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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. tony

    When you shut you eyes tight you see a black background with colored misty areas coming and going. I had laser surgery where my retina was welded in a few spots to prevent a tear.

    The spots are of course dead tissue, and those show up as spots of golden white pulsing bright light.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  2. Fikken Dü

    Do you dü?

    May 21, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  3. ben

    So much pooled ignorance surrounding this subject, as if anybody should accept someone else's near death experience as proof of heaven.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  4. faith

    no tomb. no jesus. no mary. no resurrection, cross, blood, sin, god.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  5. Reality

    As per Father Edward Schillebeekx, the famous contemporary Christian theologian, God (if one exists, my addition) does not know the Future. From his book, Church: The Human Story of God,

    "Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

    For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

    And if God does not know the future, Mohammed, Jesus, Isaiah, the Robertsons and the Grahams surely do (did) not.

    In two sentences of profound common sense, Schillebeeckx has reduced much of the OT, NT and Koran to the wishful thinking of many ancient scribes.

    Schillebeeckx also has a different take on hell. He reasons that god does not tolerate imperfection in his spiritual realm. Therefore, any soul dying in mortal sin will simply disappear since hell the imperfect state does not exist. No hell, no Satan.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  6. Len

    Singing hymns and waving palm branches through all eternity is pretty when you hear about it in the pulpit, but it's as poor a way to put in valuable time as a body could contrive.
    Mark Twain – Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

    May 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  7. Afterlife fan

    From where I sit the afterlife is alive and well. I've read up NDE's for years. Awesome stories out there and not all stories are positive.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Len

      But they're still just stories, and only as credible as any other story someone may tell you. Amazing how many people forget that distinction.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Afterlife fan

      Len, they are more than stories to some. I have not had a NDE, but I have experienced an OBE. Trust me there is something to this.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  8. edgar allan m. hale

    In our Church, the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ, we are always taught not only about the kingdom of heaven, but most importantly, how can one enter the kingdom of heaven. I am inviting you to listen to our Church, incmedia.org, and i guarantee you that you will know and learn a lot of biblical teachings, that no other church have taught. this is the true Church, the one founded by our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. if you want to attain salvation of soul on Judgment Day, then we are inviting you to listen and investigate this church about the teachings of God recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Dippy

      Yeah, right. Blah, blah, blah. What makes your church right and all the others wrong?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  9. meh...

    There sure are a lot of 'passionate' opinions here... A lot of fear; thinly disguised as anger.

    Everyone, every thought and every viewpoint is both utmost vital and completely insignificant at the same time. Paradise and Hell are equally real and equally within everyone's control. It just cracks me up what most people insist upon choosing...

    May 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Reality

      As per Father Edward Schillebeekx, the famous contemporary Christian theologian, God (if one exists, my addition) does not know the Future. From his book, Church: The Human Story of God,

      "Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

      For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

      And if God does not know the future, Mohammed, Jesus and Isaiah surely did not.

      In two sentences of profound common sense, Schillebeeckx has reduced much of the OT, NT and Koran to the wishful thinking of many ancient scribes.

      Schillebeeckx also has a different take on hell. He reasons that god does not tolerate imperfection in his spiritual realm. Therefore, any soul dying in mortal sin will simply disappear since hell the imperfect state does not exist. No hell, no Satan.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • meh...

      @Reality:

      I think it's funny that you assume my viewpoint.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  10. Travis

    Churches don't talk about heaven anymore because they're too busy trying to convince us who will be going to Hell (i.e. gays, abortion doctors, Muslims, socialists, anyone who voted for Obama, etc). Maybe if they spent a little more time preaching what Christ actually preached rather than trying to divide the world into the saved and the damned, then more people would proudly call themselves Christian rather than shy away from it.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  11. wostraub

    Hey, I wasn't feeling too well when I fell asleep on the couch. I died and went to Heaven, but was told it wasn't my time yet, so I went back home. Then I woke up. There! Proof of Heaven! Please send me money.

    Americans are idiots - they don't know the difference between facts and opinions, not to mention tall tales told by rich doctors seeking to get even richer.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Brampt

      I AGREE AMERICANS AND LATIN AMERICANS ARE IDIOTS AND KEEP ON FEEDING THESE CHARLATANS!

      May 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Dippy

      Turn off your caps lock, Brampt.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  12. Ramon

    Life feels so pointless. If in the end we are all going to be ok in Heaven, what is the point of so much suffering?

    May 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  13. Brampt

    The Jews never believed or believe in a hope to live in heaven. They believed that death is a state of inactivity. Some exemples:

    Dan 12:13: "“And as for you yourself ( Daniel ), go toward the end; and you will REST, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.”

    Gen 3:19: " For dust you are and to dust you will return.” ( No mention of hell )

    IRONICALLY though the pagan religions believed in the afterworld, the egypicians and the babylonians are good examples of it.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Len

      How about the Greeks with their model of ironic torments for those who dared to to defy the gods? Sound familiar?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  14. Greglintine

    This article suffers from a distinct lack of near death experiences involving hell, or the interpretation thereof.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
  15. tony

    No one who "floated above their body", ever saw what was on top of the cupboards around them.

    May 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Austin

      #9 the cat dream. I had a cat at my house, that night i dreamed that a demonic voice sang to me which inverted my body and then presented the same cat, covered in blood.

      I woke up and the cat was dead in the highway, 550 feet from my house.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow, Austin. That's proof positive of something. Can you tell us what it is?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Austin,

      You ever wonder why your god needed to kill a cat for you?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Fikken Dü

      Maybe you heard the screech of brakes as a demon voice and guessed the cat was dead. Loon.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Len

      Austin
      Maybe you heard the cat cry out in your sleep, and dreamt of it getting hurt? Not so mysterious after all, eh?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Misty eyed

      I had a nightmare about a fire alarm going off beside me. I awoke instantly... and my alarm clock was ringing (with the same bell sound ). Did I: A. Call the local newspaper to warn everyone that a fire was imminent. B: Order a new alarm clock with a pleasant-sounding buzzer or C: Fall back to sleep
      Maybe you heard your cat's wailing sounds in your sleep when it was killed. Sorry for your loss. I'm sure there's a heaven for cats. I hope it's separate though...

      May 21, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • sam stone

      god had a cat whacked for austin.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  16. Jim L

    It's interesting how every prophet/visionary sees an afterlife identical to how their religion views it. This "evidence" of an afterlife would be more damning if everyone who saw "heaven" made the same claims (i.e. everyone of all faiths see the same thing). Like maybe a Catholic saying, "Damn it, the Pagans were right all along!"; that would be more convincing!

