home
RSS
August 2nd, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Why millennials need the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - For a time, I counted myself among the spiritual but not religious, Christian but not churchgoing crowd.

Like many millennials, I left church because I didn’t always see the compassion of Jesus there, and because my questions about faith and science, the Bible, homosexuality, and religious pluralism were met with shallow answers or hostility.

At first I reveled in my newfound Sunday routine of sleeping in, sipping my coffee and yelling at Republicans who appeared on ”Meet the Press.”

But eventually I returned, because, like it or not, we Christian millennials need the church just as much as the church needs us. Here’s why:

Baptism

As former Methodist bishop Will Willimon has often said, “you cannot very well baptize yourself.”

In a culture that stresses individualism, the church satisfies the human need for community, for shared history and experiences.

And in a world where technology enables millennials to connect only with those who are like-minded, baptism drags us - sometimes kicking and screaming as infants - into the large, dysfunctional and beautiful family of the church.

Confession

“Sin” is not a popular word these days, perhaps because it is so often invoked in the context of judgment and condemnation.

But like all people, millennials need reminding now and then that the hate and violence we observe in the world is also present within ourselves.

We can be too idealistic, too convinced we can change the world from our iPads.

The accountability that comes from participation in a local church gives young Christians the chance to speak openly about our struggles with materialism, greed, gossip, anger, consumerism and pride.

Healing

While the flawed people who make up the church can certainly inflict pain on each other and sometimes on the world, we also engage in the important work of healing.

At their best, local churches provide basements where AA groups can meet, living rooms where tough conversations about racial reconciliation occur, casseroles for the sick and shelter for the homeless.

Millennials who have been hurt by the church may later find healing in it.

Leadership

Like a lot of millennials, I am deeply skeptical of authority - probably to a fault.

But when I interact with people from my church who have a few years and a lot of maturity on me, I am reminded of how cool it is to have a free, built-in mentoring and accountability program just down the street.

We can learn a lot from the faithful who have gone before us, and the church is where we find them.

Communion

One of the few things the modern church has in common with the ancient one is its celebration of the sacred meal— the Eucharist.

There is simply not the space here, nor in many volumes of theology for that matter, to unpack the significance of remembering Jesus through eating bread and drinking wine. But when I left the church, it was Communion I craved the most.

Churches may disagree on exactly how Christ is present in these sacred meals, but we agree that Christ is present. And millennials, too, long for that presence.

There are some days when the promise of Communion is the only thing that rouses me from bed on Sunday morning. I want a taste of that mystery.

Confirmation

Many churches practice a rite of initiation, sometimes called confirmation.

Theologian Lauren Winner, in her book “Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis,” quotes a friend who said:

“What you promise when you are confirmed is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that that is the story you will wrestle with forever.”

The church, at its best, provides a safe place in which to wrestle with this story we call the Gospel.

Union with Christ

Those who follow Jesus long for the day when their communion with him becomes complete, and Jesus promises this will happen through the church.

The apostle Paul compared this union to a marriage. Jesus describes it as a banquet.

No matter what the latest stats or studies say, Christians believe the future of the church is secure and not even “the gates of hell” will prevail against it.

As much as I may struggle to fit in sometimes, as much as I doubt, question and fight for reforms, I am a part of this church, through good times and bad, for better or worse.

The astute reader will notice that each of these points corresponds loosely with a sacrament—baptism, confession, the anointing of the sick, holy orders, communion, confirmation and marriage.

Some would say there are many others. We could speak of the sacrament of the Word or the washing of feet.

But even where they are not formally observed, these sacraments are present in some form in nearly every group of people who gather together in the name of Jesus.

They connect us to our faith through things we can eat, touch, smell and feel. And they connect us with one another.

They remind us, as writer and Episcopal priest Sara Miles put it, that “You can’t be a Christian by yourself.”

This is why I haven’t given up on the church, and I suspect why it hasn't given up on me.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to her.

Evans has written two previous posts for CNN's Belief Blog: Why millennials are leaving the church; and Not all religious convictions are written in stone.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Faith • Opinion • United States

soundoff (4,825 Responses)
  1. skytag

    @AE: "God's ways are not human ways. Imagining God doing things the way I do things is foolish."

    Or maybe this is just one of the things the designers of Christianity incorporated into their religion to ensure its followers couldn't question anything. We are told the Christian god is so limitless, so beyond us and our comprehension no objective test of his reality can be applied. Logic, facts, evidence, reason, logic, none of these are useful when discerning things of "the spirit."

    All that remains are your feelings, and it is well known our emotions can be manipulated and triggered by a variety of stimuli. Christians have been brainwashed to believe they can't draw any useful conclusions with their minds because God is so infinite, but they're taught they can trust their hearts when people's hearts (emotions) are notoriously unreliable as a source of judgment.

    You're taught this so you can be "spiritually" manipulated by people who are skilled at manipulating people's emotions. A good preacher, the right music, a biblical passage that triggers the right emotions, and you're "feeling the spirit."

    "Feeling," the absolute worst BS meter you have in every other dimension of your life suddenly becomes the only one you can trust when it comes to things of the spirit.

    People hear a good preacher and claim they "feel the spirit" when it triggers a positive emotional response. People sing a hymn and "feel the spirit" when it triggers a positive emotional response. As someone who has attended a Billy Graham crusade I have witnessed these phenomenon first hand. George Beverly Shea singing How Great Thou Art and Graham's powerful preaching had everyone in the venue on an emotional high, or "feeling the spirit" as I would have said back then.

    But you don't need God or a spirit to experience these phenomenon. Any good speaker, be it Billy Graham, Winston Churchill, or Adolf Hitler can evoke powerful emotional responses in his audience. The emotion I feel listening to Handel's Messiah is not noticeably different than what I feel listening to Handel's Acis and Galatea, a secular work. Most people experience a powerful emotional response to one or more pieces of popular, secular music, but when religious music evokes those same emotions it's called feeling the spirit.

    You've been suckered, my friend, suckered into believing the least reliable mechanism you have for discerning fact from fiction is the only one you can trust when it comes to issues of a religious nature. This is not just an interesting coincidence, this is by design.

    August 6, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • AE

      TLDR

      August 6, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • midwest rail

        You can't have it both ways, AE. Contemporary evangelical Christians complain that non-believers never articulate the reasons for their disbelief, til one actually does. Then all we get is a disingenuous " TLDR". I suppose I'm not surprised.

        August 6, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • AE

          I'm simply not interested in skytag's philosophies. He should focus his time and energy on himself, and not try to fix me.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Almost exactly how I (and perhaps others) feel about your replies, AE.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          Seriously?
          Please, take your own advice.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Jalnar

          Why can't he have it both ways? "I want you to listen to me because I have something worth saying, but I don't want to listen to you because you don't" is a perfectly coherent statement and holds no internal contradictions. Even reworded to an ethical statement "You should listen to me because I have something worth saying, but I shouldn't to you because you don't" seems internally consistent. I would think, though, that if you have this convention you should state it at the beginning of all conversations since it goes against standard social conventions. But you can't hold him to something other evangelicals said.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:32 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I'm simply not interested in skytag's philosophies. He should focus his time and energy on himself, and not try to fix me."

          You're nothing but a coward who has figured out his platitudes can't invalidate reality, a reality you can't handle. Unable to deal with that reality you simply refuse to look at it. This is religious excuse-making in all its pathetic glory.

          Thanks for the invitation to surround myself in delusions that keep harsh realities at bay, but I think I'll leave that for the weak-minded and easily duped such as yourself.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • AE

          You often take statements I say to someone else out of context.

          And demand I answer all your questions.

          And then write a 5 paragraph essay about what you imagine I must believe. The quote you took for this essay was something I said to "Dave" and was not for you.

          Relax. This is message board for a Faith and Belief Blog. And you are not the boss, in charge or an officer hired to enforce some kind of standard.

          If I don't want to answer your questions or read a statement of mine you take out of context, what does it really matter?

          Coward? That is a personal attack – why would I want to talk with you?

          August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "You often take statements I say to someone else out of context."

          What a whiner.

          "And demand I answer all your questions."

          You haven't answered a single question I've posed to you. If everything you believe is true, why would that be?

          "The quote you took for this essay was something I said to "Dave" and was not for you."

          So what? It's standard Christian philosophy. To attack me with the suggestion that I misrepresented your beliefs by quoting you "out of context" is intellectually dishonest in the extreme. Either what I quoted accurately represents something you believe of it does not. If it does not, then say so. If it does, then what's the problem?

          "If I don't want to answer your questions or read a statement of mine you take out of context, what does it really matter?"

          Yes, what does it matter if all your religious conviction doesn't give you the courage to read rational arguments supported by evidence and fact? What does it matter if there are things in the real world that offer perfectly plausible explanations for things you attribute to God? What does it matter if your beliefs result in logical contradictions? When you're brainwashed, what does anything connected to reality matter?

          "Coward? That is a personal attack"

          It's an accurate assessment of your behavior.

          "why would I want to talk with you?"

          You don't want to talk to me now that you've come to realize I pose valid questions and can't be snowed by simplistic platitudes.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • AE

          "If everything you believe is true, why would that be?"

          I never said everything I believe is true.

          And I don't think everything I believe is true.

          If you think that everything you believe is true, good luck to you!

          August 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Zombie God

          To be fair to the delusional person who did not read it..it is a little long. Some people need to learn brevity

          August 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Colin

        But you can knock out chapter after chapter of incomprehensible late Bronze Age Jewish mythological bribble and fall in love with the ridiculous stories they contain.....

        August 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • AE

          Is that what you imagine?

          August 6, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          "Is that what you imagine?"

          It's not imagination. You may not quote the bible as much as other christians here, but you offer no evidence or explanation, and when you quickly get to the point where you have no more answers you say "show some humility" as if requesting evidence for the convictions you espouse here is arrogant.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Is that what you imagine?"

          Colin isn't the one who's afraid to read intelligent comments articulating valid points.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • AE

          To me, you speak as if what you think and believe is the truth. And that you are some kind of judge of ultimate reality.

          You sometimes sound like you think you are god.

          Yes, seek humility. You don't have to prove to people on the internet everything you believe. Thank God!

          August 6, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "To me, you speak as if what you think and believe is the truth. And that you are some kind of judge of ultimate reality."

          At least Colin backs his thoughts with historical evidence and a sound understanding of human nature. You back yours with beliefs backed by nothing whatsoever.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Colin

          AE – far from it. I know the current limitations of our knowledge as a species. You claim to know the answers to three of the biggest questions in the history of science – the origins of life on Earth, the origins of the Universe and the question of life after death. In each case, your answer is "God did it" based on your Bronze Age collection of JEwish mythology. What garbage!

          August 6, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, You post frequently about god and when asked for evidence you have none. Modern knowledge shows that much of the bible is not an accurate historical record. You cannot explain why you chose christianity and the specific sect as opposed to the thousands of other christian sects or hundreds of other religions. You have no response to the contradictions of religion and specifically the bible.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • AE

          Colin

          You imagine that is what I think.

          But it is not accurate.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Colin

          Well, in that case, you are not a Christian, because that is exactly what Christians believe.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • AE

          No, that is exactly what Colin thinks a Christian believes.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, If you don't subscribe to those christian positions, your posts imply you do. So what do you believe for those questions:
          -the origins of life on Earth
          -the origins of the Universe
          -the question of life after death

          August 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • AE

          -the origins of life on Earth

          Nobody knows.

          -the origins of the Universe

          Nobody knows.

          -the question of life after death

          Nobody knows.

          August 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE. Then why believe in a god?

          August 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Zombie God

          AE

          -the origins of life on Earth

          Nobody knows.

          -the origins of the Universe

          Nobody knows.

