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Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online
They are the same cast of characters that surface during every online debate about religion. Do you know a "Holy Troller?"
October 5th, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) –"Yo mama..."

Whenever I heard those two words while growing up in inner-city Baltimore, I knew something bad was about to happen. Trading insults was a childhood ritual. But everyone understood that one subject was off-limits. You didn’t talk about anybody’s momma unless you were prepared to start swinging.

Now that I’m all grown-up, I’ve discovered a new arena for combat: The reader’s comments section for stories about religion.

When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith.

I don’t wonder anymore.

When I look at the comment section now, I see a whole lot of “yo mamas” being tossed about. Readers exchange juvenile insults, condescending lectures and veer off into tangents that have nothing to do with the article they just read.

For years, I’ve listened to these “holy trollers” in silence. Now I’m calling them out. I’ve learned that the same types of people take over online discussions about faith and transform them into the verbal equivalent of a food fight. You may recognize some of these characters.

You might even recognize yourself.

The Street Corner Prophet

When the Belief Blog ran a recent article on a television host who declared that atheists “don’t have to live here,” a commenter identified as “Karie” got into a heated exchange with someone who called themselves “Bible Clown.”

Karie called Bible Clown a “disgusting, deviant perverted virus,” and a “Bozo,” before ending with this prediction:

Hell is coming for you love. Special dungeon just for u and u won’t be able to die. LOL.LOL.”

The street corner prophets often act as if they’re deeply concerned about the fate of souls they disagree with, but you can tell that they relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

“We change no one’s mind by attacking,” said Charles Camosy, an ethics professor at Fordham University in New York City.

Camosy has made a career out of bridging religious differences. He’s part of a “Contending Modernites” group, which finds common ground between Christians and Muslims. He’s also the co-founder of a website devoted to dialing down the heat in religious arguments entitled, “Catholic Moral Theology.”

Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

The Provoker

There isn’t any notion of “embodied trust” with the next online character: The provoker.

The provoker doesn’t even pretend to care about the final destination for someone’s soul. They come out punching, and they love to say things that they probably wouldn’t say to someone in person.

In the recent article on Warren, a reader who went by the surname of “Just the Facts Ma’am,” tells another:

“Thanks for once again confirming how vulgar, uneducated and delusional you are Meredith.”

In an article about millennials leaving the church, a reader who identified herself as “Jenna,” tells another: “Jesus never said any of that mess. You are a false prophet if I’ve ever seen one.”

How to argue about religion if you’re a provoker:

No one will listen to you if they don’t like you, said Joe Carter, an evangelical blogger and author of “How to Argue like Jesus,” a book that explores how Jesus verbally tangled with his enemies and persuaded his friends.

Carter said Jesus was such an excellent communicator because he told stories that provoked emotions, took surprising twists and forced people to draw their own conclusions. But he also connected with people because of a simple reason: he cared about them.

“When people know that you care about them, they’re more likely to be persuaded by you,” Carter said. “We tend to be persuaded by people we like and trust. Jesus had that in spades.”

The Atheist

One of my best friends was an atheist. Whenever we ran into one other, we’d launch into these long, philosophical discussions about religion.  I loved it. Like many atheists I subsequently met, I discovered that he knew more about the Bible than most people who claimed to be religious.

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script. In fact, they have some of the nastiest religious arguments I’ve witnessed online.

A sample:

In a recent Belief Blog article about atheism, a reader identifying himself as “Sam Stone” says to another: “Free people do not need a savior, Kate. Only slaves need saviors.”

Another reader who identifies himself as “CamDEn1” tells a Christian, “You are an uneducated fool. Ever you heard of Richard Dawkins? Sam Harris? Atheists have more respected scholars than Christianity…”

I get the source of frustration for some atheists. They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Here’s how to argue over religion if you’re an atheist:

Get beyond the stereotypes and actually spend time with a person of faith. And if you’re a person of faith, do the same with an atheist. You might be surprised.

That’s what happened when Camosy, the Fordham University ethics professor, embarked on a speaking tour with the renowned atheist and philosopher, Peter Singer, who is seen by many as the founder of the animal rights movement.

Camosy said the speaking tour forced him to read and pay attention to Singer’s arguments. He discovered that they share concerns over global poverty. He saw Singer as a person of good will.

“That created the space for us to have an honest, open and fruitful exchange with one another rather than exchanging barbs,” Camosy said.

It also created the space for personal transformation.

“Actually reading him converted me to being a vegetarian,” Camosy said. “But it was only being open to his arguments that made me see.”

The Scholar

I have a friend who is smart – scary smart.  He’s a genial, funny guy who happens to be a theology professor. I try to hang with him when we talk religion, but there’s always a point in the conversation when he loses me. I compare that moment to watching the starship Enterprise go into warp drive. He just goes into hyperspace and my brain just isn’t big enough to follow.

There a lot of big brains in our blog’s comment sections. I call these readers “the scholars.”

Some of them are self-appointed biblical experts. They talk as if they have God’s cell phone number: God has revealed great mysteries to them. They know the divine plan.

In a recent article I wrote about contemporary Christians feeling as if they were persecuted, a reader identified as “Tom Skylark” let me know what all this persecution was really about.

 Skylark said:

“Christians will face continued persecution then 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 will happen right before the 7 year tribulation when Israel burns Russia’s weapons for 7 years. (Ezekiel 39:9). Those who are not taken in the rapture will have the opportunity to receive Christ during the 7 year tribulation but will be beheaded for their testimony. (Revelation 20:4). How far is Russia towards its prophetic position which means the rapture (! Thessalonians 4:16-17) is even closer?

