is not a strong attribute of christianity, hence allegedly 30,000+ variations. And logic is not one of Chad's strong suits either. Number 1 Chadism: Defend the dead jew zombie death cult, regardless of what lies have to be told. For example, I bet he will swear on The Babble that he never wrote what I say he did about arguing with other christians, which of course, should not give anyone any assurances.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @HotAirAce, at least one instance was in reference to some bogus cr@p Live4Him was spewing.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Thanks for the confirmation – that was probably the instance I was thinking of. Of course, there is some chance that Chad is being logical by not arguing with himself under one of the other names it has been alleged he uses. Logical, in a sick sort of way.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  9. bostontola

    Pitiful to see many religious people on this blog blaming atheists for the problems in the world. Our country is run by people of faith, almost exclusively. The vast majority of our businesses are run by people of faith.

    Get a grip, many more problems are caused by the ignorance of people than by a lack of faith in your god(s).

    April 19, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  10. Where is the mourning?

    More anger from these 'nones'.
    Where is the mourning? Where is the encouragement to the families and those that have been impacted by this tragedy.

    April 19, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Mirror Mirror

      I haven't seen an ounce of Christian mourning here, but I've seen vast mountains of self-righteous Christian bigotry and hatred.

      Hey look! There's a hypocrite in your mirror!

      April 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • idolators abound

      What mourning are you talking about? We are here to make sure we make enough noise that is unrelated to this horrific incident.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • lol??

      Where A&A's travel bigotry is not far from their mind. And everywhere that mary went a child was left behind.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Do you honestly believe that mourning is reserved for Christians only? What an odd notion.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      It's an article about people who sincerely wanted to mourn being excluded on "religious" grounds. There are plenty of Christians here namecalling and hating, but none expressing sympathy for either the victims or the young, stupid bombers duped into doing this horrible thing. They are much more interested in making lying claims about the atheism which they consider a competing religion than they are about practicing their own religion, as usual.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  11. Jack

    I find it amusing that the same people calling this article innapropriate are likely to the same poeple supporting gun rights whenever a tragic shooting happens.

    April 19, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  12. Grace

    Bravo Greg for showing that atheists are normal people who use critical thinking and logic instead of believing in myths and following ludicrous religious practices. I am a mother and professional woman who has morals and resent the lack of understanding the American public has with those who don't believe in fantastic beings.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  13. Glenn

    I would assume the reason the "godless" aren't necessarily included in these interfaith services following tragedies is that they offer no sense of hope to those mourning the loss of a loved one. One of the most important aspects of religious faith is that there is an afterlife and an immortal soul. So, it helps to ease the loss if you know that your loved one lives on after death.
    Secondly, I (like others who commented) felt a sense of inappropriateness with this entire article. It came across as a platform to pitch your "services" and validate what you do in the community. I don't doubt that you're a decent person and a great community leader and volunteer. But I don't feel sorry for you because you take yourself out of the element of faith and then complain because you're not included in it.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Grace

      Glen, you seem to forget that atheists celebrate someone's life and not the false idea of an afterlife. The memories that person are leaving and the importance they had to those who knew them. We very much mourn and should be be included in any memorial service. Greg is not "pitching" anything. He is showing that atheists, humanists can be as charitable as any of your churches. We are good people who just don't believe in fairy tales. We grew up.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Because you have absolutely no proof of an afterlive nor an eternal soul...
      what I'm getting from you is that religious faith basically prefers to blatenly LIE to those mourners.
      How exactly is telling someone that there is an eternal soul and an afterlife a positive thing? When clearly it is a fabrication?

      April 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • ..

      After my child passed away, I wanted to punch every person in the face who gave me the God platitudes...they were of zero comfort to me and my family. My child is GONE, understand?? If you can't say "I am sorry for your loss" without the God factor thrown in, just shut up completely. And I AM Christian!

      April 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • ME II

      @Glenn,
      "So, it helps to ease the loss if you know that your loved one lives on after death."

