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Proof of heaven popular, except with the church
They claim that they’ve glimpsed heaven but survivors of near-death experiences face a surprising skeptic: the church.
May 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Proof of heaven popular, except with the church

By John Blake, CNN

“God, help me!”

Eben Alexander shouted and flailed as hospital orderlies tried to hold him in place. But no one could stop his violent seizures, and the 54-year-old neurosurgeon went limp as his horrified wife looked on.

That moment could have been the end. But Alexander says it was just the beginning. He found himself soaring toward a brilliant white light tinged with gold into “the strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen.”

Alexander calls that world heaven, and he describes his journey in “Proof of Heaven,” which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 27 weeks. Alexander says he used to be an indifferent churchgoer who ignored stories about the afterlife. But now he knows there’s truth to those stories, and there’s no reason to fear death.

“Not one bit,” he said. “It’s a transition; it’s not the end of anything. We will be with our loved ones again.”

Heaven used to be a mystery, a place glimpsed only by mystics and prophets. But popular culture is filled with firsthand accounts from all sorts of people who claim that they, too, have proofs of heaven after undergoing near-death experiences.

Yet the popularity of these stories raises another question: Why doesn’t the church talk about heaven anymore?

Preachers used to rhapsodize about celestial streets of gold while congregations sang joyful hymns like “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” But the most passionate accounts of heaven now come from people outside the church or on its margins.

Most seminaries don’t teach courses on heaven; few big-name pastors devote much energy to preaching or writing about the subject; many ordinary pastors avoid the topic altogether out of embarrassment, indifference or fear, scholars and pastors say.

“People say that the only time they hear about heaven is when they go to a funeral,” said Gary Scott Smith, author of “Heaven in the American Imagination” and a history professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

Talk of heaven shouldn’t wait, though, because it answers a universal question: what happens when we die, says the Rev. John Price, author of “Revealing Heaven,” which offers a Christian perspective of near-death experiences.

“Ever since people started dying, people have wondered, where did they go? Where are they now? Is this what happens to me?” said Price, a retired pastor and hospital chaplain.

A little girl’s revelation

Price didn’t always think heaven was so important. He scoffed at reports of near-death experiences because he thought they reduced religion to ghost stories. Besides, he was too busy helping grieving families to speculate about the afterlife.

His attitude changed, though, after a young woman visited his Episcopal church one Sunday with her 3-year-old daughter.

Price had last seen the mother three years earlier. She had brought her then-7-week-old daughter to the church for baptism. Price hadn't heard from her since. But when she reappeared, she told Price an amazing story.

She had been feeding her daughter a week after the baptism when milk dribbled out of the infant's mouth and her eyes rolled back into her head. The woman rushed her daughter to the emergency room, where she was resuscitated and treated for a severe upper respiratory infection.

Three years later, the mother was driving past the same hospital with her daughter when the girl said, “Look, Mom, that’s where Jesus brought me back to you.”

“The mother nearly wrecked her car,” Price said. “She never told her baby about God, Jesus, her near-death experience, nothing. All that happened when the girl was 8 weeks old. How could she remember that?”

When Price started hearing similar experiences from other parishioners, he felt like a fraud. He realized that he didn’t believe in heaven, even though it was part of traditional Christian doctrine.

He started sharing near-death stories he heard with grieving families and dejected hospital workers who had lost patients. He told them dying people had glimpsed a wonderful world beyond this life.

The stories helped people, Price said, and those who've had similar experiences of heaven should “shout them from the rooftops.”

“I’ve gone around to many churches to talk about this, and the venue they give me is just stuffed,” he said. “People are really hungry for it.”

Why pastors are afraid of heaven

Many pastors, though, don’t want to touch the subject because it’s too dangerous, says Lisa Miller, author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.”

Miller cites the experience of Rob Bell, one of the nation’s most popular evangelical pastors.

John Price ignored heaven until he met a woman with an amazing story.

Bell ignited a firestorm two years ago when he challenged the teaching that only Christians go to heaven in “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

The book angered many members of Bell’s church as well as many in the evangelical establishment. He subsequently resigned.

“Farewell, Rob Bell,” one prominent evangelical tweeted.

“It’s a tough topic for a pastor,” said Miller, a former religion columnist for the Washington Post. “If you get too literal, you can risk sounding too silly. If you don’t talk about it, you’re evading one of the most important questions about theology and why people come to church.”

If pastors do talk about stories of near-death experiences, they can also be seen as implying that conservative doctrine – only those who confess their faith in Jesus get to heaven, while others suffer eternal damnation – is wrong, scholars and pastors say.

Many of those who share near-death stories aren’t conservative Christians but claim that they, too, have been welcomed by God to heaven.

“Conservative Christians aren’t the only ones going to heaven," said Price, "and that makes them mad."

There was a time, though, when the church talked a lot more about the afterlife.

Puritan pastors in the 17th and 18th centuries often preached about heaven, depicting it as an austere, no fuss-place where people could commune with God.

African-American slaves sang spirituals about heaven like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” They often depicted it as a place of ultimate payback: Slaves would escape their humiliation and, in some cases, rule over their former masters.

America’s fixation with heaven may have peaked around the Civil War. The third most popular book in 18th century America – behind the Bible and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – was "Gates Ajar," written in the wake of the war, Miller says.

The 1868 novel was “The Da Vinci Code” of its day, Miller says. It revolved around a grieving woman who lost her brother in the Civil War. A sympathetic aunt assures her that her brother is waiting in heaven, a bucolic paradise where people eat sumptuous meals, dogs sun themselves on porches and people laugh with their loved ones.

“This was a vision of heaven that was so appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who had lost people in the Civil War,” Miller said.

Americans needed heaven because life was so hard: People didn’t live long, infant mortality was high, and daily life was filled with hard labor.

“People were having 12 kids, and they would outlive 11 of them,” said Smith, author of "Heaven in the American Imagination." “Death was ever-present.”