Actually, I did not know that, and I’m still not sure what it means.

Sometimes the scholar is someone who believes all religion is hopelessly derivative: it’s all based on something that came before.

A reader by the name of “Seyedibar” responded to my article on Christian persecution with this:

“A little study of history and comparative religion goes a long way. Abraham is based on an Egyptian figure. His god was Ptah, not El, and his vision was of Memphis, not Israel. Jesus was likely based on a Merkabah mystic, one of a hairdresser and carpenter. .. And if you back a little further, Uguritic archaeology shows us that the book of Genesis is based on the ancestor kings of the Canaanites. Most Christians and Jews aren’t aware that the creator of the Garden of Eden, El, is recorded to have died of a wild boar attack.”

 Like I said, hyperspace. I just can’t go where “Seyedibar” has gone before. I love the scholar’s passion for religion, but some of them lose me when they try to deploy all their knowledge of history and religion in any effort to change someone else’ beliefs.

How to argue about religion if you’re a scholar:

Accept that there is a limit to knowledge. I’ve never seen anyone say in response to a religious argument: “You are right. Your argument is irrefutable. I’m going to jettison a lifetime of beliefs on the spot right now because I obviously have no coherent reply.”

It just doesn’t happen.

Gordon Newby, a professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University, said most people change religious beliefs “not because of one argument” but only after long conversations and intimate exposure to another faith.

“Logical arguments are nice but they're not going to change someone’s life,” Newby said. “We’re way too complicated for that. We’re not programmed machines. We have this whole limbic system of emotions and appetites and everything else.”

The Peacemaker

There are some readers who give me hope when I go to the comment section. They are the “peacemakers,” and they surely bless me with their attitudes.

Peacemakers try to keep arguments from getting personal. They are the online referees.  They turn the other cheek.

An exchange between someone called “Bootyfunk” and “KatieRose” shows a peacemaker in action.

“Bootyfunk”  gets upset with “KatieRose” because she says  “we must respect all ideas in the world, no matter how crazy.”

Bootyfunk says people don’t have to respect all ideas, and tells Katie Rose she shouldn't tell people not to debate religion on a blog about religion.

What does KatieRose say in response? She doesn’t go to war. She makes the peace:

“Okay! That works for me,” KatieRose said. “I’m sorry if it sounded like I was ordering people not to talk about an issue: I just disagreed with the focus of the discussion.”

“Bootyfunk” ends the discussion with a smiley-face symbol and a “smooches, Katie.”

How to argue about religion if you’re a peacemaker:

Keep on doing what you’re doing.

If only the rest of the comment section had more peacemakers. I actually e-mailed readers like “Bootyfunk” and “KatieRose” to get their perspective, but all I got was silence. Not one commenter wanted to talk on the record for this story. Only one person – an atheist – responded to my invitations to chat, and he didn’t want his name used.

But I have a feeling I’ll hear again from these holy trollers when I scan the comment section of Belief Blog. So will you, even if you don’t read that much about religion. These holy trollers show up in our lives and our workplaces. Many of them will sit next to us at the dinner table when families and friends get together for the upcoming holidays.

When the conversation turns to religion, you may meet your holy troller, and you will have to make a choice.

Do I make the peace, or do I go the war?

What kind of holy troller will you be?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Ethics • Internet • News media • Nones

soundoff (3,856 Responses)
  1. Buck Rogers

    The article mentions "the rapture" which is actually a false doctrine. According to the Bible, when Christ returns "with power and great glory", He raises the dead (i.e. reaps the earth) and completely burns up and dissolves this present Earth. There will be a "new heaven and new earth" as the Scriptures teach and every person will be judged in the Kingdom of God on the 12 thrones, this does not take place here. When Christ returns, it is indeed on the "last day" of this temporary Earth.

    October 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Is any Christian doctrine not false?

      October 5, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • truthsayer

        The real question should be: is any Christian doctrine true?

        October 5, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • Buck Rogers

        Not all, and the Scriptures are true to the letter. Every man is judged and rewarded "according to their works shall be". The dead are not 'active' nor 'looking down' from heaven as many claim (by tradition), they are asleep in the grave, i.e. sleeping in the dust as the Bible states awaiting a resurrection. There are 2 distinct resurrections of the just and unjust. Christ voices both of these (John 5) and there is 1,000 years in between them. Again, new Heaven, new Earth and New Jerusalem as old Jerusalem is designated as "Sodom and Egypt". Christ clearly will not be returning to this Earth.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "Not all, and the Scriptures are true to the letter." Now that is some serious science fiction there Buck Rogers...

          October 5, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Elliot

      I like;
      – If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)

      – All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

      – If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

      – A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

      – But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

      I could go on and on but I think most sane people will see this nonsense for what it is.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • Buck Rogers

        Christinas don't deny what the OT says as these laws were set for the Israelites in order to maintain purity. Salvation is from Israel through Christ as God is working toward a greater purpose through His Son. Death entered through one man, Adam, yet through the "last Adam", Christ "all shall be made alive".

        Again, the dead are asleep and if Christ did not go to the cross, there will never be a resurrection and the dead will always remain dust. But Christ is risen, and lives and is preparing a much better place than this old Earth....

        October 5, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Robert

          And you probably wrote that with a straight face. And the religious wonder why atheists can be aggressive at times? Religion of all forms is nothing more than a cult - cultivated by brainwashing that starts at a very early age by the parents of the next generation.

          October 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • Rett

          Your brainwashing theory does not apply to those many who chose to believe who were raised that way.....there are other paths that brought people to faith in God....