          -the question of life after death

          Nobody knows.

          ---------
          Are you still on the fence as to which god to believe in????????

          August 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • AE

          @ In Santa we trust
          @ Then why believe in a god?

          I believe in God. Not a god.

          @Zombie God
          @Are you still on the fence as to which god to believe in????????

          No.

          August 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, The question was why believe in a god if you don't claim supernatural origins. As you offered, why believe in your god as opposed to the vast array of alternative gods.

          August 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • AE

          Where did I say I don't claim supernatural origins?

          August 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
      • skytag

        Coward..

        August 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • AE

          You don't know me, so that statement is as empty and frothy as one of your long winded and 'holier-than-thou' rants.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "You don't know me, so that statement is as empty and frothy as one of your long winded and 'holier-than-thou' rants."

          I know you through your behavior here. You consistently refuse to deal with reality when it would call your beliefs into question. You've never addressed any of my points or rational, fact-based arguments. All you know how to do is make wholly unsupportable claims, talk like a simpleton, and speak in platitudes that are meaningless to anyone who hasn't bought into your beliefs. You have no answers for any of my questions so if you respond you babble a bit without even attempting to answer them. Now you've made it clear you're not even willing to read rational arguments.

          I know pathetic when I see it. If this is what you're selling I can't imagine why any thinking person would buy it.

          August 6, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • AE

          If you want to talk, be respectful. You've already told me you didn't respect me. I can't take you seriously after that.

          You insist you are reasonable, logical and fact based. But you are not.

          Why should I read your hostile stuff?

          August 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
      • Pole dancing for Jesus

        You must mean
        Too complicated. Didn't understand.

        August 6, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • AE

          Too opinionated Don't care

          August 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Randomguy

        What a hypocrite, it's not surprising, it is very Creationist of you to jam your fingers in your ears and scream bible verse at us like it answers our questions, or counters our points

        August 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • AE

          Hu? Where have I talked about creationism, Bible verses?

          August 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • A millennial

      Our attention span is 140 Char or less

      August 6, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • B mellennial

        Preferably, less.

        August 6, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  2. Jalnar

    Does anyone else think it's funny that they seem to be using a giant coffee mug to symbolize/indicate the millennial generation in the author pic? Not bad of good...just kind of funny.

    August 6, 2013 at 8:46 am |
  3. Colin

    As an atheist, I fully I accept that Christians have personal experiences with (what they believe is) God. Hindus also have personal experiences with Brahma, Vishnu or Krishna, Muslims with Allah, and Buddhists tend to have reincarnation experiences. Christians also often hear or see angels, Mary, Jesus etc.

    However, if I were to accept these personal experiences as evidence of the existence of these beings, I would believe in a lot of gods. I would also believe in the various spirits of Native Americans, the Dreamtime deities of the Australian Aboriginals, the gods of the Aztecs and Incas along with a couple of hundred others.

    Every culture has its gods and a small proportion of its population will always claim personal experiences. It might be evidence of a particular god if we all had the same experience across faiths. If Buddhists, Hindus and Jains regularly experienced Jesus or Mary. But they don’t. Only young Christian women ever seem to experience Mary, especially during the awakening of their se.xuality in puberty. The other faiths are busy experiencing reincarnation or their own deity(ies). Christianity does not have a monopoly on religious experiences.

    It might also be evidence if a bystander ever heard or witnessed the “experience,” but they tend to always be purely internal.

    David Koresh and Charles Manson had innumerable personal experiences of voices telling them they were the messiah, while Mark Chapman had experiences telling him he was Holden Caulfield. Thousands of people also believe they have had personal experiences with angels, sprits, “presences” or ghosts, with aliens who abduct them or with devils that torment them.

    Quite simply, the internal, subjective experiences people honestly believe they have and the voices they believe they hear are not at all probative of external reality. They just caution us to accept the limits of our own perception.

    August 6, 2013 at 6:10 am |
    • nclaw441

      Colin, this particular thread may not be for you. This article begins with the assumption that one is Christian, and then deals with belonging to a church. Your opinion is important, and valid, but probably not appropriate for this article.

      August 6, 2013 at 8:23 am |
      • Thinker...

        From the context of several nearby posts I would guess that he was replying to another poster. These boards sometimes hiccup and forget where they are supposed to put the post.

        August 6, 2013 at 8:40 am |
      • skytag

        The article is a puff piece. Only a small percentage of the comments here deal with it.

        August 6, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • AE

        Clearly written for the "spiritual but not religious, Christian but not churchgoing crowd" and "Christian millennials".

        August 6, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • skytag

      "Christianity does not have a monopoly on religious experiences."

      You only say this because you live outside the bubble, the Bubble of Christianity. Inside the bubble only Christians have real "personal experiences" that are evidence of God. Everyone else is being deceived by Satan. And given that only 3 out of 10 people on the planet are Christian it would seem Satan is better at deceiving than God is at convincing. 😉

      August 6, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Ken

      I think that it's wider than just religion. The UFO abductees certainly feel they've had a "personal experience" with aliens that the people who are skeptical of them did not have. Same goes for believers in psychics, horoscopes, witchcraft, crystal skulls, and hundreds of other New Age, or psudo-scientific beliefs. It appears that humans easily believe in things that are not provable, and that "faith" is more widespread than just within religion.

      August 6, 2013 at 9:41 am |
      • raincheck

        Generally, as a survival technique, it makes sense to believe things that match your sensory experience. Also, alien abductees (and presumably those with culturally matched religious experiences) are significantly more suggestible than the general public. It's quite easy to create false memories, and evolutionarily it's also generally useful to believe your memories.

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201207/five-traits-could-get-you-abducted-aliens

        August 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
        • Ken

          Doc
          I'm more convinced in the theory that alien abductions are results of sleep paralysis/night terror. My family comes from Newfoundland where they call sleep paralysis/night terror, the Hag. "Alien Abduction" is just another cultural construct made up to explain the same kind of natural human experience. In another land they might have called it a visit from a succubus.

          August 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • raincheck

          I can imagine that with the paralysis if one wasn't fully awake. I think usually when people experience this the brain is already awake and just not the body, but if you were halfway awake and still dreaming, or had waking hallucinations mixed with paralysis, that would be pretty scary.

          Of course, it still doesn't explain the people who aren't abducted from bed. And there are cases of multiple people reporting the same experience.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Zombie God

          I would be curious to see how close the abductees live to Walmart

          August 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Ken

          raincheck
          Do they really experience the same thing, or are they feeding off of each other kinda like cases of mass hysteria? The cases where people "lose hours", even with others, could just be carbon dioxide, or some other kind of poisoning. The "God Helmet" experiment could mean that electrical fields out in the environment could be affecting people in a similar way. There are just too many other, rational possible explanations out there just to jump to some supernatural conclusion.

          August 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • raincheck

          Ken, probably a shared delusion or lying. Or maybe depending on the scenario false memory.

          August 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        One of my favourite Kids in the Hall sketches was a conversation between two alien anal probers...
        "we've been coming here for 50 years and performing anal probes and all that we have learned is that 1 in10 doesn't really seem to mind."

        August 6, 2013 at 9:51 am |
        • Ken

          Oops, see above.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • ME II

          lol. 1 in 10? Sample bias. Most subjects are remote backwoods type, hardly random. More work needs to be done... or not.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  4. skytag

    @Lycidas: "By no evidence, you mean scientific evidence. You ignore personal experience."

    I submit you happily ignore other people's "personal experiences" whenever they aren't consistent with yours. It's naive and arrogant to suppose only people who subscribe to your brand of Christianity have such experiences. Are you really naive enough to believe none of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and 1 billion Hindus believe they've ever had a "personal experience?"

    I've never met Christians who were more convinced they had personal experiences or more sure of their beliefs than Mormons, and yet other Christians believe Mormonism is a false religion. What do you say when a Mormon tells you he's had personal experiences testifying to him the Book of Mormon is true? Do you take that as evidence the Book of Mormon is true and join the Mormon church? I think not. You want people to accept your personal experiences as evidence, but I find it highly unlikely you're willing to extend that courtesy to everyone else who makes such claims.

    I dare say people in churches who handle snakes and speak in tongues believe they've had "personal experiences."

    On July 20, 1944 an attempt was made to assassinate Hitler. When it didn't succeed, Hitler said, "You see, fate has saved me for my mission. I must do what I must do." I suppose Hitler considered that a "personal experience."

    The problem with "personal experience" is that it is subject to personal interpretation and bias, and at times even delusions, and never to external, objective verification. People who committed heinous acts because they believe God told them to do them.

    Often personal experiences are an emotional response to a scriptural passage, a favorite hymn, or an inspiring story. Sometimes they are nothing more than a decision to see the supernatural in ordinary events or coincidences. All things considered I find "personal experiences" to be too subjective to be considered evidence of anything.

    August 6, 2013 at 3:34 am |
    • required

      There are blatant examples in the bible, the 3 eye witnesses (apostles) with Jesus on the hill when they saw Moses and Elijah, then heard God speaking, and when they looked up again from the ground, they had vanished. That's a personal experience, written testimony, an account that you either believe them, or call them liars. There is no willy nilly guess about that, you either believe them, or not.

      If God had wanted to prove himself to everyone on the planet that day, he could have done it, but only three there with Jesus saw and heard it. You're lucky in that you got to read about it, others then didn't. I thank God that I was able to read it, all of it, the entire bible... thank you God.

      August 6, 2013 at 4:36 am |
      • sam stone

        there are only two choices? believe them or they are liars? you forgot the possibilty that they were delusional. or, and much more likely, that it never happened and that book you thank god for being able to read is cultural mythology

        August 6, 2013 at 4:43 am |
        • required

          That is a point blank statement from eye witnesses that a supernatural event happened right in front of them and they got down on the ground in fear, multiple eye witnesses. There is no maybe about what they're relaying happened. There is no "maybe Jesus wasn't really dead, and he survived, then died later". They said they saw 2 people that had died, knew who they were (Moses and Elijah) and that Jesus was speaking to them as his clothing became pure white, and a bright cloud started coming over them and they heard God talking to them too.

          Your choices are:

          1. They are telling the truth
          2. You don't believe them.

          That's all there is to it. There is no if about it.

          I believe them.

          August 6, 2013 at 5:58 am |
        • Colin

          Why do you believe these stories? What is it about the person(s) that wrote tham that make you trust them?

          August 6, 2013 at 6:05 am |
        • Mirosal

          Your "eyewitness" account might be a little more credible if it were actually written by an eyewitness. What you have read was a story that was thrown around for at least 40 years AFTER jeebus died. That's called "hearsay", and it isn't evidence. Not a single NT author ever met, walked with, or spoke to your "savior".

          August 6, 2013 at 6:33 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          required
          Your choices are
          1) They are telling the truth
          2) They, or the writers of the story, are lying.

          There I corrected your statement..

          As far as eyewitnesses. I saw you dancing in a chorus line in drag last night. Since I am an eye witness, I either am telling the truth, or you do not believe me. Do you see now where your logic is flawed?

          August 6, 2013 at 8:11 am |
        • Thinker...

          I would believe that they remember the experience just as they say they do. Unfortunatly memory is not really all that accurate. If you and a friend attend the same event and then do not speak of it for a while, the memories may not be the same anymore. Every time we remember something we run the risk of altering the memory as well. It is similar to why lineups are no longer usefull as a sole source of evidence in a criminal trial; the memory of the event may not be what actually happened.

          My stepmother is convinced that a house she used to live in was haunted by the ghost of my father's grandmother. I believe that she believes that, but I myself have never seen any evidence of that in that house even though I spent every summer there for many years. I personally do not believe there was a ghost, instead I think that she has convinced herself of the experience after years of recounting it (slightly different each time, new details added and the like).