The church eventually stopped talking about heaven, though, for a variety of reasons: the rise of science; the emergence of the Social Gospel, a theology that encouraged churches to create heaven on Earth by fighting for social justice; and the growing affluence of Americans. (After all, who needs heaven when you have a flat-screen TV, a smartphone and endless diversions?)

But then a voice outside the church rekindled Americans' interest in the afterlife. A curious 23-year-old medical student would help make heaven cool again.

The father of near-death experiences

Raymond Moody had been interested in the afterlife long before it was fashionable.

He was raised in a small Georgia town during World War II where death always seemed just around the corner. He constantly heard stories about soldiers who never returned from war. His father was a surgeon who told him stories of bringing back patients from the brink of death. In college, he was enthralled when he read one of the oldest accounts of a near-death experience, a soldier’s story told by Socrates in Plato’s “Republic.”

His fascination with the afterlife was sealed one day when he heard a speaker who would change his life.

The speaker was George Ritchie, a psychiatrist. Moody would say later of Ritchie, “He had that look of someone who had just finished a long session of meditation and didn’t have a care in the world.”

Moody sat in the back of a fraternity room as Ritchie told his story.

It was December 1943, and Ritchie was in basic training with the U.S. Army at Camp Barkeley, Texas. He contracted pneumonia and was placed in the hospital infirmary, where his temperature spiked to 107. The medical staff piled blankets on top of Ritchie’s shivering body, but he was eventually pronounced dead.

“I could hear the doctor give the order to prep me for the morgue, which was puzzling, because I had the sensation of still being alive,” Ritchie said.

He even remembers rising from a hospital gurney to talk to the hospital staff. But the doctors and nurses walked right through him when he approached them.

He then saw his lifeless body in a room and began weeping when he realized he was dead. Suddenly, the room brightened “until it seemed as though a million welding torches were going off around me.”

He says he was commanded to stand because he was being ushered into the presence of the Son of God. There, he saw every minute detail of his life flash by, including his C-section birth. He then heard a voice that asked, “What have you done with your life?"

After hearing Ritchie’s story, Moody decided what he was going to do with his life: investigate the afterlife.

Raymond Moody revived interest in heaven by studying near-death experiences.

He started collecting stories of people who had been pronounced clinically dead but were later revived. He noticed that the stories all shared certain details: traveling through a tunnel, greeting family and friends who had died, and meeting a luminous being that gave them a detailed review of their life and asked them whether they had spent their life loving others.

Moody called his stories “near-death experiences,” and in 1977 he published a study of them in a book, “Life after Life.” His book has sold an estimated 13 million copies.

Today, he is a psychiatrist who calls himself “an astronaut of inner space.” He is considered the father of the near-death-experience phenomenon.

He says science, not religion, resurrected the afterlife. Advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation meant that patients who would have died were revived, and many had stories to share.

“Now that we have these means for snatching people back from the edge, these stories are becoming more amazing,” said Moody, who has written a new book, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife.”

“A lot of medical doctors know about this from their patients, but they’re just afraid to talk about it in public.”

Ritchie’s story was told through a Christian perspective. But Moody says stories about heaven transcend religion. He's collected them from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.

“A lot of people talk about encountering a being of light,” he said. “Christians call it Christ. Jewish people say it’s an angel. I’ve gone to different continents, and you can hear the same thing in China, India and Japan about meeting a being of complete love and compassion.”

It’s not just what people see in the afterlife that makes these stories so powerful, he says. It’s how they live their lives once they survive a near-death experience.

Many people are never the same, Moody says. They abandon careers that were focused on money or power for more altruistic pursuits.

“Whatever they had been chasing, whether it's power, money or fame, their experience teaches them that what this (life) is all about is teaching us to love,” Moody said.

Under 'the gaze of a God'

Alexander, the author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to fit Moody's description. He’s a neurosurgeon, but he spends much of time now speaking about his experience instead of practicing medicine.

He'd heard strange stories over the years of revived heart attack patients traveling to wonderful landscapes, talking to dead relatives and even meeting God. But he never believed those stories. He was a man of science, an Episcopalian who attended church only on Easter and Christmas.

That changed one November morning in 2008 when he was awakened in his Lynchburg, Virginia, home by a bolt of pain shooting down his spine. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a disease so rare, he says, it afflicts only one in 10 million adults.

After his violent seizures, he lapsed into a coma — and there was little hope for his survival. But he awakened a week later with restored health and a story to tell.

He says what he experienced was “too beautiful for words.” The heaven he describes is not some disembodied hereafter. It’s a physical place filled with achingly beautiful music, waterfalls, lush fields, laughing children and running dogs.

In his book, he describes encountering a transcendent being he alternately calls “the Creator” or “Om.” He says he never saw the being's face or heard its voice; its thoughts were somehow spoken to him.

“It understood humans, and it possessed the qualities we possess, only in infinitely greater measure. It knew me deeply and overflowed with qualities that all my life I’ve always associated with human beings and human beings alone: warmth, compassion, pathos … even irony and humor.”

Holly Alexander says her husband couldn’t forget the experience.

“He was driven to write 12 hours a day for three years,” she said. “It began as a diary. Then he thought he would write a medical paper; then he realized that medical science could not explain it all.”

“Proof of Heaven” debuted at the top of The New York Times bestseller list and has sold 1.6 million copies, according to its publisher.

Alexander says he didn’t know how to deal with his otherworldly journey at first.

“I was my own worst skeptic,” he said. “I spent an immense amount of time trying to come up with ways my brain might have done this.”

Conventional medical science says consciousness is rooted in the brain, Alexander says. His medical records indicated that his neocortex — the part of the brain that controls thought, emotion and language — had ceased functioning while he was in a coma.

Alexander says his neocortex was “offline” and his brain “wasn’t working at all” during his coma. Yet he says he reasoned, experienced emotions, embarked on a journey — and saw heaven.

“Those implications are tremendous beyond description,” Alexander wrote. “My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness; that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us.”

Skeptics say Alexander’s experience can be explained by science, not the supernatural.