    May 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, Jim, it's odd that the religies can't see the obvious. They're just too bible washed to see the obvious truth.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Exactly, Hindu's never see Jesus in their NDEs....

      May 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Athy

      You see what you want to see.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Dippy

      Hindus...not Hindu's.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • I seen Elvis

      RE: "Athy... You see what you want to see..."

      I'm Sasha Grey's ****? That can't be right

      May 21, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • lol??

      Are you sayin' Catholics are Christian??

      May 21, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • lol??

      It would be amazing to hear a Hells Angel say the Pagans are right. Would that imply righteous??

      May 21, 2013 at 2:06 am |
  17. AtheistsMorons

    I see those same stupid atheists who pretends to have an answer for everything are still fighting against the invisible again? What a bunch of morons. Go get a life and a job you atheists losers.

    May 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I've got a life and managed to retire comfortably before the age of 59. No god(s) required or wanted. Now, fuck off azzhole!

      May 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "I see those same stupid atheists who pretends to have an answer for everything are still fighting against the invisible again? What a bunch of morons. Go get a life and a job you atheists losers."
      Feeling a little insecure in your infantile beliefs? Have no other way to address the criticisms than to resort to insults?

      I imagine that it must be pretty scary to be you. All alone, still afraid of the big, bad god. Unable to comprehend even the most basic logic and reasoning. Unable to square the complete bullshit of your religion with the tiny little bit that you do understand.

      I feel sorry for you. I really do. I'm also really glad I'm not as pathetic as you.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      Sure you will, but only after you stopped being supported by your parents and stop living in your parents home basement. After they will pass away you will become the home owner and then you will move upstairs and will be living off your parents parents money that they will be leaving behind.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      The above comments was for HotAir moron and now this one is for Linda. Well Linda, at least i'm not 30 years old and living in my parents basement and spend my whole life on internet blogs annoying people like you do. Go get a job and life and most of all stop making a fool of yourself fighting against something you believe not to exist. You only aggravate your situation and you only make yourself look stupid.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      LinCA,I haven't lived in my parent's home for 40+ years so azzhole must be talking to you. And I expect he's wrong in any event! :^)

      May 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      No i was talking to you HotAir moron. I know you still live on your parents basement because i checked on the CNN archives in just about every religious subject you your name shows up all the time a every hours of the day, so you can't be working and spending your nights and days on the internet annoying people with your stupid atheists way of thinking. Go get a life loser.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Azzhole, I'm not fighting against your imaginary friend, I'm merely pointing out how stupid, mentally ill or liars actually, believers are. It's not about your alleged god(s), it's about you, your fellow delusional believers and the unsubstantiated crap you want society to continue to giveaway free pass to.

      But it's easy to get me to shut up. All you are to do is prove the existence of your god. . .

      May 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "Go get a job and life and most of all stop making a fool of yourself fighting against something you believe not to exist."
      You aren't the smartest one around, are you? If you think that I fight against something I don't believe in, you are even dumber than I thought. Goes to show that it is the shallow end of the gene pool where most of the sheeple are. While I'm unsure if it is required to be a dumb fuck, like yourself, to be a believer, it sure helps. Doesn't it?

      Maybe you should stick to babbling with your imaginary friend. I'm sure you're better at it than holding a conversation with a real person.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      You're not any better than those who are believers, you are too stupid to know that fighting against something you don't believe exist is just like fighting against something that don't exist at all. Since this is exactly what you're doing,then it makes a perfect moron out of you.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Again azzhole, I am retired, as in own my own home, have a steady income, travel a lot and can come and go as I please. Those are the facts, but as you are a delusional believer, you can't deal with facts, so will continue to believe your own fantasies.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • LinCA

      @HotAirAce

      You said, "LinCA,I haven't lived in my parent's home for 40+ years so azzhole must be talking to you."
      No, me neither.

      You said, "And I expect he's wrong in any event! :^)"
      He's a believer, that makes him wrong from the start. What else would you expect? 🙂

      May 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      If i was to use your stupid atheists logic then if i tell you that i am anti gay you will say that i am certainly a gay person inside and afraid to show it of right? Well if i use your own atheists logistic then i would say if you are God haters then that means you are believers but are afraid to admit it. lol

      May 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You are a complete and total fucking dimwit, aren't you?

      I don't fight against anything that doesn't exist, or anything that I don't believe exists. I don't fight against your imaginary friend. I fight against the ignorance that is at the root of those dumb fuck ignorant beliefs. I fight against the cancerous effects of those infantile beliefs on the sane part of society.

      You are free to hold these silly beliefs. You are not free to expect anyone else to be equally stupid.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      LinCA, my expectations of believers is so low, nothing they say surprises me. Notice that azzhole hasn't offered any excuses for believing the crap he apparently does. No substance, just anger at people who challenge his cult's beliefs with simple questions. Talk about being childish and living in their parent's basements, literally or figuratively. . . Be Well!

      May 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      Hit a nerve atheist? lol

      May 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      I don't hate gods. You really can't hate shit that doesn't exist.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      Then why are you fighting against it Linda?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "Hit a nerve atheist?"
      Hardly. I doubt you have the mental capacity to write anything that would it a nerve.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Hey azzhole – we don't hate any god! That would be illogical. But I do think you have let the source of your anger slip – you are anti-gay and are really unhappy that your believer world is rightfully coming apart at the seams. Poor baby!!

      May 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Fikken Dü

      I see AtheistsMorons has brought a dull knife to a gun fight. Must like getting blown to smithereens.
      They call people like you masochists, moron. You love getting beat up. You don't feel loved unless someone is punishing you.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      Poor atheists losers, it don't take much to really fk up their brain computation.lol

      May 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "Then why are you fighting against it Linda?"
      Holy fucking shit! How fucking stupid are you?

      I realize that you have to be pretty dense to be a believer, but you seem to take to another level. How difficult is it to understand that I don't fight against anything that doesn't exists?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Te: "Poor atheists losers, it don't take much to really fk up their brain computation.lol" examples of fk'd up brain computations please, or admit you are throwing up BS to distract from your other BS.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      No i'm not HotAir moron, i'm just showing the world of stupid you atheists are and how weak you are. And i also want to show the world how a bunch of liars and losers you are. Anymore question?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Colin

      @Atheistmorons – and how do you feel you demonstrated any of this?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • Touvio

      Do you really think Jesus – the guy who suggested we offer up our other cheek – would flame hate the way you do? If you are a person of God, how can you hate non-believers so much? Do you hate gays too?

      What would Jesus do? Better yet, when you die and stand before God, what will you say to him about the hate you spew today? Would you be ashamed? Ask for forgiveness?