          October 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  2. L

    Obamacare = Trying to force young people to pay for the mistakes of older people who weren't intelligent enough to save their money for health care costs.

    AKA : The stupid rule the world.

    What is the purpose of life ?

    Purpose of life = To acknowledge that we prefer death over life

    Stupid ruling the world = People ultimately preferring death over life

    God = Genius

    Have a nice day.

    October 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Elliot

      Please go to take your med's and go back under your rock.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Kathby

      Sorry L, but someday you too will get old and no matter how hard you try, your stuff will fall apart. Blaming Obamacare is evidence that your brain will be the first to go.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA): a U.S. Act of Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.

      Obamacare: An attempt to patch some of the gaping holes in our health care system while still pandering to corporations and the republicans who were first to introduce the mandate back in 1994. Is it perfect? Of course not, there is far to much compromise in it to fix everything and is a big give away to big pharma, but it's better than what we had just a few years ago.

      I don't think there are any republicans who understand the EMTALA and when they say "We don't want to pay for the mistakes of older people who weren't intelligent enough to save their money for health care costs." they don't understand that they already are picking up those costs and more, they just don't want to spend the penny on prevention for the pound of cure and apparently are to stupid to see they are already getting ripped off by the current system.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  3. sslatten3

    This is a great article. There should be more articles about Comments Sections out there - they're a great peak into anonymous democracy. The great thing about the Comments Section (CS) is that people tend to say what they REALLY think about issues and other people who are different from them. The anonymity of a CS allows people to speak their true mind, so, for better or worse, this is the real stuff, unruffled b y what people think they SHOULD say.

    My guess is that 90% of the people leaving hateful comments are probably the same "normal" people we encounter every day. They just secretly think that atheists/Republicans/environmentalists/whatever group are ruining the country.

    True confession? i used to be one of these people. I wish I could say that have always avoided personal attacks in the CS - but I haven't. Once I couldn't convince somebody that voting for the opposite party was immoral and the road to ruin, I launched on them and chalked up their different political viewpoint to stupidity and a supposed erosion of our country's values.

    I did his every day for years. I was certain that my little comment in the CS was somehow going to change the opinion of everyone who disagreed with me. Talk about delusions of grandeur lol Anyway, one day my doctor told me I had high blood pressure. If I was really honest with myself, I had to admit that leaving comments in the CS was responsible for about 30% of my stress level. Seriously.

    So, one day, I just quit. Whatever the issue was, my calling someone else a "troll" or a "dumb-a**" wasn't going to change the world or even make me feel better about myself. Strange, but I came to accept that everyone has an opinion and they're sticking to it. Once I accepted that (and quit my high-stress job and started exercising), my blood pressure dropped.

    Do with that information what you will.

    October 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Zayah V

      This is a stupid article because it implies that a holy troller is somehow a different kind of troll. Trolls say whatever they have to in any kind of conversation to get a rise out of you, thats how they determine victory. So grats, you just enabled a troll and granted him the prestige of being on a news site *applause*.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • nepawoods

      "there should be more articles about Comments Sections out there" ... Seriously?

      October 5, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • sslatten3

        Snark Police!

        October 5, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  4. Jim

    Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces -Matthew 7:6-

    October 5, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • truthsayer

      I happen to love dogs

      October 5, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Dogs have objectively verifiable proof that their 'master' or other canine-abusers exist, whereas the nonbeliever (dog) does not have any verifiable proof of the god's (eternal-torturer-with-hell/dog-starver) existence.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I tried to give a consecrated wafer to my dog. He wouldn't even consider it. So much for what is holy. He eats as well as I do. Strange dog. He won't take American cheese, but good Dutch, French or Canadian cheese he will take after carefully inspecting it.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • visitor

      My understanding of that clause is it possibly means, do not preach to Gentiles.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Elliot

      How about;
      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      October 5, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  5. Truth Seeker

    I read the article as did Katie Rose and Bootyfunk and responded to what I think might have been a troller. I conversed as the peace maker and, to my surprise, when I did show a tad bit of empathy using logic, the troller gave up! What fun! My question to anyone willing to comment on religion is this- "Why am I willing to face ridicule or go to battle over such an eclectic subject?
    What are your personal motives for responding and is it worth the trouble?"

    October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • truthsayer

      Religion is juvenile, based on fear and hate, it is holding us back as a species.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • Mark

        I used to agree with you dude, but with all the madness in the world today (specifically all the murders and mayhem), I'm starting to realize that religion is useful in the purpose for which is was originally intended – to keep weak-minded people calm and under control. Take Ariel Castro – the guy who held those women captive in Clevaland – for example. I really think he wouldn't have done such a thing if he had a strong fear of God, regardless of how nonsensical and juvenile that belief really is.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I think education and value of critical thinking can solve those problems better than tales of boogeymen and fairies. (In your religious scenario, god fills both roles).

          October 5, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Robert

          Actually in most of the west, there is less murders than there ever has been. What there is is more media.

          October 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • Peach

        Well, I suppose you've just given everyone who read this article a perfect illustration of what Mr. Blake is talking about. Perhaps he'll quote you for a future article.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      We learn (form new mental models) when an existing mental model is proven to be incorrect (cognitive dissonance). With believers of any god engaging in debate, usually they display fairly readily where is the area within their own thinking that contains the highest levels of cognitive dissonance. Because I want believers to consider and clarify their position, I find interesting their answers to difficult questions put before them.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Tria MacLeod

      @Truthseeker

      I don't think you'll find one or two answers to that question. I think you'll find dozens. Some people just want to be heard, want to participate. Some people need to prove that 'they' are right/smarter/popular. Some just want to rile others up. Some want to have an actual conversation. The list is endless. As to my own personal reasons, that often depends on my mood and the quality of the comment section. If I see a bunch of name calling I tend to move on. If I see something that looks interesting I'll join the conversation. If I see comments using religion as a club against others (bullying) then I tend to remind said commentor of chapter and verse that directly contradicts what they are saying. For the record, I am a Secular Humanist.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Truth Seeker

        Love it! I prefer theosophist, myself.