They cite experiments where neurologists in Switzerland induced out-of-body experiences in a woman suffering from epilepsy through electrical stimulation of the right side of her brain.

Michael Shermer, founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine, says the U.S. Navy also conducted studies with pilots that reproduced near-death experiences. Pilots would often black out temporarily when their brains were deprived of oxygen during training, he says.

These pilots didn’t go to heaven, but they often reported seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel, a floating sensation and euphoria when they returned to consciousness, Shermer says.

“Whatever experiences these people have is actually in their brain. It’s not out there in heaven,” Shermer said.

Some people who claim to see heaven after dying didn’t really die, says Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things.”

“They’re called near-death experiences for a reason: They’re near death but not dead,” Shermer said. “In that fuzzy state, it’s not dissimilar to being asleep and awakened where people have all sorts of transitory experiences that seem very real.”

The boy who saw Jesus

Skeptics may scoff at a story like Alexander’s, but their popularity has made a believer out of another group: the evangelical publishing industry.

While the church may be reluctant to talk about heaven, publishers have become true believers. The sales figures for books on heaven are divine: Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven” has sold 5 million copies. And “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is the latest publishing juggernaut.

Colton Burpo says he saw heaven and describes the color of Jesus' eyes.

“Heaven is for Real” has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 126 consecutive weeks and sold 8 million copies, according to its publisher.

The story is told from the perspective of Colton Burpo, who was just 4 when he slipped into unconsciousness while undergoing emergency surgery for a burst appendix.

Colton says he floated above his body during the operation and soared to heaven, where he met Jesus. Todd Burpo, Colton’s father, says he was skeptical about his son’s story until his son described meeting a great-grandfather and a miscarried baby sister — something no one had ever told him about.

Todd Burpo is a pastor, but he says he avoided preaching about heaven because he didn’t know enough about the subject.

“It’s pretty awkward,” he said. “Here I am the pastor, but I’m not the teacher on the subject. My son is teaching me.”

Colton is now 13 and says he still remembers meeting Jesus in heaven.

“He had brown hair, a brown beard to match and a smile brighter than any smile I’ve ever seen,’’ he said. “His eyes were sea-blue, and they were just, wow.”

Colton says he’s surprised by the success of his book, which has been translated into 35 languages. There’s talk of a movie, too.

“It’s totally a God thing,” he said.

Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to have the same attitude: His new life is a gift. He’s already writing another book on his experience.

“Once I realized what my journey was telling me," he said, "I knew I had to tell the story.”

He now attends church but says his faith is not dogmatic.

“I realized very strongly that God loves all of God’s children,” he said. “Any religion that claims to be the true one and the rest of them are wrong is wrong.”

Central to his story is something he says he heard in heaven.

During his journey, he says he was accompanied by an angelic being who gave him a three-part message to share on his return.

When he heard the message, he says it went through him “like a wind” because he instantly knew it was true.

It’s the message he takes today to those who wonder who, or what, they will encounter after death.

The angel told him:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith • God • Heaven • History

soundoff (4,945 Responses)
  1. Mike

    A visit to any congragation of a LDS or "Mormon" church you will find that life after death is one of the main things that is talked about and taught. This is the reason for an LDS temple it is for those that have already died and to join families here on earth in a bond for eternity.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • thecommonathiest

      to bad none of this matters any ways...because god isn't real! you are all living a petty lie and need to rethink you place in this world.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  2. aallen333

    What happens to a mind that is separated from God – the obvious ceases to be obvious. All of creation is covered with the fingerprints of its creator. So much so that even a child recognizes and understands this. It takes a delusional mind to call a machine an evolved rock. But isn't this exactly what atheists do everyday when they accept a theory that purports that our ancestors evolved from the primordial ooze of life formed from the watering of a rock. Are some so hard-up to to explain their existence that they would fall for such nonsense. It's the kind of story you would expect to hear from someone tripped out on you know what. Amazingly, millions upon millions of people believe this absurdity. But we have seen in the past how easily the masses are duped into believing a lie. Remember how 'War of the World' created mass hysteria the likes of which we would not have believed possible. Now multiply that by millions and you have the current phenomenon of the foolish belief in the foolish.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • sam

      >>Are some so hard-up to to explain their existence that they would fall for such nonsense.

      You mean the bible? Yes.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Brett

      Hey allen, great post. Indeed, we are living in times of delusion. God warned us that these times would come, and here they are.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • .

      lots and lots of religious delusion.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I'll bet you use the products of science every day (and not just the internet) and yet you mock the science that disproves your superstitions. You seem to feel that these make sense – an omniscient god makes female animals but not a female human; then made one from a rib of man as opposed to just making a female as it had for the animals; then another of this god's creatures (the subsequently unknown talking snake) knows more about the world than the creature god created as the pinnacle of its effort and tempts the vastly more intelligent humans to eat the (otherwise purposeless) fruit; the myth of a flood, the centuries-old men; man in a fish for three days, water into wine, etc, etc,

      May 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Lawrence

      " It's the kind of story you would expect to hear from someone tripped out on you know what"

      Are you kidding? The ones who don't believe the various crazy creation myths are the ones who are tripped out?

      May 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Yeah, it's just SO much more reasonable to believe that a giant invisible guy commanded an entire universe into existence.

      Idiot, just because we don't know yet and may never know just how the universe began does not mean that a god must have done it.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Atheists don't know how life began or why there is soemthing rather than nothing, but we prefer that HONEST answer to the dishonest and stupid answer of "big invisible sky wizard did it with magic spellz."

      May 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #6 – If you routinely ignore physics, geology, astronomy, biology, etc., and are happy with “god did it” then you are mentally retarded...

      May 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'So much so that even a child recognizes and understands this'
      And what do you mean by this nonsense?

      'But isn't this exactly what atheists do everyday when they accept a theory that purports that our ancestors evolved from the primordial ooze of life formed from the watering of a rock'
      Er, no actually, it isnt.

      'Are some so hard-up to to explain their existence that they would fall for such nonsense'
      This from a guy that believes in spell casting magical beings.

