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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. Apple Bush

    Why I hate churches (6th Edition) by Apple Bush

    1. You can hear the blue hairs in the kitchen basement slamming shit all the time
    2. The brown circular stains on the red polyester pews. They are just too dark
    3. A wall of smiles is WAY creepy
    4. The continued use of giant PowerPoint presentations
    5. That weird smell when you first walk in

    August 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Athy

      How about sore knees and singing three-chord songs?

      August 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Athy, music was in edition 1.

      August 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Athy, we all gotta take the sore knees sometimes.

      August 25, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
      • Athy

        Sorry. I missed the first five editions.

        August 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      Boring little gods.

      August 25, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Sara

      Is powerpoint really a big thing in some churches? Not Catholic or Episcopal, for sure...is this in fundamentalist style megachurches?

      August 26, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  2. HeavenSent

    Every atheist on these blogs is going to spend an eternity with satan their father's pet worms. You will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings for all eternity sinners. My pie only had one layer of fungus to scrape off. After that I went in the kitchen to check dessert. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus.

    Amen.

    August 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Ooh! Sounds good! Bring it on, baby!

      August 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Kaysi
        Time to get my pepperoni pizza folks.

        August 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
        Doobs
        Enjoy. I just had a big burger and a margarita on the patio. Gorgeous weather today.

        Life is good.

        August 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
        Kaysi
        You are so lucky you can eat pepperoni pizza! I can't have pepperoni 'cuz of the nitrates in it. They have a pizza place in the popular 1970s TV series, Laverne & Shirley, the purpose of the Carmine Ragusa character was to keep Lenny and Squiggy in line. The Lenny and Squiggy characters are arguably the best thing in the series.
        The "Lenny and Squiggy" act was originally formed when both actors were undergraduates, attending Columbia University in New York City.

        August 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Reality

      And now for some 21st century reality:

      The Apostles' 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      August 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Boring.

        August 25, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Sorry but we'll opt of going anywhere you will be.

      August 26, 2013 at 6:26 am |
  3. Kebos

    Hmmm. Based on the readings I've done of both the old and new testaments, God doesn't seem much like he'll be in a partying mood when he gets around to returning to planet Earth. Of course, maybe that's why he's taking so long. Maybe God's spending too much time partying in amongst the other galaxies to spend any time thinking about the return to us.

    August 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • Ken

      Partying on Kolob, maybe?

      And it's Christ, not God, who's supposed to come to Earth like Rambo, which just goes to illustrate how different Jesus was from that character. How Christians can insist that they are one-in-the-same is beyond me.

      August 26, 2013 at 2:01 am |
  4. 7

    Free music download for everyone at... thetreasureofzion.com

    August 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  5. Marvin

    For me, the daily grind used to be kind of boring. But not anymore. Since I received Yeshua as Messiah, and my sins have been forgiven, I have a great sense of peace inside. Its as though each new day has a freshness and a promise to it. I feel truly blessed.

    August 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • bostontola

      Out here in the fields
      I fought for my meals
      I get my back into my living
      I don't need to fight
      To prove I'm right
      I don't need to be forgiven

      August 25, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        The only Who song I like.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
        • sam stone

          what, not Going Mobile?

          or Long Live Rock......"we were the first band to vomit in the bar..."?

          August 26, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • Kebos

      Marvin – If that works for you, great. Of course, I am of the opinion that people need not and should not live a guilt-filled life. Living with guilt is just another way of someone controlling another. If one has done wrong to their community, family or friends then make amends as required and move on.

      August 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      someone convinced you you were a sinner, marvin?

      that is child abuse

      August 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • sybaris

      Yeah, in other words you've cleansed yourself of personal accountability and can now say, "It's Gods will".

      August 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Reality

      (from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      August 25, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ken

      Marvin
      Your "sins" have been forgiven by God and you have inner peace, but did you do everything you possibly could to repay those you've wronged and gain their forgiveness as well?

      August 26, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • skytag

      I have a lot more peace since I stopped spending so much time trying to rationalize why what I believed as a Christian didn't match what I saw in the real world and knew from history.