        October 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  6. bostontola

    Mr. Blake,
    I join in person and on line discussions about belief. Much of it is the same, on line goes further because of the anonymity (same happens on sports, politics, etc blogs). I enjoy the full milieu of commenters from extreme believers in god to extreme believers in no god. Much of the vitriol is due to familiarity, there are many regulars (again its the same on sports blogs). Your position on what is right /wrong, effective/ineffective assumes that most commenters want to change minds on the opposing side. I think most commenters enjoy the sparring more, I do.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • crazyvermont

      As a Christian, I found this article interesting and a couple of thoughts. First, I do often debate; which, in reality is foolish as I doubt any person's mind is ever changed(ay view) by online debate. Secondly, if truly following the Bible as I should, it says to go out into the world and be "fishers of me", not debate his existence, evolution, abortion etc. Thirdly, and probably most importantly(and embarrassing, most who decide to debate Christianity online would be well advised to know at least a little about their Bible as it is embarrassing that most agnostics know scripture then people purporting to be Christians. Kind of like having an English Prof teach advanced calculus.....not too impressive to most

      October 5, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    I would suggest that everybody on this blog should be allowed to comment only if he uses his real name and not a pseudonym.

    Alone this habit of using pseudonyms here on this blog reduces this blog to a meaningless comedy.

    We should take serious matters which concern our soul's health or the soul's health of other people.

    The only joke of the New Testament I am aware is when Nikodemus told Jesus if a man should go back into the womb of his mother, and get born again. Yet, I guess that this was not a joke but Nikodemus suffered from Jewish stupidity (I am not a racist). Because of their ongoing disbelief the Jewish leaders seemingly faced a high degree of dulling of mind; that has nothing to do with the Jewish race but is a matter of their misconduct.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    I am here on this blog because I seek for people which have my opinion, furthermore I like discussion, I want to share the true gospel of Jesus, and finally I seek advertising for my English website which is non-commercial.

    Does anybody know a serious blog about faith matters???

    October 5, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • bostontola

      Easy rule for a Christian to impose, no one is looked down on in the workplace for being Christian. I can tell you for a fact that many bosses look down on atheists. I don't blame them for protecting their beliefs.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        How far is this concerned with the article above?

        October 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • LivinginVA

          His point is your suggestion that using your real name can get you in trouble at/with work

          October 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          Honest answers – I rejoice.

          October 5, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • bostontola

          Employers search the Internet for employees postings.

          October 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          Do you really belief that? Can you prove it?

          October 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • visitor

          Are you really asking? Yes. What sort of place do you work in?

          Moreover, there is a certain class of Evangelical manager that throws out the religious litmus test early in the relationship, as in, within hours. Proof? Personal experience with two of them, one of which I reported to.

          Talk to a couple of Wiccans and see how they get treated in the workplace.

          Yes people should be anonymous on the internet. Absolutely 100%.

          October 5, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • bostontola

          Can I prove it? Really.

          October 5, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          Just prove it, please.

          October 5, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • MennoKnight

        I live in Canada, and many work places look down on you if you are a born again Christian because they equate you with a Tea Party Ultra Right wing Christian.
        We evangelicals are not like that here in Canada. The founder of Universal Health Care was a Baptist Preacher named Tommy Douglas and his assistants were Mennonite, Anglican, and Catholic.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • lagergeld

          English-speaking Canada has a hostility problem toward the United States, and being the big fans of American liberal media they are, it's no wonder they conflate Christianity with the Tea Party.

          October 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Robert

          That hostility problem is just not true. What we do not want is the polarized us and them and lack of humanity and decency towards their fellow countrymen that has come about of late creeping into Canadian politics.

          We see the blaming of everything bad in the U.S. being Obama's fault and call it what it is, racism. We see the idiocy of tea party member saying stupid things about abortion and call it what it is, religious bigotry. We actually understand some of the strong convictions of some Americans w.r.t. to gun ownership, but we also believe in a society that can function without the need for many of those guns.

          We are insulted when American politicians try to put down our socialized health care without telling the truth that American spends more per person on health care than any other country ... yet only 20% of the population does without while other countries provide arguably a far more effective health care system for less money. One doesn't discount the health advances developed in the U.S. but those are independent of much of the pork barrel health spending that occurs.

          We are insulted when your gun advocates make derogatory comments about Canadians and guns .... without telling the facts that almost any Canadian can obtain a high powered rifle with little more than a background check and a safety course. Most of us just choose not to as we dont' feel the need.

          We are no strangers to racism in Canada but we are appalled at the level of it in the U.S.

          October 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Sergius Martin-George

        "Easy rule for a Christian to impose, no one is looked down on in the workplace for being Christian."

        Seriously? I take it you don't know anyone who works in academia, or in the media.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • lagergeld

          I have a Jewish coworker that railed about crucifixes on the walls of a Catholic hospital she worked in. She thought it appropriate to tell them on their property how they can or cannot express their faith and thus she wanted all Catholic symbols torn down.