      May 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  3. Brett

    Jesus changed my life. I know how my life was before I received the Lord, and how it is now. But reading many of these godless posts, its seems they think they know better about our own lives than we do. Imagine the delusional state one must be in to go there. I'm so glad I asked for God's forgiveness through Jesus, who died for my sins. Receive Him as Lord and Savior, and you will know His peace that passes all understanding. PTL

    May 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • December

      Thank you for your post. I can relate and I am glad to know about Jesus today. Peace!

      May 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Madtown

      "Who's Jesus? Never heard of him."

      – signed,
      your human brother living in a primitive tribe in the rain forest jungle of Ecuador

      May 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Brett

      December, and thank you for your post. God Bless, peace to you as well.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • December

      @ "Who's Jesus? Never heard of him."
      @ – signed,
      @ your human brother living in a primitive tribe in the rain forest jungle of Ecuador

      Dear brother,

      Good news. God has sent his only son. God loves you and is preparing a place for you with him. Would you like to meet him?

      May 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Brett: Calling us delusional when we're not the ones believing on faith is a little hypocritical. You have no evidence to back your absurd claims and the god you honor is not a good god to honor-he's a child abuser; child rapist; mass murderer...nothing good about your god. The fact that you fell prey to religion due to whatever does not make us wrong or bad. In fact life is much better how that I don't live in fear of something that can't be shown to exist. In the end, no-one has come back to verify that god or jesus or satan exist, nothing but the buybull backs the existence of any of them...one book is not enough for me, especially when we know that book was written by 40 men who never met one another and the stories within said book have largely been proven wrong (very few true facts within it).

      May 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Madtown

      God has sent his only son
      -----
      So, God created this incomprehensibly vast and intricate universe, along with all life contained within, yet only has 1 son? Couldn't God have as many sons/daughters as he wanted? Of course he could. No logic in the "1 son" notion.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      imagine the delusion of believing you need to be forgiven

      May 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      TP,
      So, if someone you knew and trusted came back and said it is all true, would you believe?

      May 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • December

      @Madtown

      I imagine this is God's plan. I'm sure your way is better – I'm sure you know more than God.

      I'm sure your logic surpasses God's understanding of His creation.

      I'm sure 1 savior is not enough.

      @ sam stone

      I need forgiveness, that is not delusional.

      I'm an imperfect and broken being. Forgiveness, whether divine or human, is a gift.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Bret,

      Many a poster here are making vain attempts to sideline the religious via emotionalized rants and raves against the religiously devoted. Their fears are made manifested into augmentations of dire straits around their conjoined amplitudes. They know of God and dare refute and rebuke God, Jesus and all human manifestations who dare believe in Godly revelations.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Their fears are made manifested into augmentations of dire straits around their conjoined amplitudes."

      There is absolutely no meaning in this garbage.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Madtown

      I'm sure you know more than God.
      ----
      Sure, 'cuz that's what I said. Dispute my logic: why would God have only 1 son, if the son is meant to be humanity's savior? Jesus appeared to a very small cross section of God's creation on earth at that time. Simply asking why God wouldn't send sons/daughters to each of the cultures of humans on earth? Something wrong with the Native Americans at that time, they didn't deserve a savior? Jesus didn't visit them.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Humanity

      "I'm an imperfect and broken being. Forgiveness, whether divine or human, is a gift"

      December – It sounds like you're the type who has such low self-esteem that the Christian idea of love and forgiveness from the big daddy in the sky sucks you in. You all know the type, the "I'm just an unworthy, dirty sinner, doomed but for the grace of god" type. The most pathetic type.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Robert: If my Mother who was a wonderful lady and a firm believer in your god came back from the dead after 26 years and was able to say one way or the other, I'd almost see no reason not to believe but given that no-one returns from the dead I see no reason to accept the story.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • December

      @madtown
      @ why would God have only 1 son, if the son is meant to be humanity's savior?

      That is a good question. It is a mystery.

      @ Jesus appeared to a very small cross section of God's creation on earth at that time. Simply asking why God wouldn't send sons/daughters to each of the cultures of humans on earth?

      Maybe we need just 1 savior. 1 king to rule us all.

      @ Something wrong with the Native Americans at that time, they didn't deserve a savior? Jesus didn't visit them.

      They didn't have airplanes back then. And I don't think boats were traveling that far. And Jesus was killed before he could get to them.

      It started with 1 baby born to a dirt poor couple. That is God.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • December

      @Humanity

      Yea, I guess I wish I had high self-esteem like you. You sound... uh, grand. Yea.

      By my human nature I make mistakes – some on purpose and some on accident. I need forgiveness.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      December, And yet Noah supposedly collected a pair of all the animals in the world – how did he do that if Jesus could not? You're not looking at these questions in the way they are intended – they show the inconsistencies of the bible stories and you don't address that.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Tommie child girl,

      Your own Word tells me that your abilities to fathom my Word is found out to be of lowly consternations. The abilities of your conscionable awareness is tendered in moot questioning yet screams out as tirades meant to loosen my holdings of Godly enduring complacencies. I will never bow to the Word you do tirelessly imbibe!

      May 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • The real Tom

      More garbage from the abusive big brother.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Madtown

      "Maybe we need just 1 savior. 1 king to rule us all."
      – impossible to be ruled by a king you've never heard of.

      @ Something wrong with the Native Americans at that time, they didn't deserve a savior? Jesus didn't visit them.
      "They didn't have airplanes back then. And I don't think boats were traveling that far. And Jesus was killed before he could get to them."

      – They "didn't have airplanes or boats"?! Quite an unsophisticated answer. You're not getting what I'm saying. Assuming God created the universe, and all things within, something you assume it true.......that means God is amazingly powerful. So, the concept of this being having only "1 son" is silly. God can have as many sons/daughters as he sees fit, and could send them to all corners of the globe without boats. God created humans and placed them in North America at that time, he could also create another son born into that culture in N. America, to deliver this message. That is.......if God cared which religious direction we followed. He didn't do these things, so I don't believe he cares which religion we follow, if any.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • December

      @ God can have as many sons/daughters as he sees fit,

      So we can kill them all?

