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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. Lionly Lamb

    I see the same trolls trolling and trawling with their nets set adrift within the murkiness waters hoping for a big catch of wholesome self loathing minnows... I might as well set my net adrift alongside all the trawlers trolling away... I'll be trawling east by northeast so don't anyone get in the way of my netting lest you want some buckshot sailing your way... Test... This is but a test... Next catch is on me...

    August 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      G'day, Lionly! How you doing? Did you have a good weekend?

      August 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Løki

      Ahhh ... die unsinnige Geschwafel unserer lokalen Arsch-Hut. O ', wie wir sie vermissen, wenn Sie Ihre lächerlichen Mist posten scheitern ...

      August 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Lee

      Bizarre metaphor, as usual.

      Thirsty much? 😉

      August 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  2. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    I think the better question to ask is "Why is Christianities message so tired?

    It is not that they are boring, they have dragons and demons and talking snakes and donkeys. It's that the message is just so tired after they have been shouting it for nearly 2000 years and not a peep from any returned Christ. When does a host finally accept that an invited guest just isn't going to show? Midnight? The next morning? Nearly 2000 years and counting?

    August 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Christianity's

      August 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It just needs a bit of doublethink and everything will be perfectly credible.
      After all, the 7th Day Adventist Church still exists despite "The Great Disappointment".
      Anybody who can worship a Trinity and insist that they're religion is monotheistic is capable of rationalizing anything.

      August 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Their" religion.

        The Cardinal sin of blogging is poor spelling/grammar! Forgive me, WordPress!

        August 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Ever notice how if you say or write a word you know over and over and over it begins to lose its meaning and begins to sound and look awkward to you? This is what I feel when hearing a Christian speak about heaven, heII and armegeddon. They have fervently repeated their mantra over and over until it lost all meaning and value.

      August 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  3. Which God?

    Chirstianity boring? Does the pope wear funny hats? Do Baptist preachers preach fire and brimstone? Do TV evangelist ask for money? Sheesh.

    August 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  4. ??

    http://www.radiolab.org/2007/sep/10/the-greatest-hits-of-ancient-garbage/

    August 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  5. Susan

    http://epabaxter.hubpages.com/hub/StraySheep
    Why we shouldn't judge...

    August 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      that's all christians do is judge. i've been judged and told i'm going to hell more than a few times. christians use the 10K arbitrary rules to judge, judge, judge. it's one of the worst aspects of religion.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • ??

        Why do you turn around and do the exact same thing?

        August 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          if you think that's the exact same thing, you need to think it through a little more...

          August 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • ??

          If you can't accept it is the same thing you've got some major blind spots, booty.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          if you can't see the difference, it's because you have your religious blinders on.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • ??

          if you can't see the difference, it's because you have your (insert whatever you disagree with) blinders on. Too easy. You suck at this. You act exactly like the fundie Xtians. Dude, look how much time you spend talking about religion! YOU REALLY CAN'T SEE IT! WE CAN!
          Love, an atheist.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          yeah,just as easy as saying, 'you're the same!" without saying why, huh?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • Sara

        I guess I' lucky...I'm pretty sure no Christian has ever told me I'm going to hell, though no doubt a few have thought it. Where are you when they say these things? It couldn't be acceptable at work (I hope)? Or is this during religious debate with student groups or something?

        August 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          the last time was on a street corner. a woman was handing out those little religious comic books. she tried to press one into my hand as i walked by. i said, "no thanks, i'm an atheist." she said, "then you're going to hell. but there's still time to be saved."

          and yes, many times on this very blog have i been told.

          or say, 6 months ago when i started giving an middle age woman a ride that i saw walking along my same route to work. gave her about a ride a half-a-dozen times. then she brought up god. i told her i didn't believe. she told me i better find jesus or i'll be finding hell, and said she didn't want a ride from me any longer.

          you haven't been condemned by a christian? where do you live?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          no one told me i was going to hell. I figured it out for myself. I'm logical like that.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Sara

          Booty, I guess I wasn't really think about people on street corners...I just sort of assume they're crazy. But the woman you were giving a ride to, wow. Could she really have thought she'd still get rides?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          i would have still given here a ride. i knew she was a christian the first day i picked her up - she wore a giant crucifix. that didn't stop me from helping her out. she was the one that said she couldn't accept rides from me any longer because i didn't believe. made me really sad. she was nice, aside from her brainwashing.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          A materialist might see their transaction as someone with a car giving or withholding a ride. But a Christian might be less concerned about who gets to ride than the opportunity to witness for Christ. Who's doing the judging?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          her. she was doing the judging. read the story again, zombie.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          The woman said that she couldn't accept a ride. It seems apparent to me that the Christian lady was doing the judging.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Bill, Do you think that her god put her in that car as a test?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Thinker...

          Bill, I would think witnessing would involve be-friending the person and trying to show them the love of your god, not getting away from them because they are different from you.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I think if Booty took offense at her refusal of a ride then that is precisely what happened. He took offense, perhaps were none was offered. Likely the lady simply dusted off here heals and moved on to the next candidate. People who evangelize in that manner are working the numbers. They witness to every person they meet and move on to a better prospect when they perceive resistance. I don't know if God sent her to Booty's car or not but it's likely she felt so. But she doesn't have the time, and in her view neither does Booty, to cultivate some lengthy spiritual romance. She wants to know if you are willing to be saved. If not, she's looking for someone else. No judgement, no offense, she's just canvassing for souls.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          "Canvassing for souls".

          Was she a Deadite?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          Perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems to me that the lady must inconvenience herself, i.e. not accept a ride, as opposed to just moving on to the next target.
          This was/is not a one time event, but a recurring encounter.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Sara

          Bill, I'm not sure how you use the word "judge", but in my experience "You're going to hell" is pretty much the prototypical example of what it means to make a "judgement" about somebody.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Sara, I think athiests and Christians generally would disagree on this topic. What the lady actually said, as reported is "you will be finding hell". A Christian would say "You are choosing hell by refusal of God's mercy and grace". An atheists says "God is sending me to hell and Christians passed judgement on me." It's a subtle shift of personal responsibility that many Christians ignore and let pass because to them, the issue is salvation, not who is condemning whom

          August 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          ME II, if she feels God is moving her from point to point, I suspect the mode of transportation is irrelevant to her. I understand that to some people a ride is better than walking, but that's only a worldly perspective announcing itself.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Sara

          Bill, If an atheist really believed there was a god and a hell, they would almost certainly not choose it. So what you are talking about is people ending up in a state they would never have knowingly chosen to be in. You really have to manipulate reality to argue that this was a choice made by a fully aware and knowledgable being, but that's also the only way you can justify it without facing the rather straight forward fact that such a god would be evil.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          Interesting. So, your assessment of this story is that the driver, @BootyFunk, who seemingly was offering a ride with no strings attached, even after being told s/he would end up in hell, was the one doing the judging?

