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Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'
Conservative Christians say their churches have been unprepared for cultural shifts on same-sex marriage.
June 28th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - With its ivy-covered entrance and Teddy Bear bouquets, Arlene’s Flowers seems an unlikely spot to trigger a culture-war skirmish.

Until recently, the Richland, Washington, shop was better known for its artistic arrangements than its stance on same-sex marriage.

But in March, Barronelle Stutzman, the shop’s 68-year-old proprietress, refused to provide wedding flowers for a longtime customer who was marrying his partner. Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in December.

An ardent evangelical, Stutzman said she agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids.

“I was not discriminating at all,” she said. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson disagreed, and filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers. The ACLU also sued on behalf of the customer, Robert Ingersoll, who has said Stutzman’s refusal “really hurt, because it was someone I knew.”

Among conservative Christians, Stutzman has become a byword - part cautionary tale and part cause celebre.

Websites call her a freedom fighter. Tributes fill Arlene’s Facebook page. Donations to her legal defense fund pour in from as far away as Texas and Arkansas.

“For some reason, her case has made a lot of people of faith worry,” said Stutzman’s lawyer, Dale Schowengerdt of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.

Those anxieties have only increased, conservative Christians say, since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to gay marriage in California.

Taking a line from Justice Antonin Scalia's sharp dissent, Southern Baptist scholar Albert Mohler said it’s only a matter of time "before the other shoe drops" – and the high court legalizes same-sex marriage from coast to coast.

“Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response,” Mohler wrote on Wednesday.

“We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.”

His fellow Southern Baptist Russell Moore put the matter more succinctly.

“Same-sex marriage is coming to your community.”

`The debate is over'

Well before the Supreme Court’s rulings, many conservative Christians said they saw the writing - or the poll numbers - on the wall.

Survey after survey shows increasing support for same-sex marriage, especially among young Americans. That includes many religious believers.

Most Catholics and mainline Protestants, not to mention many Jews, support same-sex relationships, according to surveys. The bells of Washington National Cathedral pealed in celebration on Thursday.

Even among those who oppose gay marriage, many think it’s a losing battle.

Seventy percent of white evangelicals believe that legal recognition for gay nuptials is inevitable, according to a June poll by the Pew Research Center, though just 22 percent favor it.

“The gay marriage debate is over,” said Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical writer on faith and culture. “Statistically, all the numbers move in one direction.”

Young Christians have grown up in a far more diverse culture than their forebears, Merritt noted, and many have befriended gays and lesbians.

Pew found that more than 90 percent of Americans overall personally know someone who is gay or lesbian, a 30 percent increase since 1993.

“It’s far easier to wage war against an agenda than it is to battle a friend,” Merritt said.

At the same time, many conservative young Christians say they’re weary of the culture wars, and of seeing their communities labeled “judgmental.”

When Christian researchers at the Barna Group asked Americans aged 16-29 what words best describe Christianity, the top response was “anti-homosexual.” That was true of more than 90 percent of non-Christians and 80 percent of churchgoers, according to Barna.

Tired of being told the country is slouching toward Gomorrah, many young Christians have simply tuned out the angry prophets of earlier generations, evangelical leaders say.

“The shrill angry voices of retrenchment are no longer getting a broad hearing either in the culture at large or in the evangelical community,” Merritt said.

But the battle over same-sex marriage is far from over, said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

“I don’t believe most Christians are going to give up the fight,” said Brown, who is Catholic. He said his movement includes many young evangelical and Orthodox Christians.

“And they are more energized than ever.”

Love thy gay neighbors

Energized or not, conservative Christians must prepare for the moral dilemmas posed by the country’s growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, said Moore, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“Is Your Church Ready for the Marriage Revolution?” Moore asked, while promoting a special session on homosexuality at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Houston in June.

Many evangelical pastors have seen homosexuality as a distant culture-war battle that’s fought far from the doors of the churches, Moore said.

Now, it’s as close as their front pews.

“I think it’s not so much that churches haven’t wanted to talk about it,” he said, “but they haven’t recognized how much the culture has changed around them.”

The first step, said Moore, is learning to defend traditional marriage without demonizing gays and lesbians.