      August 26, 2013 at 2:51 am |
      • G to the T

        Same here. I nearly drove myself crazy trying to maintain my faith and remain intellectually honest with myself the more I learned about religion/history/texutal critism ect. and then I realized I didn't believe anymore and AT LAST I was at peace.

        August 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • Maani

        My experience has been just the opposite. I BECAME a Christian because it conformed more to what I saw in the world than any other viewpoint. And as time has gone by, the relationship between my faith and what I see in the world has only grown stronger – indeed, sometimes eerily so, knowing what I do about the prophets and Revelation. And there has never been any cognitive dissonance for me: I did not simply "discard" my admiration, respect and love of science when I became a believer. Rather, science and faith "work together" to provide the answers to both types of questions.

        August 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Which God?

      Marvin, no you aren't "truly Blessed," but you are truly touched in the head. Neither god nor this jesus did anything for you. They are myths.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  6. bostontola

    Christians may or may not be boring on an individual basis, but the bible surely isn't. There is so much s.ex and violence it would be rated NC17 if treated accurately.

    August 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I didn't so much like the latter part of the book which is more like all preachy talking, than fighting and the old in-out. I liked the parts where these old yahoodies tolchock each other and then drink their Hebrew vino and, then getting on to the bed with their wives' handmaidens. That kept me going.

      August 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • bostontola

        Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Ho, ho, ho! Well, if it isn't fat stinking billy goat Billy Boy in poison! How art thou, thou globby bottle of cheap, stinking chip oil? Come and get one in the yarbles, if ya have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou!

          August 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
        • bostontola

          Great book and movie.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I haven't read the book for eons. I v.aguely recall finding it difficult to get through. The Nadsat was off-putting to my teenage brain. I think I'll have to try reading it again.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
        • bostontola

          You should, the version I have has a dictionary in the back. Deep stuff on what it means to be a human.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  7. Brett

    Well, God, and Christianity are anything but boring. The writer seems a bit full of himself. The story of the prodigal son certainly is not new. A few important points on this teaching of The Lord are in order here. First, God receives back the REPENTANT sinner! The prodigal son came BACK to the Father, then the Father embraced him. The Father did NOT go out to his son while he was living in rebellion. God of course will receive the sinner. That is, the REPENTANT sinner! PTL Receive Christ as Lord and Savior, turn away from sin and follow Him. God Bless

    August 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      so, you prove that god and christianity is not boring by posting the same tripe we have head of hundreds of wannabe preachers

      August 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Brett

        Sam, what are you talking about? If you have rejected God and Jesus, how would know whether or not He is boring? You seem very confused.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
        • Ken

          Brett
          That's like saying that you don't know if a movie is actually boring if you stopped watching it because it was boring.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:31 am |
        • sam stone

          brett: i did not say god was boring. it is you who seems confused, or in dire need of reading comprehension lessons

          August 26, 2013 at 5:11 am |
        • sam stone

          brett: someone cannot "reject" beings in which they do not believe. perhaps you should add a logic class to the reading comprehension class.

          you blathering scripture may make you feel all godly and such, but it is not convincing to anyone who does not already believe in the story

          August 26, 2013 at 5:16 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Sin exists only in the mind of the Abrahamists.

      August 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
      • Brett

        Dave, sin is real, God is real. If you do not deal with your sin in this life, you will be dealing with its consequences for all eternity.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGwjp07oO8U&w=640&h=360]

          August 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
        • sam stone

          nothing more scary than empty proxy threats, except for anonymous empty proxy threats

          brett.....if you have to scare people to believe in god, then that god is not worth worshipping

          except for snivelling sycophants such as yourself

          August 26, 2013 at 6:33 am |
        • G to the T

          Is it justice that I be condemned for ETERNITY just because I cannot believe and still feel honest with myself?

          I only ask for the same proof that Thomas demanded...

          August 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Brett: That Prodigal son story – a quick question: did that happen before or after they left for Mordor to destroy the One Ring?

      August 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • PennyK

      Brett
      And if Hitler found Jesus in the moments before he died in that bunker, you'd be fine with him smiling down from Heaven on all the Jews he sent to the ovens suffering in Hell for not converting, I suppose?

      August 26, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • skytag

      Too bad there's no reason to believe any of that.