          Wow.An amazing feat of rationalization there.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Philosophers have constructed numerous arguments about why God cannot logically be evil Sara. You should familiarize yourself with those discussions. Until then, I would stick with "there is no God" if I were you. It's more supportable, though ultimately just as doomed an argument. In this case, Booty cannot claim he is making an uninformed choice because the first thing the lady asked revealed to her that he did, in fact, know who Jesus is. He just doesn't believe. So, he is not uninformed, and neither are you. Before madtown shows up, there is also a response to those places where people have yet to hear the Gospel from a Christina but that is a different discussion.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Sara

          Bill, It's been over 20 years since I read any of those arguments, but I remember they were as full of holes as the rest of Christianity. Confirmation bias will make all sorts of weird crap make sense once you're in deep enough. If you think you have something new in the last couple of decades, by all means run it past me.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          ME II I've heard Booty judge many people on this board. But sticking with the contents of this story, I don't find evidence of either party judging, other than booty claiming the lady was brainwashed. It looks to me as if he offered her a ride out of his human compassion and she offered him the gift of salvation out of Christina conviction. They both refused the other and are free to enjoy their consequences.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon.
          However, in the story, the offer of a ride was not contingent on a particular belief, however, the lady's acceptance of it definitely appeared to be.
          Unless she had another reason to walk, which would be speculative, she apparently didn't want to ride solely because it was offered by a non-Christian, since she had accepted multiple times prior to finding out the driver's lack of belief.

          I'm not saying that this is typical Christian behavior or anything, just that in this story, she does seem to be the more judgmental of the two.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I think you're fabricating judgment. You're scenario is possible, granted. She may be the type that doesn't want to be in the car with a atheist, even if it were raining. But, my scenario is just as possible. She was looking for a better prospect. It more than a little self centered to think someone is judging you because they choose not to share your company just because you have a car and they don't

          Sara, I tried a lengthy reply to your question but it didn't post. The short answer is that for darkness to exist there can be no light at all. Are you telling me there is no such thing as light?

          August 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          " It more than a little self centered to think someone is judging you because they choose not to share your company just because you have a car and they don't"

          If it were a one-time event, I'd agree, but this was not the first ride apparently. The pattern changed when she found out.

          However, I won't beat this dead horse any more. Peace

          August 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          bill: how does your logic point to a hell, or a heaven?

          August 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        I have been told numerous times I am going to hell. When they say that to me, I tell them that there is no way they are getting into Valhalla.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          “I see two problems with heaven and hell. First, Heaven supposedly will be full of Christians… so that'll suck. Second, Hell will definitely be filled to the brim with "good" Christians… which will without a doubt also suck. So kind of a lose-lose scenario either way.” – LET

          August 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • fred

          It all hinges on soul. If there is no soul its all meaningless.
          Pascal's wager is worthless with our without existence of soul.
          The cry of the atheist is why does life need to have purpose or meaning.
          You exist accidently like the moss on a rock and find that rational and fulfilling.
          Thus is life without soul.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          "It all hinges on soul. If there is no soul its all meaningless."

          I disagree, it all hinges on rhythm. Of course, I don't have that either.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          fred. Pascal's wager is worthless. It doesn't allow for other possibilities: there is a god but it's not your god and it sends you to hell; there is a god and it is your god but it knows you were insincere and it sends you to hell; there is a god but it knows you were good and it sends you to heaven.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • ME II

          Would not accepting Pascal's wager automatically disqualify one from heaven due faith, not in God, but in the odds?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • fred

          Jesus said I am the way and the atheist counters with just look at all the other possible ways. The atheist then turns around and claims they are only way and no one comes to godlessness but through that way.
          Interesting that they put all their eggs (wager) in their exclusive one way without considering conformational bias if not outright dishonesty demanding all ways are possible with the exception of their own exclusive path.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • fred

          In santa we trust
          I agree, I am not a fan of Pascal but I disagree with your logic. An atheist cannot argue many alternate gods while maintaining there is no God. If there is a God, who has presented you with a choice, your suggestion that God would present you with the wrong choice is nonsense.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          fred
          What about all the other thousands of gods, many of them are the only way, and you will be punished for not believing. Do you subscribe to all of them as well? What if Ra is going to get you for not being a devout believer? What then fred?

          THAT is why Pascals wager is foolish. Not because there is one way or not, but because SO many other relgions make the same claim, and you can't choose all of them, so it is an exceedingly weak reason to follow your god for. You might be angering one of the other gods, and will be punished accordingly.

          You dismiss all the others, I dismiss yours as well.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • fred

          Richard Cranium
          You make an argument that God is incompetent which is not reasonable. I understand and can see where many of the present and historic gods actually reflect incompetence but, not God.
          You do not actually propose Ra and God fall in the same category of gods. Ra has had no evident power in your lifetime while God has had evident power in your lifetime. We can safely eliminate Ra that would be reasonable. In the early days of Egypt Ra had real or imagined had power yet the God of Abraham via Moses put an end to the gods of that culture. Real or imagined it is God who has remained since the beginning of the Chosen Ones (the Hebrew).

          August 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          "Ra has had no evident power in your lifetime while God has had evident power in your lifetime."

          How so?

          August 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          Our constitution contains a clause to protect my right to give testimony concerning the Gospel.
          The Bible reveals the true heart of man to this day. Anyone reading it will find the truth about their soul.
          Prayer real or imagined changes things.
          Lives are transformed by the Power of the Holy Spirit (conversion experience).
          The Bible continues to be the #1 best seller as God leads people to make a decision.
          U.S. Presidents must believe in God or give the public impression of belief.
          Moral issues are measured against the standards set by God
          Atheists target God and or Christians in particular the Church with godlessness rather than gods.