          October 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm fond of my handle for a number of reasons, Rainer. It is closely related to my actual name. It gives me necessary anonymity because I do publish a bit out in the "real" world. Informal publication, which is what this is, might be confused with my real stuff without that anonymity.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • truthsayer

      nice grammar "you seek people which have my opinion" ...and you have an English website – how ironic. There is no poof of God therefore nobody needs to accept anything you say on his behalf.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • lagergeld

        I'm agnostic however I reocognize there is ample evidence of something greater than us. However, even if it were logically observable that God exists, then question then becomes which religion is the right one, if indeed there is one?

        October 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Maxwell's Demon

          And what evidence would that be?

          October 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "I would suggest that everybody on this blog should be allowed to comment only if he uses his real name and not a pseudonym."

      This is like saying "Anyone who draws a cartoon of Muhammad must put their real name on it! In fact they must announce to the world their home address as well."

      The whole point of anonymity is to be able to speak truth to power without fear of physical reprisal. The opponents must battle using words alone instead of being able to intimidate and threaten as they would if they knew who they were debating and were on the losing end of the word battle and thus decide to resort to non-verbal debating.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • jayschamel

      Fully identified posting is nice in theory, but remember that identifying your beliefs in a searchable manner can cause posters personal or economic problems, or even endanger their lives, depending on the country they are posting from. Even though I am guaranteed equal protection by the bill of rights, identifying myself online could potentially strain future business relationships and damage my potential to hold public office. A policy requiring true names on the discussion board would simply limit the discussion to those hold majority or popular views, or the most outspoken (and possibly aggressive) of the minority views.

      Remember, not everyone is open-minded as you!

      October 5, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        I have a German website and an English website, and I guess that very many people are disturbed by my websites because I speak out against papacy, Islam, Cheap-Grace-Protestantism, Anabaptism.

        You can find my physical address on my blogs, however, I am still alive; nobody tried to harm or kill me up to know.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • visitor

          What sort of workplace do you work at?

          October 5, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • lagergeld

          That's nice, Rainer, but people with left of center views aren't nearly as likely to be stalked, threatened, or harrassed.

          October 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Marion

      Seriously, you don't seem to understand that Judaism is a RELIGION, NOT A RACE.

      October 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • lagergeld

        Not all Jews would agree with you.

        October 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  8. palintwit

    Those of you who are old enough will remember 1969 and Woodstock, a 3 day gathering of some of the best musical talent of that generation. 2014 promises to bring us Baggerstock, a gathering of some of the biggest @ssholes of this generation. Ted Nugent will play the guitar and Sarah Palin will play skin flutes. Promoters are scouting the deep south at this very moment, looking for a trailer park big enough to hold the event.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • anicolai

      And what is the relationship between your comment and the article above?

      October 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • crazyvermont

      If you are the poster boy for liberalism, the teabaggers certainly have hope

      October 5, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • lagergeld

      Twit, I think it better a measure of who the morons are by whether or not either gathering produced a mini-epidemic of social disease. In that case, your lefty hippies would be the ones in line at the STD clinic.

      October 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • palintwit

        And the rightie-tighties are too uptight to have any kind of s*x at all unless it's cousin-boinking.

        October 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  9. kyzaadrao

    Well, Christians are actually not supposed to be discussing doctrine and deeper issues with non believers, the Bible does teach that as well. Unfortunately that's not often practiced. If it were, it'd be a one sided discussion. If you don't start with belief and faith there's no point in trying to discuss deeper theology with someone who just isn't willing to accept it.

    You see this all the time, some believer spouts a scripture from the Bible and immediately it gets attacked as strange, "out there", etc. And I understand that, a scripture just thrown out there is going to sound like insanity to an unbeliever especially if they're unfamiliar with the Bible and the context.

    Likewise trying to preach a mini sermon at people is going to come across as some strange diatribe. Unbelievers don't want scripture, don't relate to it. Especially if the scripture is the King James version.

    Christians need to stick to the salvation message, unless they're speaking to other Christians. Why? It's not an intellectual thing, it's a thing of the heart, the spirit, the soul, not the mind. Not that there isn't plenty of intellectual fodder there, but it's only the context of trying to live it that gives you the whole picture.

    Unfortunately there's no shortage of people who wear their beliefs on their sleeve, quote scripture and concepts out of context or expect to meet unbelievers on some middle ground.

    The rest should be shown by example. In short, most of the conversation in these comments just shouldn't be happening at all from believers, it's a wasted effort. We offer salvation, if it is unwanted, the conversation should be done. Debate rarely saves people.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I think you're on to something. The reason Christians discuss deeper theology with nonbelievers is because there is little or no movement on the conversion attempts. When the atheist will not believe without objective and verifiable measurement, the believer goes on to discuss theology and personal doctrine.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • truthsayer

        Your religion is make believe...why would anyone accept it as truth any more than they would accept someone who believe in witches. Of course one needs to verify things otherwise they become victims to charlatans like yourself.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • truthsayer

      Your religion is make believe...why would anyone accept it as truth any more than they would accept someone who believe in witches. Of course one needs to verify things otherwise they become victims to charlatans like yourself.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Stacey

      I stumbled on this article when I was looking up the weather. I was impressed with it because I recognize the different types of commenters. Reading the comments, I just came across yours and totally agree. I do not need to look super smart either through getting in a witty insult or by showing how much I know. True Christianity is about loving other people, and we should show it even through anonymous blog comments. The only times I have gotten into online discussions about my faith are when I hope to help people understand better where I'm coming from. The object is not to make them change their minds because they have to do that themselves.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • crazyvermont

      Your post was excellent. One of my ministries is working with the 1% biker clubs around the country. Years ago, I read a statement from author Phillip Yancey which I've strived to use as my mission statement. Loosely paraphrased: A Christians one and only duty is to bait the hook and throw it in the water. Leave it up to God to catch the fish and clean it.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Or how about simply demonstrating your faith through your actions, instead of trying to sell someone on it?