      August 26, 2013 at 2:54 am |
  8. Jim

    What's exciting is that modern day science is confirming what was written about the Judeo Christian God more and more each day ! The purported goat herders described different perspectives of Time several thousand years before we even knew that other perspectives of Time existed, dependent on ones relative position in the universe.

    August 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Elaborate.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • Athy

        Ouch! You had to ask!

        August 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Jim

        Genesis Chapter 1 is described entirely from God’s perspective of time, not man’s. We were not created until the very end of the very last day of creation. Only God was around to perceive what the days of creation were in reference to. And according to a literal reading of the account, the days of creation were in relation to the original source of light that was created on the first day, not our suns. Our sun is what we base our perspective of time from. But again, a literal reading of the account tells us that our sun wasn’t created until the 4th day of God’s creation and that it was created to provide man with a measure of days and years. Therefore, what Genesis is literally saying is, that a day to God is not the same as a 24 hour day as experienced from man’s perspective of time with respect to the rotation of the earth in relation to our sun.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Gibberish, as I expected.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • Observer

          Jim,

          "our sun wasn’t created until the 4th day of God’s creation and that it was created to provide man with a measure of days and years'

          So the only function of the sun is to measure time? Are you serious at all?

          Even using your flaky logic, days 4, 5, 6 and 7 were 24 hours long.
          .

          August 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • Athy

          Well, you had to ask! I tried to warn you!

          August 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I should've known better.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • Maani

        "So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator." Stephen Hawking

        "The best data we have concerning the Big Bang are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole." Arno Penzias, Nobel laureate, physics

        "The idea of a singularity is completely unacceptable as a physical description of the universe...An infinitely dense universe is where the laws of physics, and even space and time, break down." Joseph Silk, astronomer

        "Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist scientists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation or an oscillating universe, being advanced with such tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his or her theory." Christopher Isham, astrophysicist.

        "If we are to be honest, then we have to accept that science will be able to claim complete success only if it achieves what many might think impossible: accounting for the emergence of everything from absolutely nothing." Peter Atkins, quantum physicist, chemist

        August 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Observer

      They also said the earth was flat, didn't move and was the center of the universe. Get serious.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • Joshua

        If I remember right in the OT it states the earth is a sphere that rotates.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
        • bostontola

          No it doesn't say that anywhere, I guess you were just kidding. The OT says the earth doesn't move at all, it doesn't rotate or orbit the sun. It refers to the ends of the earth many times, of course a spheroid all body has no ends.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
        • Observer

          Joshua,

          Nope. It does wrongly call it a 2-dimensional circle and says the sun and moon suddenly stopped..

          August 25, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Isaiah 40:22 says it's a circle. A sphere is never mentioned.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
        • Joshua

          I feel the context for isaiah 40:22 has to come into play here. It implies that god is sitting high above the earth,so at a great distance. Have you looked at the moon at night when its full? Does it appear as a circle or a sphere? Now if you were to use a telescope to decrease the distsnce of sight it would get more 3D wouldnt it? But at a great distance it would look flat. The nations in this chapter are refered to as "drops" or very small.It could very well be that only the outside profile of the earth is being referred to here? The other part of this is the hebrew word here "khug" literally means circle or sphere and its in the OT to describe the curve or vault of the earth. The interesting part of this word is its root or "khagag" means to go in a circle. Kinda like a planets orbit?

          August 25, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • Observer

          Joshua

          Joshua

          "I feel the context for isaiah 40:22 has to come into play here. It implies that god is sitting high above the earth,so at a great distance".

          Nope. All your attempt at an alibi fails because the only one able to see from above the earth was God who CREATED the sphere. The only argument left is that God doesn't know the difference between a circle and a sphere.

          Like so many attempts to pretend the Bible doesn't say what it says, this one depends on words not meaning what we know them to mean or even how they are defined like in this case.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • skytag

          @Joshua: "I feel the context for isaiah 40:22 has to come into play here. It implies that god is sitting high above the earth,so at a great distance. Have you looked at the moon at night when its full? Does it appear as a circle or a sphere?"

          I don't miss this at all, the constant need rationalize.