      And if one's beliefs place them in hell being tortured for all eternity, is that hopeful? Or, do you just ignore that possible interpretation?

      Is it better to believe that your dog ran away, as your parents may have told you when you were a child, or to accept reality?

      April 19, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Glenn

      Grace,
      You seem to have forgotten the second 'n' in my name. I didn't forget that you celebrate someone's life...I just didn't include it in my response because most people at funerals aren't celebrating. Secondly, everyone does charitable acts in their life at some level...most people don't spend their time trying to prove it. Which is why I figured he must be writing to pitch his "unchurch services".

      Brother Maynard,
      Where's your proof that there is no afterlife and no eternal soul? I speak on faith that there is...so I'm assuming, since you're speaking so assertively, that you have some empirical evidence to prove that there isn't. I'm all ears.

      ..,
      I AM very sorry for your loss. Nobody can blame you at all for being angry about your child. I've lost loved ones, like everyone else, and it did help me to think of those that I've lost as being in a better place.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Believing in mythology may help some, but it not eveyone thinks it is true so it doesn't help everyone.....but everyone doe grieve...that is the point.

      Everytime someone says "god has a plan", the first thing I think is "the plan sucks", I don't actually think there is a plan, offering the "hope" you are claiming is empty plati.tudes.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Ann

      Glenn, the only reason I think that the appearance of an atheist speaking his mind in this situation seems like an inappropriate "pitch" to you is that you're stuck in the idea that religious belief is acceptable and lack of belief is unacceptable. What the author is trying to say is that everyone feels this loss, and wants to be included in being able to help.

      Look at it this way - if a minister showed up after a disaster to a mixed congregation, would you accuse him of "pitching" his beliefs, or simply accept that he was trying to offer help in whatever way he could? If I were approached in such a situation by clergy offering to pray with me, I would politely decline, but I would not assume they were trying to use the situation as a way to pressure me to convert (well, unless they got pushy about it, of course).

      Atheists/agnostics/secular humanists/nonbelievers feel the loss just as much as you do. This is not about speculation over what may happen to the soul/spirit of the deceased, but it's about trying to comfort the survivors. I can't see anything inappropriate about that.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Doobs

      "One of the most important aspects of religious faith is that there is an afterlife and an immortal soul. So, it helps to ease the loss if you know that your loved one lives on after death."

      When my friend committed suicide over his wife's affair, his Catholic mother was, and still is, distraught because she believes he is in hell. She believes her gay daughter will go to hell too. Her faith has given her zero comfort. Zero. It's made her life miserable.

      So, how can heaven be the comfort, paradise and never ending joy that christianity says it is when (as she believes) two of her children are suffering eternal torment? How do christians reconcile eternal bliss with the knowledge that some of their family and friends are not in heaven with them?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • nojinx

      He's not complaining about being taken out of something faith. He asks why we could not participate in an event of mourning.

      You don't need to believe in an afterlife to grieve. In fact, you tend to grieve more without one.

      Why exclude those who mourn simply because they hold different beliefs?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Nagle

      Perhaps you might consider asking yourself why your religion uses every major life event to promote itself and make itself the most important thing in those moments? It's your marriage, and the pastor/priest/whatever spends most of the time talking about god and your subservience to him. Same with death.

      So why are you bothered when someone else does the same thing?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Rolph Eczema

      Hope? Is false hope really better than the acceptance of reality? Islam offers hope, but I bet you too recognize it is a false hope. Same with yours.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ann

      @Rolph
      I understand what you mean – but what the believers need to understand is that we can also talk about hope within THIS life. Hope doesn't depend on an afterlife.

      If I'm trying to comfort someone who's suffered a loss, I won't say "he's with Jesus now" or something like that. I'll focus on the person trying to recover: "You can get through this." "We're going to be here to listen." - etc.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Great point Ann

      April 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Rolph Eczema

      I respect than, Ann. But I must say, I have heard way too much of Christians saying things like "She's in a better place now" and the like when someone dies, and I have no idea how they think it is helpful because it is really hurtful.