      God made himself into a human being – named Jesus Christ. He brought us good news.

      That is what he did. Sorry if that is not enough for you. I'm sure you have a better plan. But the truth is, this is what God did. Maybe there is a very good reason for this that we can't see today. Maybe tomorrow it will make perfect sense.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • December

      @ In Santa we trust
      The Bible is not my God – it points to God. Other books do that, too.

      The Bible is a collection of stories, poems, songs, wise sayings, parables.

      They are important to me.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      OK December, I'll try again. Believers claim that their god is omnipotent and omniscient and as such can do anything it pleases. That is the subtext of these questions. Try answering with that in mind.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Tommie girl child,

      If you can't handle my worded perceptivities, why bring up my one and only fault? I have repented of my sinned past life. I love my brother very much and keep him safely in my loving nature. Digging up dirt only makes the digger dirty!

      May 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • December

      @ In Santa we trust

      Sorry, but not all believers claim that. It is really not that simple.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • December

      "Maybe we need just 1 savior. 1 king to rule us all."
      @ impossible to be ruled by a king you've never heard of.

      When you die, you meet your King face to face. You'll know Him!

      May 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Madtown

      But the truth is, this is what God did
      ----
      Yes, you're an authority figure on God, how God operates, how God thinks, and what God does. What arrogance. You've got all the answers, anyone who thinks differently is just wrong. You are part of the problem. I'd say God would not be too happy with your behavior. I wouldn't necessarily count on your ticket through the pearly gates.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Madtown

      When you die, you meet your King face to face. You'll know Him!
      -----–
      As will you. I believe God would express favor to me, seeing that I appreciated and used the gift of the mind he gave me.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • December

      @ Madtown

      You are pretty much doing the same thing I am. But I am trying to explain why God sent his 1 son and why that is good news for both of us.

      " I'd say God would not be too happy with your behavior. "

      " I believe God would express favor to me, seeing that I appreciated and used the gift of the mind he gave me."

      This says to me – that you God favors you over me.

      Christian theology says our good works are like dirty rags to God. He won't be impressed by how we used our minds. He doesn't need that.

      He wants our love.

      May 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'It started with 1 baby born to a dirt poor couple. '

      dirt poor? where did you get that idea? A carpenter would have been middle class at that time, and heck they supposedly got gold, frankincense and myrrh.

      May 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  4. Puzzled

    "he was skeptical about his son’s story until his son described meeting... a miscarried baby sister"

    That's convincing? Exactly what sort of communication could someone have someone that undeveloped?

    May 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  5. lol??

    Paul had visions and appearances and didn't claim to be a "know-it-all" about them.

    "2Cr 12:2-4 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."

    Interesting, unspeakable words. That doesn't stop any modern authors!

    May 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lol, he sounds deranged or on a bad trip.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • lol??

      "Act 26:24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad."

      May 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Workingoutmysoulsalvation

      There are so many people who will never see God's Kingdom as they do not believe or obey God's Word.

      Jesus said to his disciples in John 14:1-6

      14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled.(A) You believe(B) in God[a];(C) believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there(D) to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back(E) and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.(F) 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
      Jesus the Way to the Father

      5 Thomas(G) said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

      6 Jesus answered, “I am(H) the way(I) and the truth(J) and the life.(K) No one comes to the Father except through me.

      If you do not have the son, you do not have the father. Jesus was God revealed on earth. God showed himself to man through Jesus(The Living word).

      In order to go to heaven, Man has to: Romans 10:17: Hear and obey God's word (Scriptures) ;Acts 18:8: Believe the Gospel; Acts:2:38 Be baptized for the remission of sin; Acts 8:37: Confess the Christ and live faithfully.

      So many are going to hell because they will not hear, believe, confess, be baptized(immersed in water), and live faithfully.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • lol??

      Now who would name a town, Festus, say Festus, Missouri??
      wiki,
      ".........There is another town legend that says there was a disagreement over what to name the city and it was agreed upon that a Bible would be shot and whatever proper name closest to the last page penetrated would be chosen............"

      May 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  6. lionlylamb

    Many a young atheist might well need to consider their pedestals they stand upon. For anyone's Godly deniability reasoning are as noxious credentials pushing their followers into tarrying fires burning up their ancestry's religious bridges behind them. Judge not the person but rather judge the peoples' views and perceptions.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • snowboarder

      you betcha, no thinking for yourself. just follow along with what you are told.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      snowboarder,

      The young ones who 'follow along' with the tirades of many ranting and raving transgressors of religious humanisms do so for an emotional fixation. Even the young of the religious rant and do rave. For of the children's mercies by their parental dispositions dare makes the children to be mockeries for and even against all mannerisms of conscious awareness. For the child's sakes, tenderly raise up their perceptivities of cognitive awareness and never forgo the child's deviltries natures.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why do you engage in writing such mumbo-jumbo, LL? Is it therapy for you? Because if so, why don't you write it in private journal instead of on a public forum? This crap is nonsense. You use words not for their meanings but simply because you like the sounds of them in your head. You make up words that have no meaning and then stomp your feet and whine when people don't understand what you're talking about.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Tommie girl child,

      Your 5th grader attenuations are your spoilages. Your clawing away at my Word shows to me and others your infantile nature for want to regress my heartfelt perceptivities. I am a Godly manifested being but you are not from Godly retributions! Your written manifestations exude your troublesome ways. Be of thoughtfulness for a change and quit eviscerating my truth felt resonances that reaches far above and beyond your entertaining barbarisms meant only to pull down any and all highly spirited souls!

      May 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • The real Tom

      If you want a response, loon, then write in English. This post, just like most of your others, is pure crap. You don't have a clue what the words you use mean. You're just yapping like a small, scared dog.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Tommie childish girl,

      You have proven my points! Your Word is as a child throwing a tantrum because your being left out of God's graces! Cry all you need to Tommie girl child! You are forgiven of your misunderstanding ways!

