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August 24th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

Should Christianity be so boring?

Opinion by Jon Acuff, Special to CNN

(CNN) - No one has ever accused us Christians of being fun.

No one has ever said we are a laugh-filled group.

No atheist has ever said, “I might not love Jesus, but his followers sure know how to party!”

And yet, in my favorite story in the Bible we actually see Jesus paint the opposite picture.

If you’re a Christian, you’ve heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke referenced in approximately 42 million sermons. If you’ve missed it though, allow me to summarize.

A young son said to his dad, who represents God, “I want my inheritance.” This was the cultural equivalent of saying, “I wish you were dead!” The father gives him the money. The son immediately runs off to the Jersey shore and fist pumps the night away with 4 Loko and Skrillex. [Not a direct translation.]

After squandering all the money and awakening in a pig pen, the son devises a plan. He will come home, apologize and throw himself at the mercy of the father. His greatest hope is that the father will let him be a servant. He can’t even imagine getting to keep the title “son.”

He comes home expecting punishment, but instead something weird happens.

The father sees him from a distance and sprints toward him. He runs toward him and embraces him. Before the son can even get his whole apology out, the father has already started planning the last thing he expected.

A party.

Instead of punishment he gets a party.

The idea that God fixes problems with parties is crazy.

Who does that?

Life doesn’t work that way. Imagine that you messed up at work. Your boss called you in and said, “Johnson you lost our biggest account! You just cost this company more than 3 million dollars. You know what that makes me want to do? Throw you a party!”

Or think about this in the context of a marriage. Have you ever had an argument with your spouse? Not a fake argument but one that lands you on the couch overnight.

You come into the kitchen and your wife is doing that “mad dishwashing” move we all do when we’re upset. Just power scrubbing pots and pans with a vengeance, mumbling the entire time.

You approach her slowly and say, “Heyyyy baby, how do you feel this morning?” Without looking at you, she takes a deep breath and says, “You really hurt my feelings. Last night, you really surprised me by what you did. My mom was right about you. I’m so angry and disappointed. This whole thing makes me want to get an inflatable bounce house and throw a huge celebration in your honor!”

That would be ludicrous.

Our worst mistakes don’t end in parties, but in this story in the Bible, it did.

When given the opportunity to talk to a group of people, the picture Jesus drew of his Father was of a party giver; someone who met sinners with welcome home banners.

What if Christians were like that?

What if churches became the place where failures found new beginnings?

What if we were known for our parties, not for our Pharisees?

It all feels a little crazy, but I don’t think it’s impossible.

Christians should offer hope in exchange for hurt, new in exchange for old, parties in exchange for pain.

Are we there yet?

Nope, we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve still got a lot of things to work through, a lot of progress we have to make.

But when you think about the prodigal son story, I hope you will remember something.

Two people moved.

One walked.

One ran.

And we prodigals are the walkers.

We still have a running God.

And he is ready to throw a party.

Jon Acuff is a keynote speaker and the author of four books including The New York Times best-seller, START. Acuff is also the author of the popular blog, Stuff Christians Like.net.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jon Acuff

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Opinion

soundoff (4,711 Responses)
  1. Karin

    Sure, like the gigolo is a fun guy to party with. He has all the experience in the world in satisfying any woman's fanciful whim. But, it doesn't mean the guy is safe 🙂

    I am an atheist and I prefer to hang out with those grounded in reality. Why? Because I am a thinker and love conversation. If the one I am conversing with goes off on "God this"... There is no basis I can construct a sound conversation on. Other than trying to decipher why one would be so set on an idea of a God or Gods without evidence.

    As to responding directly to this article, it would be devastating to our society if we didn't have a clear message to the given individual(s) when they did something wrong or right. Planning a party for someone whom did something wrong, would just result in those doing more wrong than good. Just like those that create havoc for attention.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Atheists often have poop on their thingy.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • Athy

        Wow, John. That was certainly a profound comment. Unmistakably marks you as a religie.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        JPT
        And how does it taste?

        August 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          I figured that image would have you salivating Dick.

          August 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • Larry

        So do Christian gays, evidenced by John P. Tarver.
        Moron.

        August 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Marin County

        Should John P. Tarver be this boring? Should John P. Tarver be this misinformed? Should John P. Tarver get a clue? Will John B. Tarver ever grow up? "Thingy"? Really?

        What an idiot. John P. Tarver should not let people know how very stupid he is, and let people have the illusion he has something worthwhile to say, instead of opening his mouth and letting people know how very pathetic he is when his tenuous views are questioned.

        August 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • Doobs

        Spoken like a true Christian.

        August 25, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Karin...

      Intellectually asking, "How many big bang universes will it take to fill up the endless void of Spatially Infinite Nothingness..?"

