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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)
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    October 7, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Doris

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      October 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  2. Lawrence of Arabia

    ME II
    a man is not a god, I would think by definition."
    I would agree with you there. I am not God, you are not God. But Jesus was God by definition – He was Emmanuel, literally, that means "God with us."

    At a minimum, being "fully" man implies mortality; being "fully" god implies immortality, Those two are mutually exclusive.
    I agree. And Peter answers this when he says of Jesus that He "died in the flesh but was alive in the spirit."

    Therefore a god is not-man and man is not-god, how then can Jesus be both?
    Well, I'm not saying that it is easily understood, but in one case we have seen the God-man – that God can be both fully God and fully man. In this instance, we see Jesus being God and man, because in the incarnation, it could not be said that He was not God, and it could not be said that He was not man.

    The rest of humanity, on the other hand can only be fully man. We cannot be both man and God. I think the error is that we cannot take the truth that "the rest of humanity" is not God and man, and place that truth onto the God-man, who was both God and man.

    That's like saying "My sailboat has never been to the moon." But I know of a sailboat that has been to the moon under its own power. If one sailboat has been to the moon under its own power, then ALL sailboats should be able to go to the moon under their own power."

    October 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Ratz... That was supposed to be a reply. Sorry bro, I never claimed to be good at computers...

      October 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • ME II

      @Lawrence of Arabia,
      "In this instance, we see Jesus being God and man, because in the incarnation, it could not be said that He was not God, and it could not be said that He was not man."

      I disagree. If He is yet alive, as some claim, but was once supposedly killed, then He is not mortal and therefore not "fully" man. While a god would supposedly be able to simulate many aspects of a man, without mortality, how can a god be "fully" man?

      "That's like saying 'My sailboat has never been to the moon.' But I know of a sailboat that has been to the moon under its own power. If one sailboat has been to the moon under its own power, then ALL sailboats should be able to go to the moon under their own power.'"

      This is a ridiculous analogy, because a sailboat inherently cannot go to the moon under its own power, because there is no wind and no water in space.

      Now if you are claiming that a sailboat can be modified to such an extent that it is also a spaceship, then I would argue that 1) it is not the sailboat "under its own power" that goes to the moon, but a new kind of ship that can function both as a sailboat and a spaceship but is not "fully" either and 2) while a new kind of ship may function as both, those two functions are not mutually exclusive as mortality and immortality are.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Shadowflash1522

        Oooo, sailing analogy! Love it!

        I think it would make a better analogy if you said it like this:

        I have a boat. It is fully sailboat–it has a mast, a tiller, shrouds, lines, rigging, a hull, a keel/boards, everything you'd need to be powered by wind. It is also fully power boat–it has an engine, a prop, navigation lights, a rudder, a radio, everything you'd need to move across the water with an internal combustion engine. It's both, and it fulfills the requirements of both natures seamlessly. I think that's more what Larry was getting at.

        The thing is, while you may have the *equipment* to be both a sailboat and a power boat, at any given moment you are only moving via one mechanism or the other. If the sails are up and the motor is running, chances are you are under power and the sails are just a distraction. If the sails are up and the motor is off, the you're sailing and the motor has no purpose. Sailing and power boating, as activities, are mutually exclusive–you can switch back and forth, but you can't be doing both at the same time. This is what you mean, ME II, yes?

        October 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • ME II

          Sailboats and powerboats are not mutually exclusive. One boat can have both aspects. Mortality on the other hand is mutually exclusive with immortality. One can not be both mortal and immortal.

          "adjective: mortal
          1. (of a living human being, often in contrast to a divine being) subject to death.
          "all men are mortal"

          October 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Shadowflash, I like your analogy up until the second paragraph – that sounds like modalism.

          October 8, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Doris

      Larry: "But Jesus was God by definition "

      Jesus was God by definition by some people.. where "some people" is itself not well grounded

      October 7, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • ME II

        @Doris,
        I don't disagree with your point, but I was attempting to make the case that "fully man and fully god" is inherently contradictory, not that anyone is right or wrong about historical events.

        October 7, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Doris

          I see, ME II, but I would guess it's "anything goes" in the minds of those that feel nothing is impossible in "His" realm. You know, "He" created a special case.

          October 7, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Well, I'm just trying to make the point that
        1) truth exists
        2) truth is exclusive
        "Truth is exclusive" means simply that two opposing views cannot be true – something cannot both be "A" and "non-A."

        The incarnation is a situation that is not a special case in the logical sense, but that it is a special case in that it has only happened once.

        MEII,
        See if this works better than the analogy then, since all analogies are flawed to a degree.
        If one can make a certain claim on an individual, that individual claim is not necessarily imputed to all.

        October 7, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Doris

          How do you prove #1?

          October 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Your Thinking is badly flawed. I hope you are not a teacher because you do not teach you dictate, your way or the highway.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doris.
          Because #1 is an axiom.
          For instance: "parallel lines never meet." that is a truth.
          There are also spiritual truths, but I'm not arguing that at the moment. My goal is to assert and show that a belief in a truth does not automatically make it true – this defines post modern thinking which is futile in practice.