Walking through Washington’s Union Station last Thursday, Moore said he saw several lesbian couples kissing in celebration of the Supreme Court rulings.

“If we can’t empathize with what’s going on in their hearts and minds, we’re not going to be able to love and respect them.”

Then come a host of secondary questions: How should conservative pastors minister to same-sex couples? Should Christians attend same-sex weddings? Should florists like Barronelle Stutzman's agree to work with gay couples?

`Don't give in' 

Florist Barronelle Stutzman.

In the 17 years she’s owned Arlene’s Flowers, Stutzman said, she’s worked with a number of gay colleagues.

“It really didn’t matter if they were gay, or blue or green, if they were creative and could do the job,” she said.

Stutzman suspects that some of her eight children privately don’t agree with her on homosexuality, even as they publicly support her decision.

Online, Stutzman has been called a bigot, and worse.

She said she’s lost at least two weddings because of her refusal to provide services for the same-sex marriage.

Conservative activists say her case is the first of what will surely be many more, as gay marriage spreads across the country.

As she gets ready to face a judge, the silver-haired florist offered some advice for fellow evangelicals.

“Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (5,210 Responses)
  1. Bostontola

    A question for Christians; What is your gut feel, will gay rights rulings and laws continue to go their way, or do you think they get rolled back?

    June 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Boston to LA,

      Once the truth about the gay genes becoming the way for heterosexual partners to see if their child is gay or straight will give the potential parents a chance to abort their gay child should they want to. Se la vie!

      June 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Akira

      It's c'est le vie, lionly. And do you think Christian parents will abort the fetus if they found out it would be gay?

      June 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Lionly,
      If there are gay genes, then it can't be a sin.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Dippy

      Actually, it's c'est la vie, folks.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Akira

      I've seen it both ways, Dippy. Yesterday I posted it c'est la. Today I posted c'est le. I asked a French woman, and she confirmed.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Akira,

      If any married heterosexual couple is given the opportunity to know of their upcoming child either being gay or straight, "What do you think"? After all, they abort nowadays due economics so its wouldn't surprise me none that they would abort a gay embryo.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Akira, I can't help but think of Shawn on Psych when you say that. 🙂

      I've only seen c'st la vie but I do see it the other way in places when I google. Interesting. I did 3 yrs of high school french very badly a long time ago.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      My French isn't too horrible, and I've always seen and used "C'est la vie." I'm not sure what would cause someone to use the masculine article before the feminine noun?

      June 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Such is Life! Que sera sera!

      Mi habla en Espanola es un poquito. (Spelling is atrocious) My speaking in tongues is not worth the room it takes up! :mrgreen:

      June 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Saraswati, that's exactly what I thought of when I was composing the post! And yeah, I've mostly seen it c'est la vie, which is how I wrote it to ll yesterday; I've seen it c'est le only a few times.

      LIONLY: that's not what I asked you. I asked if you thought Christian parents would abort.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      There is no such thing as a "gay gene". The process has been narrowed to epigenetics, and involves a hormone surge during pregnancy. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083212.htm

      June 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  2. lionlylamb

    So Daniel is the moderator?

    June 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  3. Lydia

    Must have been quite a comment

    June 30, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Things prayer should change (but doesn't): Salvation would be nice if it could be brought about by prayer. it's easy to imagine that every innocent person on death row prays.

    June 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I know I'm off topic. Please don't censor me Daniel. Let me just throw in that conservatism is mean and I cherish my gay neighbors and friends.

      June 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  5. Apple Bush

    There is much in this world that refuses to move forward. Quit following me I got no more to give you people I got no more to give so no coffee... I'm done. Done.

    But Sweeny wasn’t done. He was only pouring foundation. That is when it happened.

    It was earthshattering

    June 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    I'm an atheist but business owners really should be able to choose who they provide service to.

    you have to feel sorry for Barronelle Stutzman who is like a drug addict. The bronze age voodoo of her cult has affected her mind. I hope that one day she will get well and kick the vile drug of Christianity with all the other drug addicts enabling her, she'll probably never get clean. So sad.

    Robert Ingersoll can get flowers somewhere else ... no problem. Barronelle Stutzman is the one being damaged.