          August 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " Lives are transformed by the Power of the Holy Spirit (conversion experience). "
          Based on the behavior of contemporary evangelical Christians on these boards, why would anyone wish to be "transformed" like they have been ?

          August 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
        • fred

          Midwest
          Yep there some who claim to be Christian but do not reflect even the minimum characteristics as detailed by Jesus. We are all very different in our makeup. I suspect even Hitler may have thought it good to punish Jews even though it is not biblical.

          August 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • fred

          Midwest Rail
          The conversion experience (Christian) involves the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God) that brings the Christian into a more and more Christ like person. Some get there quickly others seem to never get close while some fall off.
          If one does not like the person of Christ as revealed in the Bible they of course would never want such a transformation. Free will is just that.

          August 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I've been called a communist, nihilist, socialist, pinko, ho.mo, satanist, idiot, heretic, fool, etc. ad nauseum.
        Many of the threats of hellfire have been presented rather passive-aggresively – schadenfreude masquerading as pity.
        lol?? labelled me a liar just earlier today.

        On the flipside, believers are often belittled as gullible, brainwashed, illogical, stupid, sycophantic, pandering goons.

        August 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          To be fair, interacting with lol is an idiocy in itself, one we've all been guilty of at some stage.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • niknak

          Try working with fundies while being an atheist AND a vegan.
          I get told many things about how I am not only going to hell, but am ruining the American economy before I go.

          And I like soccer.

          Needless to say, I don't have an friends at work.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I like soccer and I'm an atheist, but vegans are the root of all evil.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          @NikNak PaddyWack – Soccer and a Vegan. How deliciously evil...

          August 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • niknak

          Yeah, it is pretty evil.
          Especially for your average "he-bo obied" xtian white male.
          To them it is the real axis of evil.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          A vegan soccer fan? What are you, some kind of euro commie?
          Next you'll be bad mouthing Uncle Ronnie, AKA St. Reagan of Gipper, the patron saint of afternoon naps and plausible deniability.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • niknak

          Naps and deniability?
          Where do I sign up?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          'average "he-bo obied" xtian white male' made me laugh... thanks. And I shall overlook your abnormal soccer/veganosity...

          August 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Ken

          Doc
          Ayn Rand perhaps hated communists more than anyone else on the planet, and she was an atheist.

          August 27, 2013 at 12:47 am |
  6. Bootyfunk

    anyone that went to church as a kid fell asleep in the pews every sunday, along with 1/4 of the adults. church is boring. the material they cover is irrelevant to modern life. no one but a zombie mind-slave would think a christian party is fun. only if you've never been to a party would you think a christian party is fun. it's an easy equation in christianity - if it's fun, it's evil.

    August 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Black church seems fun, with all the singing and dancing. I went to a Catholic service before and realized there was no god because my payers for immediate death to end the boredom went unanswered.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        according to my black fiance, black churches suck just as much when they aren't singing. and even then, the songs are about being a christian zombie, which doesn't seem that fun. if anything, my fiance says they are even more judgmental.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Elaine

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pvvpu2aOYk&w=640&h=360]

          August 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Wedding are boring if you don't know the bride or the groom.

        August 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          been to a lot of arranged weddings, have you...?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • ME II

          "Veiled" reference to Jesus and His bride the church, I suspect.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Yeah, I couldn't imagine sitting through mass if I didn't know what was happening. While Catholics do have "services", they are nearly indistinguishable from the mass, so I suspect you went to a mass. I never invite people to mass because even Christians from other faiths are a little lost and confused, not understanding the liturgy. A mass isn't something you attend for entertainment or even to get a "feeling" of having been to church. It is, in fact, an enactment of a wedding.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      "... kid fell asleep in the pews every sunday ... "
      I served as an altar boy during a midnight mass once. TOTALLY fell asleep during it. Luckily I woke up in time for "offering of the gifts" ... but I still was very embarra.ssed. Last time I ever volunteered for that

      August 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  7. Lawrence of Arabia

    What in the world is this author talking about?!?!?!? You don't reward bad behavior, YOU REWARD REPENTANCE!!! The key word is REPENTANCE... Good night, its authors like this who refuse to use proper hermaneutics that turn into people like Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes...

    August 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Ken

      Would it be OK if, instead of sending murderers to jail, we just accept their repentance? If we did, people would say "Where is the Justice in that", correct? Well, where is the justice in God welcoming in repentant murderers while good, honest non-believers go to hell?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        No. Repentance does not negate justice. In fact, there's a lot in scripture about discipline. We can accept the repentace of the murderer if he's honest, and that would remove the penalty that he owes God, but he still owes man for the wrongs that he has done, and that will be carried out by the civil courts.

        As for the parable, we're not told about what kind of penalty the son received from the father, because the parable is about spiritual life and spiritual death – once repentance has taken place, there is no more spiritual penalty to the believer, but he still must answer to justice in a temporal sense.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Hence Jeffrey Dahmer was shivved in prison, but enjoys an afterlife of eternal bliss as he was baptized while behind bars.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, we don't know if he truely repented though. After all, if someone is baptised and they haven't repented and put their faith in Christ, then all that happened is they got wet. Baptism does nothing to save anyone. If it did, then it would be adding works to grace, and Scriptures tell us that we are saved by grace alone... Repentance is the natural response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If that didn't happen, then he's just as lost as the man who openly rejects Christ until his death.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Ken

          Lawrence of Arabia
          Would a redeemed murderer be compelled to turn himself over to the authorities, and face human justice? Hiding is a form of lying, after all, yes?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • ME II

      " proper hermaneutics"

      Is that a euphemism for "think like me"?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Nope. Hermaneutics is just a word that means a proper reading of Scripture... In other words, you don't take the story of the prodigal son and read that we're supposed to throw a party for someone when they've done wrong.

        The common misconception is that scripture can mean "many things to many people." WRONG... Scripture might be applicable to many different situations, but don't try to make it mean something it doesn't.