          Post modernism may work in the minds of some when it comes to philosophical ideas, but try that the next time you buy your coffee in the morning. "What? A whole dollar for a cup of coffee? I believe that I should only pay 50 cents..."

          October 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Truth is not exclusive to a belief system or their would only be one obviously the one you believe, you fail to understand the difference between truth in relation to a thing as compared to truth with regards to an idea or belief.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Doris

          Larry: "Because #1 is an axiom. "

          Yes – one has to have a starting point of agreement. This gets into consensus, subjectivity.

          Larry: "My goal is to assert and show that a belief in a truth does not automatically make it true – this defines post modern thinking which is futile in practice."

          I agree with the first part of your sentence. What makes you think any separately-defined group of humans at one point or another disregard that in every day life? Don't we all for various reasons – to include making quick decisions when time is scarce – have to assume certain things are true that we actually cannot prove?

          October 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • Doris

          doesn't disregard

          October 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          "If one can make a certain claim on an individual, that individual claim is not necessarily imputed to all."

          I would agree that 'hasty generalization' is a logical fallacy, if that is what you mean, but that was not the case here. I am not making generalizations from individual or limited samples.

          The claim was that an individual was both "fully man" and "fully god" and I am arguing that such a state is inherently contradictory. In other words, I'm not saying that it is impossible because we don't see it, but that it cannot happen because the two states are mutually exclusive, regardless of who they are attributed to.

          I am simply saying that if mankind (M) is not god (not-M) because, for example, they are mortal, then a man cannot also a god because, for example, they are immortal (M and not-M) and vice versa (G and not-G).

          In addition, not just to split hairs, I would question your axiom of "truth exists" in that truth, I think, is a state being true, but not a thing in an of itself. If you are saying that "true things exists" or "some statements are true" or even "all statements are either true or not true" then I would agree.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Don't we all for various reasons have to assume certain things are true that we actually cannot prove?"

          Absolutely! And that's where faith comes in. It's like this: "I have faith that the chair that I am about to sit in will hold my body weight, even though I have not personally inspected it."

          But on the flip side, the chair doesn't hold my body weight just because I believe it will – it does so because of reality. We could discuss the physical properties of the chair, etc., but suffice it to say, truth does not spring from my belief. My belief springs from truth.

          If I believe that a chair will hold me, but shatters when I sit on it, the discovery of truth shatters my old belief.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          LoA
          "My belief springs from truth. "
          No...it doesn't. We believe a chair will support us because our observation and experimentation prove that , unless defective, it wil support our weight.
          Since there is no evidence that any gods exist, your faith does not come from truth, it comes from your imagination.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          MEII,
          OK, let's go with "all statements are either true or false." I'll buy that. Because if I say "Parallel lines never meet," ("A") then you would also agree that "Lines that meet are not parallel." ("non-A") Both are considered "true" statements whose opposites are inherantly false.

          You said:
          "The claim was that an individual was both "fully man" and "fully god" and I am arguing that such a state is inherently contradictory."

          Well, the only way that it would be inherantly contradictory is if of that particular individual it could be said that he was not God or not man. You also seem to be implying that Jesus was not mortal, but in fact He was, after all, he was killed on a cross, hence he was man. Peter then tells us that he "died in the flesh, but was alive in the sprit." Here, we see both mortality and immortality in the same person.

          We may apply the rule of A and not non-A to "mankind" but to Jesus the contradiction is absent because it cannot be said that he was not God at the same time that he was man.

          This really gets into Trinitarian theology which, try as we may to create an analogy to describe it, certain parts will always remain a mystery.
          As annoying as that sounds, it shouldn't be too big of a pill to swallow if anyone follows Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss who say that one must throw out common sense if they want to learn their ideas... I'm not saying that Trinitarian theology requires a suspension of common sense, just that it's hard to fully grasp.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Doris

          I was following you fine up until this point, Larry:

          Larry: "My belief springs from truth. "

          Based on what you wrote above that, you are equating reality (as in the reality of something after the fact) with "truth". I don't have so much a problem with that (even though I believe even that can be argued), it's just that I have no idea how you jump from that to saying that your belief "springs from truth". What are you leaving out here? You can describe your belief in various ways, I'm sure. But what are you now saying about "truth"? It seems like now you're trying to ascribe characteristics to "truth" to fit your argument – where you can't demonstrate it objectively, yet are looking at it as if you're accepting something as an after-the-fact occurrence.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Larry
          Again comparing a thing versus a belief. A bridge as a thing is accepted as fact In New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong etc. all know that it is true that a bridge is a bridge. A belief has to be accepted by the individual or group, ie. Jesus maybe accepted as the Messiah by some but rejected by others, making the belief to be true to some but untrue to others. Truth is not exclusive but in the eye of the beholder when it comes to beliefs. Can you not make that distinction.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Richard,
          It seems as though your assumption is that all truth that can be known can be known through scientific inquiry. But that's not so in every case.