      I am, at best, nominally religious. My parents are wonderful Christians – they go out of their way to help others, don't prejudge or judge people, work to see the best in others and encourage others to be the best people they can be, they open their home, hearts and the family to anyone who needs one. Several of these people have started attending church as a result – not because my parents asked/nagged or suggested that they needed salvation, but simply by living their faith. Never once have they expressed disappointment in my, or any of my siblings choices involving religion – in fact, when asked, my mother once said that having children who were good, honest, caring people was more important than what, if any, church we attended.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      yes,deeper issues are hard to accept when someone doesn't even have a basic understanding . But Jesus did talk to the uninformed and unenlightened in ways that would touch them. Of course he had inside information that he could use to reach them. But all non religious people aren't unreachable when we talk to them on a personal level and not from a high perch.If you are truly concerned about someone it will show and they will hear you.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  10. coderjones

    maybe – just maybe
    religion would a bit more tolerable if
    in the name of religion, religious leaders had not murdered so many people, for many thousands of years
    or if religious leaders had more accepting of others who did not believe as they did

    overall – for me anyways
    it is the lack of proof
    i can prove 2 + 2 = 4
    i can prove the earth is round

    but i cannot prove one single thing about the origins of one single religion, of the 4200 that exist or have existed

    October 5, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • bostontola

      Not proof, but there is a lot of evidence that all religious books were created by men. The best evidence is the content of these books. Written in the style of the time, grammar of the time, limited by the knowledge of the time, morals of the time. A god being wouldn't have those limitations and wouldn't make a doc.ument with built in obsolescence

      October 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • Mark

        Now that's an interesting argument and a good point, bostonola.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Stacey

      While it is very true that many people have been murdered in the name of "religion", how many have been killed in the name of nonreligion? Think communism, as well as Hitler and all his helpers who tried to wipe out a whole race of people. Religion or lack of religion are not the reasons for humanity's cruelty. People from all different races and belief systems demonstrate their horrific deficiency of compassion toward each other.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • Mark

        You're not entirely wrong, but don't start comparing numbers. You'll lose by a mile.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • lagergeld

          No, Mark, actually you atheists will. 80 millionish by the USSR alone.

          October 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Maxwell's Demon

        1. Those killed in Communist countries were killed in the name of communism, not atheism.
        2. There is no reason to believe Hitler was an atheist. And every indication that his helpers as you call them were theists.

        October 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  11. ELH

    Religion and non-religion are both belief-driven and there is absolutely no way to logically debate a case for either position.

    My younger brother is a devout Lutheran while I am a total disbeliever. We have, over the years, had many, often heated, 'discussions' about religion in general and God in particular. We both remain unchanged in our belief.

    We have mutually agreed to cease the debate and concentrate instead upon the relative worth of the Nebraska Huskers and the Ohio State Buckeyes football teams.

    My last statement on the matter went like this:

    Upon a table sits a black box approximately two feet square. I maintain that the box is empty whereas my brother maintains that there is a golden globe floating within the box. No known methods allow us to determine what, if anything, is inside the box. Shaking or weighing the box reveals nothing as my brother points out that the golden globe is floating at the exact center of the interior. The material that the box is made of is impervious to all attempts to open the box. Is there a golden globe in the box or is it empty? Yes.

    We happily go about the business of being brothers and friends, our beliefs unshaken and–unproven.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      But since there is no way to determine if anything is in the box, there is no logical reason to believe that there might be, and there is certainly no logical reason to assume any of its characteristics. The only logical approach to the box, is to make no judgment at all since there is no reason to make any judgment. If there is no reason to make a judgment call, there is no reason for any "belief" at all concerning the box's interior. In regards to the box, the ONLY logical determination is "lack-of-belief"/atheism.

      In other words, it almost seems as if you are accepting a false dichotomy. There isn't a 50/50 chance on there being a floating golden ball in the center, there is an infinity of possibilities. The "I don't know what might be in it; therefore, I lack belief about anything that might be in it" answer is correct. The answer of "I believe that there is something that looks like this and behaves like that and has an effect of the other" is incorrect because there is ZERO logic that would support such a belief.

      It's silly to equate nonbelief with belief.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        I apologize for the misplaced comma for any grammar Nazis who frequent these pages.

        October 5, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • HappyAtheist

      Brilliant explanation of the debate. I'm going to use this. It comes across better than Schrodinger's cat (in the box.)

      I say the box is probably empty until I have further evidence. The contents of the box have no effect on my life unless the believer imposes those beliefs on me. The believer believes himself to be a better person for believing that the box contains this magically floating "stuff." If it helps him to be a better person to have such harmless belief then who are we to complain.

      When he begins to demand that others believe it, or tries to prove it, or detonate a bomb, incarcerate, beat, humiliate, or lie about the people who don't believe he has not become a better person for the the belief in the existence of the contents in the box. It is my opinion that the people who are even judgmental of those that do not believe without proper evidence are behaving immorally. They'll tell you that it doesn't matter if you believe in the box. The box believes in you! LOL

      (This is the sense that Atheists use morality, that is. To Atheists, moral behavior is attempting not to cause harm to another person. Moral behavior to believers is doing what his or her god requires whether the believer agrees that it is helpful or harmful.) The differing definitions of morality is where there is a lot of confusion in debates between believers and non-believers. The believer tends to ask "Where do you get your morality?" To which the non-believer always must ask back "Where do you get yours?" which inevitably leads to quoting "out of context" all those things in the holy book that are so vile and evil that there could not be a proper context in which they could be considered moral, like slavery for example.