      I have also seen religious people at funerals say the deceased is probably in hell. No joke. The whole paradigm is sick.

      You approach is much better, and I applaud the humanist in you.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      " So, it helps to ease the loss if you know that your loved one lives on after death."

      So if that helps, why don't we imagine that after death our loved ones become Gods themselves and can do whatever they want all day long with not a care in the world and they drink from chocolate rivers and marshmellow forests and candy cane lanes with gumdrop rainbows! It's a non-stop spa day with massages and relaxation with all the sweet treats you like! Wouldn't that ease the loss of a loved one even more? In fact why not just imagine whatever you want for the deceased, whatever makes you feel better right? Because it's not so much for those that die but for those that are left behind who become so self absorbed and selfish they can think of nothing else but that THEY won't get to see that person again, THEY won't get to hug them anymore. The concept of heaven is totally selfish and self serving, nothing more.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Everytime someone says "god has a plan", the first thing I think is "the plan sucks","

      Every time I see a possum run over on the side of the road, I point and say "God had a plan for that possum."

      April 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  14. palintwit

    Bristol Palin wanted to run the marathon but race organizers told her she had to lose 400 lbs. first.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Zonker

      May I suggest a new shtick and a lot of comedy lessons. Lots and lots.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Give it up. They are over. Switch to Kardashians or decaf or something.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  15. Julie

    Our country is changing rapidly in regards to religious affiliation. As less and less children are indoctrinated from birth with religious nonsense we will see the eventual demise of religion in America. Mathematicians predict within 100 years the religious will be a very small minority. Religion breeds ignorance and hate and the sooner it fades into history the better.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Colin

      I wonder if the utopian dream below will ever be realized.

      LAST CHURCH IN THE USA CLOSES ITS DOORS.

      Reuters AAP – The last place of worship the USA officially closed its doors yesterday. The Church of Christ Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama held its last service at 10:00 on Sunday morning and was promptly shuttered by its pastor. “While I will be sorry to see a tradition pas.s, I guess it was time to move on,” declared Pastor Kevin Smith, “It saddens me a little, but I can no longer preach things I no longer believe in myself. Also, given that my congregation is elderly and poor, donations are down to a spasmodic trickle.”

      The closure marks the culmination of a dramatic surge in secularism in the USA following the Catholic Church scandals of the early 21st Century. After phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network revealed that the Pope and virtually all Archbishops were acutely aware of the depth of the pedophilia problem since the 1950s, sweeping new policies were implemented under President Gibbs’ administration (2040-2048).

      Under his “No Mind Left Behind” policy, children were taught science, history, psychology and critical thinking from their first year of school. It was not until they were in their early teens and had a grounding in healthy skepticism and independent thought, that any supernatural belief, such as astrology or religion was allowed to be presented to them. Such beliefs were, of course, almost universally rejected by them.

      As interest in the supernatural has dwindled, the vacated churches, synagogues and mosques in the USA were sold off and the proceeds invested in a fund which, under the XXV Amendment to the US Const.itution, could only be used to further scientific education and environmental awareness and protection. Already the fund has been responsible for returning vast swaths of land to their natural state, in the USA and elsewhere and has largely been credited for ensuring the survival of the tiger, cheetah and mountain gorilla.

      Bibles and The Book of Mormon, which once graced virtually every hotel room in the USA, were replaced with Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.”

      As people have increasingly realized there is no sky-being looking out for us, donations to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, the Red Heart (f/k/a “Red Cross”) and Doctors Without Borders are at an all time high. “Looking back, it’s weird to think of some of the nonsense people believed as late as the early 21st Century,” commented Pastor Smith, as he locked the doors and walked nonchalantly from his church. “I guess you can’t judge them too harshly, though. When you’re taught it from such an early age and then told it’s immoral to even question it, I guess you are easy prey.”