        Hermaneutics is the process of using the scriptures to disect and analize what it means in the context that it is said.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Ken

          It's still a hotly debated field though, correct? Often, it's the real scholars who are at odds with the lesser educated pulpit "experts" over the intended meaning of scripture vs the modern interpretation.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Ken, well, its debated only in a sense that you've got one crowd who wants to use the Bible to further their own purposes, like Joel Osteen, who claim that the scriptures say something that it doesn't (read about "Word-Faith Movement") against people like John MacArthur who are warriors for the purity of the Scriptures who read it for what it is, and what it says, without attempting to read anything into it. That's Exegesis vs Eisegesis. (Good study in there too)

          August 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          But how does one determine the "proper reading of Scripture", exactly?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Ken

          Lawrence of Arabia
          What's John MacArthur's stand on women speaking out in church, burning suspected witches and slavery?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        LET's Religiosity Law #4 – If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic. (See Law #5)

        LET's Religiosity Law #5 – Circular "holy" book reasoning + sweaty fervor = mental retardation. (See Law #4)

        August 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Nope... The problems with "wierd" interpretations of scripture come when people try to add meaning to it. Proper hermaneutics involves reading scripture:
          Literally – that is, understood in it natural, normal sense
          Using rules of Grammar – that is, deal with what it says in the way that it says it, whether it is metaphore, simile, narrative, etc.
          Historically – read in its historical context
          With synthesis – no one part of the Bible contradicts any other part
          Practically – it contains a practical application

          August 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • ME II

          "With synthesis – no one part of the Bible contradicts any other part"

          Shouldn't this be a conclusion to be supported, as opposed to a prerequisite for "proper reading"?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Observer

          There's a reason why believers who try to pretend that words don't mean what we know them to mean are called APOLOGISTS.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Observer

      Lawrence of Arabia,

      Skip the HYPOCRISY. There's virtuallty ZERO chance that you believe everything in the Bible so don't be a hypocrite and insist that others do.

      As long as you are picking and choosing from the Bible, why not CHOOSE the Golden Rule next time? It's more important than your petty picking on gays.

      August 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  8. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    August 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Again with the lord spam....do you think you are making points or something?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Does god give brownie points and good grades for the free advertising?

        August 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Well, the US doesn't have lords, what with it being a republic. The UK has lords, but a quick perusal over the membership of the House of Lords finds no Jesus. Does Spain still have an aristocracy?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Ken

      But can you prove it?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      there is no good proof that jesus existed at all except in your book of fairy tales.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        To be fair, there are numerous non-Biblical sources to attest to the existence of Jesus.

        Reality, if you're out there, go ahead and post your sources.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          no, there aren't. and i'd like you to post your sources. what proof is there that jesus existed?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          and note that i said good proof. don't bring up josephus as proof - he also wrote about hercules. so what proof are you referring to?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • Madtown

          Dave is correct. There's not a lot of dispute among religious scholars that Jesus existed. Did he have the significance that christianity assigns to him? That is a different story.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I didn't say proof. Proof implies certainty.

          In terms of contemporary references, there are references to his existence from Cornelius Tacitus, Caius Suetonius Tranquillus and, I believe, Pliny the Younger. I'm really not in the mood to go source hunting. Reality has an abundance of sources, both historical and present day, on the subject. I'll ask him for the list when he decides to turn up again.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          "religious scholars", really? Wow, not much dispute. How about historians? You have no evidence on your side.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          " There's not a lot of dispute among religious scholars that Jesus existed."
          whole books have been written on the subject, so that's just blatantly untrue. and as time goes on, more are being written. there is no debate among those that believe in jesus that he existed - but there's lots of debate among those that don't.

          again - i'm waiting for this proof. people keep mentioning that it's there - but don't show it.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          " there is no debate among those that believe in jesus that he existed – but there's lots of debate among those that don't.".

          That sentence doesn't really make sense. Could you explain it please?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Madtown

          Honey Badger Don't Care
          "religious scholars", really?
          ---
          ?? Well yeah, "really". Religions are creations of the human mind, but there continue to be humans who devote themselves to studying aspects of these religions.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Religious scholars are secular studiers of religion. They are historians.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Reality

          From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

          "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

          “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

          “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

          “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

          I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

          See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

          Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

          Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

          There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

          See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

          From ask.com,

          "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

          Then there are these scriptural references:

          Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

          Added suggested readings:

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:
          http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

          16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, ethics, etc.
          religion-online.o-rg/

           17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
          18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
          ntgateway.com/
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          August 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Reality

          Summarizing the above references:

          The Apostles'’ Creed 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

          August 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
      • ??

        http://www.radiolab.org/2007/sep/10/the-greatest-hits-of-ancient-garbage/

        August 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Ken

        Jesus could have been just as real as Davy Crockett, but that doesn't mean that we have to believe every wild story ever told about either of them.

        August 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • Reality

        And a more recent review of the previous references:

        "Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]
        Bart D. Ehrman (Author)

        Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: "Did Jesus exist at all?" Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure—far removed from any credible historical evidence—that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible?

        In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not.
        "

        August 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Madtown

      "Who's Jesus again? Is he still my lord, even though I have never heard of him?"

      – signed,
      that pesky guy who God placed in an area of the world devoid of christianity, who represents a logical problem that blasts a gaping hole in your belief system

      August 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • ??

        Hu? Jesus saves all.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          jesus couldn't even save himself.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • ??

          But, in theory he did and saved everyone else, right?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Madtown

          saved everyone else, right?
          -------
          Has he saved those who have no idea he exists?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  9. Matthew 12:36
    August 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Rush 21:12

      .

      August 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • Løki

        Not from 2112 but very apropos when it comes to religion...

        "Freewill"

        There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
        A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

        A planet of play things
        We dance on the strings
        Of powers we cannot perceive
        'The stars aren't aligned
        Or the gods are malign...'
        Blame is better to give than receive

        [Chorus:]
        You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
        If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
        You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
        I will choose a path that's clear
        I will choose freewill

        There are those who think
        That they were dealt a losing hand
        The cards were stacked against them
        They weren't born in Lotusland

        All preordained
        A prisoner in chains
        A victim of venomous fate
        Kicked in the face
        You can't pray for a place
        In heaven's unearthly estate

        [Chorus]

        Each of us
        A cell of awareness
        Imperfect and incomplete
        Genetic blends
        With uncertain ends
        On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet

        [Chorus]

        August 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Matthew
      36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

      the usual christian threat - believe in an all-loving god or he will send you to be tortured in hell for all eternity. another example of how disgusting the christian mindset is.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Reality

        As with all NT passages, Matt 12: 36-37 has been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. Matt 12: 36-37 fails rigorous testing. See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 694-695. See also

        http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb410.html

        Stratum: III (80-120 CE)
        Attestation: Single
        Historicity: negative

        August 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Ken

      "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken."