          August 6, 2013 at 8:55 am |
        • skytag

          @required: "That is a point blank statement from eye witnesses that a supernatural event happened right in front of them and they got down on the ground in fear, multiple eye witnesses."

          This is according to an account written nearly 2000 years ago. The whole thing could, and likely is, a work of inspiring fiction. No event and hence no witnesses, just an inspiring work of fiction from beginning to end. There are plenty of written accounts of events, sometimes written by people claiming to be first-hand witnesses, that turned out to be works of fiction.

          There was a case a while back of some guy who an autobiographical book people found very inspiring. Oprah recommended and had the author on her show. Then it came out it was all fiction.

          If a modern, living author can perpetrate such a hoax in this information age, how much easier would it have been for someone 2000 years ago to palm off a fictional account as really happening?

          August 6, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          correction:

          "That is (a story written by an unknown author decades after Jesus died about) a point blank statement from eye witnesses that a supernatural event happened right in front of them and they got down on the ground in fear, multiple eye witnesses."

          As it was mentioned in an earlier post no NT author ever met Jesus or any of his "apostles". Thus these are not eye witness accounts.

          August 6, 2013 at 9:23 am |
        • Ken

          If the love of your life recently died, and you started "seeing" them in crowds, on buses, and the like, would you be surprised when people start telling you that it's just your grief manifesting itself? Jesus' disciples really, really loved him, correct?

          August 6, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • I wonder

          Also, along the line of 'delusional', there could have been ritual or recreational use of psychoactive plants or fungi involved. I don't know how we'll ever find out if this was the case in so many of those "revelations".

          August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Ken

          I wonder
          Did Moses inhale from the burning bush, you mean? 😉

          August 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
      • sam stone

        personal experience is evident in many religions. what makes one person's experience more valid than another?

        August 6, 2013 at 4:46 am |
        • skytag

          Oh, there's a well-accepted rule for determining that: Experiences that confirm what I believe are real. All others are delusions or deceptions by Satan. I don't have any evidence to justify that rule, but I feel it's true so it must be true.

          August 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
      • Reality

        The Transfiguration: Various analysis,

        Professor John Dominic Crossan

        Item: 184
        Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
        Attestation: Single
        Historicity: negative

        Jesus Seminar

        "The commentary in The Acts of Jesus identifies Mark as the one who first shaped the transfiguration story into its present form, with all other versions being dependent on Mark:"

        The transfiguration fits with Mark's understanding of Jesus as God's son (1:11, 15:39) and provides the reader with a preview of Jesus' supernatural glory, which Mark does not otherwise narrate. In the account of Jesus' baptism, God had declared Jesus to be his son (1:11), and Mark reaffirms that role role here at a crucial point in the gospel's plot, just after Jesus' first prediction that he will suffer and die (8:31-33). The command to "listen to him," rather than to Moses or Elijah, underscores the grim prediction of Jesus' passion that Mark has just reported. (p. 106)"

        Samuel T. Lachs

        "Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament, 260] notes the clear links to the Sinai theophany, and lists a number of places where shining garments appear in rabbinic and apocryphal sources as a result of a holy person reflecting the glory of God:"

        Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 58-61:

        Historically nil. An invention of Mark.

        August 6, 2013 at 7:56 am |
        • Reality

          Oop, make that "various analyses".

          August 6, 2013 at 7:57 am |
      • skytag

        There is no objective evidence any of those things actually happened. You believe they did because you want to believe that.

        August 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |
      • raincheck

        http://www.saibabamiracles.com/baba/index.html

        Photos and thousands of modern confirmed witnesses to these miracles. Do you believe it?

        August 6, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • Ken

          There are witnesses to Elvis walking around long after his funeral too, but what does that tell you about the reliability of witnesses seeing precisely the things they want to see?

          August 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
        • raincheck

          @Ken, and can you imagine writing a book 30 years later about unverifiable people who told you they have seen Elvis and expecting them to believe it? You really have to have lost all perspective not to see when your own religion is just based on hearsay, unidentifiable sources and authors, and selective editing.

          August 6, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          Eye witness accounts, real first person ones, are still notoriously unreliable. The TV series Brain Games demonstrated just how bad we are at recalling things we just witnessed. In fact TV and movies get away with continuity errors all the time. Scenes shot over several days can have omissions, additions and changes to wardrobe and set pieces within a single scene that most never notice.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No I don't believe it, I have no reason to believe it. It is not reproducable and you (they) cannot connect cause and effect. Even if you could get me to believe something beyond our understanding did actually happen it is a whole nother step to connect it to a specific god or ANY god for that matter. I am not that gulliable and you shouldn't be either.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • raincheck

          I was hoping required would answer this. Why believe the distant poorly doc umented Jesus stories over Sai Baba or any other miracle stories?

          August 6, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • Randomguy

        @Required How would these people recognize people they had never seen? Did they identify themselves? Did they wear nametags? Perhaps large diamond studded necklaces of their names?

        The most cursory inspection starts to dissolve this story.

        Why was this unnoted anywhere except the bible? All these witnesses and no one records it till 40 years after the fact, that sounds legit.

        August 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • skytag

          @Lycidas: "In the end what you are saying is that people do not agree. That would apply to everything we humans can ever come up with...from science to religion to philosophy."

          When confronted with points you don't want to deal with you just blow them off with stupid stuff like this. No, I'm not saying they don't agree, that's a given. What I'm saying is that their reasoning process is flawed.

          Disagreement on matters of god is unlike other disagreements. People may disagree on matters of science, but all parties with any credibility will hold views they can support with evidence and sound reasoning. Any disagreement is the result of incomplete information, but at least there is some information underlying their beliefs and they involve logic. Religionists disagree about matters based on no evidence or logic at all.

          Science seeks to resolve disagreements by doing further study and observation. Religionists never seek to resolve their disagreements, instead choosing to believe the disagreement is the result of the other side lacking understanding or being deceived by Satan or some such thing.

          It's disingenuous to suggest differences in religions beliefs are comparable to disagreements in scientific matters. It clearly is not.

          August 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          @skytag- I have answered your questions. You accuse me of not liking your questions...I don't think you like my answers because they do not go with what you are trying to prove.

          "When confronted with points you don't want to deal with you just blow them off...."

          No I don't.

          "Disagreement on matters of god is unlike other disagreements."

          Only because you want it to be.

          "Science seeks to resolve disagreements by doing further study and observation. Religionists never seek to resolve their disagreements,"

          That's a lie.

          August 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Lycidas

      skytag- "I submit you happily ignore other people's "personal experiences" whenever they aren't consistent with yours."

      Your submission would be incorrect.

      "It's naive and arrogant to suppose only people who subscribe to your brand of Christianity have such experiences."

      I have never...NEVER...implied that anyone that believes the way I do must have those experiences or are unique to them. You are being the arrogant one here.

      "Are you really naive enough to believe none of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and 1 billion Hindus believe they've ever had a "personal experience?""

      Are you so stupid to @ssume that of me?

      "I've never met Christians who were more convinced they had personal experiences or more sure of their beliefs than Mormons, and yet other Christians believe Mormonism is a false religion."

      And some Christians don't worry at all about what Mormons, atheists, Hindu..etc believe and keep to themselves.

      "What do you say when a Mormon tells you he's had personal experiences testifying to him the Book of Mormon is true?"

      Good for you. What would you have me say?

      "Do you take that as evidence the Book of Mormon is true and join the Mormon church? I think not."

      Agreeing in belief is not the same as giving basic respect to another person's beliefs.

      "You want people to accept your personal experiences as evidence, but I find it highly unlikely you're willing to extend that courtesy to everyone else who makes such claims."

      Never said you had to. But personal experiences goes with personal belief. You ignorantly say there is no evidence for a person to believe they way they do. You ignore the personal experience that justifies their personal belief. I'm not saying you have to accept that as belief, but acknowledge that is evidence for that person who had the expereince.

      "I dare say people in churches who handle snakes and speak in tongues believe they've had "personal experiences.""

      I dare say that people who are atheists believe they've had "personal experiences" that made them the way they are.

      "When it didn't succeed, Hitler said, "You see, fate has saved me for my mission. I must do what I must do." I suppose Hitler considered that a "personal experience.""

      Hitler's personal experiences do not dictate what my personal belief or non-belief is. Never have I said it should.

      August 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • skytag

        @Lycidas: skytag- "I submit you happily ignore other people's "personal experiences" whenever they aren't consistent with yours."

        "Your submission would be incorrect."

        If personal experience is evidence, then how do you reconcile people having personal experiences that support conflicting positions? For example, a Mormon whose personal experiences are evidence to him the Book of Mormon is true and a Christian from another faith saying he prayed about the Book of Mormon and God told him it was false? Or a Muslim who claims he's had personal experiences that are evidence to him the Koran is God's holy book while a Christian says the same thing about the Bible?

        I'm just following the logical path here. If personal experience are evidence that means there is a lot of evidence out there of conflicting beliefs, and logically if two beliefs are inconsistent at most only one of them can be true.

        August 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "If personal experience is evidence, then how do you reconcile people having personal experiences that support conflicting positions?"

          You are under an absolutist perspective on the religious experience. It seems that you feel that if there is one "true" way...then all experiences should end up the same. If that was accurate then all humans everywhere would be the same in regards to belief or even non-belief.
          But we are all subjective viewers in the world. We take all our experiences, whether they be emotional, scientific or spiritual and put them through the filter that is the individual. In no way am I saying that a person's personal experience should act as evidence beyond that person. It would be like trying to prove you are loved by someone...you can't do it.

          All I can say is that a person is only responsible for themselves when it comes to their spirituality. If they have a personal belief that doesn't conflict with anyone else's way of live or belief...then their personal experience is evidence enough for them as an individual.

          August 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • skytag

          @Lycidas: "You are under an absolutist perspective on the religious experience. It seems that you feel that if there is one "true" way...then all experiences should end up the same."

          Not true. I'm talking about belief systems that are mutually exclusive. If a Baptist says he prayed about the Book of Mormon and God told him it was false, that's in direct conflict with a Mormon would tell you. Claiming the Book of Mormon is false is not the same as saying the Baptist way is also a valid path.

          A Baptist may accept Methodism as another valid path to God, but he doesn't accept Mormonism, or Islam, or Buddhism, or any non-Christian religion as an alternative, viable path to God.

          "If that was accurate then all humans everywhere would be the same in regards to belief or even non-belief."

          Nonsense. If there were only one true way it would simply mean that only those who were on that path would be successful in finding God, and most religions don't teach that everyone will find him. Christianity obviously doesn't. Christianity teaches that many are called, but few are chosen; that narrow is the way; that no man cometh to the Father but by Jesus Christ. Christianity most certainly does not teach that it is only one of many paths to God.

          "But we are all subjective viewers in the world. We take all our experiences, whether they be emotional, scientific or spiritual and put them through the filter that is the individual. In no way am I saying that a person's personal experience should act as evidence beyond that person."

          I don't buy the "personal evidence" thing. If it really is evidence then the evidence should support a consistent position with all people. That is, if you have personal evidence A that supports X and I have personal evidence B that supports X, that's fine. But if you have personal evidence A that supports X and I have personal evidence B that supports Y, and X and Y are mutually exclusive, then at least on of those pieces of "personal evidence" must not really be evidence.

          "All I can say is that a person is only responsible for themselves when it comes to their spirituality. If they have a personal belief that doesn't conflict with anyone else's way of live or belief...then their personal experience is evidence enough for them as an individual."

          This sounds like a copout to me. Sorry. More important, it doesn't address my biggest issue with religion in general. Religions, and Christianity in particular, teaches people that god is so limitless, so beyond us and our comprehension no objective test of his reality can be applied. Logic, facts, evidence, reason, logic, none of these are useful when discerning things of "the spirit."