    June 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Damocles

      So people should be a-ok with providing all sorts of personal info should businesses start requiring it to make sure they aren't selling to 'undesirables'?

      June 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Saraswati

      So if someone is from a tiny minority and no one within 200 miles wants to sell them food or provide medical care that's all right with you?

      June 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  7. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Yes indeed, rational thinking on the part of the majority of heterose-xuals won but:

    Revolution? The gay population in the USA is estimated to be 4%. As-suming 50% of these are in the unionization age, that is 2 % of the population. So "riddle me this" where is the revolution?

    And considering that many of these unions are already established, where is the revolution in weddings, markets etc.?

    ("The Williams Inst-itute at UCLA School of Law, a gay and lesbian think tank, released a study in April 2011[24] estimating based on its research that just 1.7 percent of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as gay or lesbian, while another 1.8 percent – predominantly women – identify as bise-xual. Far from underestimating the ranks of gay people because of h-om-ophobia, these figures included a substantial number of people who remained deeply closeted, such as a quarter of the bise-xuals. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of women between 22 and 44 that questioned more than 13,500 respondents between 2006 and 2008 found very similar numbers: Only 1 percent of the women identified themselves as gay, while 4 percent identified as bis[exual.)
    ================================================================================

    June 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  8. CommonSense

    Did "God" create the universe?

    The universe, from where earth can see, is a sphere with a radius of about 46 billion light years. Each light year is about 9400-trillion meters away. A human body has about 100 trillion cells. To say that "God" created the universe and that "God" has a connection with you is quite arrogant. It is like saying you know and communicate with everything in your body that is 4600-billion times smaller than a cell. "God" is a myth – it IS and always has been.

    June 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      The universe is very large and very old and the earth is but one small speck in the cosmos. Humanity has existed for a mere breath in comparison and the belief in the divine is not reasonable, supported by any evidence, and reflects humanity's self centeredness.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      They probably feel that given the microscopic nature of man that it would be more arrogant to limit or ignore a being that was infinite. Asking them to consider the scope of the universe in their decision would not be relevant to them.

      June 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Common Sense,

      Our "perceived" universe is based upon the speed of lights is it not? Astrophysicists seem unwilling to consider that our "perceived" universe is but likened to a singularity with the grandness of the Cosmos that holds all "perceived" universes in its clutches. If the grand Cosmos was established at one instance, the speeds of lights from afar off universes would still be not visualized due the lights from afar off universes still traveling thru the vastness of nothingness and not yet reaching our sights.

      June 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Lionly,
      Stick to the Bible quotes.
      You're making a fool of yourself with your cosmology.

      June 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Salero21

    The filthiness of the filth.

    June 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • mama k

      I don't agree with most things the SBC stands for, but there's no need to get nasty about it.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  10. Bootyfunk

    marriage is not a religious device - it's a legal device
    want proof?

    get married at a church with church approval and a religious leader of your choice but WITHOUT a gov't issued marriage license = not legally married

    now go get married at a courthouse without church approval and without a single religious leader but WITH a gov't issued marriage license = legally married

    ceremony can be added to a marriage, but it's not necessary. religion is completely unnecessary.

    so christians, stop shoving your religious views down other people's throats. get educated and get past your h.omophobia.

    June 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Since language is socially defined what's most telling is how people use the word. If you meet someone who was married at city hall or in a civil ceremony in China almost everyone in the US will refer to them as "married". If someone had a religious ceremony in a local Buddhist temple or the local greek orthodox church or whatever, when asked if they are married almost everyone will say something on the lines of "Well, they had a church wedding but they aren't legally married".

      June 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  11. lionlylamb

    Candiano wrote on June 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm, stating, “What part of "they were born that way, it's not 'conditioning.' " continuously escapes you? Do you honestly think that being discriminated against, looked down upon, being beat up, being spit on, is something they would willingly CHOOSE? Really?”

    Has genetic research become to folks like you; non-disputable and above reproaches? We are all born innocent of all issues of sexual desires and until pubescence arises, a child will then speculate their sexuality be it heterosexuality or homosexuality or even bisexuality. Your “dishonest” natures in claiming ‘discrimination’ via socialized enigmas is sanctimonious verboseness.