      April 19, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Grace

      I certainly hope so Julie! In Europe religion is relegated to litle old ladies and minorities. The US is still behind but will get there, thanks to the internet. South America and Africa, with its education and poverty still have a long way to go.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Science

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/13/pope-asks-cardinals-to-study-church-reform/comment-page-2/#comments

      April 19, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Sonny

      You guys are reminding me of Nikita Khruschev and his famous public announcement to the people of Russia that in a short while he would show them the "last Russian Orthodox priest". How did that work out for him?

      "I will build My Church and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it"

      April 19, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • WASP

      @sonny: "I will build My Church and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it"

      well as an atheist i will quote you christians......................... wait and see which wins out in the long run; your faith or science.

      seeing how people are attending church less and the internet more, i would say we are coming along rather nicely. 🙂

      April 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Sonny

      "seeing how people are attending church less and the internet more, i would say we are coming along rather nicely".

      The soviets thought the same thing.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • adam

      Sonny- Seeing as the Soviet Union broke apart in 1989 when there was no internet, I find that very hard to believe.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  16. Kim

    I would like you to know that my heart breaks for you and your "humanistic" following. As wonderful as it is that you are all loving people who are helping those in need, you are still missing the truth. The truth is that the only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ. It's not by being good people who help others and mourn when something tragic happens. It's a relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Savior, that is going to save us. Obama is a wonderful, slick talking, politically correct politician. He is in no way correct for holding "interfaith" gatherings as a representative of the United States, which, was founded on Godly principles and values. You posted staggering statistics that say our young people are more non-religious than ever, which also is heart breaking news, but it explains why the United States is seeing these horrors inside of our borders. God use to have favor on the United States because we were a God-fearing nation. When we turn our backs on Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts. He will lift His protective hand off of this country and let man run wild. But, then, when that happens, even the atheists, who don't believe in God, wonder where the heck He is. I've always wondered about that one. My prayer for you and all of the "humanists" out there are that you will find your way to knowing God. Once you know Him, your life will never be the same. God bless all of you for your good works but I pray you will see that those good works will not be enough in the end.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Thoth

      What a perfect example of religious arrogance.

      I suppose 'truth' is subjective when applied to 'faith'....

      April 19, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • mk

      "I would like you to know that my heart breaks for you and your "humanistic" following. "

      No it doesn't, Kim. Be honest. You are just so glad to be part of the elite, the chosen ones who are "smart" enough to have this powerful force on your side. Non-believers are simply lowlife saps that don’t have a chance. Stupid people. But it’s their choice, right? Doesn’t matter, you’re above them. It makes you feel special to be part of "god's" plan.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      That just screams ignorance..."I don't understand, therefore..."

      Btw: The USA was founded on secular values, not christian values. Read your constitution!
      It's a wonderful thing that children are being raised to accept reality for what it is and to not simply have faith, the less they believe the more likely we stand a chance. Children are not born believers, this is something they are forced in to.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • sam stone

      kim: do you seriously desire ETERNAL life? if so, i feel sorry for you

      April 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • sam stone

      which "godly principles and values" are you talking about, kim? slavery? women not being able to vote?

      April 19, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • adam

      Kim- The United States absolutely, positively, and without question was NOT started on religious values. You really should read more.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Kim,

      "God use to have favor on the United States because we were a God-fearing nation."

      What nonsense. The 17th century is calling. They want their world-view back.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • the only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ

      So Mahatma Gandhi is burning in hell because he wasn’t a Christian and Adolf Hitler is relaxing in heaven because he was. Lie, steal, ra-pe, murder and bug-ger little boys all of your life, as long as you believe in jesus you get to go to heaven.
      And don’t give me any of this garbage about how “a real Christian would never do such things”

      April 19, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Nii

      sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous

      /ˌsaNG(k)təˈmōnēəs/

      Adjective

      derogatory. Making a show of being morally superior to other people.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Doobs

      "I would like you to know that my heart breaks for you and your "humanistic" following."