      Which illustrates that God will judge people based on their deeds after all. So much for salvation by grace alone, eh?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        You're not saved by your works, but you are judged based on them.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • Ken

          How does that work? Everyone does "deeds" and, if God judges people based on them, and people know this beforehand, isn't the point of Christian morality to make people think about improving their deeds?

          If, as is sometimes argued, good deeds are just the byproduct of being "saved" then why would God need to judge them?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Ken,
        "Which illustrates that God will judge people based on their deeds after all."

        No, it's a statement without factual basis.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      My favorite is Ezekiel 23:19-21:

      19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prost itute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
      (NIV 1984)

      August 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  10. Richard Cranium

    Someone wiped out the moronic comments of hharri. Good job. Usless troll.

    August 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  11. flying spaghetti monster

    Hey all, good morning! So... how 'bout that Miley Cyrus, eh? Proof positive that there is no god: her performance last night at the VMAs.

    game, set, match.

    August 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I'd still hit it.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        Oh, of course, me too. Goes without saying. 😀

        August 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if there is a god, i'm pretty sure he's a giant perv...

      August 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        That would explain a lot of things.

        R'amen!

        August 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        If I was omnipresent, I'd have an ogle.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Thinker...

          If you were omnipresent you'd have no choice whether to ogle or not. Yet another of the contradictions inherent in an omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent being.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Cam el Toe Joe

      Miley is my friend!

      \|/

      August 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • Ken

        Personally, I'm throwing away my big foam finger before my daughter gets ahold of it. 😉

        August 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    Should Christianity be so boring?

    does it have a choice?

    August 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  13. Reality

    Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    Why the Christian god and those who believe in him will never be funny or party-types:

    Number of god's creations who died horrible, painful deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

    August 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      More evidence of how god works (or not) in mysterious ways.
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/08/24/measles-outbreak-traces-to-vaccine-refusing-megachurch/
      "A measles outbreak in Texas traces to a congregation of a megachurch whose leader, Kenneth Copeland, reportedly has warned followers away from vaccines, advocating for faith healing and pushing the debunked notion that vaccines cause autism. One of Copeland’s churches, Eagle Mountain International Church in North Texas, is the epicenter of the outbreak, which now has hit at least 20 people. "

      August 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        If my child was infected, I would be suing the crap out of Kenneth Copeland and his moronic mega-church

        August 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Anyone who actually pays heed to what he says should have their children removed from their care.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  14. Bill Deacon

    Today's liturgy

    Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
    R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Sing to the LORD a new song
    of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
    Let Israel be glad in their maker,
    let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
    R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
    let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
    For the LORD loves his people,
    and he adorns the lowly with victory.
    R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Let the faithful exult in glory;
    let them sing for joy upon their couches;
    Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
    This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia!
    R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

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

      August 26, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Madtown

      R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
      ----
      You mean, every single human being on the planet now, and throughout history? That sounds pretty good.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        There are a lot of Catholic priests that take delight in some of the people. There are some popular evangelical preachers who take ho mo se xual delight in people while on meth too.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Ken

      Bill
      Aren't these same Jews supposed to be condemned if they don't convert before Christ comes? Not much to celebrate there, eh?

      Besides, how many Jews do you know who even own a timbrel or a harp?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Ken, The Lord is kind and merciful ,rich in kindness, slow to anger.

        I wouldn't get too worried about our Jewish friends

        August 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Eternal torture and mercy are two concepts that don't belong together.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          "The Lord is kind and merciful ,rich in kindness, slow to anger"
          Tell that to the millions of lifeforms he flooded to death. Tell that to Sodom and Gomorrah (so merciful). Tell that to Lots wife when he punished her for looking back.

          Merciful? Odd you would use that word, since it doesn't apply.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • Ken

          Bill
          You had to accept that the Bible was being truthful when it said that he is kind and merciful, etc... Anyone casually reading the Bible with its horrible stories of genocide, God asking for sons to be sacrificed, slavery, and so on might not automatically decide that God is the good guy in the story.

          Take the Garden of Eden story. Nowhere in it does the snake lie, right? God, however, told the humans that they would die if they ate of the tree, but that didn't happen, did it? Nowhere does it say that it was only a "spiritual" death. That's a bit of theological patchwork added to address this problem.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          Bill, maybe you should read the bible some time. It directly contradicts your statement.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • Madtown

          Anyone casually reading the Bible with its horrible stories of genocide...
          -----
          Yes. God commanding 1 sub-grouping of the humans he created to attack, kill, and take the lands of another sub-grouping of humans he created. If God is "kind and merciful, and rich in kindness", as Bill states, the bible is certainly not a work that supports the notion.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I find it rather funny that the Adam & Eve myth includes them eating of the fruit and then having their eyes opened and they become like God, knowing good and bad, and what is the first thing they notice? That they are naked, and they become embarassed hiding their nakedness. Why is this so funny? Because why would knowing good and bad from God's perspective have anything to do with wearing clothes? They hadn't even invented clothing yet, but they immediately point out something that is a human learned behavior. There are nudist colonies where children are raised in the nude and never learn these akward hang ups about nakedness so I can't see how anyone would believe we are infected by some sinfull fruit that makes us see how being naked is so naughty. This is another reason not to take Genesis very seriously.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • AE

          I think after eating the fruit, they felt shame about their bodies. Which is not what God intended for us to feel.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, But if god gave them the bodies and god provided the knowledge it makes no sense that they would feel shame for their bodies. Naked was the only way then apparently; of course the bible writers didn't know that we'd evolved to be less hairy and eventually started to wear clothing.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • AE

          They didn't feel shame until they listened and followed a voice other than God's (a talking serpent). Shame didn't come from God; it came from that other voice.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    If this article could breathe it would be a waste of oxygen. I can't believe the author wrote 4 books, one of them a NY Times best seller. They must be the equivalent of christian rock music... terrible, but christards will buy it anyway.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Agreed, it's a terrible premise and poorly written. I think the Hebrew for it is schlock.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • Sara

        Yiddish.

        I still think it's a lot better than that Steve Jobs bit a few days ago. At least I kind of k now what this guy is getting at.