      Thank you for posting!

      October 5, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Robert

      Of course there is something in the box. You stated unequivocally that there is. You can't go back on that. You do not have a "belief" there is something in the box, there IS something in the box as you stated. Which means at some point you observed that the object was in the box.

      Now if the box just appeared on the table and someone, with no evidence, proof, or justification said ... "Oh, it must be a floating gold sphere in the box and since it is perfectly floating and hence we cannot detect it", then you realize how ridiculous that statement would be ... especially with a basic knowledge of science that knows you cannot perfect "float" something of any mass w.r.t. the location of another object without having a force to move said object ... which would be detectable.

      October 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • RC

        Where did he state "unequivocally" that there was anything in the box?

        October 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • Robert

          I may have read that wrong. Thank you for point that out. I think the second paragraph in my post still makes sense.

          October 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    I would suggest that everybody on this blog should be allowed to comment only if he uses his real name and not a pseudonym.

    Alone this habit of using pseudonyms here on this blog reduces this blog to a meaningless comedy.

    We should take serious matters which concern our soul's health or the soul's health of other people.

    The only joke of the New Testament I am aware is when Nikodemus told Jesus if a man should go back into the womb of his mother, and get born again. Yet, I guess that this was not a joke but Nikodemus suffered from Jewish stupidity (I am not a racist). Because of their ongoing disbelief the Jewish leaders seemingly faced a high degree of dulling of mind; that has nothing to do with the Jewish race but is a matter of their misconduct.

    http://confessingchurch.worpdress.com

    I am here on this blog because I seek for people which have my opinion, furthermore I like discussion, I want to share the true gospel of Jesus, and finally I seek advertising for my English website which is non-commercial.

    Does anybody know a serious blog about faith matters???

    October 5, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Bubba Jones

      "...Yet, I guess that this was not a joke but Nikodemus suffered from Jewish stupidity (I am not a racist)....". Your comment does not have in any way a racist undertone, overtone. Folks have lost, forgotten, never knew, the meaning of the word racist.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  13. rickie

    i am christian and i have to say i haven't seen one comment from a atheist that isn't spiteful or mean on these blogs im not judging.
    just stating a point my belief is i respect everyone belief no matter what they are what you do behind close doors is yourbusiness not mine, its not my right to judge someone its gods in my opinion. 2 timothy 1:7 for god did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and self control .

    October 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Uevari

      I'm an atheist. I went to a Catholic college by choice and have zero atheist friends. All of my friends are one of the three religions. I apologize for the atheist's actions that you encountered. No group is perfect! Atheists do hate when religion is used as a weapon. I've felt first hand from two different Catholic girls that dated me just so they could convert me.

      Wanna grab a metaphorical drink sometime?

      October 5, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • rickie

        well thanks for that i appreciate that jason that was the best comment i think ive seen on this blog jesus saves glad to see some Christians in this forum

        October 5, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I have seen many respectful comments by atheists and have made a few myself. Have I chastised some Christians at times for holding onto flat earth equivalent ideas like a 6000 year old universe? Yes, I admit it, but just disagreeing with someone and pointing it out does not make a comment spiteful and mean.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Most of your posts seem sensible to me. Kudos on being mentioned in the article.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Dillon Lights

      If you count this atheist's message, now you have seen three respectful comments on just one post. 🙂 We are making progress here already, no? lol

      October 5, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Deborah Mitchell

      I have found a lot of blogs where the commenters on both sides are respectful. If you truly want a site where people have a productive dialogue and no name calling, then you will have to state that and enforce rules. If a site doesn't believe in moderating and approving comments, then there are some folks who can and will say whatever they want.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • chris

      I am respectful to religions which are outside of my cultural comfort zone because they are not mine and I don't presume to understand. I am angry and spiteful to Christians because it is my own culture that I understand well and want a better reality for my kind.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • lagergeld

      I agree, hostility is a pretty common atheist trait. I'm agnostic and one thing that kept me from atheism was aside from its lack of logic the anger problems of so many of its adherents.

      October 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  14. MikeslcSalt

    Its really really fun poking the Mormons about their "religion". What a bunch of weird people to begin with, then you get them on religion and holy cow they are really in their own private Idaho. By private Idaho I mean State of cult hood which is exactly what Utah is. Great place to visit but don't live there unless you can tolerate the weirdness of the people. They even dress weird, especially the women as if it's a status symbol or something to wear boring, drab, ugly foot length skirts or dresses. I'm so glad to not have to live there anymore.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Nate

      Ok, what part of Utah did you live in? I'm non religious and I lived in Layton, a city near Ogden for over 10 years and rarely ever saw radical Mormons like the ones you describe in your comment. I still have numerous friends back in Utah that are Mormon and I can tell you they dress and act like everyone else. I never noticed anything weird about them. Sure they were noticeably more polite and kind than your typical person but not weird. Sure, some of the girls and women there dressed a little more conservatively than others but no one dressed like the people you describe. They wore shorts, jeans, skirts and not the kind that went down to their ankles. You seem to be trying to paint them as these cult-like people that live in their own secluded world and have this taboo way of life, but the truth is that they are regular people not too different from you and I.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  15. Jay