    Many of the elderly classes of rooted socialisms do not, in your words, become “discriminated against, looked down upon, being beat up, being spit on”. Such discriminations, (dare I write) come from the youthful prides of uneducated humanisms that are yet to be cultured in social wholesomeness.

    June 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      incorrect. I have always been straight, and was engaged at 5. I was always curious about girls, and new very early that they were for me. My ACTIONS were on the other hand that of a child, but my attraction was always there.
      I have also known gay children that are clearly one gender of mind, and different gender of body.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • mama k

      LL: "We are all born innocent of all issues of sexual desires and until pubescence arises, a child will then speculate their sexuality be it heterosexuality or homosexuality or even bisexuality." "Your dishonest..."

      You have nothing to go on to make that statement. Therefore, you are silly in calling someone dishonest. All scientific indicators point to the contrary.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Richard Cranium,

      You were "engaged at 5"? In what way were you engaged? Promiscuously or sanctimoniously? My promiscuous natures within my youth were of experimentation.

      Even within my teen years, a few gay men made sexual advances toward me. I was stymied and shocked by the gay folks and I froze and could not cognitively rationalize their sexual advancements. Even when I joined the military, a few 'soldiers' made verbal advancements to me and I refused their sexual desires.

      You see Richard, I base my sexual life to be heterosexual even though I had social underpinnings that may well have led me to become a homosexual or bisexual. Looking back on my Life, I chose heterosexuality because I could not fathom why gays wanted to be promiscuous with me. Hate gays, no I don't. I feel sorrows for them in their desires for sexual pleasures with gendered sameness.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • mama k

      LL, OK so you shared your personal thoughts about yourself. However, we now know that characteristics about sexuality are present much earlier in development. Just because people don't detect these characteristics which are resistant to change, doesn't mean they don't exist. All evidence points to sexuality not being a choice.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      LL
      Yes engaged. I asked a girl to marry me in kindergarten and she said yes....that is an engagement. Her parents moved away that summer (taking her with them), thus ending my first love.

      You never chose to be straight. You could have engaged in h0m0$exual behavior...that is a choice, but you did not ever choose your actual $exual orientation. If you did, there are fields of doctors that would love to examine your unique trait.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Damocles

      @LL

      So are you saying that if it had been women making all these advances toward you, you would have chosen to be gay?

      June 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Candiano

      You calling me dishonest shows you lack of integrity; I answered your "innocence" post, but you ignored that. You have written nothing that disputes anything I have said.

      You telling me anything about "verboseness" is the unintentionally most ironic post of the day. I doubt you will recognize what I mean.

      June 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Akira

      Lionly, you refused the advances of other men because you're not that way inclined. Men hit on you because they found you attractive.
      I have had women hit on me. Big deal. I just said, "I'm hetero" and they said okay, and went on their way.

      It is natural to flirt, also; of course people who are attracted to the same gender as themselves would flirt with that gender.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Akira, I think men often react more strongly because they are not so used to being hit on by people who a) they don't find attractive (lets face it...men aren't that picky) and b) who are as strong or stronger than they are. For women getting attention from people they find unattractive and know could overpower them is a regular occurence, so it's just not that big a deal when some woman hits on them. To the men who can't hack it, I say "Suck it up and deal with it. Half the population deals with it all our lives."

      June 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Akira

      I suspect you're right, Saraswati. My husband has gotten indignant and flustered when another guy hits on him; he has learned to say "no, I don't swing that way." It's no reflection on him at all, it just shows he's attractive. Period.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  12. mama k

    "About "moraility"" posted a bit earlier:

    "Almost everybody does what is right in their own eyes. If you get enough people to agree with you, then it becomes moral."

    "truth is" replied with "sin is still sin and Truth is still truth nothing with either has changed since creation"

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    @truth is:

    I would love for someone to come up with proof, or even some kind of evidence, that there is any such thing as "absolute" or "objective" anything (that includes morality, "truth", "1 + 1 = 2", you name it). How can anything be agreed upon by a religion, or any other group of people, be purely objective without some consensus among humans? Even for "purest" notions within different religions, how has it become accepted as belief without some kind of consensus (thereby injecting subjectivity)? Maybe that's why some resort to the "God just is" argument – because they just can't answer the question of objectivity vs. subjectivity.