        August 26, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That was a very weird article. I'm surprised it was posted. Lionly Lamb makes more sense than the writer of that article.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Sara

          hharri, I have no idea whether Hitler was a Christian or not. He certainly claimed to be, but most politicians claim the belief of the people who will elect them. If I remember correctly he was into Atantis and psychic readings or somesuch stuff. It isn't my area, though, and I don't much care. I also don't understand the rest ofyour comment.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          You forgot me. I know that he was a Catholic too. That makes him a Christian or are you committing the no true Scotsman fallacy?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          hitler was a christian, self-proclaimed. have you read mein kampf? he talks about being on a mission from god.
          do your homework.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Hitler's religious beliefs are debatable.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          and irrelevant

          August 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • AE

          “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”

          Adolph Hitler

          August 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • AE

          “So it’s not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the Churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic.”

          Adolph Hitler

          August 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • AE

          “The fact that the Ja.panese have retained their political philosophy, which is one of the essential reasons for their successes, is due to their having been saved in time from the views of Christianity.”

          Adolph Hitler

          August 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • Sara

          AE, none of those are confirmed sources (as far as I can tell since you failed to include citations) while numerous recordings, including Mein Kampf have him espousing religious views. I can only assume you failed to list the sources in an attempt to hide the fact that these are well known to be controversial citations.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Sara

          "... my Christian feeling tells me that my lord and savior is a warrior. It calls my attention to the man who, lonely and surrounded by only a few supporters, recognized what they [the Jews] were, and called for a battle against them, and who, by God, was not the greatest sufferer, but the greatest warrior. . .As a human being it is my duty to see to it that humanity will not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did that old civilization two thousand years ago, a civilization which was driven to its ruin by the Jews. . . I am convinced that I am really a devil and not a Christian if I do not feel compassion and do not wage war, as Christ did two thousand years ago, against those who are steeling and exploiting these poverty-stricken people."

          12 April 1922

          Flood, Charles Bracelen, 1989. Hitler: The Path to Power. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 261-262.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Sara

          "Only He can relieve me of this duty Who called me to it. It was in the hand of Providence to snuff me out by the bomb that exploded only one and a half meters from me on July 20, and thus to terminate my life's work. That the Almighty protected me on that day I consider a renewed affirmation of the task entrusted to me. In the years to come I shall continue on this road, uncompromisingly safeguarding my people's interests, oblivious to all misery and danger, and filled with the holy conviction that God the Almighty will not abandon him who, during all his life, had no desire but to save his people from a fate it had never deserved, neither by virtue of its number nor by way of its importance."

          30 Jan 1945 radio address. There are plenty more well doc umented sources. As I said, I have no idea whether he was really a Christian, but the overwhelming well doc umented evidence is that he claimed to be.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          ir·rel·e·vant
          [ih-rel-uh-vuhnt] Show IPA
          adjective
          1.
          not relevant; not applicable or pertinent: His lectures often stray to interesting but irrelevant subjects.
          2.
          Law. (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • ok

          o·pin·ion
          əˈpinyən
          noun
          noun: opinion; plural noun: opinions

          1. a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • ME II

      Maybe this is something we can all agree on.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The content of the articles lately has indeed left something to be desired.
      We've gone from "Young People Want Churches to Stop Trying to Make Religion Fun" to "Christianity ROCKS!" and "Church can be party time! Whooo!"

      August 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  16. Honey Badger Don't Care

    That parable is ridiculous. Why would you reward bad behavior? Kind of stupid if you ask me just like most of the stories in that book.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      He's not rewarding bad behavior... He's rewarding repentance. Big difference.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • AE

        It also illustrates what the grace of God looks like.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          What "grace"?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • AE

          God's grace, which is bigger and more generous than anything you can imagine!

          August 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, Then how can you imagine it?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Amazing Grace

          Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
          That saved a wretch like me.
          I once was lost, but now am found,
          Was blind, but now I see.

          'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
          And grace my fears relieved.
          How precious did that grace appear
          The hour I first believed.

          Through many dangers, toils and snares
          I have already come;
          'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
          And grace will lead me home.

          The Lord has promised good to me
          His word my hope secures;
          He will my shield and portion be,
          As long as life endures.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • AE

          I probably can't adequately imagine what God's grace truly is, but I have experienced it.

          It is good. Amen.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          These lyrics are from an amazing Christian band, Faith+1.

          I need you in my life, Jesus. I can't live without you, Jesus.
          And I just want to feel you deep inside me, Jesus.

          Don't ever leave me, Jesus. I couldn't stand to see you go.
          My heart would simply snap, my Lord, if you walked on out that door.
          I promise I'll be good to you, and keep you warm at night.
          Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, why don't we just... shut off the lights.

          I love you, Jesus, I want you to walk with me.
          I'll take good care of you baby. Call you my baby, baby!
          You died for my sins, and you know that I would die for you, right?
          What's the matter, baby? You tremble at Jesus, baby! Your love, is my life!
          You'ld know when I talk too, there's a blackhole in my life! Ooooh!

          Oh Lord you are my savior! You know I miss you so much when you are gone.
          Yes I may be born again, but I wasn't born again yesterday.
          I want'a get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus. I want'a feel his salvation all over my face.
          The body of Christ, sleek swimmer's body, all muscled up and toned.
          The body of Christ, Oh, Lord Almighty, I wish I could call it my own.
          You're one time, two times, three times my Savior...
          Whenever I see Jesus up on that cross I can't help but think that he looks kind'a hot...

          August 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Sorry, wrong place.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
        • Ken

          AE
          If you can't adequately imagine what something is, how can you determine whether you actually experienced it?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • AE

          I feel it deep within my spirit. God is the light. He takes me out of the darkness.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          @AE "I feel it deep within my spirit. God is the light. He takes me out of the darkness." Couldn't you just buy a flashlight from Walmart like everyone else?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Ken

          Ken
          Then you believe that simply "feeling it deep within your soul" is adequate to determine whether you actually experienced it, right? Same as the folks who know that they've been abducted by aliens, or reincarnated, I suppose?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • Ken

        Point is, he's rewarding repentance more than the solid faithfulness of the other son. What does that tell the majority of Christians who were raised in the faith and managed to live relatively moral lives without hurting others? Are they somehow less valued than the people who hurt others throughout their lives and then find Jesus? Wouldn't leaving the faith and sowing their wild oats for a while not be the logical thing for them to do, if that's what God values?