          All that remains are your feelings, and it is well known our emotions can be manipulated and triggered by a variety of stimuli. Christians are taught they can't draw any useful conclusions with their minds because God is so infinite, but they're taught they can trust their hearts when people's hearts (emotions) are notoriously unreliable as a source of judgment.

          If this mindset were limited to matters of religion alone it wouldn't be so bad, but this thinking spills into other areas as well, such as politics, where just as in religion, belief trumps facts, logic, and reason.

          I have a neighbor who, when he believes something nothing can convince him he's wrong, even when he clearly is. He's convinced you can run a car on water. When I tried to explain why that's not possible at one point he told me, "Forget the laws of physics." One time the subject of infinity came up. When I told him there were different sizes of infinity he treated me as if I had no idea what I was talking about. When I said I could prove it, he said, "You can prove it to you, but not to other people." His background in math is a couple of high school math classes 50 years ago. I have a BS and an MS in applied mathematics.

          "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" — Isaac Asimov

          I blame religion in part for the pervasive notion in this country that feelings and faith are more reliable mechanisms for discerning truth from falsehood than study, evidence, and reason. If it feels right it must be true. Educating yourself about an issue is for those whose minds are too weak to just know everything. It's a form of pride and arrogance that's destroying this country.

          August 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Lycidas

          skytag- "If a Baptist says he prayed about the Book of Mormon and God told him it was false, that's in direct conflict with a Mormon would tell you. Claiming the Book of Mormon is false is not the same as saying the Baptist way is also a valid path."

          In the end what you are saying is that people do not agree. That would apply to everything we humans can ever come up with...from science to religion to philosophy.

          "A Baptist may accept Methodism as another valid path to God,..."

          Perhaps, but while spiritual experiences vary...it is guaranteed that individual humans won't agree even if they had the exact same background. Hardly the fault of the spiritual experience.

          "Nonsense. If there were only one true way it would simply mean that only those who were on that path would be successful in finding God, and most religions don't teach that everyone will find him. Christianity obviously doesn't."

          I did point out that in the Book of Romans, there was a way that those who never become Christian can still be judged by God. So being exposed to Christianity is not always needed.

          "Christianity teaches that many are called, but few are chosen; that narrow is the way; that no man cometh to the Father but by Jesus Christ. Christianity most certainly does not teach that it is only one of many paths to God."

          I disagree with your view on this. I've always thought it meant that those called to Christianity may not stay with it or even choose to join. As I said before, Romans has an answer for those who do not know of Christ.

          "I don't buy the "personal evidence" thing."

          You are more than welcome not to.

          "Logic, facts, evidence, reason, logic, none of these are useful when discerning things of "the spirit.""

          In most cases no, though sometimes facts and evidence can support one's faith.

          "Christians are taught they can't draw any useful conclusions with their minds because God is so infinite, but they're taught they can trust their hearts when people's hearts (emotions) are notoriously unreliable as a source of judgment."

          Well, I do not personally believe that. I've always felt that spirituality (like most things worthwhile) should be explored and studied. Lol, you have to admit, most of what we people do are not based on sound sources of judgment.

          "If this mindset were limited to matters of religion alone it wouldn't be so bad, but this thinking spills into other areas as well, such as politics, where just as in religion, belief trumps facts, logic, and reason."

          That is a problem with a republic...we vote based on many facets of ourselves. A person can no more take their faith out of the equation of politics then than they could their reason. It's all mixed in. Now I don't think our nation should ever pass laws based solely on a group's faith but if the population is allowed to vote en masse for something like abortions, it would be silly to think they would vote without including their spiritual stance on the topic.

          "I have a neighbor who, when he believes something nothing can convince him he's wrong,"

          Stubborn ppl are everywhere...some educated some not so much.

          "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" — Isaac Asimov

          With due respect to Asimov, there are those who have knowledge that think that knowledge trumps other people's rights and thoughts merely because they feel they know more. Sometimes the failure doesn't reside in those who are ignorant but those who have knowledge but are incapable of expressing that knowledge to others.

          "I blame religion in part for the pervasive notion in this country that feelings and faith are more reliable mechanisms for discerning truth from falsehood than study, evidence, and reason. If it feels right it must be true."

          I don't know...modern Christianity in America seems more open to reason, evidence and science. But we are human...one cannot dismiss feelings outright as if they do not matter.

          August 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • skytag

        @Lycidas: "And some Christians don't worry at all about what Mormons, atheists, Hindu..etc believe and keep to themselves."

        A complete copout answer to avoid dealing with my point. People often avoid thinking about issues that cast doubts on the credibility of their beliefs.

        "What do you say when a Mormon tells you he's had personal experiences testifying to him the Book of Mormon is true?"

        "Good for you."

        Huh?

        "What would you have me say?"

        Why did you dodge my question?

        August 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "A complete copout answer to avoid dealing with my point. People often avoid thinking about issues that cast doubts on the credibility of their beliefs."

          You are in error. I am not implying that a person live in ignorance if they don't worry about the others. They may very well know a lot about the other faiths but have arrived to their own conclusions.

          Lol, what I meant is that "Good for you" is what I would say to them. I didn't dodge the question.

          August 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • skytag

          @Lycidas: "I am not implying that a person live in ignorance if they don't worry about the others. They may very well know a lot about the other faiths but have arrived to their own conclusions."

          As someone once said, once you understand why you dismiss all the other gods you'll understand why I dismiss yours.

          August 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          Sky, you are more than welcome to believe as you will.

          August 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  5. Atheist, me?

    The principles of spirituality are same for all religions even Atheism and Agnosticism. Just that u guys like the religious differences part. Read Romans Ch. 1,2 carefully.

    August 6, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • sam stone

      blah, blah fvcking blah

      athiesm is not a religion

      shove your bible up your backside

      August 6, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • skytag

      Nothing makes you look more desperate than trying to claim atheism is a religion. If atheism is a religion then so is not believing in leprechauns. Instead of wasting your time here you should spend it doing something more useful, such as coming up with names for all the religions based on not believing in something.

      It might be helpful to come up with a formula such as a[thing not believed]ism. Then asantism could be the religion based on believing in Santa Claus and asantists could be people who don't believe in him.

      I'm an atheist, an asantist, and an avampirist, and that's just for starters.

      August 6, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Ken

      Atheism is just the opposite of theism. Ask yourself, is theism a "religion", or just the position of belief in a god, or gods? If theism isn't a religion onto itself, how can atheism be one?

      August 6, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • raincheck

      Could you list some of these principles?

      August 6, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  6. OOO

    As I'm reading this all it seems to say, over and over and over, is we (millennials specifically, for some unknown reason) need the church because it provides us with social interactions. We need the social club! (forget about whether it is true or not)

    I doubt she would contemplate becoming a hermit for Jesus, unless she could bring along a few dozen friends.

    August 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  7. Vic

    My deepest apology to "tallulah13"

    I accidentally hit the "Report abuse" hyperlink on your reply to "Sagan" at the bottom as the page jumped on me while it was loading and I was trying to put the cursor in the text box!

    August 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Athy

      Happens to me all the time. It takes a lot of abuse-button hits to do anything, so don't worry about it.

      August 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No worries. Pages on this blog seems to jump like fishes. It's really annoying.

      August 5, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Now that Rachel has explained why someone, anyone, might need the church, perhaps she can come to grips with other persistent questions. Why do fish need bicycles, for example?

    August 5, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Quite simple really

      Fish need bicycles because they fend off the dolphins, and we know how much the fish need to protect themselves from dolphins. Everyone knows dolphins hate bicycles.

      August 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  9. tony

    US Church collections have the highest margins, with the lowest product R&D and manufacturing costs of any business.

    No wonder we have so many US denominations.

    August 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Vic

      That's an invalid premise! If you apply that logic to the church, you are automatically applying it to the government, i.e. tax collections and no products making!

      August 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
      • LinCA

        @Vic

        You said, "That's an invalid premise! If you apply that logic to the church, you are automatically applying it to the government, i.e. tax collections and no products making!"
        Bullshit. Have you ever looked at the mega churches? Ever looked at "god's airforce"? The mega mansions the mega church preachers live in?

        Religion is big business in the US. Fleecing the sheeple is very profitable, even more so because the rest of the country is made to pitch in.

        August 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • Vic

          If the congregants donate all that money willingly and the church expenditure is creating jobs, it is no fleecing but a win-win situation. When rich people spend lavishly because they can afford it, than expenditure in reality is not a waste but paying people's salaries, hence job creation, hence a win-win situation. The only way it is to the contrary is if that money is stolen or extorted!

          August 5, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
        • Vic

          "..., that expenditure..."

          August 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Vic

          You said, "If the congregants donate all that money willingly and the church expenditure is creating jobs, it is no fleecing but a win-win situation."
          A dollar spent at the local grocery store probably adds a lot more to the economy and the creation of jobs, than one spent on a Lear jet.

          You said, "When rich people spend lavishly because they can afford it, than expenditure in reality is not a waste but paying people's salaries, hence job creation, hence a win-win situation."
          Again, not every dollar spent is equal in regard to economic activity. One spent at a local merchant will add far more than one spent on luxury goods.

          A dollar spent on a fast food meal will only add a few pennies to corporate profits, while a large chunk goes to raw materials and wages. The part that goes to raw materials and wages is circulated back into the economy rapidly as the farmer has to buy feed for his/her livestock and the line cook or server has to buy groceries for his/her family, etc.

          You said, "The only way it is to the contrary is if that money is stolen or extorted!"
          Or siphoned off to the Caymans, or other tax havens.

          August 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • AW

          The "fleecing" is that it's TAX FREE money, so all of us pay for it.

          I wouldn't mind nearly as much about how much money they make if they had to pay taxes like the rest of us. But they don't. Just like as a single adult I pay more taxes than a single adult with kids who works the same job at the same pay. I pay for their kids, and I pay for churches – both things that I don't participate in yet I have no choice but to support unless I want to go to jail. Cripes, if all my tax money wasn't going for that stuff and wars I don't believe in – I'd be able to take a luxurious vacation every year instead of the typical stay-cation I do because I have to pay for what everyone else chooses to do.

          August 6, 2013 at 3:00 am |
        • Thinker...

          Manufacture of complex equipment (like a lear jet) is actually quite beneficial to the economy. When you buy the jet you pay for the precision manufacture of parts for example. These parts are made by equipment that is purchased from other businesses. The parts are made from materials that are refined at other businesses. The materials to be refined come from many different sources.

          That said, I don't think megachurch leaders should be able to claim their income from the church as tax exempt.

          August 6, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • LinCA

          @Thinker...

          You said, "Manufacture of complex equipment (like a lear jet) is actually quite beneficial to the economy."
          I didn't say it wasn't. I suggest that a dollar, or 10 million, spent on a Learjet doesn't benefit the economy nearly as much as one, or ten million, spent on groceries or a meal at a restaurant.

          You said, "When you buy the jet you pay for the precision manufacture of parts for example. These parts are made by equipment that is purchased from other businesses. The parts are made from materials that are refined at other businesses. The materials to be refined come from many different sources."
          That is all true, but it takes far longer for a dollar spent on any of these to cycle through the economy. The turn-over rate, if you will, is far lower than those spent on groceries. The fraction of the dollar that is spent on wages is far more likely to be spent again within a week or two, while the turn-over for fraction for machined parts is longer, and the fraction that goes to corporate profits or executive bonuses even more so.

          The breakdown in what fraction of a dollar is spent on wages versus raw materials or parts, favors groceries when comparing economic impact.

          Also, a dollar spent at your local grocery store or restaurant helps your neighbors. It helps pay for jobs in your own community.