    June 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      I know your question is for someone else but I agree it's a wonder anyone comes up with any agreement including basic math. Especially when we consider we have the ability to disagree with one another it's a wonder in my eyes that societies exist at all.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It makes perfect sense, imo, that societies exist and that people find so much agreement between themselves. We all like to be respected and most people recognize that to get respect you must show respect and "choose your battles" over what is worth arguing and disagreeing over and what isn't. For example, I don't argue about god belief with my friends that are believers because I would rather enjoy their friendship despite our disagreements on god's existence. In turn, they do not argue with me for the same reason. Perhaps they go on blogs such as this one and debate anonymously as do I, and keep our friendship alive in person.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      True, you can never quite replace human desire for human companionship and it's a necessity on some level. Still I'm always astounded that it works at all with so many minds..so many different ideas.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Where's the body buried...

    Jeffrey?

    June 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  14. lionlylamb

    Is a person to be born, born free and innocent of any or all productivities of social congruencies whereby as a person grows within the social decencies becomes led astray by cultural conditions whose vindictive clemencies are as preludes of godless servile contriteness within domesticated vulgarities of a species' transitioning?

    How is it that homosexuals have become as a staple societal conditioning of nationalized worldly affairs? Could it be that worldly homosexual conditioning is but a perverted godlessness issue showing the world's powers the meaningless values of archaically judgmental easements whereby an end of an Age is nearing and a new Age to soon begin?

    I can honestly see this world becoming "less religious" for societal benefits sake. For without Godliness venues within social normality, individuals become speculative and assert themselves.

    June 30, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Candiano

      Sigh. Do you ever read any responses? I answered this. You ignored it, and reposted the same thing. I'm done with taking you as a serious poster.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Ummm...huh?

      June 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Note: My comment above was in response to a post addressed to me that was since removed, not to either of the comments still showing.

      July 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  15. Sirus

    Some people just like to search through the Bible to find passages to judge others by. The Jewish leaders did the same thing to Jesus.

    June 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Candiano

      Wise words, Sirus.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      And there is not a thing wrong with it so long as you're speaking the truth...

      Psalms 37:30 – The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart. 32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him…

      June 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Real Wisdom: but what about the parts of the Bible that are clearly and unequivocally wrong? Leviticus? You know: bats are birds; hares chew their cud; insects go about on all fours.

      How can you tell that ANY part of the bible is true?

      June 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Damocles

      @attack

      See, it's easy. You just ignore the parts that don't conform to your own hatred... err.. belief.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • truth is

      the only hatred around here appears to think underwear is a cute moniker. it hates the Bible with a passion and has misused it since it signed on.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ truth is – I hate the Bible? Well, when it's used to justify hate and discrimination, then sure I hate it. What rational person wouldn't?

      June 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Attack… It's never wrong to hate evil and to hate sin. But it is indeed wrong and a sin to hate that which is good. The bible is good. So to hate the bible means you're in sin…

      July 1, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Observer

      Nice Try

      "But it is indeed wrong and a sin to hate that which is good. The bible is good"

      So why does the Bible support slavery and discrimination against women, the handicapped and gays?

      July 1, 2013 at 1:06 am |
  16. CommonSense

    Here's a basic question: If "God" created the universe, who (or what) created God?

    June 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Colin

      Read your Bible"in the beginning God," God IS , and has always been

      June 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • IO

      You're not understanding the concept of God. We're not talking about a highly powerful lifeform, we're talking about a deity.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      You will note, Commonsense, that they failed to answer your question. Ask a Christian a direct question, and watch them scatter.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Try reading the response before adding your comment and you will look a lot less stupid underwear, the question was answered.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      The premise is that something has always existed. If something always was then it would not have a point of origination or a cause of origination.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ colon: no, it wasn't answered. It was evaded. It's a simple question: who or what created god?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ nope – and the evidence to support that premise is?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Colin

      When dealing with an immature moron it is sometimes necessary to walk away. The original poster was answered, this underwear thing is just out to cause problems.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Thereby providing a perfect example to illustrate my initial post: you can't answer the question, so you run away. Let's ask it again: who or what created god?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      Oh honey, did I say there was evidence?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      Let me try and help you C.S. because you seem really stuck on this. A basic philosophy question would be how do you know you are not a brain in a jar? You really don't know you are only guessing based on all the experiences that have lead you to this point. Also you will never find evidence to back up a philisophical idea, that is what makes it philosophy and or religion.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      No one can possibly know or state with certainty that something has always existed. We don't know. You shouldn't base an argument on an assumption.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ nope: You didn't say there was evidence. You did say, "The premise is that something has always existed."