      May 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  7. KT

    My point exactlyCPT Obvious, No one should mock the other for what they beleive. because the honest truth is that no one on this post, living ,Thelogian or Athesit really know what the HELL they are talking about and nobody dead has came back to enlighten us. If the thelogian or right and there is a Creator he transcends man made religion. And athesit want proof. Humans are hard wired to believe in something higher so the concepted of GOD will never go away. I myself am a believer and I beleive that all world religions are a manifestation of God. But that not my point. Beliefs are just that beliefs you are entiled to what your perception of the world no matter how far fetched. Remember most of the Greatest Human beings belieived in a Deity of some sort that did not make them insane idiots as Athesit mock at those who beleivers. Just like being a non- beliver a souless immoral devil. So PLEASE some tolerance people. One could easliy say our exsitence and the existence of the world is proof of a creator while another it is not. So to sum it up continue to believe what you believe and stay steadfast. Because No human alive really KNOWS THE TRUTH OR WHAT THE HELL THERE TALKING ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO THE SUBJECT OF GOD OR HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THANK YOU

    May 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Keep on trucking KT! 🙂 😦 🙂

      May 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Madtown

      I beleive that all world religions are a manifestation of God
      ----
      Could be, we don't know. This would make them all equal to one another, in terms of validity. The adherents to any specifice one of them should keep this in mind. Theirs is not better than any other.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • sam

      OUTRAGE!!

      May 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Dippy

      KT, you really need to work on your writing skills. Like most of the religies on here, you made a number of errors (I counted at least 12 misspelled words and numerous punctuation errors). You need to spend more time in a classroom instead of groveling on your knees to your imaginary god.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  8. Propoganda, instigating trouble

    the basis of your whole report is a sweeping generalization implying that all churches don't talk about heaven. This is not news, it's gossip meant to give a negative view of church.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • sam

      Saying a church doesn't talk about heaven...is negative propaganda? I don't see how.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Propoganda, instigating trouble

      the very point that it gives the impression that all churches are the same. Churches are supposed to give hope of a better life, to claim that they are not doing their job is negative.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • sam

      I think you're reaching a little too hard for something that isn't really there.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  9. Wayne Lewis

    I am rather amused by most of the comments. I can tell you have not had this type of experience yet, but you will.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  10. richunix

    Dude attack his arguement not the person. Sam has done nothing to you...it OK to agree to disagree, keep it civil.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  11. sam

    OUTRAAAGE!!!11!!!!

    May 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Travis

    Bill Gates met God, and God said, "Well, Bill, I'm really confused on this one. I'm not sure whether to send you to Heaven or to Hell. After all, you enormously helped society by putting a computer in almost every home in the world, and yet you created that ghastly Windows. I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to let you decide where you want to go."

    Bill Gates said, "What's the difference between the two?"

    God said, "It might help you decide if you took a peek at both places. Shall we look at Hell first?"

    Bill was amazed. He saw a clean, white sandy beach with clear waters. There were thousands of beautiful men and women running around, playing in the water, laughing and frolicking about. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. "This is great!" said Bill. "If this is Hell, I can't wait to see Heaven."

    God said, "Let's go!" and off they went to Heaven.

    Bill saw puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky, with angels drifting about playing harps and singing. It was nice, but surely not as enticing as Hell. Bill thought for only a brief moment and rendered his decision. "God, I do believe I would prefer to go to Hell."

    "As you wish," said God.

    Two weeks later, God decided to check up on the late billionaire to see how things were going. He found Bill shackled to a wall, screaming amidst the hot flames in a dark cave. He was being tortured by demons with pitchforks. "How ya doin', Bill?" asked God.

    Bill responded with anguish and despair, "This is awful! This is not what I expected at all! What happened to the beach and the beautiful women playing in the water?"

    "Oh, that," said God. "That was the screen saver."

    May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • snowboarder

      isn't bill gates still alive?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  13. georgieboy

    As to the question, why are non-Christians welcomed into Heaven. Jesus said ...there are many mansions...in Heaven. Maybe this does have true meaning.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Brett

      Georgie, the verse is from John 14. Jesus was talking to His disciples, that is believers. Sorry, no non-christians in heaven. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me" ....Jesus – same chapter from which your quoting. Jesus would never have been so brutally beaten and crucified if there were any other way for man to be saved. God has provided one way, that is through faith in Jesus.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam

      Only those who know the secret handshake get to enter.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  14. William Demuth

    When I was about 13 or so I decided to investigate the afterlife.

    I began a pattern of taking hallucinogenics and hanging out in a grave yard.

    My experiences were similar to many of the After Life proponents, but never in my wildest trip did I ever believe a drop of it.

    When you are dead, you are dead. You will rot and be forgotten

    Get over it and stop trippin!

    May 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Thanks, this provides some insight into some of your other, more provocative posts.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • William Demuth

      As well it should

      Expand your mind and you might find the need for Bronze Age Super-heros in your life gets left behind

      May 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And I do that by getting high in cemeteries? LOL no thanks, I'm not 13 any more.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  15. Michael B

    If you don't think a church talks about life after death and where you go afterwards, and what Heaven is like, look no further than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Honestly, we talk about it often, and how this world will be literally transformed. In a sense of when people are baptized by water, and then by fire (The Holy Ghost), so has the earth been baptized (Noah Flood) and will be baptized by Fire (At the second coming) and the world will turn into a sea of glass. The earth we live on now is not even close to how beautiful life after death will be.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Michael B,

      Doesn't anybody know that scripture reveals to many who have read it that the kingdom domains of God are found within our physiological embodiments?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • richunix

      Does it involve looking into Top Hat and reading the golden tablets with my new glasses?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Michael B

      Richunix, I don't find your mockery very funny. But thank you for sharing your ignorance.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "The earth we live on now is not even close to how beautiful life after death will be."