      The God I believe in does not hate. Does he punish? Is he just? I believe so. But that is his domain. Not ours.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Azzhole, you've got the easy part done – multiple claims about us evil atheists. Now you have to do the hard part – back up your claims with evidence and examples. I suspect, no absolutely believe, you have got exactly the same amount of examples and evidence about evil atheists as you do for the existence of your god, which would be precisely none. But do go ahead and entertain us – with your continued frothing at the mouth about atheists, and/or your insane mythology. We're waiting. . .

      May 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "No i'm not HotAir moron, i'm just showing the world of stupid you atheists are and how weak you are. And i also want to show the world how a bunch of liars and losers you are."
      Judging by the only other commenter on this thread, you're doing a bang-up job at it. According to Fikken Dü you brought a dull knife, mind you, not just a knife, a dull one to a gun fight. In simpleton's terms that means you're out of your league, you're losing, and you were stupid to even start the fight.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Touvio

      Being an atheist and pretending to be a believer is not something i will fall for. Go get a better disguise than that.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • toad

      I enjoy watching the atheist filth have it out with trailer trash. Almost as fun as watching weasels kill rats.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Linda and any other atheists morons. I don't need to really work hard to make you look like stupids. You're doing a pretty good job at it yourselves without my intervention. Just for an example, You atheists will be spending the rest of the night babbling your big mouths against religions and that is a fact, you will bring this blog up to page 60+. That's nothing new, this is exactly what you people do and repeating this scenario all the time. Nothing new here. It really shows who you are.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So, azzhole, you have no actual examples demonstrating that atheists are liars nor can you defend your beliefs. That would make you at least a two time loser.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Toad

      LOL.But with the exception if the trailer trash being someone other than me, I have a job and a life unlike those atheists idiots who are blog hangers. I'm just a man who is fed up by them atheists lies and hypocrisy.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "You atheists will be spending the rest of the night babbling your big mouths against religions and that is a fact, you will bring this blog up to page 60+. That's nothing new, this is exactly what you people do and repeating this scenario all the time. Nothing new here. It really shows who you are."
      As long as there are dimwits like yourself that could benefit from a dose of reality, it's a worthwhile effort. If we can rid the world of the cancer that religion is, no amount of time and energy is wasted.

      The biggest problem is that you can't really argue with believers. They would be believers if you could.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Toady, when can we expect to see you demonstrate that atheists are filthy (whatever that means!)? I'll leave azzhole to defend himself against being called trailer trash, although I don't expect him to be any more successful than he has so far at defending any of his claims.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @ Hotair moron, yes i do have many example, which one you want me to start with? Or do you prefer me starting with one? Ok here we go. you are pretending that your cult will bring goods in this world. What good will you bring? What will you do to help those cities and states that have being hit by hurricane lately? I mean other than just showing up there bragging your proud atheists flag and watching those religious people giving all their have left to help those in needs.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "I'm just a man who is fed up by them atheists lies and hypocrisy."
      And yet you have not shown a single lie by an atheist.

      That we don't believe the bullshit stories that you obviously do, doesn't mean we lie. You should consider where you got your beliefs. There is equal evidence for the Tooth Fairy as there is for your god. The only difference is that your parents let you stop believing in one and not the other.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: atheists lies and hypocrisy, please provide an example that compares with the 700,000+ believers that get abortions in the USA each year?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • AtheistsMorons

      Come on oh you atheists great one, tell me what goods will you bring to this world other than either staying home hanging on religious blogs and babbling your big mouths or showing up at disasters areas doing nothing else than bragging your atheists flags and watching those religious people helping those in needs.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      You are hallucinating – I never said I would, or would not, do anything to help the victims of the recent tornadoes.

      If I do decide to do something, it will be via a donation to Non-Believers Giving Aid at richarddawkins.net.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Hotair moron

      You just stated another atheists lies. Here was an example. What a proof of that? You atheists are taking numbers out of polls but are not checking the facts. you should have known that out of those 700,00+ number you indicated, a big portion of that are women who are having an Ectopic Pregnancy that is sometimes a life threatening situation for those women and this is just an example. Now you atheists losers next time you pick out numbers out of a poll, make sure you know what those number means.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Hey azzhole, any chance you're not really mad at us atheists, that you're actually mad at your god for allowing yet more innocents to die, in his mysterious way?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Fikken Dü

      I guess that wasn't even a dull knife. More like tiny limp dick. My bad.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @ HotAir moron

      You know whats really mysterious about this? To me whats really mysterious out of all this is the fact that why do God permit atheists to be so ignorant.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      Things that will be better if there is no more religion calling the shots:
      – No more pseudo science in the classroom
      – No more imaginary creatures on our money or in the pledge
      – Funding for science
      – Equality for all under the law
      – Women get to make their own decisions about family planning
      – No more airplanes into buildings to please an imaginary friend
      – No more pressure cooker bombs at marathons
      – No more fleecing of the gullible on Sunday morning.
      – No more "honor" killings
      – Politicians will be able to get elected without having to pretend to have an imaginary friend.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "To me whats really mysterious out of all this is the fact that why do God permit atheists to be so ignorant."
      That is actually pretty funny. Without simpletons like you, there wouldn't even be a god. Your god needs its followers to be dimwitted and ignorant, otherwise they'd realize it's all just bullshit.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • HotAirAce

      If you need help with the facts and numbers, I'm here to help. The Association of American Family Physicians says ectopic pregnancies occur at 19.7 per 1,000 pregnancies.

      http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

      May 21, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • LinCA

      @Fikken Dü

      You said, "I guess that wasn't even a dull knife. More like tiny limp dick. My bad."
      Not to worry. I overestimated his abilities, too. It is becoming clearer by the post that AtheistsMorons is entirely unhinged from reality. I'd say he's gone non-linear, but that would imply that he was linear at some point in the past. I see no reason to believe he ever was.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Linda from CA

      You forgot to mention

      More atheists babbling their big mouths on every internet blogs about religion.
      More bragging Atheists flag at a disaster area and doing nothing other than that and not helping anyone in need.
      More lies and more hypocrisy and false facts.
      More brain washing techniques.
      More support for cops corruptions.
      More brainwashing those next generations into gayness.
      More pretending of being good while only atheists are allowed to laugh at others and name calling.
      More corrupted politician.
      More government secrecy.

      You want some more?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Hey azzhole, while I certainly don't expect a higher quality answer than you have (not) provided thus far, and you are getting tiresome and boring, I'll go one last round. . .