      August 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        In the vast nothingness of space beyond the reach of matter it is considered that the universe is finite. When there is no light or matter there is no time and therefor it is an end in itself.
        Now your turn, why don't you try to answer that question yourself?

        August 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  2. Nick Burczyk

    Acuff makes a pretty big theological error in this post. Namely, he overlooks the role of repentence and return in the story. His examples seem bizarre (boss and angry wife throwing parties) because they are. The father didn't throw a party when the son wished him dead, and he didn't seek him out on the Jersey Shore (I loved that paraphrase!) to throw a party. It was when the son returned in humility and repentence.

    What he DOES shed light on, though, is that many times Christians see someone turning to the Truth and rather than celebrating (like ALL THREE parables in Luke 15 portray), we immediately lay down the rules, or pass judgment, or – perhaps worse still – are completely apathetic.

    Anyone who has walked into the church with the full array of apprehension that comes with bad experiences, a sordid past with church, not having been in a while, guilt for how their life is, broken hearts, broken relationships and every other kind of hurt would LOVE LOVE LOVE to walk into a church and have it be celebrated that they are just there. Save apologies for later. Save explanations for later. Save rules for later. Celebrate that the lost is found.

    That is what Christians tend to miss.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Prayer is harmful .. proven

      Templeton Foundation Prayer Study .. Short version:
      Conclusion:
      Prayer had no effect on recovery when patients did NOT know they were being prayed for..
      But those KNOWING they were receiving prayer had a HIGHER incidence of complications (59%).

      August 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
      • Deo Masur

        Such sloopynsocialmscience horse head, cite your study. Back it up or shut it up

        August 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Prayer is harmful .. proven

          LOL I love it! If you read my post it cites the study in the FIRST sentence. It was the "Templeton foundation prayer study", now go look it up since I can't post a link here.

          August 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Colin

      The latest attempted school shooter was talked down by a woman of prayer. There were no casualties.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        Too bad nobody prayed correctly for Columbine or Sandy Hook.
        Good thing we have hundreds talked out of killing by psychologists everyday!

        August 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • Deo Masur

        Again horse head cite the study, if not it is just your bs opinion..

        August 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

          Colin, I claimed no study .. I just made a common sense observation.

          August 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
      • OTOH

        Colin,

        Why would you attribute her success to prayer? It could just as easily be because:
        - She's a female.
        - She's black.
        - She's young.
        - She wears glasses.
        - She was wearing blue.
        - She was trained in bookkeeping.
        - Mercury was aligned with Capricorn (don't quote me there, I have little/no knowledge of astrology).

        August 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        She is the only one responsible and the only one who deserves the credit. This woman is a true hero.

        August 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        colin
        More misrepresentation.
        The 911 call shows she did not pray while dealinig with this man.

        August 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • Doobs

        Colon continues to prove the uselessness of praying to his hideous god by claiming that it somehow stopped this school shooting. Yet he refuses to admit that the teachers and children of Sandy Hook's prayers were ignored by the same deity.

        Antoinette Tuff was courageous and kept her cool. She is the one who saved lives. If Colon's god had its way, those evil children would have been snuffed out for their sins. Or "called home to Jeebus".

        August 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven

      August 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • Prayer is harmful .. proven

        Templeton Foundation Prayer Study:

        Results: In the two groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred
        in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those
        who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% confidence interval 0.92-1.15). Complications occurred in
        59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52%
        (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% confidence
        interval 1.02-1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

        Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from
        CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of
        complications.

        **Three groups of people were asked to pray for patients they did not know personally. The congregations came from:
        – St. Paul's Monastery, St. Paul
        – The Community of Teresian Carmelites, Worcester, Massachussetts
        – Silent Unity, which is a Missouri prayer ministry near Kansas City

        Patients were divided into three groups:
        1. Patients who were told people would pray for them
        2. Patients who were not told people would pray for them, but people did pray for them
        3. Patients who were not told anything, and nobody prayed for them.

        Among two groups of patients, one having people praying for them but not knowing, and the other receiving no prayers, there was no difference in their health and recoveries.
        However, the group that was being prayed for and knew about it had more complications after surgery than the other two groups.

        Percentage of Patients Having Complications After Surgery
        52% – Patients who were receiving prayers and did not know this.
        52% – Patients receiving no prayers and not being told anything about prayers taking place anywhere for anyone.
        59% – Patients knowing they were receiving prayers

        According to this study, we may conclude the following:
        – Praying does not help the patient at all.
        – Telling patients that people are going to pray for them does have an effect, but not a good one!