      Wow, what a horrible waste of your own guaranteed life. Why devalue life like that? Why devalue this stunning planet, that while not perfect offers beauty beyond word? Why care about something that can't be shown to exist?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Michael B

      @TruthPrevails: Sorry I didn't make it more clear. This earth is stunningly beautiful. It's hard to imagine how anything can be even more beautiful. I agree that this planet is a marvel and a wonder and is absolutely amazing! I don't mean to devalue life here, I just mean to say that it's going to be even better, if you can believe it. Then again, I also don't believe people will go to Hell. People are going to be happy in the afterlife, because they are where they want to be, and will be happy.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Michael: Okay but not everyone shares that belief, so what happens to those who don't?

      May 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      richunix

      Does it involve looking into Top Hat and reading the golden tablets with my new glasses?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

      Michael B

      Richunix, I don't find your mockery very funny. But thank you for sharing your ignorance
      ...
      I believe he should have said plates, not tablets. Curious, what part of what he said is false/ignorant?

      May 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  16. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    ".. We will be with our loved ones again."
    ... What if no one loved you? Would you call that heaven?

    May 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      what if you remarried after your spouse died. Would you be with both your spouses or just one? If your second spouse had also lost their first spouse would you end up with some kind of 4 person 'gathering' or what?
      If your spouse loved a family member, but you hated them for some reason, would only your spouse meet up with that loved one whilst you went off somewhere else?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      What mother will I find, the one that was a loving woman in her 50's, or the hateful, senile one of her 80's?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Michael B

      If you believe in Heaven, chances are you believe in God. God loves you, and knows you. Also, there is not a single person on this planet that won't have the opportunity to have a family of their own.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah don't worry, just have spirit kids in the next life.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      Have little Caspers for children...cool

      May 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  17. DuJa

    Atheists LOVE it when CNN.com posts any religious or faith-based article! It gives them a chance to feel so superior and to mock those with any faith whatsoever. I really look forward to these times – you can cut their smugness with a knife it's so thick. Why not just let it be, you atheists? Common responses: "BECAUSE THE CRUSADES KILLED, MAIMED, AND OTHERWISE DOMINATED OTHERS IN THE NAME OF GOD!" or "LOOK AT ALL THE PRIESTS THAT ARE MOLESTING YOUNG BOYS" or "LOOK AT ALL THE PRO-LIFE IDIOTS WHO PARADOXICALLY MURDER ABORTION DOCTORS" or "RELIGION IS A CONSTRUCT TO HELP EXPLAIN THINGS THAT WE FEAR OR CAN'T EXPLAIN". Get new material, y'all – the world is an imperfect place – the only perfection is God himself.......<>....

    May 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • sam

      OUTRAGE!!!1!

      May 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      "The only perfection is God himself."
      Talk about not having new material. Until you have an explanation for the hypocrisy and even a crumb of reason we should believe in this current set of deities .. you would be wise to keep you righteous indignation to yourself.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • DuJa

      Hey, Horse-face,

      That's why it's called 'faith.'

      May 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Vice Corporal Tobias MacGillicuddy III

      Son, it's time for your medications and afternoon nap. We don't want you being cranky all day.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      Sure Duja, as soon as believers stop trying to dictate how others live their lives based on their own beliefs, then we will give it a rest.
      There you go, the gauntlet has been thrown.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      DuJa, Well why not keep your religion to yourself and not try to impose it on the rest of us – that would be new material instead of the centuries-old superstitions you keep pushing.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • DuJa

      Vice Corporal – good one about medication! Hilarious (did you write that one?)

      Cedar – rats! should have pre-empted your comment – forgot about that one great retort.

      Santa – how am I imposing anything on you? I'm asking you not to impose your hate/intolerance on me.......

      I'm sick of Christians responding back on Cnn.com by being too nice...it's on, y'all...!

      May 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      DuJa, Examples of how christians impose their religion on the rest of us: its deity is mentioned on the currency, they want their texts displayed on public buildings, they want their texts taught in place of science, they want prayers to their deity at public events, they ring the bells to call the flock, they want laws based upon their religious texts, they want laws banning laws based upon competing religious texts, etc.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Get new material,"

      Could you please do the same??? Don't you think that shoving your delusion down the throats of everyone is a little sickening? If you don't like feeling persecuted then don't come to a blog where it happens. It's not on, you idiot because we're not so easily forced in to fear. What are you going to do-name call like a child? Threaten us with hell? Nothing you can say can affect us, it only makes you look like a bigger fool.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam

      DuJa, you are such a good example. ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIER!! Get in there and call people names and bitch them out, that will make a huge difference.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • DuJa

      Just going on the offensive for some of the invective that's been levied against Christians with this (and every other faith-based) article. And if you want to see some childish responses, why don't you look at some of the comebacks of your fellow atheists?

      'Nuff said. Get your church on, y'all. It'll do you good. DuJa, out.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Nice DuJa .. first you yell at us then resort to name calling ... your are the epitome of the christian faith. And all because we simply disagree with you. If your "faith" can't withstand a difference of opinion, you don't have a real strong faith to begin with.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      DunJa

      Yes, faith....faith in man.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      faith = pretending to know something you don't = believing in unfounded bullshit.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  18. KT

    Science has yet to disprove the exsitence of GOD and it never will. God is transcendent to any religion or human comprehension or shcools of knowledge. The science is a gift from GOD it was given so that we might understand our everchanging universe and increase our adaptablity in it. Not to disprove GOD's exsitence. Sheol was beleived by the originators of the Abramhamic religions (Christian, Judasism, Islam) Sheol is not so much a place it simply means the human at the time of death is void a nothiness. Crazy most atheist beleive in UFO's and ET but not a grand designer. When everything on earth as science has reveal is crafted in such great detail . From a blade of grass,the human body or just the universe itself. Engineered to perfection yet created by some cosmic accident. Before you question believers check the premise of your belief. I respect the Athesit more than the Agnostic at least they have the BALLS to say flat out I dont believe.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      How should science go about disproving god? What would you accept as evidence?
      How shoudl science go abuot disproving unicorns? What would unicorn believers accept as evidence?
      How do you disprove something that has never been proven to exist?