        August 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Coming home after a night of debauchery and saying "my bad" is repentance? Oh, that's right he wanted to be a slave. This is just a made up story anyway, why pay attention to it?

      August 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  17. AE

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2wCBAdT6FI&w=640&h=360]

    Not boring!

    August 26, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Ken

      That performance may be a spectacle, but I don't really find it ay more exciting than watching the top championship game of world cricket, something I did do with a friend, ... once.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • AE

        Ok. I've witnesses many exciting sporting events, too. Some sports aren't boring either. I agree.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Ken

          It all comes to a matter of taste, which is largely a cultural construct. I'm told that some country music is actually good, for example, but I grew up in NYC, and it was never part of my culture. A lot of people likely appreciate Christian music because it was a big part of their culture too, correct?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • AE

          Yes. It wasn't a big part of my culture, but I have to admit some of it is pretty good.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
        • Ken

          Some Christian music is also pretty good, ... as long as you don't pay attention to the lyrics. 😉

          August 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Amazing Grace

          Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
          That saved a wretch like me.
          I once was lost, but now am found,
          Was blind, but now I see.

          'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
          And grace my fears relieved.
          How precious did that grace appear
          The hour I first believed.

          Through many dangers, toils and snares
          I have already come;
          'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
          And grace will lead me home.

          The Lord has promised good to me
          His word my hope secures;
          He will my shield and portion be,
          As long as life endures.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Amazing G
          Always hated that song. Why anyone would think they are a wretch requiiring saving from the eternal torture that their god is threatening them with.
          I am not a wretch, and for people to think they are is just part of the whole religious thing where they convince you you are ill, and they have the cure. Typical brainwashing.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          These lyrics are from an amazing Christian band, Faith+1.

          I need you in my life, Jesus. I can't live without you, Jesus.
          And I just want to feel you deep inside me, Jesus.

          Don't ever leave me, Jesus. I couldn't stand to see you go.
          My heart would simply snap, my Lord, if you walked on out that door.
          I promise I'll be good to you, and keep you warm at night.
          Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, why don't we just... shut off the lights.

          I love you, Jesus, I want you to walk with me.
          I'll take good care of you baby. Call you my baby, baby!
          You died for my sins, and you know that I would die for you, right?
          What's the matter, baby? You tremble at Jesus, baby! Your love, is my life!
          You'ld know when I talk too, there's a blackhole in my life! Ooooh!

          Oh Lord you are my savior! You know I miss you so much when you are gone.
          Yes I may be born again, but I wasn't born again yesterday.
          I want'a get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus. I want'a feel his salvation all over my face.
          The body of Christ, sleek swimmer's body, all muscledOh Lord you are my savior! You know I miss you so much when you are gone.
          Yes I may be born again, but I wasn't born again yesterday.
          I want'a get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus. I want'a feel his salvation all over my face.
          The body of Christ, sleek swimmer's body, all muscled up and toned.
          The body of Christ, Oh, Lord Almighty, I wish I could call it my own.
          You're one time, two times, three times my Savior...
          Whenever I see Jesus up on that cross I can't help but think that he looks kind'a hot...

          August 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Sara

          Richard, He was a slave trader.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Ken

          And Jesus was a sailor
          When he walked upon the water
          And he spent a long time watching
          From his lonely wooden tower
          And when he knew for certain
          Only drowning men could see him
          He said "All men will be sailors then
          Until the sea shall free them"
          But he himself was broken
          Long before the sky would open
          Forsaken, almost human
          He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
          And you want to travel with him
          And you want to travel blind
          And you think maybe you'll trust him
          For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

          From Leonard Cohen's Suzanne

          August 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • AE

          Dave,

          South Park did a great job parodying some of the current contemporay Christian music: what is often called "Jesus is My Girlfriend" music.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Yep, Christian music tends to be a cynical cash-in.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • AE

          Yea, I prefer to not listen to it.

          August 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Sara

        Lol, yeah, cricket ties with golf and bowling in the excitement competi tion.

        As for Christian music...I'm pretty tone deaf, so without good lyrics it's hard for music to grab me.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Doobs

          In other non-headline news:

          lol?? Reverts to Native Language
          Belief Blog Troll Tries, Fails In Latest Desperate Attempt at Humor

          August 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  18. 7

    Everyone is welcome to download free original music at... thetreasureofzion.com

    August 26, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  19. brads2sense

    I never knew Ned Flanders was a REAL person..hidely hey!

    August 26, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Ken

      If more Christians were like Ned, fewer people would be as motivated to combat their nonsense.

      He's the best example of what a Christian is supposed to be on TV, and probably in real life as well.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        In later series, Ned began to embody some of the worst aspects of the Christian right.

        August 26, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Ken

          He still shows a lot of compassion and goodness, which easily still makes him the best example of Christian even with his crazy beliefs.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          He opposed gay marriage and supported the ban on teaching evolution. Only jerkwads would hold these opinions.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • fintastic

        ..."and you have the curly red hair of the devil.."

        August 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  20. Doc Vestibule

    If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

    August 26, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Sara

      It definitely screams of poor planning.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Topher

      Hi, Doc.

      Why do you need to "select" the truth? If God said it, it must be true.

      August 26, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        And yet there is a plethora of contradicting books people claim God wrote, so which do you choose?

        August 26, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • Topher

          Like what, for instance?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          There are plenty of aprocypha and deutero-canonical texts.
          The form of the Bible with which you are likely most familiar didn't exist until 325 when the Nicene Council decided which bits would be canon.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Limitless possibilities, friend.
        Before the heyday of monotheism, Gods abounded!
        Who is to say that Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama aren't true gods?

        How can the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, or Revelation X be dismissed as Holy Books since they all claim to be "The Truth"?

        If you're a Bible adherent, how do you know whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, oriental Orthodox, As.syrian, Byzantine, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Anabaptism, Brethren, Methodist, Pietism, Apostolic, Pentocostal, Charismatic, African Initiated, United, Quakers, Couthcotti.tism, Millerism, British-Isrealism, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, 7th day Adventism, Kelleyism, Co.oneyism, Shakers, Methernitha, Strigolniki, Yehowism, Christadelphians, Christian Science, doukhobors, Iglesia ni Cristo, Makuya, Molokans, Subbotniks, Ebionism, Martinism, Rosicrucians, Rastafarianism, Santo Daime, or Umbanda is the REAL interpretation of your God's words?