      Please provide concrete examples of atheists being ignorant.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Linda

      LOL Linda, don't ever underestimate me. I can get very linear if you ask for it.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • HotAirAce

      LinCA, I think we should stand down and let azzhole get his blood pressure under control. Maybe then he will regain his sanity. Not sure if he will ever find his dick again though.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "@Linda from CA"
      Have I handed you your ass before? When you posted under a different name, perhaps?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "I can get very linear if you ask for it."
      This would be a good time to start.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @HotAir moron

      I will answer that one more time for you. The fact that you atheists are morons is because you are fighting against something you don't even believe exist, it's like fighting against nothing. You also have the logic for anti gay people who you say are gay people but not ready or not wanting to admit it, and yet when you are called using your own logistic about you hating God that would also means that you are actually believers who are afraid to admit it. You sure don't like it, of course you don't, because you don't like being cornered when someone is using your own weapon.. That's how you are weak. Now how much more ignorant than that can you ask for?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • AtheistsMorons

      @Linda

      First you never owned my azz and you never will. Secondly, i never used any other aliases other than this one. And i always went into arguments with you atheists losers alone by myself without receiving any other help from someone else. Most of the time as usual you atheists losers are very good at ganging up on a single person, that makes you even weaker. And i always pushed you all against the wall, and will always e able to do it. Now go get a life and a job because unlike you bunch of losers i need to go to bed, i work for a living and i need some rest. And try not to spend the whole night bringing this blog up to page 60+ as usual, and that goes to you and all the other atheists morons out there.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • HotAirAce

      More blather and foaming at the mouth, and inadequate use of punctuation and grammar, but I will try to reply.

      You seem to be upset because some atheists have accused some believers of being gay in response to believers' continued, but failing, attempts to deny gays their civil rights, and are further incensed because when some believers accuse some atheists of actually being believers, the atheists say "No."

      I suggest you are overreacting to, and taking too personally, these arguments and tactics, that both sides use. Unless of course, you do have something to be ashamed of (perhaps due to your cult's beliefs, not necessarily because there is anything wrong with you or that you are a sinner) but only you can decide that.

      As above, you continue to throw out generalities. When can we expect some actual facts to support any of your claims?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      Wow, I guess this little kid really showed us who's boss, eh? Gosh, we've all lost all of our arguments at once. Tsk tsk.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • LinCA

      @AtheistsMorons

      You said, "And i always went into arguments with you atheists losers alone by myself without receiving any other help from someone else."
      Are you claiming you typed all of this garbage without help from anyone? That's pretty impressive, considering that you haven't yet been able to mature beyond imaginary friends.

      You said, "Most of the time as usual you atheists losers are very good at ganging up on a single person, that makes you even weaker."
      We're not ganging up on you. You posted obvious bullshit (clearly to start an argument). We're just showing you that you are wrong.

      You said, "And i always pushed you all against the wall, and will always e able to do it."
      In your dreams. But that seems to be where you spend the bulk of your time anyway.

      You said, "Now go get a life and a job because unlike you bunch of losers i need to go to bed, i work for a living and i need some rest."
      What? your mommy is sending you to bed, so you can get up in time to sweep the McDonald's dining room? Or do you clean toilets?

      You said, "And try not to spend the whole night bringing this blog up to page 60+ as usual, and that goes to you and all the other atheists morons out there."
      I don't. It's idiots like you that do. Replies don't add to the page count, just the comment count. But I fear that may be a little over your head, by a mile or two.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • tallulah13

      @AM

      Blah, blah, blah, troll-boy. Get back to us when you have something relevant to say.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • The real Tom

      I have a life and a job already, AM. Anything else? Why are YOU here if reading my posts bothers you so much? Seems like anyone with a brain would leave if he was so very offended. Why don't you get out of here and get a job yourself–you're here as much as anyone else.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • The real Tom

      A. Moron says: "Sure you will, but only after you stopped being supported by your parents and stop living in your parents home basement. After they will pass away you will become the home owner and then you will move upstairs and will be living off your parents parents money that they will be leaving behind."

      Guess again. I never lived with my parents after I got my degree. I own my own home. When my parents died, my siblings and I sold the house.

      Anything else, or do you wanna try for strike 3, idiot?

      May 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Joey

      Apparently, AtheistsMOrons is projecting. It seems he must also live in his parents basement as he spends all day on here stalking other posters.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Anyone else not surprised Azzhole AM has not returned to this "discussion"?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  18. STFU

    it is not enough evidence to accept concept of heavens based on claims by just two or three guys out of billions. Did they see people lining up outside the Heaven's gate?

    May 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Realist

      The first thing you see in heaven is a line.... That would suck.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • STFU

      I hope God has come up with E-Zpass lanes !!!

      May 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  19. Chad

    @Colin "I love it when Christian cite one of the 3 undoubtably forged letters fraudulantly attributed to Saint Paul. They are effectively saying, "look, a successful conman said....""

    =>I love it when atheists make statements like that.. undoubtedly forged? How could you possible make that statement unless you knew the "real John", and knew that the "real John" didnt write that letter?

    What is your evidence for that?
    none?
    Why make the statement then?

    May 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I am, well, proud is the only word that describes it. I'm proud of you Chad. I knew you'd ask for evidence one day.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, Firstly you have no proof that they are genuine. Secondly you have no more proof that Joseph Smith was a con-man but you believe it.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      We should start a lottery on how long, or how many posts, it will take Colin to and Chad his ass.

      Popcorn! Get your hot, fresh popcorn here!!

      May 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Chad

      @santa,

      A. You dont really feel that your statements are logical, do you?
      B. I am not, in that root post, claiming that 1 John is authentic. I am asking on what basis Colin is making a claim that they are forged.
      C. The vast majority of scholars feel that 1 John IS authentic.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "The vast majority of scholars feel that 1 John IS authentic." The vast majority of scholars are not scholars of 1 John and most have no opinion about it. I can believe that most self-identified scholars of 1 John presuppose that it is authentic.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Well you make the parallel claim that god is real but cannot prove that and then say that atheists need to prove the negative argument.
      You also claim that the majority of scholars say that the bible is historically accurate which they do not and it is not.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Colin

      The way the forgers tipped their hands was threefold. Fisrt, the 3 forged letters are theologically different to Paul's overall theology, second they employ a writing style that is different to Paul and thirdly and most importantly, they refer to events that transpired in the church long after Paul was dead, such as the existence of a church hierachy.

      It would be like finding a letter supposedly from Steve Jobs to shareholders about the upcoming board meeting in New York dated at a point when Apple was still being run out of Jobs' garage.