          "Now if you were to use a telescope to decrease the distsnce of sight it would get more 3D wouldnt it?"

          Not really.

          "But at a great distance it would look flat."

          One would think that if God created the Earth he would know it's spherical and not have to rely on what it looks like from some unspecified distance in space.

          "The nations in this chapter are refered to as "drops" or very small.It could very well be that only the outside profile of the earth is being referred to here?"

          Christians do this a lot, look for ways to rationalize what they believe or what the Bible says when it doesn't match reality. It's more likely there

          "The other part of this is the hebrew word here "khug" literally means circle or sphere and its in the OT to describe the curve or vault of the earth."

          So why didn't the people who translated it use "sphere" since God was inspiring them?

          "The interesting part of this word is its root or "khagag" means to go in a circle. Kinda like a planets orbit?"

          Strictly speaking planets follow an elliptical orbit. In any case, I don't think it's all that interesting.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:11 am |
        • Maani

          Job 26:7 talks about the earth "hanging" or "suspended" in space, a comparison to the sun and moon, and thus an orb, not a flat circle.

          As well, atheists just LOVE to cite the English translation of Scripture without even pretending to look at the source. The Hebrew word for "circle" ("chuwg") can also mean "round" or "sphere." That is not a "cop-out"; it is called PROPER research.

          August 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Jim

        Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically say that the earth is flat, that it doesn't move or that it is at the center of the universe. You are confusing figures of speech that are commonly used.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
        • Observer

          JIm,

          Have you read the Bible at all?

          Do you have ANY idea what a circle is or what a sphere is?

          August 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
        • bostontola

          Psalms 93:1 flat out says that the world doesn't move. "The Lord reigns, he is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established so that it cannot be moved."

          August 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Observer

          – Psalm 93:1 “The world is firmly set in place. It can't be moved.”
          – Psalm 96:10 “The world is firmly set in place. It can't be moved.”
          – Psalm 104:5 “He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.”

          Reality: the earth is moving at thousands of miles per hour.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Athy

          Yeah, right. Well, that clears it up, no question.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
        • Observer

          – Revelation 7:1 “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth”

          August 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Jim

          It's a figure of speech. The TRUTH of the world cannot be moved. Not the Planet itself.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
        • bostontola

          Jim,
          That's weak rationalization. They still talk about the sun rising rather than the earth rotating. They thought the sun went around the earth. Cut it out.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • Observer

          Jim

          "It's a figure of speech. The TRUTH of the world cannot be moved. Not the Planet itself."

          Is English a second language for you? Is eyesight a problem? The word TRUTH is not in those verses from the Bible. Please read a Bible sometime.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
        • Observer

          – Daniel 4:11 “The tree grew large and became strong And its height reached to the sky, And it was visible to the end of the whole earth.”

          IMPOSSIBLE on a sphere (for those who are mathematically challenged.)

          August 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • Athy

          So the whole bible is a figure of speech? Or is it just the parts that have been disproven since it was written? Wow! With that flexibility any work of fiction can be made to agree with the truth.

          August 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • bostontola

      Jim,
      Great news, Intelligent Design proves that evolution doesn't exist too!

      August 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
      • Jim

        Evolution is the mechanism God used to form life from the earth. Not mars, venus or the moon apparently.

        August 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          "Not mars, venus or the moon apparently."

          What do you mean?

          August 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Athy

          So god controls evolution? In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

          August 25, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          That's crazy, god created man on the 4th day, everybody knows that.

          August 25, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
        • Ken

          Evolution is not "controlled" by any intelligence, which is why evolution is the best explanation for all the cases of bad biological design, and cruel suffering in nature. Did your God intend that we can easily choke to death because we only have one pipe for both food and air, or that many pray animals are eaten alive and suffer horribly? If he did, why would anyone consider him "good", or "loving"?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Ken

      Jim
      It's actually the Judeo/Christian/Muslim/Mormon God. Is science "proving" those other religions as well?

      August 26, 2013 at 2:22 am |
      • Jim

        Yes, the God of Abraham is the same God of the Muslims, Jews and Christians.

        August 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • skytag

      Rubbish.

      August 26, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Jim: 3 quick science questions, okay?
      1. Are bats mammals or birds?
      2. How many legs do insects have – 4 or 6?
      3. True or false: hares chew their cud.