          You said, "That said, I don't think megachurch leaders should be able to claim their income from the church as tax exempt."
          Agreed.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        At least the gov't produces roads, ect. There is nothing religious organizations produce that can't be produced sans supersti.tion.

        August 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          LinCA
          have you done the life-cycle analysis of buying and operating a Lear jet between the US and India vs buying a 10 dollar t-shirt at a shop?
          Stop making simplistic deductions.
          You are supposed to be an intelligent Atheist.

          August 6, 2013 at 2:49 am |
        • LinCA

          @Atheist, me?

          You said, "have you done the life-cycle analysis of buying and operating a Lear jet between the US and India vs buying a 10 dollar t-shirt at a shop?"
          Yes, I have. Have you?

          You said, "Stop making simplistic deductions."
          Do you have a point, or are you just trying to deflect because, once again, believers are shown to be dimwits? If you have an argument to make, make it.

          You said, "You are supposed to be an intelligent Atheist."
          Yup, those characteristics do seem to go together. I'm surprised you noticed. You being a believer, and all.

          I do find it amusing to see that you failed to post your reply on one of my posts.

          August 7, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • sam stone

        It is a totally valid premise, Vic

        You are having a hissy fit

        August 6, 2013 at 3:32 am |
      • sam stone

        the government provides many benefits

        the church just proliferates a fantasy which, of course, provides benefits to those who believe

        only one word of god, but 41,000 different denominations.

        i guess "god" should have been a bit clearer

        August 6, 2013 at 3:37 am |
  10. lamelionheart

    Today's atheistic fanatics have tendencies to bring up religious atrocities from past histories even though today's many varied religions have long since been found marginally harmonious in today’s structures of socialized moralism and nationalized civilities.

    While worldly nationalistic pertinences are varied each according to their own citizenry’s demands, religious sovereignties around governing nationalisms are halfway censored within governing bodies here in the U.S.A. As this world's internationalisms become ever a globalization issue, many religious ambiguities are left stranded with hardly any altruistic steering currencies by which to navigate their own religious flocks toward their becoming governmentally wise.

    Therefore, is it really wise to establish rules of governmental laws being disrespectful of many religions' absorption ratios within their many varying religiously societal regimes that dare protrude righteously (but sometimes negatively) upon the social fabrics of moralistic and civilized disciplinary virtues?

    And yes, I know there are religious extremists nowadays that are fanatical on many fronts of their religious orientations. The internationally committed religions toward a unifying order of secularly religious globalization might well have to reign-in on such religious fanaticisms but at what costs to those rightly orientated religious regimes that are socially moral and civilly obedient..?

    August 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Coherence is goldie.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        It's child's play...

        August 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
        • tony

          It's ramming religious belief into impressionistic and unaware children that is evil.

          August 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Impressionism is just one of the conjurors many tools for them to use in their many so many séances... You see Tony, the young are the most malleable folds and the elderly have become couched in their unwillingness to continue on learning... There is so much to be learned and so few are found willing... My forte is I my wordage usages and I write so that others who read my words may one day in their futures realize the many truths of my words...

          August 5, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
        • Gadflie

          Unintelligible claptrap as a forte?

          August 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • sam stone

          "learning"?

          sounds more like indoctrination

          also, all history is "past history"

          August 6, 2013 at 3:49 am |
      • skytag

        lamelionheart is like the Sarah Pallin of the Belief Blog.

        August 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • sam stone

          i suspect that LL likes to impress himself with his vocabulary.

          August 6, 2013 at 4:38 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Such grandilomenti/tuduninous vociferations lessen the neurophysiological resonance of even the most cromulent of metapseudopholiosophization.
      Polysyllabic terminology obfuscates the internalization of profundities.

      If your point has merit, it can be said in a way that everyone can understand.

      August 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        D.V...

        Are not my words the words of English..? How much plainer can I write then that which I impart to be read..? If one is to understand say a mathematical writing does not one need to first understand the mathematical grammar..? If one is to understand the cosmological orders between the atomic ad the celestial and cellular cosmos, does one first need to understand their fractal sameness..?

        Therefore, the words I impart to be read by others might never be understood by the many but by those few who are of virtue to reason my wordage usages...

        August 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMTkedIUX8U&w=640&h=360]

          August 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-7uwshsfFI&w=640&h=360]

          August 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • Vic

          You are mimicking Jesus Christ's eloquence in speaking in this reply!

          August 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvMhyp4W2bw&w=640&h=360]

          August 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • skytag

        "If your point has merit"

        That's a big "if."

        " it can be said in a way that everyone can understand."

        If he did that then people would actually read it and realize how dumb that point he's trying to make is.

        August 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  11. mike

    Why is that people who want to be associated with the church still have not died to self?
    The world view of the church will always reject the Church and scriptures.

    The apostle told the belivers
    Present your body as s living living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto the Lord which is your reasonable service.

    He then ties it in with the way to think and reprogram your self.

    And be not conformed to the world but ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.

    Your mind is not renewed by the world's view of what they think church should be.

    August 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I gather that what you're trying to say is that faith in Christ can be independent of formalized religion.
      The problem for most atheists is that said faith requires the suspension of critical thinking in order to accept supernatural propositions (like miracles, resurrections and other chicanery) as ineffable, unquestionable Truth.

      August 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  12. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    Are there Christian decievers out there trying to turn the faithful away from truth? Are their false Christs doing powerful works in Christs name who Jesus says he will disown and say "I never knew you."? Are there fair weather Christians who do it for the family and the friends and couldn't quote a scripture if their life depended on it? If the answer to any or all of these questions is "Yes!" then why does it seem like every single Christian is so absolutely sure of themselves and their faith? I mean their own bible teaches that there will be many who are deceived and would be followrs of false Christs, and yet they seem to want to circle the wagons almost any time a Christian is questioned. Seems pretty silly reasoning to me.

    August 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • One one

      I have always wondered How, or if Christians were certain that they would make to heaven as opposed to hell. If people truely believed that their sins committed them to hell then there would a lot less bad behavior from Christians. This leads me to believe that, deep down inside, even self proclaimed believers don't really believe. They say they do. They may have even convinced themselves that they do. But IMO their behavior indicates they don't really believe they will have to answer to a higher authority after death.

      August 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        One,

        Christians and nonbelievers are capable of good & bad behavior. Christians can & do sin, repent, & are forgiven. This isn't a license to sin. We do our best to obey because of love. We love him because he loved us first.

        August 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • OOO

          Since they both behave the same way, I suppose belonging to a religion has no effect.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
        • Ken

          So, you're saying that Christians aren't any more moral than anyone else? What's the point then?

          August 6, 2013 at 1:07 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I've wondered why they cry at funerals. Perhaps, deep down, they question whether there will be a reunion in heaven.

        August 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I don't think Christians are "so sure of themselves" as you put it. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We have confidence in Christ, not so much in ourselves.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3wKaSkKlo8&w=640&h=360]

        August 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • fred

          love it.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        That is the best part of realizing Christianity is cr@p Robert, I now have confidence in myself and none in Christ.

        August 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  13. skytag

    If there is a god, why is it when we look at the whole of the world's religions is there nothing they all have in common? If there is a god and people are sincerely trying to understand him, as it's reasonable to believe is the case in the vast majority of religions, why doesn't he inspire those people with an accurate, consistent understanding of him and his role in the universe. Why did we get the Norse gods, the ancient Egyptian and Greek gods, Christianity, Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism and thousands of other religions if there is one God inspiring the authors of all those religions?

    What we see is consistent with what one would expect if they were all just made up by men with no divine influence whatsoever. If God wants us all to be redeemed by accepting Jesus as our personal savior why don't all religion include that concept instead of just one?

    August 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • JimK57

      Because he does not need to. There is no hel,l everything will be ok.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Cool your jets, hot shot. They're not all bad.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God is jealous. It says so in the first commandment.
      The first three commandments are concerned with keeping you in line and feeding His ego.
      He says quite explicitly to forgo all other faiths and listen only to Him.
      some Christians are like battered wives. Instead of admitting that they looked at another god, they'll simply smile and put on an obviously superficial mask of piety to avoid their Daddy's wrath.

      August 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  14. skytag

    If the Christian narrative is true: Why are only 3 in 10 people in the world Christian, and why do the majority of believers pick a religion based on chance? If you're born in Saudi Arabia, it's almost guaranteed you'll be a Muslim, but if you're born into a Christian family here it's almost certain you'll be a Christian. Where you're born is by far the biggest (though not an absolute) indicator of what your religious beliefs will be. Does God send people he doesn't want to get to Heaven to countries where they are highly unlikely to be Christian?

    August 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Athy

      That's one of the main reasons I'm atheist (other than the sheer absurdity of a god). There is just no consensus among all the various religions. That's precisely what one would expect if they were all made up by people with absolutely no guidance from a deity.

      August 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
      • skytag

        Same here. I just want to see if one of the believers will take a shot at it. I've posed this question many times and never gotten an answer.

        August 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
        • Barnade75

          You never will get a good answer other than the excuse from their kind that everyone has heard of jesus and needs to make a choice or off to hades with them.

          Asking this kind of question is about as useful as having questionable relations with a brick and hoping it'll call you the next day.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • skytag

      @AE: "Yes, I can ask God."

      Good. Ask him my question and let me know what he says.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • AE

        My pastor once spoke about God choosing us.

        She said something like: you had about the same chance of choosing your God as you had in choosing your parents. Which sounds kind of like what you are saying.

        I guess, if I feel I have been blessed, and God has given me so much more than others, I should start sharing that gift.

        August 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • skytag

          You didn't answer my question.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
        • AE

          I don't think people who live in other countries or who are not Christian are excluded from heaven.

          So I can't answer your hypothetical question about your understanding of God.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          That's clearly false as you have no choice in your parents, even if most believers are indoctrinated at a young age it is still an available choice to seek knowledge and answers.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
        • sam stone

          If god chose you rather than vice versa, doesn't that defeat the concept of free will?

          If so, do you seriously consider a god who would punish you for him not choosing you to be just, or worthy of worship?

          August 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • AE

          I think what matters is what I do now.

          Do I sacrifice my life for this God who has blessed me and given me everything I need?

          Or do I go own living for my own selfish desires?

          August 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          i would suggest selfish desires

          it doesn't matter, an omniscient god knows what you are going to do before you are born

          August 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I don't think people who live in other countries or who are not Christian are excluded from heaven."

          I didn't say anything about people in other countries being excluded from heaven, only that where you are born plays an major role in determining what your religious beliefs will be. As for being a Christian, according to the Bible, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." — John 14:6

          There are hundreds of Christian churches. There is almost nothing they all have in common. One of the very few exceptions is the belief that salvation comes through accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

          Are you now saying that isn't true? And if so, why do you tell people to read the Bible to aid in their search for God?

          August 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I think what matters is what I do now."

          I agree, so maybe you should spend more time thinking and less time regurgitating platitudes to avoid dealing with unpleasant realities.

          "Do I sacrifice my life for this God who has blessed me and given me everything I need?
          Or do I go own living for my own selfish desires?"

          In argumentation theory this is known as a false dilemma logical fallacy because it only offers two options, while there is a third viable option. Serving the needs of others and of society as a whole does not require believing in a god. It is a natural instinct in social animals. The bee dies when it stings you to protect the hive, making the ultimate, selfless sacrifice. In many social species the group will fend off predators as a group.

          Collective societies benefit their members, and hence there is an incentive to put the needs of the group and other members ahead of your "own selfish desires." By helping others you increase the chances they will help you. You protect other people's children expecting they'll protect yours.

          Churches encourage people to put the needs of others and the group ahead of their own self-interests, and this is one of the good things about religion, but it doesn't require your belief in God to be justified. It's not God doing the good, it's you and your fellow members. The God myth just gives you added encouragement.