      This is not contraversial. The letters, First and Second Timothy and Ti.tus, are known as the "Pastoral Epistles." There are three other letters of PAul which are quite possibly forged, but biblical scholars are split on the point. These are the so called dueteropauline epistles.

      Very surprised you din't know this – well, mabe not.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Colin

      BTW Chad, I assume your comment "How could you possible make that statement unless you knew the "real John", and knew that the "real John" didnt write that letter?" applies to you , too. As such, how can you claim to know the legitimate authorship for any book of the Bible, given that you obviously didn't know any of the authors?

      May 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @Santa "Well you make the parallel claim that god is real but cannot prove that"
      @Chad "A. Prove? You mean, I can not make you believe it is true? I would agree, in that sense, nothing can be proved to anyone.
      B. I back up statements about the reality of the God of Israel with solid evidence.

      ====
      @Santa "and then say that atheists need to prove the negative argument."
      @Chad "only when the claim the negative argument is true.

      If you dont like the burden of proving the negative, dont claim you know the negative to be true 🙂

      ======
      @Santa "You also claim that the majority of scholars say that the bible is historically accurate which they do not and it is not."
      @Chad "actually, I have never made that claim.

      What I do claim is that the majority of scholars:
      1. Believe that Jesus was a real historical person
      2. Believe that He was crucified by Roman authorities for claiming to be the King of the Jews
      3. Was crucified and killed
      4. Was buried in a tomb, which was found empty by a group of His women followers 3 days later.
      5. Following that, many followers reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so strongly that they were willing to die for the truth of it.

      and, also that, the majority of scholars belief 1 John to be authentic.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "The way the forgers tipped their hands was threefold. Fisrt, the 3 forged letters are theologically different to Paul's overall theology, second they employ a writing style that is different to Paul and thirdly and most importantly, they refer to events that transpired in the church long after Paul was dead, such as the existence of a church hierachy."
      @Chad "you
      do
      realize
      that
      Paul
      didnt
      write
      1 John...

      right? Please tell me that your ignorance of the bible didnt just cause you to claim that you thought Paul was supposed to have written 1 John?

      I think.. at this point... I can safely say, that I have seen everything..
      An atheist who claims 1 John is a forgery because Paul obviously didnt write it..

      WOW

      May 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Chad

      WOW

      May 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Colin

      One problem with Jesus' so called resurrection (quite apart from the fact that people do not come back from the dead – lol) is that the four Gospels are inconsistent on what transpired. I spent a morning and read the four accounts, one after the other. It is amazing how they differ!! Matthew and Luke even had a copy of Mark when they wrote, and they still scr.ewed it up.

      Who went to the tomb?

      Mark (written about 35 years after Jesus died) – 3 women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome.
      Matthew (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – 2 women – Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.”
      Luke (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – at least 5 women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and other, unnamed women. At least five women.
      John (written about 60 years after Jesus died) – Only 1 woman – Mary Magdalene.

      What did they find there?

      Mark (written about 35 years after Jesus died) – the stone has been rolled back from the entrance to the tomb. There is no mention of any guards. A young man in a long, white robe is inside. His identi.ty is not revealed. He tells the two Marys and Salome to go tell the disciples that Jesus has risen and has gone to Galilee, where Jesus will appear to them.

      Matthew (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – the stone has NOT been rolled back from the tomb. There is a great earthquake and an angel from heaven appears, rolls back the stone, sits on it and stares at them a face like lightning. There are guards posted, who freeze with fear. The angel takes the two women and shows them that the tomb is empty and tells them Jesus has risen and will meet the disciples in Galilee.

      Luke (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – the stone IS rolled back. No earthquake, no angels, no young man in robe, no guards. Instead, two men are there in shining garments. They tell the group of (at least five) women that Jesus has risen as he foretold. No direction is given for the disciples to go to Galilee.

      John (written about 60 years after Jesus died) – the stone IS rolled back. Mary Magdalene, who is alone, simply finds an empty tomb and flees. No angels, earthquakes, men in shining uniforms or guards are mentioned. She gets Peter and one other, unnamed disciple and they return. They find Jesus’ robes discarded on the floor, but the garment from his head neatly folded. Peter and the other disciple leave, but Mary Magdalene stays, weeping. She looks back in to the tomb and sees two angels and Jesus appears. She thinks he is the gardener until he reveals himself. He gives no direction about Galilee but simply tells her to tell the others he is ascending to the Father.

      What happens next?

      Mark (written about 35 years after Jesus died) – Nothing. The original Gospel according to Mark ends with the women leaving the tomb frightened and saying nothing to anybody about what they saw.

      However, in the forged last 12 verses that were added to the end of the Gospel according to Mark a couple of hundred years later, Christ appears first to Mary Magdalene “out of whom he had cast seven demons.” She tells the others who do not believe her, but Jesus then appears to two (unnamed) disciples as they are walking in the countryside. They tell the others, who still don’t believe, but Jesus later appears to all 11 apostles (Judas is persona non grata at this point and/or dead) and rebukes them for not believing Mary Magdalene and the first two apostles who saw him earlier.

      He then famously tells them to go out and preach the gospel to every creature and that he who believes and is baptized will be saved and he who does not will be condemned. Those who believe will speak in tongues and be unaffected by poisons and will be able to handle snakes and heal the sick by the mere laying of their hands.

      This forged passage above is, by the way, where the evangelical tradition of “speaking in tongues,” the Appalachian tradition of snake handling and the Christian Science tradition of healing through “laying of hands” all come from – and it’s a complete forgery. Oh, the irony is rich!

      Having told them this, Jesus zaps up to heaven and sits at the right hand of God.

      Matthew (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – The two women meet Jesus and worship at his feet. He tells them to tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. Meanwhile, the guards relate their story to the elders and the chief priests who bribe them to lie and say that the disciples took Jesus’ body away. Eventually the 11 apostles see Jesus in Galilee, some still doubting. Jesus tells them to go out and baptize people of all nations and that he will always be with them.

      Luke (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – Peter runs to the tomb and finds it empty with Jesus’ clothes discarded. Jesus does not appear to him, but does to two disciples who are walking in the countryside. They do not recognize him and he feigns ignorance as they recount the story of his death and of women encountering angels in the tomb. Jesus walks with them some more, rebuking them and then spends the night with them, breaking bread at which point they realize who he is and he vanishes.

      They tell the 11 apostles what happens and then Jesus appears to them. He explains the scriptures to them and that it was necessary that he die and be resurrected. He then leads them to Bethany and is carried up to heaven.