      Actually, that is A premise, not THE premise. If you are putting forward that premise as to answer the question, then I repeat the request for evidence to support THAT premise. If you are merely explaining the thinking underlying those who say there is no need to prove where god came from, then thank you but I already know that thought process.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      Colin
      "Read your Bible..."

      It is not *my* Bible - it is *yours* (and that of some ancient Middle Eastern Hebrews and their offshoot religions).

      June 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      Go back and read what I wrote C.S. I didn't state it was absolutely fact, I stated it was a premise.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      Sorry CS, I meant to adress 50foot.

      Okay it's like this. It's as you said "A premise" in other words imagine if or what if..atleast in my mind. They might have a different answer for you. But if I had to justify it myself I'd go with an answer like everything has to come from somewhere.
      It's like if all matter came from energy..well then where did the energy come from. There isn't an end to that question.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Gigi

      Don't be so linear in your thinking. Open your mind a little and start with the premise that God is eternal and has no beginning point.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Nope they answered you

      I'm rambling here because it's philosophy but add to that if everything came from somewhere at some point something would have to come from nowhere..wouldn't it? At some point?

      June 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Conundrum

      He thinks unless you can solve a conundrum that you therefore should not personify a conundrum.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Gigi

      It's fine to state that the universe is eternal and lifeless, but then you must explain through science how life and intelligence can stem from the absence of either.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • CommonSense

      The universe, from where earth can see, is a sphere with a radius of about 46 billion light years. Each light year is about 9400 trillions meters away. A human body has about 100 trillion cells. To say that "God" created the universe and that "God" has a connection with you is like saying you know and communicate with everything in your body that is 4600-billion times smaller than a cell. "God" is a myth – it IS and always has been.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • IO

      @CS

      You're still imposing limits on the concept of God. There are no 'calculations per second' or distances to overcome. God can be connected to everything and everyone in the universe without restriction.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I thought that the "sphere" of the visible universe is about 27Billion years across, since we can see about 13.6 billion years in every direction.

      Isn't an infinite regression as incomprehensible as an infinite being without causation? Just because both things are beyond the scope of our reason does not mean that either is more or less likely.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      Common Sense... No one. God always did exist. Even a grade schooler in our church knows that...

      June 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Athy

      God always existed? Only someone with a grade school education could believe that. Tells you a lot about the intelligence level of religies, doesn't?

      June 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Real Wisdom: No, not every grade schooler in your church KNOWS that. They simply believe that, based on what they have been taught. You believe your god has always existed; goodie for you. Billions of other people do NOT believe that.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • CommonSense

      @Cpt.Obvious, I thought 13.6-billion is the estimated age of the universe.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      There is no proof of anything eternal, including god. Not only has god not been proven, but no one knows of a method by which we could prove or disprove his existence.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yes, the universe is approximately 13.6 billion years old. Because it is only that old, we cannot see light from stars or other light-emiters beyond that distance-because it has not had time to travel all the way to our location. It's called "the light horizon." So, at any spot on earth we can see approximately 13.6 billion years in a straight line. That makes a "bubble" of a .visible universe approximately 27 billion years across. Light speed + physics.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      Athy… Then you have a grade school education. Go figure…

      Attach… Wrong. If you "believe" that which cometh from God then that counts as "knowledge". Because God cannot lie…

      Cpt. Obvious… Jesus Christ is all the proof you need of the existence of God, and of things eternal. So stop trying to lie and say otherwise. People like you feel the need to tell lies because if you told the truth you'd have no argument….

      June 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Damocles

      @real

      If your deity can do anything, it can certainly lie.