        August 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  4. Hereafter

    You just don't know what real fun is! God has made each and every one of us as individuals. God has made us for a purpose and has a plan for our lives. Only he can bring this about in our lives but we must be willing. Then we can change our lives and the lives of other for the better and for His glory. "If you seek me with all you heart you WILL find me" That is a promise and God does not lie. You will find JOY not just "fun" . You will find truth and that is better than most have, if you only want to be entertained God is not just a performer He is a reformer the giver of all life. Why don't you research this and who He is and find out for your self instead of just forming an opinion off of presuppositions and giving up before you even try. God Is Awesome!

    August 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      " God has made each and every one of us as individuals."
      -Well I'm an individual but there isn't any indication I was made by God.
      I am the product of one specific human ova and one specific sperm.

      "God has made us for a purpose and has a plan for our lives."
      What purpose, what plan? This claim sounds grandiose but it lacks definition. Worse it paints people as his puppet. Isn't it better to live your life trying to be the best person you can be without trying to impress some supernatural overlord?

      "Only he can bring this about in our lives but we must be willing."
      You seem to lack confidence in your own ability ans self worth.

      "Then we can change our lives and the lives of other for the better and for His glory."
      Again that goal can be reached without seeking favor of supernatural forces.

      "If you seek me with all you heart you WILL find me" That is a promise and God does not lie."
      I tried...I didn't...he lied.

      " You will find JOY not just "fun"
      I have lots of love and joy and none of the eternal fear you seem to dread.

      "You will find truth and that is better than most have, if you only want to be entertained God is not just a performer He is a reformer the giver of all life."
      More unfounded claims. No indication at all that life is the product of your God.

      "Why don't you research this and who He is and find out for your self instead of just forming an opinion off of presuppositions and giving up before you even try. God Is Awesome!"
      Your entire ideology is based on presuppositions. It begins with your belief in your God and all else follows suit. God is imaginary!

      August 24, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Doobs

      "You just don't know what fun is."

      I know what fun isn't.

      Fun isn't having a psycho killer watching my every move, just waiting to punish me for crossing one of its imaginary, ever changing lines in the sand, threatening me with eternal torture for not worshipping it and then telling me it's doing it because it loves me so much.

      August 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  5. The Syed Atheist

    Reblogged this on The Syed Atheist.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  6. Bob

    I'm not so concerned that Christianity is boring (much of it is), but I don't find its stories very interesting. What bothers me most about it is that it has so many adherents (and they hold so much influence on how the rest of us have to live) despite its obvious self-contradictions, unsupportable claims, and its many horrid and violent dictates.

    Christianity is really nothing more than yet another god myth set, like so many others that man has created. Other than a few historical anchors in its horrid text, it has little footing in reality, and hopefully the whole Christian superstition will decline away into being just a sorry part of human history. The sooner that decline happens, the better.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said

      August 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Bob...

      Saying Godliness is a mere myth is scientifically contrary to there being immeasurable amounts of big bangs creating equally supportive big bang born universes all culminating into a grandeur of a new earth within a young mega-celestial cosmos so very huge and being made up of all the big bang universes within our dimensions forsakenness's eyeing understandings... Just my humble opinion with no sarcasm...

      August 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • G to the T

        I don't see why you would think it's contrary LL. The big bang (or an infinite amount of big bangs) still wouldn't necessitate a creator.

        August 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  7. coderjones

    boring isn't the question i'd be asking......

    maniacal would be more prudent

    August 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  8. theinexperiencedyouth

    Reblogged this on uggggh.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sed

      Reposted you on loserrrssssss.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    @torri043
    want to understand us? ask a question, i will give you an honest answer. i like to debate, but i don't come here to fight either. you ask me a question, then i'll ask you one.

    btw, there have been numerous intelligent comments made, just on this blog alone. good debates about the content of the bible or the actions of the church. how did you miss all that?

    August 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • torri043

      Ha! Fair enough. You're right, there were plenty of those as well.

      I do have two questions – this forum is kinda tricky, I feel like I keep losing track of where replies are but I'll give it a go.

      What is the hardest thing to believe about Christianity for you, and (assuming you agree with some of the previous posters, which you may or may not) what has made you think that Christianity has no basis in fact whatsoever?

      August 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • just one dering

      How many of you do you think you are to be an "us"? Or did you misspell ass again?

      August 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • Doobs

        Way to miss the point, genius.