      John (written about 60 years after Jesus died) – This is the longest post mortem account of the four. Mary Magdalene recounts her story to the apostles. He appears to them that night when they are assembled, hiding from the Jews. He shows his wounds to them. Thomas was not there and when they tell him, there is the famous “doubting Thomas” scene. This scene does not appear in any other gospel.

      Jesus later appears to some apostles while they are fishing. They do not recognize him at first. They catch nothing, but Jesus tells them throw the nets out of the other side of the boat and they catch many fish. Then they know it is Jesus. Jesus eats a breakfast of fish with them and has a strange conversation with Peter. The Gospel ends with the comment that Jesus did many other things that the author did not mention as doing so would be too great a task. No mention is made of Jesus’ ultimate departure.

      Matthew also has people physically rising from the grave – Hollywood style – and walking into Jerusalem after Jesus died on the cross. Funny, childish stuff.....

      May 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Colin

      @Chad. Huh? What has 1 John got to do with anything I said? Read my posts, I am talking exclusively about the Pauline Epistles.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad,
      I have yet to see any solid evidence of your god.

      You're making the extraordinary claim, you need to provide the extraordinary evidence. Also you cannot prove that Odin does not exist nor all the other gods yet you make that claim. You cannot prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist. So the proving the negative is not possible. According to your logic, as you cannot disprove them they must exist.

      I was sure you had made that claim, maybe it was restricted to the resurrection, but my previous comment applies to that – namely a majority of scholars do not believe that Jesus was a god or son of god or that he was buried in a tomb or that he was resurrected.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin

      I read your original post as challenging the authenticity of 1 John. My mistake if you were instead referring to 1 Timothy.

      Vic
      You never know! There is a Limited Atonement vs. Unlimited Atonement Debate amongst Christians regarding everybody going to heaven or not, based on Universal Atonement verses from Scripture!
      Here are two examples of everybody goes to heaven:
      1 John 2:2
      "2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."
      1 Timothy 4:10
      "10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."

      @Colin
      I love it when Christian cite one of the 3 undoubtably forged letters fraudulantly attributed to Saint Paul. They are effectively saying, "look, a successful conman said...."

      ===
      Regarding the remainder, this may help:

      These two statements are contradictory
      1. John and Mary went to the tomb
      2. John went to the tomb, Mary did not.

      These two statements are NOT contradictory
      1. John and Mary went to the tomb
      2. John went to the tomb.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Colin

      Contradictions such as:
      1. The stone was rolled back
      2. The stone was not rolled back

      1. One women went to the tomb
      2. Two women went to the tomb
      3. Three women went to the tomb
      4. five women went to the tomb

      Funny thing is, there are only 5 numbers from 1 to 5 and they had 4 shots at it. The poor saps couldn't even get two number to agree by pure luck. lol.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad still has no answer. The tomb is the place where the most important event of Chad's version of history took place. Why did no one think to keep track of it?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Chad

      again,

      These are contradictory statements:
      1. The stone was rolled away before anyone arrived
      2. The stone was rolled away after they arrived

      These are NOT contradictory statements:
      1. The stone was rolled away before anyone arrived
      2. They arrived

      ====
      These are contradictory statements:
      1. Mary and Elizabeth and Martha went to the tomb
      2. Elizabeth and Martha were the only ones that went to the tomb, Mary did not.

      These are NOT contradictory statements:
      1. Mary and Elizabeth and Martha went to the tomb
      2. Elizabeth and Martha went to the tomb

      pretty straightforward.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Chad

      "Why did no one think to keep track of it"

      =>because....
      He wasnt there any longer..

      One of the reasons that the vast majority of scholars believe the empty tomb to be authentically historical, is that the tomb did not become an object of veneration (unlike the tombs of other religious leaders).

      May 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Colin

      So, by your logic, there must have been 5 women at the tomb. John really scr.ewed up then when he says MAry MAgdelene went there alone. Nice try.......

      May 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I see. The vast majority of scholars are more comfortable claiming that something is real because it cannot be shown to have existed.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Chad. "One of the reasons that the vast majority of scholars believe the empty tomb to be authentically historical, is that the tomb did not become an object of veneration (unlike the tombs of other religious leaders)."

      WOW, just WOW. You have obviously never visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is venerated as the site where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead. I have been there.

      WOW, just.....WOW.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "So, by your logic, there must have been 5 women at the tomb. John really scr.ewed up then when he says MAry MAgdelene went there alone. Nice try......."

      @Chad "oh.. bad boy.. tried to sneak that "alone" in there 🙂
      no
      John does say she went there alone.
      Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance

      perhaps an example from real life will penetrate..but I doubt it..
      Boosting morale for a city in shock and mourning, President Obama went to Massachusetts General Hospital today to visit victims of the Boston

      now... did he go alone?

      May 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Colin

      And unlike your "WOW", mine is not me putting my foot in my mouth, like you admitted you did....

      Good night Chad.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Chad

      The site is venerated as Golgotha[1] (the Hill of Calvary), where Jesus was crucified,[2] and is said also to contain the place where Jesus was buried (the Sepulchre). The church has been a paramount – and for many Christians the most important – pilgrimage destination since at least the 4th century, as the purported site of the resurrection of Jesus

      May 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • Chad

      Jesus’ empty tomb was not venerated by early Christians until the 4th century - Eusebius [Via Constantini 3.25-32].

      “there is no evidence whatsoever for Christians regarding the place where Jesus had been buried as having any special significance,” with pilgrimages and veneration - James D.G. Dunn:

      sorry.. no go..

      May 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Actually, the tomb, if it existed, is thought by many (perhaps the vast majority of scholars) to have been elsewhere. The present-day church sits on the site of a temple to Aphrodite.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Chad

      I'm impressed you could actually type that with a straight face 🙂

      May 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Chad

      should have read "John does NOT say she went there alone"..

      May 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Chad

      interesting read... atheists trying to explain why the tomb wasnt venerated...

      http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/06/why-was-jesus-tomb-not-venerated.html

      May 21, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'll go with the simplest explanation. The Legend of the Risen Christ came along a bit too late for details like a fixed location to be brought into it. People may have quibbled over such things and decided not to be too specific.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Chad

      5 years is enough time for a legend to develop?

      The antiquity of the creed included in 1 Cor 15 has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus' death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community.

      Based on linguistic analysis, the version received by Paul seems to have included verses 3b-6a and 7.

      Concerning this creed, Campenhausen wrote, "This account meets all the demands of historical reliability that could possibly be made of such a text," whilst A. M. Hunter said, "The passage therefore preserves uniquely early and verifiable testimony. It meets every reasonable demand of historical reliability.