      If you could answer these, please, then square your answers with Leviticus.

      August 26, 2013 at 3:23 am |
      • G to the T

        I'll add to that "and Pi = 3?"

        August 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • Jim

        It's quite simple. These people were describing things from their perspectives. They didn't have cladistics or modern astronomy to provide the scientific answers you seem to want to hold them too. The Bible is NOT a science book. But what it reveals about the creation is supported by modern day science. Where is your scientific proof that life can form naturally ? Or that it formed anywhere other than earth ? Genesis describes the intentional formation of man from the earth. And man's dna can be traced all the way back to that one original organism that WAS CREATED from the clays of the earth. A particular type of clay too, "montmorillonite" which has been found to produce primitive forms of rna. Ignore the evidence if you want to. No skin off my back.

        August 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Jim
          Jim
          Way to twist reality into your belief. Excellently done. We do know how life (at least carbon based life) has formed on our planet, we have not been able to duplicate it...YET. Your bible describes creation, yet so does the beliefs taught by most religions. You hold yours up as if it were truth, but what of the others? At least science hasn't been arrogant enough to say we have the answers, like religios folk do. All you have in your book is a possibility, even though many hypotheses and theories have a much higher probability.

          Have you actually read the bible? It is unbelievably flawed, and the whole genesis story makes no sense whatsoever. Much of genesis has already been disproven, so why believe the rest is any more correct?

          August 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • Maani

        1. I think we can be just a tad generous and accept that people living at the time would have assumed a bat was a bird.

        2. Please cite verse.

        3. "Cud" is actually "regurgitated" food that is then re-chewed and re-ingested. In cows, this regurgitation is entirely internal. In hares (but not other rabbits), the regurgitation is external; i.e., the hare regurgitates digested food onto the ground, and then puts it back in its mouth and re-chews it for a second digestion. Thus, hares DO chew a "cud." Look up "cecotrope." You might actually learn something. LOL.

        August 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Johnny

      Right JIm, that is why god used to be responsible for everything that happened, and has now been pushed back to before the big bang.

      August 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    Child cancer patient, just died. Oops, there is another. Sorry mom and dad, I hope it was fun while it lasted. Thanks god.

    August 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    17 dead. Just happened. Just now. Thanks god.

    August 25, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  11. Neo Agnostic

    I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other God before me.

    So, had a thought here on the first commandment. Going by this, the first commandment. It says that you shouldn't put no other god before him. So, from my interpretation and by the wording, it doesn't say that you cant worship other gods just as long as you put God first. So, I can worship Zeus, Hades, Odin, and who ever I want as long as I hold God above them all in my worship.
    If you think about it, Christians already do this. They follow Jesus and say prayers to him and the Virgin Mary. But they hold God above them. They also have countless saints that they pray to for guidance and protection.
    So, I think I will start my own Pantheon of Gods, but will have God first and then all others second. Sounds good to me.

    August 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      That's Catholics you've described, not all Christians.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • Neo Agnostic

        Oops, my bad. But you get my point. I was born and raised Catholic so. I tend to block out that part of my life.

        August 25, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • Neo Agnostic

          And apparently I put a period in a place where it doesn't belong.

          August 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • G to the T

      What you describe is call "Monalitry". It's an intermediate step between polytheism and monotheism. The idea is that you acknowledge that are more than one god, but that only one of them is worthy of worship (have no others before me).

      August 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven!

    August 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I like cake and ice-cream.

      August 25, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of unhealthy for children, the Bible says you can't be a good parent unless you beat your children with rods. The idea is that if you do this enough your child will learn how much God loves them and that is probably true.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Neo Agnostic

      This nimrod. Ugh..always the same stupid comment. Troll.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi prayerbot.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • bostontola

      Prayer does change things, but in the case below, it was prayer that was not healthy for 2 children who trusted their Christian parents.

      PHILADELPHIA (KTLA) — A judge refused to drop murder charges Wednesday against a fundamentalist Christian couple, whose infant son died of untreated pneumonia.

      The boy, Brandon Schable, died after his parents Herbert and Catherine Schaible chose to pray over the infant rather than seek medical treatment, according to police.