        August 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  10. Blacksheep

    Hmmm... Based on the examples provided, the author of the article seems to have missed the point of the parable. So did the kid's brother, who was just as baffled and angry with the dad for his reaction. It isn't to respond to mistakes with parties. The point is that the kid made a mistake, REALIZED it, and then CHOSE to return home repentant. Spiritually he had died, but he was alive again. The parable encapsulates the entire ideal of Christianity in a beautifully simple and powerful way. The tenets of Christianity are simple. They can be boiled down to several pages, double spaced and in large print. I'm somewhat confused that people find it necessary to go to church every week of their lives to be reminded of such basic principles, and even then so many still manage to miss it completely. Someone in the congregation makes a mistake and is sorry. Is he welcomed back? No. He is shunned. I've seen it happen, over and over and over again.

    Gandhi said it best: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

    August 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Actually

      Actually, That is not the point of the story at all. The younger son does not return home repentant. He returns home because "even the hired hands have something to eat." He fully expects to return in shame. Instead his father runs to meet him (embarrassing himself if current jewish culture) and showers his returned son with love. This was not done because the son showed repentance and returned, but simply because it was his son.
      Interestingly, the older brother misses the entire point by showing that he thinks he has earned his father's love through actions. Both sons think misunderstand their standing in the family, both think it is because of their actions that they deserve acceptance and love. The father loves them simply because they are his. That's Christianity.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  11. harri

    questions that cause heart attacks in atheists

    1. why was the new testament written?

    a) after the comments that are supposed to be cute and insulting and intentionally stupid, atheists seek emergency medical attention when confronted with this very simple and legitimate question. just watch. the correct and obvious answer eliminates the constant noise and seemingly infinite number of distracting, meaningless bologna atheists bathe in.

    b) they are incapable, unwilling, and cannot address/answer this issue. CANNOT as observer likes to say/highlight. the ramifications to an honest, sincere and diligent pursuit to find the answers ARE INTOLERABLE to skyhigh, alqeada, thomas the idiot, kate and all her other aliases.

    2. hide and watch

    August 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      questions that cause heart attacks in atheists
      1. why was the new testament written?
      +++ for the same reason any holy book in any religion was written, ignorance and a means to control the populace. boy, i hope the next question is more challenging...

      sorry to disappoint, but no heart attacks here. you overestimate your wit.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • hharri

        WRONG

        August 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          sounds like you don't like the answer, but that doesn't make it wrong.

          christians sure hate facts.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Athy

          On the rare occasions that they can understand them.

          August 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Your question has a logical flaw .. since the question causes heat attacks in atheists how can we be expected to answer since we all just had a heat attack?

      August 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
      • hharri

        who expected you to answer?

        August 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • hharri

          I can't defend my post so I'll just attack you and try to change the subject.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

          Ask a question in an open forum and not expect any other answers? Your logic is as expected.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      harri
      Since you have proven to be nothing but a troll, insulting people who don't believe in myths, what answer could I possibly provide that you would accept? There are very good reasons why the NT was written, and very good reason that the character Christ taught much of the Buddha's teachings, but it is unlikey that you will read the information, verify it or research it, but instead you will ridicule it, and then claim some kind of victory. (like causing atheists heart attacks with a weak question)

      August 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • hharri

        thanks. exactly what i said you'd do.

        see? they cannot, will not, are incapable of answering this simple, important question

        August 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Incorrect. I asked you a question back. You on the other hand did exactly as I said YOU would.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Lilith

      It was an obvious attempt by Christians to fill in the glaring contradictions in the old testament as well as change God from a vengeful jealous God into a loving one .. the re-writers must have finally figured out you catch more flies with honey than vinegar or vengeance.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • hharri

        it was? they wanted to make their religion more palatable?

        August 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Lilith

          Yes, now that I've answered and if you disagree you need to make a coherent counterpoint if you have one. That's how this works with reasonable people.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • hharri

          expound on that. let's see the steps you took to come to that conclusion. you may be on to something

          August 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
        • Lilith

          hharri, you still gave no counterpoint or added anything of value. To just continue to add questions simply shows you have no answers of your own and are just attempting to trap someone if they give you a few words to twist. Try again, I don't take sidestepping as an answer.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • Doobs

          Yes, exactly.

          August 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • Troll Hunter

        So why didn't they just get rid of the OT and just have the NT? HHMMM.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • hharri

          good question. they encountered much abuse at the hands of those who thought the o.t. was all about them

          August 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • Lilith

          A follower base from which to work, the changes were needed to add membership without losing their current base. Understand Hmmmm?

          August 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Creepy Ascrcker

      Ask a question then "hide and watch". Typical ploy to not have to answer your own question, to which you have no answer, and also not to engage in a meaningful discussion of your question. Very very typical.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • hharri

        WRONG. get someone who can read to help you

        August 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Creepy Ascrcker

          Ouch! That was quite the retort you had there. Thank you for such an engaging exchange!

          August 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • Doobs

          RIGHT. Get medical attention for your mental disorder.