      Galatians AD 48 (~18 years after Jesus died/resurrected)
      1 Thessalonians AD 50 (~20 years after Jesus died/resurrected)

      For that and many other reasons, contemporary scholars have abandoned the "resurrection as legend" explanation of the empty tomb as a valid hypothesis.

      People have been trying to explain away the empty tomb for almost 2000 years.. No explanation (other than the resurrection) has ever gathered any support.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No manuscript of the writings you've mentioned date earlier than the late 2nd century. P46 comes to mind as the most complete. It doesn't include 1 Corinthians 15. Do you know of another source?

      May 21, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Chad

      "No manuscript of the writings you've mentioned date earlier than the late 2nd century. P46 comes to mind as the most complete. It doesn't include 1 Corinthians 15. Do you know of another source?"

      =>I think the biggest reason that approach ("a doc can only be dated to the oldest surviving original copy") never has the impact that you visualize in your mind it having, is that:
      A. No serious historian on the face of the earth would embrace such a criteria of dating. None..

      B. There are far fewer witnesses to classical texts than to the Bible, and unlike the New Testament where the earliest witnesses are often within a couple decades of the original, the earliest existing manuscripts of most classical texts were written about a millennium after their composition. For example, the earliest surviving copies of parts of the Roman historian Tacitus' main work, the Annals of Imperial Rome (written in 116 AD), come from a single manuscript written in 850 AD, although for other parts of his work, the earliest copies come from the 11th century, while other parts of his work have been lost.[109] The earliest copies of The Jewish War by Josephus (originally composed in the 1st century AD), in contrast, come from nine manuscripts written in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.[109] After the Bible, the next best preserved ancient work is Homer's Iliad, with 650 copies originating about 1,000 years after the original copy.[109] Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War (written in the 50s BC) survives in nine copies written in the 8th century.[112] Thucydides' history of the Peloponesian War and Herodotus' history of the Persian War (both written in the 5th century BC) survives in about eight early copies, the oldest ones dating from the 10th century AD.[112] Biblical scholar F. F. Bruce has said "the evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning...It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians."[113]

      C. "It doesn't include 1 Corinthians 15" doesnt mean that a complete copy of It doesn't include 1 Corinthians was found and it didnt contain It doesn't include 1 Corinthians 15.

      It means that a parchment scrap was found containing:
      1 Cor 2:3-3:5
      1 Cor 3:6-2
      Corinthians 9:7

      I'm sure it was never your intent to create a false impression that 1 Corinthians 15 was a later addition 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What it means, Chad, is that no one has a copy known to be faithful to the original. And no one knows what the original had to say on the topic 1 Corinthian 15 touches on. I don't think the vast majority of scholars would disagree, but I'm curious as to why you do (if you you do).

      May 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Rachel

      Pssst, Chad is a religious fanatic.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One "What it means, Chad, is that no one has a copy known to be faithful to the original"

      => 🙂
      we dont have a complete copy, but the portions we do have agree with the bible we have today.

      I'm sure you unintentionally phrased that such as to create the false impression that the content of P46 was somehow different than the bible today, and that some change occurred.

      And they call me disengenuous!!! 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • .

      "And they call me disengenuous!!! :-)"

      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.
      6. No atheist has ever read the bible. I mean, obviously, they’d be Christians if they had, right? OK, so a few have proven to me – OK, multiple times – that they have read the bible. See #11 (just lie).

      Free will:
      7. 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)
      8. 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!

      9. 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.
      10. A determinist cannot believe in punishing people for crimes. This is because…well…it doesn’t matter. Just keep repeating it.

      Telling lies:
      11. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      12. 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.
      13. 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.
      14. In particular don’t forget that whatever someone says you can respond with “What investigation have you done into…”. Especially good is to ask what investigation was done into the truth of the God of Israel. When the non-Christian comes back to ask how much research you did to prove other gods aren’t real answer “I don’t need to do any because I proved the God of Israel is real and that negates all other gods”. When asked how you proved that repeat the words “empty tomb” over and over until divine light shines on the souls of the heathens.
      15. 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.
      16. 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.
      17. Above all else keep asking questions while avoiding answering any yourself.

      Science, math and psychology:
      18. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      19. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #11.
      20. 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 #19 on ignoring anything else.
      21. Infinity = all finite numbers according to the Chad. Thirty or forty years of constraint is the same as eternal torment.
      22. 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:
      23. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      24. 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. Best yet is to post a link or reference a book which actually says the opposite of what I’m saying and just assume no one will look at it.
      25. 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.
      26. I will personally save all those mentioned in # 25 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.
      27. Phrase everything as if it’s a lecture so you look like you know what you’re talking about. See #23 about atheists being idiots and #24 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:
      28. As soon as you make an ass of yourself break the conversation into a new thread. That way all the newcomers (see #25 on how they are waiting to have their souls saved) will not bother to read back and see how ignorant you are.
      29. 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.
      30. Never question another Christian no matter how incorrect or offensive their position.
      31. Just remember that you can define a term any way you want and you are always right!

      May 21, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • midwest rail

      That would be dis-I-ngenuous, not dis-E-ngenuous....and you got the gold medal the old fashioned way...you earned it.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Chad

      Guess it bodes well for the argument I presented that the only criticism is for spelling.. 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Daniel

      We have many complete hieroglyph stories from ancient Egypt describing historical events and battles as well as their God's and accounts of supernatural events. I would assume by Chad's logic this would then make all those accounts factual and Ra actually exists.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Chad

      @Daniel "We have many complete hieroglyph stories from ancient Egypt describing historical events and battles as well as their God's and accounts of supernatural events. I would assume by Chad's logic this would then make all those accounts factual and Ra actually exists."

      =>no, what it says is that we have definitive proof that they believed it to be true at that time, and the belief that it was true was not a legend that developed later.

      Which is the refutation of TTTOOs point, namely that "the legend of the empty tomb" was developed later.
      The writings prove that 5 years after Jesus' death, there was a belief that He had been resurrected bodily.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rachel

      Chad drools.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Rachel

      When Chad gets agitated his family straps him in the jacket and puts him in the safe room until he calms down. I would like to escape but I am a slave of Chad's mind. He only beats me when he is making love to himself, as he calls it and he drools.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You are often criticised for disingenuity, Chad, so I'm pleased that you are trying to recognize it in others. That is a start. But I'm saying, plainly, that 1 Corinthians 15 in its original form, if it was in the original text, is not available to you, or "the vast majority of scholars", or anyone. That would be true even if it were included in any of the earliest manuscripts we currently have.