      At the time of the child’s death the couple was still on probation following the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son Kent.

      In that case, the couple was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but received probation with the requirement they seek immediate medical help if another child was sick or injured.

      The Schaibles are third-generation members of the First Century Gospel Church.
      Their pastor, Nelson Clark, said the Schaibles lost their sons because of a “spiritual lack” in their lives and insisted they would not seek medical care even if another child appeared near death, according to the Associated Press.
      The Schable’s seven other children were placed in foster care.

      Read more: http://ktla.com/2013/08/08/murder-charges-filed-against-faith-healing-parents-after-second-child-dies/#ixzz2d1hqkzyi

      August 25, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Rascal

      Sorry, not only has it been proven to NOT work, it actually had detrimental effects on patients that believed in prayer...
      http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/40765.php

      August 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Apple Bush

    sweet smelling flowers roam the sidewalks
    while big bellied dandelions platoon
    the spring rains are falling a funny tune at the expense
    of him

    August 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  14. Joshua

    Great Article. I feel you have hit it right on the head. thank you for sharing your views.

    August 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Joshua

      Ths example of the prodigal reminds me of the wedding at Cana where Jesus turns the water into wine to continue the party.

      August 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • Athy

        Why didn't he turn the water into scotch? Wine is fine, but liquor is quicker.

        August 25, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Joshua

          Athy,
          I don't know? You'd have to ask him. I don't think Scotch would've kept the party going but instead it would have ended it quickly.

          August 25, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Why didn't he turn like the, you know man, like the whole sea into a water bomg and like, you know man, toke it out man!

          August 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I said bomg instead of bomb man...fuck man hey you gonna eat that?

          August 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          FUCK I said bomb instead of
          BONG man. These are good man...

          August 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN94u-MiRGE&w=640&h=360]

          August 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • I Can't Speak for the Author but...

      You're welcome.

      August 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  15. Lionly Lamb

    All matters of every material contrivance needs nothingness to maintain their status stabilities within regular momentums... For within all framed material works does nothingness derive all matter to be anatomically sound within its reasonable constructs... Without nothingness holding apart all atomized sequencing all matter would fall in upon its own gravitational weightiness...

    August 25, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGwjp07oO8U&w=640&h=360]

      August 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    prayer changes nothing

    August 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      It can have a placebo effect.

      August 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        Kaysi
        Time to get my pepperoni pizza folks.

        August 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
        Doobs
        Enjoy. I just had a big burger and a margarita on the patio. Gorgeous weather today.

        Life is good.

        August 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
        Kaysi
        You are so lucky you can eat pepperoni pizza! I can't have pepperoni 'cuz of the nitrates in it. They have a pizza place in the popular 1970s TV series, Laverne & Shirley, the purpose of the Carmine Ragusa character was to keep Lenny and Squiggy in line. The Lenny and Squiggy characters are arguably the best thing in the series.
        The "Lenny and Squiggy" act was originally formed when both actors were undergraduates, attending Columbia University in New York City.

        August 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Nothingness changes prayers

      August 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Doobs

        And prayers changes nothingness. Aren't word games fun?

        August 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • Neo Agnostic

        From nothingness comes the universe!

        August 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        From the culminations of atomized universes many celestially big bang universes were being so born and from terrestrial atomized universes all life became as an abundant measure wherever made possible...

        August 25, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • Neo Agnostic

          How about you stop cut and pasting from Wikipedia or some other source and use your own words for once.

          August 25, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          LL doesn't copy from Wikipedia. Wikipedia articles make sense.

          August 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
        • Neo Agnostic

          Ahh..yes...that is true.

          August 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Although there is quite conceivably immeasurable amounts of big bang universes, science and all its beneficiaries are still standing unmoved upon a singular big bang giving birth to a single universe being an allness within the spatially infinite nothingness... How much longer will it take for science's beneficiaries to open up to the possibility of unknowable amounts of big bang universes being birthed by spatially infinite nothingness..?

          ________________________________________________________________________________________________

          August 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          Kaysi
          Time to get my pepperoni pizza folks.