          August 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Michael Johnson

      How illuminating. Here we have a radiant message. Read these words. They radiate contempt, scorn and hatred of others. They are works written to marginalize, divide and mock. They are a mockery. This message is a mockery of the idea to treat others as you want to be treated. These works are a testimony to how Christianity has influenced this person. Reading his words, why wouldn't you question the value reading from a book that fuels his deep bitterness and condescension of others?

      These words, cast out through darkness over storm-tossed waters, their message. Dare not embark any closer to journey through my currents. In my shallows, there is much to destroy. My message is a beckon. It's an alarm. It's a warning. Take heed. Set your direction to another course.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • hharri

        i must confess. thammy has been a big influence

        August 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  12. anagabeelena

    Yes I'm an "un-believer". I just cannot believe how it is that three hundred years after the beginning of the Enlightenment period in human history, and with all the opportunities in the modern age to be educated, most of the planet still believes in invisible beings in the heavens (i.e. Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, insert your favorite diety), shaping history and answering prayers. Sometimes I just have to say – " For crying out loud, it's the 21st century ! "

    August 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • harri

      outstanding!

      answer this simple question, 21st century enlightened technocrat, "why are you here?"

      August 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        there is no great reason to be here. you're not that special.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • hharri

          i am asking angelina joley, not you, as usual. i know why you're here, observer. EVERYONE knows why you're here

          and, you didn't answer the question

          August 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          doesn't matter who you're asking, that's the beauty of a public blog - anyone can answer. want a private conversation? exchange emails.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • hharri

          good point. i am not interested in your answers.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • Lilith

        a series of chemical actions/reactions ... but I don't expect you to understand or accept that truth.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • hharri

          i am not going to play games with you.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Lilith

          I gave a simple to the point answer & you claim games? I knew you wouldn't be able to grasp even a simple response.

          I answered, now where's your answer? Even though I know you can't.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        "answer this simple question, 21st century enlightened technocrat, "why are you here?""
        Here on this blog or here as in being alive?
        If it's the latter then the question is flawed. There is no why only a how.
        I'm here because my parents had sex. Because they wanted to start a family. They would have been just as happy to get a different child than me if say a different egg or sperm had met. I just happen to be the statistical winner in the lottery of life.

        August 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • Doobs

        When two people love each other very much, they cuddle together in a special way, and sometimes, a long time after they cuddle, a baby comes out of the lady.

        I'm here because my mommy and daddy liked to cuddle.

        August 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Atheists rely on 19th century science to support their ignorant notions and make fun of more enlightened folks.

      August 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Utter hogwash.

        August 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          Since 1919, originally a fascist agenda.

          August 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Trolling should never be that boring, JPT.

          August 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  13. FreeFromTheism

    I wish they switched to Disqus for these blogs...

    August 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  14. Steve Johnson

    Christians: The reason people are abandoning your faith has nothing to do with whether you're "hip enough" or "boring" or even social justice issues like whether you hate the gays.

    It has nothing to do with that.

    The reason people are abandoning your faith is because more and more people are realizing none of it is real.

    Simple as that.

    August 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • anagabeelena

      Spot on!

      August 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      while it is true that the number of atheists increases in the US, overtime, it is also true that the number of unaffiliated believers is increasing even more
      one can be a believer (such a ridiculous word, i know) without embracing a particular religion

      August 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • niknak

        Those are people who just can't let go completely, usually because of family or friends or coworkers.
        The will eventually give it up totally.
        Kinda like how some people give up smoking.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired FFT...

        A possible reason for there being more believers of godliness could be that many are finally realizing that their own bodies are the true kingdom domains of God... No manly built churches religious herds can never take away from scripture stating that the kingdom domains of God are inside us all...

        August 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  15. Mark

    I believe that Torri was referring to the conversation, not the conversationalist. What would it take to get a nonbeliever to believe? If the answer is nothing, then there is no sense in talking.

    August 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      exactly wrong.
      what would it take to get a nonbeliever to believe? that's easy. have god appear in front of me. doesn't sound so hard for an omnipotent god that created a universe.

      same question to you - what would it take for a believer NOT to believe?

      btw, your answer is about to show how open-minded nonbelievers are and how close-minded believers are.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      well, ask yourself the same thing about Vishnu, Zeus or Allah (unless you think it's the same god as the Christian god... it's debatable what its status is, really)

      August 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • niknak

      What would get a believer to not believe?
      Nothing.

      If you can provide some actual verifiable proof of your claim that god(s) exist, then we would be happy to believe in it/them.
      But you can't provide anything more then a very poorly written book of fables and ripped off stories from earlier religions.

      Heck, you can't even get the other believers on this planet to go along with your book.
      Even within xtianity, how many sects are there these days?