      If a believer believes his deity told him to murder, how can you say it is wrong? You have no way of proving he didn't hear a deity's voice.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • mama k

      RealW: "Because God cannot lie…"

      LOL.

      RealW: "Jesus Christ is all the proof you need of the existence of God"

      LOL.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

      June 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      There is no proof of Jesus Christ's existence, so that's not proof of something else. Would you accept a Muslim's statement that Mohammed existed and therefore Islam is the correct religion, or would you not accept that argument?

      June 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • lol??

      mama k,
      from your reference,

      "...........The whole book of Revelation, for example, is a veritable acid trip, ............."

      Not a serious reference, sorry.

      June 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Mama K… Referring to a link written by devils to disprove a scriptural truth about God is not very wise at all. Do you really think the devil is going to tell you the truth about God? Only when you're in hell. LOL…

      Cpt. Obvious… If you're too dumb to know that Jesus Christ existed, then you're too dumb for us to even be talking to...

      July 1, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Observer

      Nice Try,

      Speaking of dumb, do you support slavery like the Bible does?

      July 1, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • lol??

      The Beast gubmint sure does practice slavery. What's the per capita national debt?? $40K?? Say you have a family of 4 and the wage earner is making minimum wage. $160K is quite a burden. The sneaky way of taxin' em is using inflation or keepin' interest rate down on his savings or__________ or___________ or.

      July 1, 2013 at 7:22 am |
  17. About "moraility"

    It's taken me alot of years to figure this out but it's like this.

    Almost everybody does what is right in their own eyes. If you get enough people to agree with you, then it becomes moral.

    June 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • truth is

      sin is still sin and Truth is still truth nothing with either has changed since creation

      June 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So you were asleep in history class back in your grade school years?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      And religion gives divine permission to impose "morality."

      June 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Bostontola

      There is some science pointing in that direction. Tests on apes show that they have evolved a strong sense of fairness.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • truth is

      And how did they determine that ancient apes didn't have fairness?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ truth is: you say, "sin is sin". According to whom? Is ra-pe a sin? Is slavery a sin? is murder a sin? Is child abuse a sin? Is genocide a sin? All of these are condoned in the bible. So does that make these activities okay?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Peter

      I don't understand why people bring up the subject of slavery. Just because slavery didn't end well in America doesn't mean that it's always a bad thing. Slavery has been part of many cultures, and is still widely practiced in Africa today. The reason it went badly in America is firstly because people were divided by race – in other cultures slaves are the same race as the masters – and secondly because America was founded on the idea that everyone is free, making slavery very controversial.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Once again Mark from Middle River makes no fvcking sense.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Peter: I'm thinking of call a Poe on you. Do you believe that it is morally acceptable to own another human being? To have ownership and possession, and to treat them like a chattel, with the power of life and death over thin? That's okay for you?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Peter

      I grew up reading Latin in school and learning of slavery in Rome. I have no qualms with the concept of slavery. I just don't think it was handled well in our culture.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      About "morality"… Your logic doesn't hold water. Even if a billion devils were to agree that committing murder was somehow "right", it's still be wrong in the eyesight of God and would send your soul to hell…

      Secondly, Morality doesn't exist outside of God. No act is "moral" unless God says it is…

      June 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Peter: if you have no qualms about slavery then you wouldn't have any qualms about being owned by someone else, or having family members – wife, children – owned by someone else. No qualms about your 8 year old daughter being used se-xually by her owner. Ditto for your 6 year old son. No qualms.

      Well, good for you.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Peter

      If I were born into slavery it would be no different had I been born into poverty or born into a desperate situation in a poorer country. It would be the only life I knew and I would have to live it accordingly.

      June 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  18. lol??

    So the sciency types like to bragg about the race bein' almost 1/2 mil years old. How did it survive all that time without the bully gubmint regulatin' all the nuances of couplings and family?? With 60 mil dead failure just leaps out at ya. Can you repent and stop your wicked ways??

    June 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  19. CommonSense

    Non-religious people do what's right, not what's told.
    Religious people do what's told, not what's right.

    June 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • truth is

      That is pure bull sh it

      June 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Non-religious people equates to robbers and crooks and thieves and stealers and killers and on and on,,,

      June 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Lionly,
      Our prisons are filled with Christians not atheists.