      No one needs your pity, you arrogant, condescending, sanctimonious twit. Your ignorance of the Constitution is profound. Take a minute to put down your bible, stop parroting the trash you hear from the pulpit, and learn the history of your country.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • sam

      I guess the truth is relative, huh Kim?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      kim: so, god favors those who fear him? and you desire to spend eternity with this pr1ck?

      April 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      On a related issue, Kim, do you spend a lot of time on your knees?

      April 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "But, then, when that happens, even the atheists, who don't believe in God, wonder where the heck He is. "

      What a crock. Where was your god when a bomb blew the legs off the marathon runners? Did you wonder where Buddha was, and why Buddha didn't stop the bombs? I bet it never crossed your mind. Maybe Zeus or BAAL would have helped if you'd only pray to them. What, you don't believe in those gods? Neither do we.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  17. Florida Woman

    It's "not the time and place to adverise"? Saying that atheists mourn, care about the bereaved, and many of us are donating to the needs created by this horrific event?

    But it's not "advertising" to hold prayer vigils, set up a large interFAITH services, etc., etc.?

    Actually, I have nothing against people doing this. But just as you might want to take part in a communal prayer to express your sorrow, so humanists and atheists would want a community uitterance and gathering.

    Humans are a social animal and seek community for our deepest feelings and experiences. So nonbelievers would turn to fellow beings–both of faith and without–for support and sharing.

    April 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • lol??

      The usa has mutated, morphed, and for the hopeful atheists, evolved. It is nuthin' like it started after the pwogwessives got a hold on the consti*tution and amended the hay out of it. The roots are now meaningless, but the socies now have their church-gubmint complete with a pastor-in-chief.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  18. Richard

    There is no sense arguing the existence of a God with the religious cult members. Their minds have been locked forever by their parents soon after birth. Remember these people kill other people who do not believe as they do.

    April 19, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  19. Denise Gillette

    God does not force Himself on anyone. Unlike Islamic countries, here one has the freedom to choose one's religion or to be of no religion. Jesus Christ is all about freedom and we must honor Him as a country because America was founded on sound Christian principles - which have brought us to where we are today. My suggestion is "get over it" and live your non-religious life in this wonderfully free country.

    April 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Get over it? That's your response to someone expressing sorrow, grief, need for community, hope for humanity? Get over it?

      How does that measure up to your Christian faith?

      How would you respond to a being told to get over it when you're hurting and feeling excluded?

      The US was founded on the radical principles of freedom, not on Christianity. A part of that freedom includes the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. I would expect, in a time of grief, everyone would be included in the comforting gestures we as a community make, and yes, I believe an "interfaith" gathering should include those whose faith is in humanity as well as those who have faith in gods.

      April 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • sam stone

      denise: if god is omniscient, how is there free will?

      god doesn't force himself on people? believe or a lake of fire is not forcing himself upon people?

      April 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • ME II

      First commandment (according to some interpretations):
      “I am the LORD your God... You shall have no other gods before me."

      First Amendment (excerpt):
      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

      April 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • adam

      Denise Gillette- Yes this a wonderfully free country. And you are free to go to a library, or, better yet, Google any number of the explicit statements made by the FOUNDING FATHERS of this country stating that this country was not founded as a Christian nation.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • God does not force Himself on anyone

      You’re right, god does not exist and cannot force “Himself on anyone”
      However Christians do exist and most of them believe it is their god given responsibility to force their beliefs on everyone (and don’t care how much force they use in the process)

      April 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Doobs

      Put down your bible and pick up a history book. Instead of swallowing everything you hear from the pulpit hook, line, and sinker, learn what the founding fathers actually said.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • sam

      "God does not force Himself on anyone."

      Uh...except that one time where he knocked up some poor virgin girl without asking first.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Yeah

      And Job. He forced a lot of misery on an innocent, undeserving loyalist just to prove a point to the devil.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ Yeah

      Yup, and Noah. I'm sure that all the men, women, children, babies and animals that god drowned felt a bit put upon as well.

      But he has a plan. And he always needs money!

      April 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Reality

      Denise,

      Read the following very closely:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request

      April 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  20. Reality

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    April 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.