    Try getting into an argument of this nature with Muslims! This debate ought to be credited to reform in Christianity – thanks to which atheists can co-exist and occasionally take a shot at believers and their literal interpretations of the Bible. Not so in other parts of the world. Even the word "secular" when translated as "ladaniyat" in Urdu in Pakistan is a red rag to Muslims. They have to be reminded by their own leaders that secular means accepting all religions not just the primacy of one- but Muslims won't have no other in their lands and even chose to convert their once secular nation into an Islamic theocracy. Pakistani Sunni Muslims routinely attack Shia Muslims and their mosques just because they differ in their practices. Ahmedias who have living Caliphs have been declared "officially" to be Non-Muslims and are barred from doing Hajj. There is no peace among varying Muslim sects, let alone believers and non-believers.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Al

      You do know that only a few hundred years ago, an atheist speaking his mind among Christians was liable to get himself killed, mutilated, beaten, etc. This is STILL the case in some areas of the United States and elsewhere. Credit does not belong to Christianity for the somewhat "stable" debate atmosphere we are now in. Credit belongs, mostly, to secularists like the philosophers of the Enlightenment and, specifically in the United States, the founding fathers, a good many of whom were secularists (deists, unitarians, humanists, atheists, etc.). Christians have also matured as well, that is true, but they still take plenty of shots at non-believers. I do agree that it is a very nice thing Christians and non-believers can generally engage in debate in America without the fear of getting more than their feelings hurt.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Look at what some "good Christians" have done to African American Christians over the last 50 or so years.

      October 5, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • lagergeld

        VA, I would only hope that adults would have the basic ability to discern the teachings of a religion from the actions of individuals who claim that religion.

        I guess not.

        October 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  16. Douglas

    I was very religious when I was young. The only member of my family to attend church on a regular basis, it was very important to me. I continued to do so even after doubt began to set in. I spoke to my pastors and fellow members of the congregation about those doubts and studied various religious texts. Attending other churches led to visiting other religions and reading their texts as well, looking for answers.

    In the end, I had to call BS.

    I really don't mean to be insulting, but I have difficulty understanding how, after leading a good life of observation and self examination, anyone can continue to believe the verbatim stories of people who lived in an entirely different world. Today, with our ever increasing understanding of the universe about us, how do we continue to worship a god who warns us not to eat shellfish and tells slaves to obey their masters?

    I'm sorry, but does boggle my mind.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Jason

      Douglas, its unfortunate the people have taken religion and put their own desires and values into it. For some strange reason people want to complicate the simplicity of who God is. It's quite clear the Jesus was sent by God to save us from our sin. And he didn't show out either. He didn't desire attention or status. He merely sought to seek that which was lost and was a servant to them. And best of all he made it simple. Simply stated, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." How simple is that? Very simple. He desires to save us, but that's is up to us. The debate can go on forever, but ultimately the decision is ours.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:54 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Jason, it isn't simple at all. In fact, the whole story, summarized into a quick "Spark's Notes" version, is convoluted and nonsensical. For example, why would god need to save anybody if he simply destroyed hell like any decent being would so that nobody would ever have the option of going there? You shouldn't credit a mass murder for sparing your life when he could just as simply stop harming other people.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • lagergeld

      As agnostic – which is why I am stuck in agnosticism – I find it equally mindboggling that in spite of odd and objectionable things in the Bible that the idea that we came from nothing is laughably preposterous. For those of you who believe in science, you certainly have to understand that there is no such thing as something that came from nothing.

      October 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • Maxwell's Demon

        Arguments from incredulity are fallacies.

        October 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  17. trevor

    I always question if the different people who are commenting really believe what they profess (no matter what they're professing) or is it someone who's just bored. You can't put a whole lot of trust into these comments. I remember when I was a teen I would join chat rooms just to say whatever I wanted and get people riled up. I've stopped that but I wonder if others have.

    The comment boards bring out the worst in people as they feel safe hiding behind their computer and feel like they can say whatever they want. There's no accountability. I'm glad the comments don't represent the real world or this would be a sad place to live in. In my experience, people seem to be much more civil in person.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Chris Sadler

      Exactly. That's why the internet is where religion comes to die. We can debate the validity of religion without worry of repercussions etc at the job, home or with friends (from the religious).

      October 5, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  18. Clarke

    Good article, thanks! As a kid, if someone wanted to get to you, they would say, "your mother wears combat boots". Well today, she just might. Times change!

    October 5, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • lagergeld

      Women in combat are hilarious. As a woman I've yet to figure out how a female soldier handles her menses on the battlefield, let alone takes on a 250 lb man in hand to hand combat. Of course we don't think about this because modern culture is a culture of blind egalitarianism and denial of science and the simple observations that contradict it.

      October 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  19. stevie68a

    All religions are delusions. We are in a New Age, and religion is part of the old.

    October 5, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • lagergeld

      Have you ever heard of an appeal to novelty fallacy?

      October 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Gotta Luv Me

    NO ONE LOVES TO ARGUE ABOUT RELIGION AND INSULT OTHERS LIKE ATHEISTS DO!! WHAT A FREAK'N HYPOCRITE ARTICLE! DID THIS FOOL ONLY SAW THE COMMENTS OF BELIEVERS TAKING THEIR STAND AGAINST THESE EVIL ATHEISTS AND FELT SORRY FOR THE ATHEISTS? LMAO!!!!

    October 5, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • lardheppus

      Cap lock and grammatical errors only serve to reinforce the argument of the article you're responding to.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • bostontola

        I think it's just a troll, look at the name.

        October 5, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • bob

      Awww sad your little cult is dying and feeling threatened are we?

      October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • Magister

        Thanks for making the article's point.

        October 5, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Lukos58

      This post is a perfect example of the article's point.

      October 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • lagergeld

      This agnostic agrees with you.

      October 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
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About this blog

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