      June 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • truth is

      atheists "convert" quickly in prison. Christians get parole atheists do not

      June 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Nice Try

      CommonSense… Lucifer loves clauses like that. Because anyone who believes such nonsense will end up in hell…

      June 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Bostontola

      truth is, you make stuff up as you go along, it's embarrassing. There are statistics on prison population as they enter, look it up.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Nice Try

      There is not a single atheist who is still an atheist after they arrive in hell. In hell, they are all firm believers…

      June 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Nice try, have you been there?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      IN hell, there are only believers-–believers who know the fact that god is the most horrific terrorist azzhole in existence to allow such a place to exist.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bostontola

      In hell there are no atheists. Of course not, there's no atheists in middle earth either.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Nice lie, "nice try".

      June 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Three complaints

      1.) What is "right" is a matter of personal opinion.

      2.) Both religious and non religious people do a combination of what is right vs what is told.

      3.) I'm pretty sure Bilbo was an atheist.

      Okay I'm joking about the third complaint

      June 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Bostontola… No, but I know someone who has…

      Capt. Obvious… And your evidence to support that claim is? Just what I thought….

      June 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Any religion inwhich some people end up in hell after a single go at life makes little snese to me. Why would gods want to throw away their creation like that (assuming they aren't evil). And then babies get a free pass without even having to try, so essentially it's in your best interest to die young? I just can't buy that story.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Truth is religious people do what the 2000-year-old "book" says. They don't question it. Sad.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • truth is

      the whole word of God

      June 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      They don't question it

      I think with all of the denominations within the Christian faith and the inner debates on scripture, people of Faith do question things in the Bible. You just feel that all Christians are all in lockstep with the same interpretation of the Holy text.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Question it and yet totally believe in it? That seems odd.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Question it and yet totally believe in it? That seems odd.

      Not much so. I can question the actions of the United States government while at the same time considering myself a proud American. One can question things without having the emotional need to over throw it. I hear Atheist making declarations that would lend to Christians being united or unified on Christian doctrine, while knowing that some of the biggest debates are within the Faith. Question to you is if a person of Faith questioned their Faith will the conclusion always be a turning away from their held Faith? Could the conclusion be a continuation of the Faith?

      June 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I have as much evidence for the idea that people in hell know that god is the most deplorable azzhole in existence as you have evidence that hell exists.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      Common Sense… And billions of people are in hell right now for "questioning" the truth rather than "believing" in it…

      Jesus said "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned."…

      June 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  20. lol??

    Much of this is the age old "hardening Pharaoh's heart" business. Try that one for a change> you might get some new insights.

    June 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bostontola

      You mean that god forced pharaoh to do the wrong thing, what's your point?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • truth is

      pharoah wanted his own way so much that God simply let him have it

      June 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Your bible:

      Exodus 4:21
      And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • truth is

      you need to check your original language and what was actually said and what it's meaning would be in the context given. you are viewing an early example of reprobate, someone whose selfish nature was so strong that God allowed that nature to become the man. it still happens. If you cling to sin so fiercely God will allow you to be mastered by it.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I love how christians claim that their bible is the inerrant word of god, then backpedal and say it was badly translated when you point out something they don't want to hear. If it's so bad, why don't you demand an accurate translation? Why do you let this flawed version of your god's "word" be held up as truth?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @tallulah13,

      I have to agree that an all powerful god would seem capable of at least ensuring people had a half-way fair chance with a good translation. Very odd.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bostontola

      truth is,
      I have arguments with many Christians on this blog. Most are honorable, your track record is poor. You make stuff up. You should do a character check on yourself.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • factchecker.com

      Truth is is 100% accurate

      June 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • factchecker.com

      Bostonola is suspect on all its posts

      June 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • truth is

      boston cannot accept Truth and will never recognize Truth in its life.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bostontola

      fact checker,
      Do you actually think people are influenced by your unsubstantiated assertions? Your name is antipodal to your behavior.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Truth is, I don't accept the weak stuff you take as Truth.

      June 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • truth is

      then you will perish as pharoah perished guilty in your trespasses and sins

      June 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Given I don't believe in Islam either, will I go to their hell?

      June 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.