          Remember, billions of people who believe or have believed in gods other than the Christian god have done the same thing over the course of history.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Lycidas

      "If the Christian narrative is true: Why are only 3 in 10 people in the world Christian,"

      So you consider the percentages a valid way to judge truth? If that was the case, atheism is the most untrue of all. If the "reality" of reality was so plain to see as most atheists seem to feel....then there should be more atheists than religious out there.

      "Where you're born is by far the biggest (though not an absolute) indicator of what your religious beliefs will be."

      That is somewhat true. Could be quite a few atheists that fall into that as well. Their family were atheist and thus..they are as well.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • skytag

        "So you consider the percentages a valid way to judge truth?"

        Have you ever noticed how whenever someone purports to represent another person's opinion with a question that starts with "so" it never actually represents what the other person really believes?

        I asked a question. Instead of answering you responded with a straw man argument. Thanks for playing.

        August 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Hey

          if you ask a difficult question and someone tries to answer, don't be a jerk. you wonder why you don't get answers? because you are hostile, rude and a know-it-all.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Have you ever noticed how whenever someone purports to represent another person's opinion with a question that starts with "so" it never actually represents what the other person really believes?"

          You could always clarify you know? I didn't say that is what you outright thought...I gave you an avenue to clarify your position.

          "I asked a question. Instead of answering you responded with a straw man argument. Thanks for playing."

          Yes, you asked a question..so? I was merely looking at the layout of your reasoning and consider it to be false. I offered no straw man, I simply took your theory and applied it to atheism. You shouldn't consider it false because if your theory is correct, it should apply just as smoothly.

          Personally, I reject group think. I don't care if 100% of humanity is Christian or 100% would be atheist....that does not make something more true.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
        • AE

          "So...." statement. True, thank you.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • skytag

          @Hey: "if you ask a difficult question and someone tries to answer, don't be a jerk."

          I don't appreciate straw man arguments that change what I'm asking. That's intellectually dishonest. As I write this on one has tried to answer my question. Some have responded to it, but none of those responses attempted to answer it.

          "you wonder why you don't get answers?"

          Not at all. I don't get answers because no one has answers consistent with the Christian narrative to give. My answer is that there is no god. If there is no god every religion is just what some people made up to explain that which their current understanding of the world was not adequate to explain. Once people create gods to explain phenomenon then they start building religions around them. They're sincere, but since it's all coming out of their imaginations it's to be expected that two religions started by people who had no contact with each other would be very different.

          "because you are hostile, rude and a know-it-all."

          Boo hoo. Sorry if I've lost patience with all the preachy people avoiding reasonable questions. I'm tired of platitudes and standard Christian sound bites.

          If believing in Jesus is essential to salvation, I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask why most of the people born in this world will never have a chance to even hear about that essential requirement. If Christians can't answer questions like this why should I believe they have the correct understanding of God? If people have no answer I at least want them to realize they have no answer.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • Barnade75

          Lycidas is incapable of answering such a question, as it would require thought.

          Many atheists come from religious families. MANY. I'm one of them. Religion is often the path to atheism. It results in atheism. Why? Because there is no god.

          Take note that no evidence of a god exists anywhere. Now, according to the old testament, one of the gods (the war-like being worshiped by the Hebrew people) was very into showing off. "Oh look at me, I'm throwing brimstone at sinners!" In other words, it had no problem letting people know it existed by putting on violent displays of childish rage.

          And then it suddenly stops. Suddenly, it is only willing to operate under the cover of faith? Puhlease. Why is that? Simple answer: people got fed-up with the fairy tales. All these stories of angry god-hammer got old when this god in the Torah never showed up to do anything the book said it would.

          So, they made up a new cult with a fresh beefy new look. It too is a flop. And just like the cult it was based on, it's losing lots of traction. It's going to fall flat on its face right into a dumpster full of rotting cabbage and cheese. Right where it belongs.

          You can tell who has and hasn't read the bible.

          Those who haven't are called christians.

          Those that have are called atheists.

          Here's how to go about answering the original question:

          If you have to somehow justify the answer as being "ok," then it's wrong. Once you realize that every answer ends in sadness and eternal punishment for billions of people, then maybe, JUST MAYBE, you'll realize you're worshiping something that does not exist. As a believer, you will never be able to answer that question without some nagging question, no matter how distant in the back of your head, asking you "WHY, WHY WOULD A LOVING GOD EVER PUT INNOCENT PEOPLE IN HELL JUST FOR BEING BORN SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN IN MISSISSIPPI WHERE THEY CAN LEARN ABOUT THE LOVELY JESUS AND WHITE POWER?"

          Thankfully, god does not exist.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Barnade75

          Are you implying that religious people are incapable of thought?

          August 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
        • Hey

          "You can tell who has and hasn't read the bible.

          Those who haven't are called christians.

          Those that have are called atheists."

          quite possibly the most arrogant, the most smuggest and the most immodest comments ever posted on this blog. yech

          August 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
        • Barnade75

          Dave. No. I specifically named Lycidas the Slow.

          And to Hey, it is merely an observation. Based on the scripture in the bible, anyone that reads through all of it inevitably becomes an atheist. Otherwise, they're just skimming, not paying any attention, etc. That's a fact. Sorry if you don't like it. But it doesn't change anything.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • Hey

          hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha i hope your are just trolling and not serious,because that is the most dumbest thing ever posted on this blog. good ones, you almost had me for a sec

          August 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • Barnade75

          Hey, read Matthew 24.

          After reading it, get back to me and explain why christians exist after reading jesus' words in that chapter.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • Hey

          you want me to try and answer for all christians? or do you think you will show me something shocking that you think christians are trying to hide from me? im familiar with those verses – the world will end someday but we don't know when – shocking!

          August 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
        • Barnade75bot

          Ohhhhhhnooooooo, you oooobiviously dont knoooow it as well as mmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee.
          smug comments, some totally wrong interpretation of what jesus meant, something to infer atheists are superior to christians. smug, arrogant, immodest. blech

          August 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
        • Lycidas

          @Barnade75- "Lycidas is incapable of answering such a question, as it would require thought."

          Always nice to see a ad hominem right off the bat. Shows where the rest of this will be going.

          "Take note that no evidence of a god exists anywhere."

          By no evidence, you mean scientific evidence. You ignore personal experience.
          Of course though, there is no scientific evidence of the unspoken contrary pov....that man made the concept of god.

          "Oh look at me, I'm throwing brimstone at sinners!"

          Please cite the Tanakh source for this "brimstone" blabber you are going on about. I bet you can't.

          "And then it suddenly stops."

          I love that you make an argument based only on your factless opinions and then confirm that by more of your factless opinions. Priceless.

          "So, they made up a new cult with a fresh beefy new look."

          You have evidence to back this up? You imply that they got tired of it and actively decided to make a new cult. Provide evidence.

          "It's going to fall flat on its face right into a dumpster full of rotting cabbage and cheese. Right where it belongs."

          You have strong faith in this.

          "You can tell who has and hasn't read the bible."

          I'm reading the comments of one of those people right now.

          "WHY, WHY WOULD A LOVING GOD EVER PUT INNOCENT PEOPLE IN HELL JUST FOR BEING BORN SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN IN MISSISSIPPI WHERE THEY CAN LEARN ABOUT THE LOVELY JESUS AND WHITE POWER?"

          Please, from a infinite and all knowing perspective...answer your own question. Oh that's right...you can't. What a shame.
          HAHAHa...running off the rails there aren't you Rev Jackson? Oh sorry, that's some other guy making wild claims mixed with racial stuff. Both of you seem so much alike.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • skytag

          @I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that: "Barnade75: Are you implying that religious people are incapable of thought?"

          Obviously some of them have to be to come up with all the creative rationalizations they use to dismiss various dilemmas such as the one I proposed initially. But many are clearly incapable of intelligent thought, particularly when it comes to religious topics. Those people are easily identified by their heavy reliance on simplistic platitudes (such as "Prayer changes things"), spamming discussions with Bible verses, giving standard, canned Christian responses to questions, using tortured logic, and so on.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:13 am |
        • skytag

          @Lycidas: "Always nice to see a ad hominem"

          That was an insult, but not an ad hominem. An ad hominem argument is one in you are attacked instead of your argument. But your response was a straw man argument that avoided my question, so there wasn't really an argument to refute.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • Barnade75

          Hey, you aren't familiar with it. You completely missed what was in that chapter. Specifically the timing. It's in every translation.

          But as predicted, you just. Don't. Get. It.

          Read it again, and stop pretending like you actually read it, and actually read it.

          And to Lycidas, I'm not going to bother myself with reading another one of your ridiculous responses. You're one of the most ignorant people to have ever posted anything online since the days of BBS.

          I like how some of you pseudo intellects make aggressive attempts to come off as though you were deep thinkers, but the fact of the matter is that your only real understanding of your own faith is what your pastor has told you. Source: I used to be a christian.

          For those of you too lazy or afraid to read Matthew 24, you'll find multiple lies made by jesus in that chapter.

          If you have any self respect, you'll not ignore those lies. If you're just the typical christian sheep, well, I know what your response will be.

          I really don't care if you think I'm arrogant. I get to enjoy life because I'm not trapped, believing in some primitive texts written by idiots. It's a great feeling to be free of that. If you don't like it, oh well. The beauty of being an atheist is that we don't feel some need to save your soul from an imaginary friend. If you choose to continue being an ignorant idiot full of false hope in something proven time and again by its own admission to be a complete lie and fabrication, by all means, you go on and keep choosing stupidity over reality.

          After you've passed on, you won't know you wasted your entire life believing in something that isn't real anyway. Because there is no heaven. And most certainly no god.

          August 6, 2013 at 9:56 am |
        • skytag

          @Lycidas: "You could always clarify you know? I didn't say that is what you outright thought...I gave you an avenue to clarify your position."

          I posed a well-articulated question. There was no "position" to clarify.

          "Yes, you asked a question..so? I was merely looking at the layout of your reasoning and consider it to be false."

          More excuses. It's a fact that only 3 in 10 people in this world are Christians. It's a fact that where you are born is the most significant (but not the only) factor in determining what your religious beliefs will be.

          What you did was look for a way to avoid dealing with the reality about which I was asking, that 70% of the world's population won't be saved, according to the Bible, because they haven't accepted Christ as their savior, and in the vast majority of cases it's due to a circumstance of fate.

          I want to know how Christians rationalize this with their belief the Christian God is a fair god who loves all his children equally.

          " I offered no straw man, I simply took your theory and applied it to atheism"

          If you want to change "Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and hundred of other religions" to "Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, hundred of other religions and atheism" for the purpose of my question, that's fine by me. It's just a slight extension of my point, not a counter to it.

          "Personally, I reject group think. I don't care if 100% of humanity is Christian or 100% would be atheist....that does not make something more true."

          Apparently you reject logical reasoning as well when you don't like where it leads.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Lycidas

          skytag- "I posed a well-articulated question. There was no "position" to clarify."

          You did pose a question but I asked for clarification. Therefor it wasn't articulated well enough.

          "More excuses. It's a fact that only 3 in 10 people in this world are Christians. It's a fact that where you are born is the most significant (but not the only) factor in determining what your religious beliefs will be."

          No...not even one excuse.

          "What you did was look for a way to avoid dealing with the reality"

          Never avoided reality before...not doing so now.

          "I want to know how Christians rationalize this with their belief the Christian God is a fair god who loves all his children equally."

          Some might offer you this:
          For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14-16)"

          It would appear that if one is not a Christian, then there is still the judgement of their own concious. So God has still covered all the bases within Christiaity.

          "Apparently you reject logical reasoning as well when you don't like where it leads."

          Nope..haven't done that either.