          August 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
          Doobs
          Enjoy. I just had a big burger and a margarita on the patio. Gorgeous weather today.

          Life is good.

          August 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
          Kaysi
          You are so lucky you can eat pepperoni pizza! I can't have pepperoni 'cuz of the nitrates in it. They have a pizza place in the popular 1970s TV series, Laverne & Shirley, the purpose of the Carmine Ragusa character was to keep Lenny and Squiggy in line. The Lenny and Squiggy characters are arguably the best thing in the series.
          The "Lenny and Squiggy" act was originally formed when both actors were undergraduates, attending Columbia University in New York City.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  17. Kaysi

    Time to get my pepperoni pizza folks.

    August 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Doobs

      Enjoy. I just had a big burger and a margarita on the patio. Gorgeous weather today.

      Life is good.

      August 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Kaysi

      You are so lucky you can eat pepperoni pizza! I can't have pepperoni 'cuz of the nitrates in it. They have a pizza place in the popular 1970s TV series, Laverne & Shirley, the purpose of the Carmine Ragusa character was to keep Lenny and Squiggy in line. The Lenny and Squiggy characters are arguably the best thing in the series.
      The "Lenny and Squiggy" act was originally formed when both actors were undergraduates, attending Columbia University in New York City.

      August 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Doobs

        I loved Lenny and Squiggy!

        August 26, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  18. One one

    My list of why people believe in gads and associated religions:

    1. fear of death and hope to live forever
    2. Explain the unknown
    3. Social management and control
    4. Desire to be loved and protected by an authority figure
    5. Desire to be part of a clan
    6. Affirmation that your values, beliefs, and practices are the "correct" ones
    7. Feeling of superiority over the others.

    August 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Yep, pretty much.

      August 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mike

      You just described the universal human condition and longing. So you are saying you are above all that? You are no better than the rest of us honey in trying to survive and figure this world out

      August 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Of course we are all victims to these feelings but the rational mind doesn't convince itself of the existence of supernatural beings to sate these feelings.

        August 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Mike

          So your arrogant response is of course I am above the fear of not having any answers. Not a believer either but you are delusional

          August 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Coherence is goldie.

          August 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • Athy

          No, Mike. Atheists are much better equipped to survive and figure this world out. We don't rely on superstitious beliefs and 2000-year-old reference books. Instead, we rely on our unbiased observations, truth and science and accept new findings without having to "force fit" them into established (and, to you apparently, immutable) religious beliefs. In your limited perception you perceive it as arrogance, but in reality it's just open-minded acceptance of truth.

          August 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • Doobs

          @ Mike

          It's natural to fear the unknown, things you know you have no control over or things you don't understand. That doesn't prove the existence of supernatural beings.

          August 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
      • Mike

        Yep just another arrogant response disguised as a more 'reasonable' and more intelligent understanding. Not a believer, but don't believe you either

        August 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I like cookies and milk.

          August 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • skytag

        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? He never said he was "above" any of that. Seek professional counseling. Attacking people for no apparent reason is indicative of a personality disorder.

        August 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Horse racing is the sport of kings.

          August 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Maani

          Hey, pal! I wondered when you would appear. Welcome aboard! LOL.

          August 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  19. Observer

    Ron,

    Anyone can quote the Bible. Here's one:

    (Deut. 28:45-55) “Israel, if you don't obey the laws and teachings that the Lord your God is giving you. . Because of hunger, a man who had been gentle and kind will eat his own children and refuse to share the meal with his brother or wife or with his other children.” [Moses]

    August 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Reality

      Obviously, the Jewish Scribes had vivid imaginations.

      And then there is this for the new members of this blog:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      August 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    for Christians to argue stories from the bible vs. scientific facts is like arguing about Santa's sleigh flying ... sure it says it flies in the stories but the facts are that there is no Santa (sorry kids), there is no magic sleigh, and there are no magical reindeer to guide his sleigh tonight. Anyone using any story in the bible as a fact to argue against scientifically proven evidence is deluding themselves and annoying the sane.

    And you Christians wonder why we atheists sound annoyed all the time.

    August 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • One one

      Actually, I find their fantasies amusing ...that is, until they try to shove them into our public schools, property, and laws.

      August 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
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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.