      It is cute when a young child has an imaginary friend.
      But it is creepy when an adult has one.......

      August 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  16. Elmer

    Why is it liberals are always sticking their nose where it doesn't belong? If you don't like a religion, then STHU!

    August 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • pest

      When the religious stop attempting to impose their religion upon those who don't believe it, then I will stop concerning myself with the religious.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Mark

        Evangelism is a central component of Christianity.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • pest

          If being bothersome is a central component of your religion, either pick a better religion, or don't be surprised when people don't like being bothered.

          Also, there is a difference between evangelizing and using the government to inflict your religion upon those who don't believe. The former is irritating. The latter is oppressive.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired pest...

        If you don't believe then why all the hoopla..? Is discontentment a worthy trait to be exalted..?

        August 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • pest

          Re-read what I said initially.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Kind sired pest wrote, "When the religious stop attempting to impose their religion upon those who don't believe it, then I will stop concerning myself with the religious."

        Just exactly what and how are these religious folks attempting to impose upon disbelievers of religious Godliness..?

        August 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Jim

          You are kidding, right?

          Try contraception, abortion, marriage; just for a start.

          August 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      We live in the USA where we are oppressed by much of the populous using the Bible and Christianity as justification for the oppression. Is it any wonder we comment on this bronze age, nonsensical voodoo the way we do?

      There are countless ways your bronze age voodoo affects my life and my family's life every day. You suppress science, you oppress women. You bully and badger anyone not believing as you do. The list goes on and on ...

      Areas where legislation is based wholly or partially on the Bible.

      1. the laws still on the books in several states preventing an atheist from holding office.
      2. Laws that try and limit the teaching of evolution in school.
      3. Laws that limit access to contraceptives.
      4. Laws that limit a woman's right to choose.
      5. Laws that limit gay rights.
      6. Laws that limit immunization against HPV.

      and many, many more ...

      August 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        So then D. dog...

        Our once fathered laws from prior generations passing needs restructuring..? By whose voices shall we enact such changes... Yours..? Mine..? Someone else's voiced "opinions"..? maybe a gathering of strangers will enact laws contrary to the general populace..?

        August 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      You think there aren't conservative atheists or, perhaps, even believers that oppose religion?
      That's nonsense, of course.
      But what you should really be asking yourself is why is it that you don't follow your own advice.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Dan

      There are millions of liberal Christians.Please educate yourself.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i know, crazy liberals!

      i remember when we stuck our nose into slavery, segregation, minority voting rights, women's voting rights, g.ay rights, etc.
      conservatives are ALWAYS on the wrong side of social justice. if conservatives had their way, slavery would never have ended.
      it's simple - we stick our nose in it when we see d-bag conservatives suppressing people.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Doobs

      Why are the religious always sticking their noses into places they don't belong, like the uteri of women, the bedrooms of same sex couples and what parents choose to name their children?

      August 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  17. Barbara

    Must Islam be so scary?

    August 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Must Christianity be so scary?

      August 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      Well, just because it's scary to you it doesn't mean that it's objectively scary.
      For example, just because you think that the god of Abraham exists, it doesn't mean that it actually exists.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  18. Sam Yaza

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWuck0hwcwg&w=640&h=360]

    August 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  19. guest

    There is a lot of talk here about the prodigal son, but the story is not too removed from today.
    The prodigal was essentially the same as a runaway child of today and the love of a parent, the difference was that the prodigal demanded his share of inheritance before he left which was probably common for that day. Like all loving parents, the father wanted his ‘kid’ back. The story was told to exemplify what man has done; he has tried to ‘run away’ from God, some will repent and return to God, most will not. God, like a loving parent, wants His ‘kid’ back.
    Like other stories, not everything is mentioned. I believe that God wants His children to enjoy life and be happy, however as what Christians see as fun and enjoyable, is not what the world counts as fun and enjoyable. The Bible is the story of a God who is obsessed with saving man from Satan who is obsessed with destroying man. The story is told not only for the inhabitants of this world, but for the inhabitants of the whole universe and what sin will produce. When Earth’s ‘cup of iniquity is filled’ (that is when everyone has made a choice to accept or not to accept God) then God will say: enough is enough. Satan and all who choose not to follow God will be destroyed; sin will no longer find a place in God’s creation.

    August 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "The Bible is the story of a God who is obsessed with saving man from Satan who is obsessed with destroying man"

      numbers of human killed by god and satan according to the bible:

      satan = 10
      god = millions

      who's the bigger monster? god created the devil, right? god's omnipotent, right? so he knew before he created satan what satan would turn out to be - and he still did it. so god is responsible for any evil done by the devil. see how that works?