      It is interesting that you appeal to the standards classicists apply to ancient material unrelated to your God. You hope that the tools they use and the evidence they work with is sufficient to convince people of the truth of their claims to the same degree that you'd like for people to believe in your God. If we believe the one we must believe the other, you hope. But your claims about your God are extraordinary claims of supernatural events and you believe that they must be believed because of supernatural consequences of non-belief. Classicists don't appeal to the supernatural, lose nothing if Agamemnon (for example) was a myth, and, properly, hold belief in him as lightly as evidence supports. Really, all claims about your God should be treated the same way.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Chad

      A masterpiece of misdirection and mudslinging 🙂

      1. Correct, the original parchment upon which Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians is lost. What we have is copies.
      2. Analyzing various copies to determine the date and content of the original is what historians do for a living.
      3. Over the centuries of this discipline, historians have developed techniques for determining with great accuracy, the date and content of original texts.
      4. None of this is new, and all of this is accepted by all professional historians.
      5. there exists more copies, closer to the original source, for New Testament writings, than any other ancient doc.

      None of the above can be argued, it is all just fact.

      ========
      @TTTOO "It is interesting that you appeal to the standards classicists apply to ancient material unrelated to your God. You hope that the tools they use and the evidence they work with is sufficient to convince people of the truth of their claims to the same degree that you'd like for people to believe in your God"
      @Chad "that is a really serious disingenuous gaffe on your part, as it is 100% incorrect and you know it.
      The tools they use establishes that the text is accurate and dated properly.
      The tools they use do not establish the truth or falseness of what was written, only that indeed that was written at that time.
      That is a point I make consistently, and which you know.. so.. you're quite disingenuous making that statement 🙂

      ==
      @TTTOO "But your claims about your God are extraordinary claims of supernatural events and you believe that they must be believed because of supernatural consequences of non-belief"
      @Chad "1. If what you are saying is extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. that is a fallacy
      2. Otherwise, I have no idea what you are attempting to say..

      ===

      In general, quite the bush league tactic on your part to try and claim that I am saying, in essence, that the historical method establishes the truth of the Christian claim that God exists.
      It doesnt, what it DOES prove, is that those beliefs were in place 5 years after Jesus death. Directly refuting your supposition of legendary development of the empty tomb.

      QED

      May 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "what it DOES prove, is that those beliefs were in place 5 years after Jesus death"

      I haven't seen that proof, Chad. Can you present it?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Chad

      The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus' death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community
      –Neufeld, The Earliest Christian Confessions (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964) p. 47;
      –Reginald Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives (New York: Macmillan, 1971) p. 10 (ISBN 0281024758);
      –Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus—God and Man translated Lewis Wilkins and Duane Pribe (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1968) p. 90 (ISBN 0664208185);
      –Oscar Cullmann, The Early Church: Studies in Early Christian History and Theology, ed. A. J. B. Higgins (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966) p. 64;
      –Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians, translated James W. Leitch (Philadelphia: Fortress 1975) p. 251 (ISBN 0800660056); Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament vol. 1 pp. 45, 80–82, 293;
      –R. E. Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1973) pp. 81, 92 (ISBN 0809117681)

      Based on linguistic analysis, the version received by Paul seems to have included verses 3b-6a and 7.
      - MacGregor, Kirk R. (2006). "1 Corinthians 15:3b-6a, 7 and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49 (2): 225–34.

      "This account meets all the demands of historical reliability that could possibly be made of such a text,"
      - Hans von Campenhausen, "The Events of Easter and the Empty Tomb," in Tradition and Life in the Church (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968) p. 44

      "The passage therefore preserves uniquely early and verifiable testimony. It meets every reasonable demand of historical reliability.
      - Archibald Hunter, Works and Words of Jesus (1973) p. 100 (ISBN 0334018064)

      May 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What's called for here is an actual proof. Whenever you're ready, Chad. Take your time. I'll check back in a bit.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Chad

      1. Atheist "there is no proof of early Christian beliefs"

      2. Theist: "??? sure there is, volumes, we have all of the early writings collected as the New Testament"

      3. Atheist "Oh no.. you have no idea what the date is on any of that, nor what the original text was. All you have is copies from years later"

      4. Theist "??? Historical method? Never hear of it? Virtually all modern day scholars agree that the text we have and the dating of same is firmly established"

      5. Atheist "LOL, none of those supposed "scholars" believe that Jesus was the Messiah unless they were Christians"

      6. Theist "??? I never said that the method historians use to reliably establish what was written and when, establishes that what was written was actually true. What I said was all modern day scholars agree that the text we have and the dating of same is firmly established"

      7. Atheist "LOL, please go to step #1"

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  20. JM

    To those who are firmly convinced that they are right in believing that there is no God/heaven: What if you are wrong?

    May 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JM

      You said, "To those who are firmly convinced that they are right in believing that there is no God/heaven: What if you are wrong?"
      I'll straighten it out with Thor when the time comes.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What if you've picked the wrong god and cult?

      May 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JM

      You said, "What if you are wrong?"
      The odds that you picked the right god aren't any better than mine. Unless you managed to please all gods and do so in a way that they don't get jealous, odds are you are going to fry just as much as I (if there is an afterlife). I won't have wasted my Sundays.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • truth

      Psalm 2

      1 Why do the nations conspire[a]
      and the peoples plot in vain?
      2 The kings of the earth rise up
      and the rulers band together
      against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
      3 “Let us break their chains
      and throw off their shackles.”

      4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
      the Lord scoffs at them.
      5 He rebukes them in his anger
      and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
      6 “I have installed my king
      on Zion, my holy mountain.”

      May 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • JM

      God is love; He's not looking to send anyone to hell, but people can choose to reject him of their own free will. From the beginning of time, people have recognized that there is a God (a great Spirit).

      20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JM

      You said, "God is love; He's not looking to send anyone to hell, but people can choose to reject him of their own free will. From the beginning of time, people have recognized that there is a God (a great Spirit)."
      There is not a single shred of evidence to suggest there is, or ever was, a god. You worship a figment of somebody's imagination. Thousands of gods have been invented by primitive people to explain what they had no answer for. In this day and age, those that still believe they have an imaginary friend are willfully ignorant.

      You said, "20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
      Your fairy tale bullshit means jack-shit. It holds about as much truth as the Harry Potter books.

      May 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      JM: What if the god you imagine is the the correct one? What then? Have you spent your life worshipping the wrong one, getting the real one madder and madder?

      May 21, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • sam stone

      JM: If god is omniscient, there is no free will. I know that the thought of this god makes you all warm and fuzzy on the inside, but it is not convincing

      May 21, 2013 at 8:29 am |
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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.