          August 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • sam stone

        "So you consider the percentages a valid way to judge truth? "

        It is as valid as faith

        August 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Athy

      While the percentages may not be a valid way to judge truth, they certainly hint at it.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Vic

      While your premise may be true, it is plausible that it would make one an agnostic and/or a deist (a combo type or so) but I don't see that as a basis for not believing in the existence of God at all! Faith/Belief in the existence of God, at all, is different from believing in a specific religion.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • skytag

        I asked a simple question and you apparently have no answer. It's a simple question. You want people to believe Christian is essential to salvation, but most of the world's population is born in some part of the world where's it's extremely unlikely they'll ever have a chance to become a Christian. That makes no sense to me if what you believe is true. If God loves all of his children wouldn't he want all of them to at least a fair shot at becoming a Christian?

        August 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • Hey

          death is not the final outcome!

          August 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          It almost certainly is, unfortunately.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "I asked a simple question and you apparently have no answer. It's a simple question."

          How is it simple? You said yourself that it makes no sense to you.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • Hey

          look out! he is going to write a 10 paragraph essay demonstrating how simple his question was lol

          August 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • Barnade75

          Lycidas the servant of mediocrity, how odd. You and your ilk always like to say that your war-god gives you understanding. Yet, it cannot assist you in answering one question that might result in saving this poor chap's soul, currently on the path to eternal torture by the hand of the loving jesus? How odd indeed!

          August 5, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Lycidas the servant of mediocrity, how odd."

          No I'm not. Blam...see how easy it is to prove you wrong.

          "You and your ilk always like to say that your war-god gives you understanding."

          I have no war-god...you are talking out your @ss again.

          "..this poor chap's soul, currently on the path to eternal torture by the hand of the loving jesus? How odd indeed!"

          You feel you have a soul? How odd.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Lycidas

          In the Canaanite and early Jewish pantheon, Yahweh was a war-god, or possibly a storm-god.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That's assuming you're a Christian, Jew or Muslim. Apologies if you're not.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "In the Canaanite and early Jewish pantheon, Yahweh was a war-god, or possibly a storm-god."

          I am neither Canaanite or Jewish and I still have no war-god.
          Heck, Yahweh had a wife to some of them but I wouldn't tell those that believe in God that they have to believe the way they did.
          In "Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah", it is said that the worship of Yahweh is unique to Judah and Israel.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwdba9C2G14&w=640&h=360]

        August 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
      • sam stone

        vic: are you talking deism or are you going to go to that "it's not a religion, it's following jesus" nonsense?

        August 6, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      only 2% of us are atheist but 100% of atheist don't believe in God. Do 100% of Christians agree on any single piece of bible doctrine? Some can't even agree whether he's one God or three and whether or not his son is God or just the son of God...

      August 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
      • Lycidas

        Hmm, this is bordering upon being a No True Scotsman Fallacy I think.

        August 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • Barnade75

          That's what you get for trying to think.

          First, I recommend figuring out what this really means. No one implied that people aren't "real" christians. This is nowhere near the borderline implication you stupidly claim.

          Second, it validates the original question in that the multiple denominations of the broad parent cult of christianity will result in multiple interpretations. It is correct that their kind are incapable of agreeing on minor issues. Just look at you and your buddies clamor to answer a question... Typing your responses with different interpretations. The only thing any of your kind have in common is the fact that you all do your best to wildly avoid the question directly because you all know it destroys the credibility of Christianity and all other religions.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Lycidas

          @Barnade75- "No one implied that people aren't "real" christians. This is nowhere near the borderline implication you stupidly claim."

          Your opinion is noted...I suggest you developing your reading comprehension.

          "It is correct that their kind are incapable of agreeing on minor issues."

          "their kind"? Nothing at all bias sounding in that now is there?

          "The only thing any of your kind have in common is the fact that you all do your best to wildly avoid the question directly because you all know it destroys the credibility of Christianity and all other religions."

          What kind is that? My gosh all you do is guess. Try reasoning and facts some time will ya?

          August 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jedidiah Palosaari

      As a scientist, I object deeply to the notion that truth is somehow connected to an election or voting, as if 3/10 is worse than 7/10 or better than 1/10 for determining a truth paradigm. If the evidence leads to the truth, so be it. I care not a fig how many believe it.

      August 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  15. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    I had a severe existential crisis over the weekend. It suddenly hit me that I'm going to die and my consciousness will cease to exist. I've pondered this before obviously but this was the first time I envisaged nothingness. It was terrifying. As long as people fear death, belief in superst.ition will remain as people don't want to accept the fact that their consciousness will very likely cease to exist after they die.

    August 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I had two uncles who died within a few months of each other. The first was a young man, hard drinker, day laborer, left nothing behind and there wasn't even a preacher to say a prayer when we buried him. The other was older, respected, church elder, left a loving family, the preacher said it was the easiest eulogy he ever gave. People wept for the loss of the younger but wept for the joy of the latter. The stark comparison was the closest I've ever come to understanding the difference between everlasting life in union with love eternal and the dissipation of sinful wages.

      August 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        You lost me on the last sentence.

        August 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          One man passed on into the hearts and memories of his children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors who celebrate his life and faith in their on going commemoration of ideals and values. They will likewise pass that faith and love onto the next generation. The other passed away into oblivion.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • skytag

          Bill, according to you God created both of them. Why did they turn out so different?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          We all pass away into oblivion. I'm reminded of the quote from the epilogue of Barry Lyndon.

          "It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now."

          August 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • sam stone

          i would suspect that the one who did not have kids had a more fun life

          August 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • skytag

        I know the Christian narrative tells you this, but there is no evidence to support it. It's just one of the things that makes the Christian narrative so appealing.

        August 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • ME II

        @Bill Deacon,
        Are you saying that the poor believer who dies alone and deti.tute is somehow less than your well-loved church elder, simply by virtue of his circu.mstance?

        August 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        "the dissipation of sinful wages." do you mean "dispensation"?

        August 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • tallulah13

        And now both your uncles are dead, so it matters little to them what you think of them. You will never know who truly grieves for them. Even a hard drinking, day laborer can have people who loves him, and even a church elder can have people who dislike him. Attendance at a funeral is not an accurate measure of a life.

        August 6, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • fred

      I have had doctors tell me that what appears to be terror the few moments before death is just the body reacting in normal fight / flight response. I ask them how they know that and they admit they don't.

      How can nothingness be terrifying if it does not exist? The Bible speaks of hell as separation from God. When Christ took upon himself the penalty of death for us he experienced separation from God for the first time (my God my God why hast thou forsaken me).

      August 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Être-pour-soi, as Sartre would have said. The nothingness of being, not the nothingness of existence.

        August 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • sam stone

        allowing others to take the punishment you deserve is about as immoral as you can get. yet not only do christians flock to it, they fvcking brag about it

        August 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • fred

          It has to do with reconciling Gods infinite mercy with perfect justice. Mercy demands no consequences yet justice demands consequences. God does not have compartments so the two attributes work at the same time. Jesus steps in satisfying the consequence of the offense in full thus both mercy and justice reflect perfection.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
        • Barnade75

          fred, jesus told his contemporaries he'd return before they died. He was a liar. Jesus' own words nullify christianity completely.

          Try again.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
        • fred

          Barnade75
          No, the verses you refer to have been explained over and over as pertaining to, destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, the transfiguration and Pentecost.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
        • Barnade75

          The apologist excuse for jesus' lies are incorrect. Your lies are incorrect, Fred. Read the words as they are, and not as you wish them to be.

          This concludes your schooling.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • fred

          Bernade 75
          The Bible contains a great deal of poetic flow that reflected the culture of the time. There is no way one could reasonably think it is to be taken literally in many cases. Jesus himself made it clear he speaks in parables for a specific purpose.

          As to the standard atheist sound bite Jesus lied about his return let's look at the complete truth. Mathew, Mark and Luke speak to the same statement that some among you will not taste death until you see the Son of God coming in his kingdom (or kingdom of God come with power). The issue is that most atheist cannot understand the kingdom of God. If you were a Jew in days of Jesus you would have drawn the same conclusion atheists do today because they believed the kingdom of God was a final Kingdom under God as King with the Romans eradicated. God would arrive and like King David restore the chosen people in their promised land. What they failed to see was Christ and what the rejected was Christ and who they crucified was Christ. "blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the kingdom of God"- the exodus or freedom was from sin, Satan and death not the Romans. Christ came to set the captives free. The kingdom of God is not a place with a temple but simple acceptance of Christ as King and full submission to Christ. Once you do that you are free from sin (all forgiven) and its consequences death. You will not taste death before you see the kingdom. John called this being born again of the Spirit. That happened at Pentecost when the kingdom of God came with power and filled the Apostles then 3,000 were saved and Christianity was off and running.

          August 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Barnade75

        Fred, are you saying that animals burn in hell when they die? They seem to react in much the same way as humans at the time of death.

        August 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
        • fred

          The concept of hell is mans attempt to describe what existence would be like outside the influence of God. Man was made in the image of God (life eternal ) for Gods purpose. If you reject your purpose I have no idea what that eternity really would look like. Could just be an empty void.
          Animals do not have capacity to worship.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
        • Barnade75

          You completely sidestepped the issue, as usual.

          The bible speaks of more than one god, by the way. You should read it.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
        • fred

          I am only aware of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit under the Godhead. The rest we are warned about.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
        • Anjil

          fred, what do you believe happens to animals when they die?

          August 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • Barnade75

          Incorrect. The bible talks about more than one god. In exodus, the Hebrew war-god states it will punish other gods. Apologists claim that the war-god is saying it will punish false idols. In other words, they try to make the claim that the war-god will punish inanimate objects. Yeah. That's a believable scenario.

          The bible names Greek myth gods by name. Specifically Hades and Tartarus. Both of these names represent those gods and the domains of their rule.

          Now, why would that be in the bible? Keep in mind that these mentions are in the New Testament. This means that the writers, even after jesus died, believed in other gods. If the bible was written by god through man, then clearly this is not a mistake and the god of the New Testament wants everyone to know about the war-god of the Old Testament, the Egyptian gods it was at war with, along with the Greek gods, and a few other gods mentioned in the bible.

          The fact of the matter is that no gods exist.

          August 6, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • fred

          Anjil
          Dust to dust ....we are all animals and simply die and return to the ground. Any thought about afterlife relies on some form of existence other than the natural around us. Man is body and spirit with the sprit having permanence. I don't know if there is anything in other animals that has awareness outside of the moment.

          August 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  16. CommonSensed

    Con game and hucksters not needed for those who think for themselves.

    Have a nice day.

    August 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • AE

      Where is the con? The people in need I see get helped, are they stealing my time and resources that I could otherwise just use on my self?

      August 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • Joan

        Yeah, those "witches" that christianity burned at the stake, they needed "help". It's always the same old deal with religion,"look at all the goodies we give out, don't mind the maggots and the horrors..."

        August 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • AE

          Uh, I wasn't even alive then. Nor was anyone at my church. Come on!

          August 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
        • ou812

          Were you there during that time? Wow !!!!! You must be full of stories. Please share with us.Tell us about the witches and the crusades. You do know what the crusades were actually about don't you?

          August 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • ME II

          "African Children Denounced As 'Witches' By Christian Pastors"
          (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/18/african-children-denounce_n_324943.html)

          August 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • AE

          I've never been to Africa. My church provides aid to a country in eastern Kenya though. But that article is not about my church or anyone I know.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          AE
          as an African I just wish there were more people like you. Indeed u r a true Christian and I love you as myself!

          August 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          ou
          what about those who have declared themselves witches right there in your country?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          The idea that you give/perform/act now in hopes of a benefit that is, by its nature, unknowable, unverifiable, and non-refundable could be viewed as the best con ever dreamt of.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "Uh, I wasn't even alive then. Nor was anyone at my church. Come on!"