      August 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lWzTvdtEx0&w=640&h=360]

      August 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  20. torri043

    I see mockery has been deemed an acceptable alternative to intelligent conversation.

    August 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      Mockery to what? The belief that Jesus was a zombie whose flesh, when eaten, grants a blessing?

      What's the point?

      August 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • torri043

        I can concede that there are plenty of stupid Christians out there. There are also plenty of stupid atheists. Likewise, there are many on both sides that are incredibly thoughtful, well-studied, and intelligent. It's a cheap shot to choose the dumbest fringe and make them representative of the whole. That's called building a straw man. And it's a cheap shot to ridicule someone and label them just because you don't understand what value there is in what they believe. Have enough respect for other human beings to make a genuine effort to understand them.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          " Have enough respect for other human beings to make a genuine effort to understand them."
          +++ you seem to assume we don't have understanding. wrong. most of us were once christians... were you once an atheist? how well do YOU understand the other side? you seem to like calling out others when you seem just as guilty. kind of laughable.

          and people should respect other people - but we don't have to respect crazy ideas. you telling us to "respect" you is a veiled attempt at cencorship. you don't get to make the rules on discussions. sounds like when you don't like what someone is saying, you're strategy is to tell them not to say it instead of actually debating what they're saying.

          so again, you seem to think yourself so very intelligent - please start the conversation off with what you deem an intelligent question or comment and get off your high horse.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • niknak

          The difference is that the atheist is not trying to force you to NOT believe.
          I get various faiths coming to my door monthly wanting to convert me to their faith.
          We have to put up with your believers trying to inject your beliefs into everything in what is supposed to be a secular nation.
          We non believers have to pay higher property taxes to subsidize your houses of worship whom pay almost nothing.

          Torri, you want to howl at the moon, that is your choice and time.
          But stop trying to force us non believers to go out and howl with you.

          Is that too much to ask?

          August 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • Maani

          nik nak: Atheists are not trying to make believers NOT believe?! You could've fooled me, since that is EXACTLY the tenor and approach of many atheists here.

          bootyfunk: I accept your challenge. My two brothers and I were raised by two radically atheist parents (a scientists and a Marxist) in a rational, empirical household. I was flat-out atheist until 15, then agnostic, became a believer at 19, and a Christian at 22. Why? Not through "indoctrination" or because of the need for a psycho-emotional "crutch." Rather, it was through a 7-year study of comparative religion – and through REASON. So yes, I DO understand the "other side." Because I was "one of you," but was "led" – again, via REASON – to become not simply a believer, but a believer in the monotheistic Abrahamic God, and a believer in the divinity of Christ. This does not mean I have "cast off" my rationality and/or empiricism: I still respect science, and believe in a 13-billion-year-old universe (with "first cause"), evolution (with "first cause," as Darwin did), physics, genetics, biology, chemistry, etc. But I have also "seen" and felt the side that YOU (and other atheists, whether or not they were Christians at some point) cannot or have not been able to see and feel.

          August 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      lol, that feel good up there on that high horse? you condemn people for mocking as you then tell them they aren't intelligent. practice what you preach.

      have an intelligent question? ask it. i dare you.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • torri043

        Important distinction – calling mockery an unintelligent conversation is very different than calling a human unintelligent.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          and you're point is? scroll back through the blogs and you will see plenty of insults from christians against atheists, including you're worthy of being tortured for all eternity.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • torri043

        I agree! It's bad on both sides. I prefer the argument of the kind-hearted atheist to that of the sarcastic and cutting Christian. I'm not trying to make this a personal thing – I just really think these arguments are a waste of time if neither side is willing to respect the other.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Troll Hunter

        Her is an angry,rude one with some booty funk.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          just at religion. it makes the world a worse place to live in. i'm actually very happy and chill. come out to my pad in hawaii and we'll toke the hookah and talk about god.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • Troll Hunter

          I love Hawaii......

          August 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • torri043

        I would LOVE to understand you. You don't know me, and so I understand (in light of how many of the Christians here are responding) why you assume that I don't care about what you believe in or why. But I do. I care more about you than I care about you agreeing with me. I'm honestly not trying to pick a fight with you here. Public forums like this get super out of hand.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • niknak

      What mockery?
      We have only been asking for you believers to show us some proof that your god(s) exist.

      Oh that's right, even questioning a believer is mockery and "Christian bashing!"

      Too bad for you we don't have blasphemy laws anymore like those muslims. Because I know you would just love to hunt us atheists down and kill us.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • torri043

        See above – I'm all about disagreements. They make us better, more well-rounded people, and I'm confident they can take place without snarky comments and character assassination in tow.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          "And it's a cheap shot to ridicule someone and label them just because you don't understand what value there is in what they believe. Have enough respect for other human beings to make a genuine effort to understand them."