      May 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • richunix

      appeal to ignorance (argumentum ex silentio) appealing to ignorance as evidence for something. (e.g., We have no evidence that God doesn't exist, therefore, he must exist. Or: Because we have no knowledge of alien visitors, that means they do not exist). Ignorance about something says nothing about its existence or non-existence.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It's very simple .. lack of evidence is NOT evidence that YOUR idea is correct. In fact it's literally no evidence at all.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      First of all KT where do you get the idea that atheists believe in UFOs and ET? I don't discount the possibility of life elsewhere but do not believe that we on Earth have encountered it.
      Secondly, from your comments I infer that you do not believe in Odin, Zeus,Ra, Kokopelli, Vishnu, etc. – how did you prove that they do not exist? You didn't because it's not possible. So as I hope you see, the fact that noone can disprove your god is not proof that it exists.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • richunix

      @Santa: Stephen F Roberts said it the best

      “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      May 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Science has yet to disprove the exsitence of GOD and it never will.' – correct, because that is not its purpose.

      'Crazy most atheist beleive in UFO's and ET but not a grand designer' – not sure how you can make that claim but i will say that there is no reason to believe that evolution occured on this planet only so that idea is not far fetched. But no atheist will claim that they use magic.

      'From a blade of grass,the human body or just the universe itself. Engineered to perfection yet created by some cosmic accident' – Engineered to perfection? are you new here? I am not sure how you can even come close to making such a claim.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • brownstown

      Cheers, good post.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  19. lionlylamb

    Much of mankind puts themselves upon idyllic pedestals pushing asunder the Gods toward them becoming nothing but dreams of ones' subconscious practicalities. It stands to reasoning that faithlessness is nowadays outpacing faithfulness becoming the dominant rationalities of the mortal ambiences. Sensualistic physical pleasures are washing away religious rationalisms. Religious naysayers are uprooting the historical ancestries laying waste to their forefathers' beliefs. Todays' religious devotees are fast becoming but a singular page in our histories. W h o r e d o m now rising upon the seas of humanisms is drowning out the frugally enamored religious vessels of human life manifestations. Death awaits all! Then will the noxious tares be gathered away from the sired goodness to be piled up high and burned, nevermore to be of life's manifesting threads!

    Virtual relativisms are nowhere nearing any augmentation of religious relativity. Neither are naturalistic evolutions. Religions are humanities' considerations of the egoistically spiritual endowments of conditioned soulfully individualized relevancies. Beliefs in the Godly domains' kingdoms are a no-brainer for me. These Godly kingdom domains are universal constructs of human physiologies.

    Common folk people who choose godliness as being their life's crux will find failure after failures in a world getting ever filled with growing faithlessness. Nothing good can ever come from ever mounting humanisms of faithlessness. Atomic Cosmology. Impossible to know? Celestial Cosmology. Impossible to know? Cellular Cosmology. Yet again, impossible to know? I do not 'pretend' in my knowing understandings of such Cosmologies. Many posters here are immature in things they dribble here. Many "adults" are still nothing more than being infantile nuisances meant to irk others' emotional states

    One has to have a need for resonations of their ill-worded namesakes. The faithless ever will harken upon those whose faiths are centralized in there being but One Father of All Living Celestial Manifestations! There are many Gods and even many more sons (even daughters) of the Gods. The Gods of Celestial Creations are of one nature and the sons of the Gods within atomized cellular creations are of another nature. Which of these Gods and/or Gods’ sons/daughters creatively evolved one's physiological bodies? Whose Celestial Gods and sons/daughters of the Celestially Manifested Gods are for and whose son/daughter gods are found against us? For the sons/daughters of the Celestial Gods living within atomic manifestations are our bodies' husbanded fathers and the Gods of Celestial Creations are not of our bodies' physiological creations. The human deviltry of socialized humanisms seems to be for the Celestial Gods while hardly anyone pays any attention to our bodies' cellular sons/daughters of the Celestial Gods. Go figure!

    May 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • snowboarder

      religious rationalism is a contradiction.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • richunix

      Exactly. Teach them the following 10 Commandments..
      1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
      2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
      3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
      4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.
      5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
      6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
      7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
      8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
      9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
      10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  20. richunix

    To all the Bible thumpers: Beofer you post read and LEARN your Bible..nor what some Pastor wants you to believe

    repost:
    @ Dwight

    I have read the Bible numerous times, in fact I spent the last 10 years study it. So the question is, of the 5700 known manuscripts making up the books of the Bible which one would you say is the most correct? In short before you jump up on your band-wagon and declare it is the approved King James version, or the New World edited addition and was inspired by GOD. Remember if GOD meant for his word to be extant, then why didn’t he go to great lengths to preserve his word, this has puzzled theologian and scholar’s for centuries.

    You can try reading the Codex Sinaiticus , or the Codex Vaticanus (Codex Bezae, 8th century) written in the 4th century. Both version have the most complete version of earlier Bible and some more, however they have MAJOR difference between your current version. Or you may take your hand (like the rest of us) and learn Konic Greek, so you can read the very early version of the Bible like, Papyrus P52,46 or P75. You listed historical names from the Bible, maybe you should try reading the Gnostic Gospel such as The Gospel of Mary, James, Peter…better yet the Gospel of Judas (published in 2006) or the Gospel of Solomon (or King Solomon), how about the Gospel of Jesus himself?. Do you even know the difference between the Gnosticism and Docetism? Take your current four Gospel and read the Crucifixion stories, which version is correct, when only one (unnamed Apostle was present) and yet they all have different words spoken by the dying Jesus, different way’s and times he died. The bible you see today is not the bible that was originally written 2000 years ago, in fact not even close. None of the Gospel are/were not written by any of eyewitness they are penned after, they are in fact written century’s later by trained Greek scribes, you need to read more about Teutullin and Irenaeus. We do not HAVE any surviving Gospel from the 1st century, it is not until the 3rd century we have a few incomplete Gospel (P46/75) and the most complete by the 4th century and even these do not match the earlier version.

    May 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.