          No, you were not, but your Churches doctrine was, and it was being used by the Church leaders to commit heinous acts for more than a thousand years. And only 150 years ago it was being used to justify owning humans, 60 years ago it was used to justify incarcerating mixed race couples and today it is used to dehumanize gays and immigrants and anyone who might not feel all that jolly each December. Organized religion is a tool used to separate and segregate and can no longer hide behind it's billboard messages of hope and peace when it's investing so heavily in war and praying for Armageddon to come and wipe away its enemies who it can see as none other than those who disagree with it. Is it any wonder why many have turned their backs on it? I would be surprised if religion wasn't hemorrhaging members like a cleanly sliced carotid artery.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          "Uh, I wasn't even alive then. Nor was anyone at my church. Come on!"

          Yet the concept of original sins

          Were you or any member of your church alive then?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • AE

          God is knowable and verifiable.

          He is just hidden. But you can know Him. You can verify what He says.

          The con was when I lived just for myself. When I thought it was my life.

          Now I know it is a gift from God.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • sam stone

          that was supposed to read "yet the concept of original sin survives"

          August 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          AE

          Do you maintain a claim of ownership on gifts you give to others?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • sam stone

          verifiable?

          go for it

          August 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • AE

          Just the Facts Ma'am...

          My church opposes slavery. We offer help to those still caught up in slavery (which still exists today in America).

          We certainly are not against mixed races, gays or immigrants.

          Our actions and words speak to the contrary.

          Not every Christian did the negative things you outline. I think it is a human problem, because all those issues existed before and after Christianity. I think some people, who happened to use their Christianity as an excuse, did those things.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • AE

          –Do you maintain a claim of ownership on gifts you give to others?–

          I don't think I should.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I've never been to Africa. My church provides aid to a country in eastern Kenya though. But that article is not about my church or anyone I know."

          Irrelevant. What's relevant is that once people decide to believe in a god out of thin air it's inevitable they're going to decide to believe other things for which there is no evidence.

          This is a fundamental problem in relying exclusively on faith. With nothing objective anyone can use to test any claim people can claim all kinds of stuff and even if it's wrong no one can prove it's wrong. If someone said you were a witch, for example, could you prove you aren't? No, you couldn't. If someone came to you and said God spoke to him, could you verify it either way? No, you couldn't.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          AE

          So, if you believe that life is a gift from Yahweh, surely you believe that it's your life and not his?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • AE

          @Sam Stone
          - verifiable? -

          If you seek humility – you can find God.

          Seek humility by praying to God and asking Him to reveal His will for you.

          Confess to God where you have been wrong, how you have harmed others and where you have failed to do the right thing in your life. Confess these flaws to another person, like a minister, psychiatrist or trusted friend.

          Try to think less about yourself and more of others. Try to serve people whenever you get a chance and share all that you have.

          Try to live this way for 2 weeks and see if you begin to know God better.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • AE

          skytag

          –If someone came to you and said God spoke to him, could you verify it either way? No, you couldn't.–

          Yes, I can ask God.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • AE

          -Dave
          -So, if you believe that life is a gift from Yahweh, surely you believe that it's your life and not his?

          Are you trying to compare me giving a gift to someone, to God giving life to me?

          Because it is different.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          AE

          A gift is a gift.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          "God is knowable and verifiable.
          He is just hidden."

          lol (sure, there's more but that's funny)

          "... But you can know Him. You can verify what He says."

          So you claim. 'Believe and you will have proof, but if you believe you don't need proof.'

          "The con was when I lived just for myself. When I thought it was my life.
          Now I know it is a gift from God."

          Even if true, that would just be a mistake.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
        • AE

          God's ways are not human ways. Imagining God doing things the way I do things is foolish.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "God's ways are not human ways." And yet, the only words used to describe heaven or heII and these supposedly unknowable things are so very human. The heat from heII would not bother a disembodied spirit with no flesh to burn. The fluffy clouds of heaven would appeal not to our imagined ethereal forms nor would the melodies of harps without physical ears to hear. Everything contained in these fictions is of man as is evidenced by the very terrestrial nature of the words used to describe them. What image do you hold of God in your head? One of a baby in a manger? An emaciated hippy on a cross? A wise beared King upon a throne? A warrior knight on horseback? Not one would have any resemblence to the reaility of an eternal God, so why would any actual all powerful all knowing deity continue to endorse these fake visions of himself as a speck of dust compared to the reaility that an eternal God must embody?

          August 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • sam stone

          AE: Wow, if you meditate with an open heart on stuff you already believe in, it will be verified. Brilliant example of circular logic

          August 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • skytag

        @AE: "Yes, I can ask God."

        You can ask, and then what? How will he answer so you know it's God giving you an answer and not some feeling coming from within you?

        August 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • AE

          If somebody tells me God says something... ...and they don't sound like they are full of it, I will pray on it.

          An answer may come in many forms. Or no answer may come. I may just have to make a decision and do the best I can.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  17. Saved and tolerant

    A close friend of mine is going after his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and is a devout Christian of some denomination. Very creative and intelligent, and never stops questioning ideas. For some reason however, your average store clerk and CNN belief blog reader who has read Hitchens once claims to seems to think they surpass my friend's intelligence just because they don't believe in something that can't be disproven. Hilarious.

    August 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • AE

      Very true.

      August 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      Has your friend ever questioned the need to be "saved"?

      August 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • Saved and tolerant

        When he was chasing after his bachelors in physics, oh yea, he rode that gravy train through most of his master's degree. Hated that faith was completely irrational, and I had to listen to it the whole time. Eventually he shut up though. It was kind of nice. Not sure what the revelation was, but it must have been a biggie.

        August 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • sam stone

          Well, whatever worked for him is fine. It does not apply to anyone else

          August 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • ME II

          Did he get married somewhere around that time?

          August 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • Vic

          I believe it is a common misconception that faith/belief in God is irrational. It's not that it is irrational but unstructured consciousness that you can not explain. Faith/belief in God is very logical by reason, yet the method of detection, i.e. sentience, intuition and inspiration, is the unstructured consciousness part.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          1) I would suggest that "unstructured consciousness that you can not explain" is actually irrational, or " not governed by or according to reason" as m-w.com puts it.
          2) What the heck is "unstructured consciousness"?

          August 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      S&T,

      Tell your friend to stop compartmentalizing his logic and reason and use it in all parts of his life.

      August 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
      • AE

        I think his friend is actually more qualified to teach you about logic and reason.

        August 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Not if he believes in a god that is unsubstantiated by actual fact.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • AE

          That is what you as.sume.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Actually, there is no indisputable evidence that any god exists. It's not an assumption. It's a fact.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • AE

          God gives His proof.

          You need to ask God yourself.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          AE i'm sure, like most Christians, asks God things in prayer all the time and his God answers him by having that little voice in his head keep tellin him over and over that he is right. It's like a little Tony Robins in your head cheering you on when you make a decision. That is AE's God and he talks to it every day and it always has good things to say about continuing to talk to it as if it's God...

          August 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Sorry, AE. Special feelings are not proof of god. They are simply special feelings, produced by any number of real or imaginary experiences, or chemical reactions. I used to believe very deeply that a god existed (not always the christian god) but one day I realized I believed because I wanted to believe. When I actually did my homework and considered why and what I believed, I could no longer maintain that belief.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Obviously as a mechanical engineer he must study some amount of science and know about established science, cause and effect, hypotheses and reasoned solutions.
      What evidence does your friend have for a god.

      August 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Saved and tolerant

        As far as I know/listened to, it boiled down to the Big Bang, and whether or not it occurred by godly intention or purely by chance.

        August 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • tallulah13

          So your friend didn't know an answer, and decided because he didn't know that answer, god must have done it. Good thing he's an engineer. With problem solving skills like his, he'd never make it in a field where curiosity is required.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        But no evidence. It seems strange that someone whose work requires logic and reason would discard that in his personal life.

        August 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • AE

          Human beings are not logical and reasonable. Not one is. You might imagine you are.

          Science is the study of the natural world. Not a formula on how to live our lives.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, but a scientist must base his/her work on observable, repeatable evidence. There is no such test that a god has passed. We get people posting on here saying that because the wind cannot be seen but we can detect it then by analogy god must exist, but we can devise experiments to prove that what we hear and feel is in fact the wind. As I said there is no such test for god.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
        • AE

          Humbly seek God.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • AE

          If I want to know about science, I'll ask a scientist.

          If I want to know your personal philosophy, I'll ask you.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          That's right AE have the last word and take your ball home.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          If you don't want to hear from atheists don't post your delusions on a public forum.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
        • Saved and tolerant

          Santa this is a belief blog, if you don't want to hear from believers then don't post your opinion on public belief forums.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "your average store clerk and CNN belief blog reader who has read Hitchens once claims to seems to think they surpass my friend's intelligence just because they don't believe in something that can't be disproven. Hilarious."

      You claim to be "tolerant" yet you denigrate others . Store clerks and blog readers are not necessarily stupid. And they can form opinions without having to read the works of others.

      You claim to have no idea what changed your friend's mind. Perhaps you should ask. I suspect it has it's roots in an emotional experience, not in logical deduction.

      August 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • Saved and tolerant

        I'm tolerant about different belief structures until the insults from the intolerant start flying, that is what I was referring to. And yea, I wouldn't discount some emotional ties or some deep seeded family roots in theology. There's just no reason to say someone is inferior to someone else just because they believe in something irrational that gets them through their daily lives. It only serves to separate people from people rather than people from ideas.

        August 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          And if cocaine gets them through the day is that OK too?

          August 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Saved and tolerant

          Santa

          What? You can't honestly think that's a valid question considering the topic we're discussing. Red herring, a classic emotional response. Some people choose mary jane, some people choose religion, some people choose poetry. What's it to you how they get through their day? Are you that insecure about your own personal convictions that you can't let others express theirs? Let them believe in it, if they so choose. Nobody in this thread is shoving it down your throat, and even if they did, you voluntarily came to a belief blog about...what for it...belief.

          August 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
      • Saved and tolerant

        This is regarding your above response on my other post, since there's no reply button beneath it.

        "Well I would imagine that unless someone has the resources to investigate things further like what happened before the Big Bang, if there even was a "before", then they would probably investigate. However, as of today nobody has those specific resources. Its all purely hypothesizing then testing it against other theories. No reason to knock someone. Unless you're insecure about your own intellect, that is."

        August 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Yet you did not refer to insults from others. You started name-calling right out of the blocks. Your "tolerance" exists only in your imagination.

        August 6, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Peregrine

      S&T, My with just started her phd program in predictive anylytics (to go along with finance and accounting undergrads and masters in criminal fraud management and business) and she is an atheist. In her fields she is brilliant. For some reason however any store clerk or CNN blogger who has read the bible thinks that they surpass her intelligence just because they believe something that cannot be proven.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
      • Nonsense

        Its annoying, right? So why do people do that to one another when they could just as easily be the bigger person and not say anything? S&T talked about store clerks giving their friend a hard time, but if your wife is so smart, the both of you should have no problem being the bigger people here.

        August 6, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      I've already achieved a PhD in engineering from the most competi-tive/highest ranked department in my field. I don't believe in any gods. Does my achievement suddenly make me smarter than your friend and in the process destroy your entire "argument?"

      I suggest you learn about the logical fallacy known as "Appeal to Authority" and rethink your reasoning.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  18. OOO

    Sounds like you are part of a social group. Not sure why you need any of the dogma and middle-age dogma that goes along with it.

    August 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • OOO

      The second dogma should read "ideas".

      August 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
Advertisement
About this blog

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