          +++ could you be more of a hypocrite? you demand we make an effort to understand you, but you make zero effort to understand us.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • niknak

          How can we have a logical disagreement about something that is not logical?
          If you believed that 2 plus 2 was 5, and won't change your position regardless of how much proof I give you, am I supposed to respect that and argue logically with you?

          You believers have made a claim of fact that god(s) exist.
          If you can't provide some kind of actual proof of your claim, then it is pointless for us to have a discussion.

          I may have to respect you as a person, but I don't have to respect your belief in something that has no basis in fact.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • torri043

        Honestly – I have nothing but respect for you, for where you're at, and for what you believe. I'm not asking you to agree with me. I can promise you I would never be one of the people threatening you with hell and handing you paper at your front door. My initial comment wasn't meant to be a slam against "the other side." I'm totally with you in thinking that a lot of the Christians responding here are ENTIRELY out of line.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Troll Hunter

          I will 2nd that.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • niknak

          It is not that they are out of line, it is that they are trying to make a claim of fact that their god exists and is responsible for everything.
          The reason it is called faith is that it has no basis in fact.
          All you have is faith that what you were taught about god is true.

          And like I said, I have no problem with you having that faith.
          Where the problem lies is when believers want the rest of us to go along with your belief.
          When we don't, or push back against the believers trying to force your beliefs into our lives, we are called out as bashers and haters.

          August 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • torri043

        I hear you. Absolutely. And it's a double-standard to be fine when we disagree with you and then call you haters when you disagree with us. I know.

        As regards the idea of "faith", the idea that faith is the exaltation of believing something in the absence of fact is actually a really illogical and ill-informed understanding of it. That's a mindset created by Christian culture, and is actually not at all what is supported in the Christian scriptures. Over and over again, we see people offering proofs and apologetics. Not a single one of the biblical authors says "Just bite your tongue and ignore your anxieties and believe because that's what faith is." Instead, you see the biblical authors saying "test everything." We see them offering proof to their discouraged readers. The idea that faith is exempt from the need for fact is absolutely preposterous, and in fact my intellect is often the only thing that sustains my belief, because my feelings and experiences are void. Believe it or not, I've spent a great deal of time studying and working out why I believe what I believe. We're not all on the "doesn't matter if it makes sense" bandwagon. Again, not trying to ask you to agree with me – I actually just want you to know that I agree with you that a lot of the "support" Christians offer is circular (i.e. I know the bible is true because the bible says it is true") but that not all of us are like-minded when it comes to that.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        Einstein's Copenhagen Interpretation of 1935 says, "Relativity and Quantum Mechanics require a sentient being outside the universe to make the universe real."

        August 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Although Einstein did make mistakes and believed concepts later proven to be false, it is interesting that he did not ever believe in the Judeo-Christian god. As an atheist, I would prefer that a theist believe in the same "style" of god that Einstein believed in: Spinoza's. As he himself admitted, no, proclaimed.

          August 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          JPT
          Misrepresenting science continuously. What is your point. First, Einstein didn't say that in 1935. The copenhagen interpretation form 1935 was mainly significant for the Schroedingers Cat thought experiment (made more famous on the Big Bang Theory TV show.)

          I seriously doubt you understand any of it. If you did, you would not be trying to bolster any belief in any gods from this subject.

          August 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          Erwin Schrodinger tried to disprove the fascist alternative to Einstein's Copenhagen Interpretation. You are correct, Dick, in that the false notion of an infinite number of parallel universes is more widely known than Einstein's interpretation, due in most part to the atheist social/political agenda.

          August 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          There it is again, your consiracy theory garbage.

          Show a link between the theories involved and fascism, atheism, socialism and what specific agenda you keep referring to but does not exist.

          August 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Tarver, Cranium seems to have a valid point, don't you think?

          By the way, why didn't Einstein come to the conclusion that the Judeo Christian god was "the" correct god? I would be just fine believing in god the way that Einstein did if the Christians would do the same thing. Let me guess, when it comes to the Christian god, Einstein was wrong, according to you, right?

          August 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Sara

      I think I remember a good deal of mockery in Greek theater so I'd say it's been widely accepted for quite a while.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Steve Johnson

      The problem is that it's a very personal subject.

      People sometimes interpret ANY argument against religion as "demeaning, cutting, condescending". They take it very personally, because your religion is part of what defines you. An attack against your religion is in some sense an attack against you.

      You can see many examples here in the comments, any time there's a topic like this.

      I have in the past tried to make very gingerly worded arguments against religion, but people still take it personally and think I'm making personal attacks against them.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • torri043

        Ain't no thang to disagree.

        August 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.