        And since most of us don't read ancient Hebrew and/or Greek, which translation is the real, inerrant version?
        American Standard Version, American King James Version, Amplified Bible, An American Translation, ArtScroll Tanakh (Old Testament), An American Translation, Berkeley Version, Bible in English, The Bible in Living English, Bishops' Bible, Catholic Public Domain Version, Children's King James Version, Christian Community Bible, English version, Clear Word Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Contemporary English Version, Concordant Literal Version, A Conservative Version, Coverdale Bible, Darby Bible, Douay-Rheims Bible, Douay-Rheims Bible (Challoner Revision), EasyEnglish Bible, Easy-to-Read Version, English Jubilee 2000 Bible, English Standard Version, Ferrar Fenton Bible, Geneva Bible, God's Word, Good News Bible, Great Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, The Inclusive Bible, International Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible, Jewish Publication Society of America Version Tanakh (Old Testament), Judaica Press Tanakh (Old Testament), ia E. Smith Parker Translation, King James 2000 Version, King James Easy Reading Version, King James Version, King James II Version, Knox's Translation of the Vulgate, Lamsa Bible, A Literal Translation of the Bible, Leeser Bible, Tanakh (Old Testament), The Living Bible, The Living Torah and The Living Nach. Tanakh (Old Testament), Matthew's Bible, The Message, Modern King James Version, Modern Language Bible, Moffatt, New Translation, James Murdock's Translation of the Syriac Pesh.itta, New American Bible, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Bible, New English Translation (NET Bible), New International Reader's Version, New International Version Inclusive Language Edition, New International Version, New Jerusalem Bible, New Jewish Publication Society of America Version. Tanakh (Old Testament), New King James Version, New Life Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Quaker Bible, Recovery Version of the Bible, Revised Version, Revised Standard Version, Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, Revised English Bible, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, The Scriptures, Simplified English Bible, The Story Bible, Taverner's Bible, Thomson's Translation, Today's New International Version, Third Millennium Bible, Tyndale Bible, Updated King James Version, A Voice In The Wilderness Holy Scriptures, Webster's Revision, Westminster Bible, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible, Wycliffe's Bible (1380), Wycliffe's Bible (1388), Young's Literal Translation?

        August 26, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Topher

          Doc

          There was a LOT there, so I hope I'll remember all your points. First, those gods should be able to prove themselves. The Christian God has. Why can't they? Second, as far as I know, none of those religions have a book they claim came from God (though I admit I've never heard of MOST of those.) They claim to be truth, but not necessarily from God. You also brought up interpretations and how to know which is the true one? The problem with that is you're depending on sinful man's interpretation. What you should be looking at is how God meant it (and if we consider the originals to be the inerrant versions ... you can basically look at how the original readers would have understood them.)

          August 26, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          I guess my earlier point was lost on you Doc

          August 26, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          If 33,000 people write something about yesterday's sunrise tomorrow and each version varies by some degree from another, did the sun come up?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          " First, those gods should be able to prove themselves. The Christian God has." Oh really? When did this happen? And what do you say to the Muslim who says Allah has proven himself to them? Or the Hindu who swears Vishnu is active in their lives? Are you really this dumb? All Gods have exactly the same proven record which so far is none. All any religion has is a mass of followers who have the opinion that their God is real.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          Topher,

          Your god HASN'T proven itself to exist or that the book that their followers use it true. Unless you have something new that provides some evidence that it is.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          33,000 claimed that the sun did come up, which is verifiable.
          If 33,000 claimed that ET ships flew over Pheonix, did ETs fly over Pheonix?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          All those gods DID prove themselves as being real – to their respective believers.
          Do you think people would build temples and sacrifice to gods in whom they didn't believe?

          Many of those Holy Books claim to be "divinely inspired" in the same way as the Bible. Abraham's God didn't make a copy of the Bible magically appear – there were scribes who wrote it all down. Their supernatural inspirations are no more or less credible than anyone else's. Unless, of course, you have a device capable ot intercepting cosmic, psychic messages.\

          The problem with gods is that they require faith.
          You must accept their existence despite the inherent unprovability of supernatural phenomena.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          33,000 claimed that the sun did come up, which is verifiable.
          If 33,000 claimed that ET ships flew over Texas, did ETs fly over Texas?

          August 26, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          If there were 33,000 different accounts that contradicted each other with one claiming the sun did a jig as it came from the north while other reports say the sun was wearing sunglasses as he dipped into the arctic waters, then no, you should not believe any of them and can but look for yourself and make up your own OPINION as the other 33,000 people did.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Sara

          if 3 million people write about their experiences with ghosts, does that make them real? If 10 million people say they hear voices of aliens telling them what to do, does that make them real?

          The point in describing the varieties of god I think is less in talking about gods in general as asking why one would pick any one god over all the others, many of which exist in polytheistic systems. Are the many gods of Mormonism really the same thing as the Christian god? Those of Chinese mythology? The godess Kali? Athena and zeus? Really?

          August 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • Ken

        Topher
        "If God said it, it must be true."

        And God supposedly said that people should trust only him as a god. You would have had to begin with a decision to choose that claim as "The Truth", putting the choice totally in your hands, correct? You would have also had to use your innate sense of morality to decide that God was the "good" one, and Satan the bad one, before trusting God, which rules out the argument that our morality must come from God.

        August 26, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • JimK57

      There is no hell, everyone goes to "heaven".

      August 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        I don't want to go to a gay club in London.

        August 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Hey Doc,you are absolutely right about selecting the right truth on faith alone, thats' why the spirit of truth enters into you to show what is true and what is false.But you only get it when you invite God into your life.

      August 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • ME II

        But how do you know that this "spirit" is accurate, or honest?

        August 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          You know because it makes sence to you and agrees with your understanding of truth given you by the spirit of truth.

          August 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Just Sayin

          @lngtrmthnkr

          In other words: The bible is true because it says so in the bible?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • ME II

          "You know because it makes sence to you and agrees with your understanding ..."

          So, this "spirit" really doesn't do anything, it just agrees with what you already thought was "right"?

          August 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • ME II

          @lngtrmthnkr,
          "You know [the spirit is accurate] because it makes sence to you and agrees with your understanding of truth given you by the spirit of truth."

          August 26, 2013 at 1:53 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.