          Besides, today, I've not made any attempt to prove God, save for a very civil discussion with MEII. I'm speaking to truth today, in response to the main article, because I feel that's why people get so angry in here – because they have been told that their truth is not truth just because they believe it is.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          OK, lets simplify this. As I type on a keyboard, if I sincerely believe that I am actually typing on a piano powered by a potato, am I wrong?

          October 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doris,
          What I intended by "my belief springs from truth" is like this – You can be told that a stove top is hot. You can be shown scientifically that fire produces heat, that heat can damage human flesh, etc., and have all of the intellectual understanding that a stove top is hot. It is only when you reach out in curiosity and touch the stove top that now your intellectual knowledge meets with your experience and you now believe that the stove is hot.

          I would never have a belief that the stove is hot unless the truth existed that the stove is actually hot. Now, my belief shapes my behavior.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doris,
          Let me claify one thing though... I can also believe that the stove will freeze me, but the truth proves otherwise, and when it does, it changes my belief through experience.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          LoA
          That's twice. You bring up the chair and the stove, both have testable, repeatable things to verify belief and make it true.

          You have no such thing with your god. To use the word truth associated with any god is an incorrect use of the word. That is the truth.

          What you have is speculation, imagination and belief. Those are not the substance of truth.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Richard,
          If truth can only be determined through the application of the scientific method, then do you invalidate eye witness testimony?

          October 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Larry, you resort to the absurd, how clever. True a fact or belief that is ACCEPTED to be true. I say what you believe is not true and other than faith which is belief in a spiritual conviction without PROOF.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          "Well, the only way that it would be inherantly contradictory is if of that particular individual it could be said that he was not God or not man."

          What I am saying is that by logical deduction Jesus was not "fully" man, or He was not "fully" god.

          The classic Socrates syllogism also applies to Jesus:
          – All men are mortal
          – Jesus (like Socrates) is a man
          Therefore, Jesus (like Socrates) is mortal

          But, supposedly this syllogism also applies:
          – God is immortal
          – Jesus is God
          Therefore, Jesus is immortal.

          Hence the contradiction, Jesus can not be both mortal (A) and immortal (not A), which violates the Law of non-Contradiction.

          In additon, mortality is just one aspect of supposed god-hood that would be mutually exclusive with mankind, e.g. men can not tranfigure, men can not teleport, men can not create matter, etc.

          "This really gets into Trinitarian theology which, try as we may to create an analogy to describe it, certain parts will always remain a mystery."

          Which is, as I said, a case of special pleading. i.e. logic does not apply to God.

          "...Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss who say that one must throw out common sense if they want to learn their ideas... "

          Quote-mining? I seriously doubt that they ever said what you imply they said. I would suggest looking at the context of what they were talking about. I'd guess that in both cases they were talking about quantum mechanics, which, by the way, while defying "common" sense, is very predictable and testable.

          October 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Larry, you may want to look up how unreliable eyewitness testimony actually is. It can be so easily influenced by bias and suggestion, easy to look up.

          October 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          MEII,
          A statement is only truly contradictory if it affirms that two contrary propositions are both true at the same time and in the same way. Jesus is not immutable and mutable in precisely the same way – He is immutable as regards his divine nature and mutable as regards his human nature. Since immutability and mutability are used to describe Jesus' nature, they are not logically contradictory. Our natures (the rest of mankind) are only human – mutable. Jesus' nature was both divine and human.

          October 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          However it doesn't tell us how Jesus can have two natures... But like I said, there is a mystery in the incarnation.

          October 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          MEII,
          I promise I'm not quote mining, I wouldn't do that. Actually, one of the videos that I saw was Krauss and Dawkins sitting across from one another having a conversation about Krauss' book "A Universe from Nothing," and in order to get there, they had to lay down the ground rules that you can't use common sense, and they had to redefine the word: "nothing."

          October 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          LoA
          "Eyewitness" tesimony has been proven to be exceptionally unreliable. Peoples minds play tricks on them, they see and remember things incorrectly, people lie.

          If I told you that I witnessed you in a chorus line, dancing in drag. I saw it, I am an eyewitness, do you just accept it, or do you require corroberation?

          October 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          I'm not sure why you bring "mutable" into the discussion, nor why you are now claiming that a single enti.ty can have two contradictory "natures". Such an ent.tiy would , I think, violate the basic laws of logic by definition, depending on what you mean be "nature", of course.

          October 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          "A Universe form Nothing" deals with quantum mechanics, which is inherently non-intuitive, but not irrational.

          October 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Richard,
          Exactly, corroboration. And since you press the point, I'll expound a little. Eye witness corroboration is exactly what happened with the resurrection. Acts 1:3, 17:31, and other places...

          Every fact is to be confirmed by two or three witnesses, 2 Cor. 13...

          I believe that your point of contention arises because this is an ancient book, and those men who were eye witnesses then can no longer be questioned, and no matter how valid they may have been, you disregard them.

          October 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          LoA
          Accepting the words of 2000 year old writers is simply ridiculous. I can write a book and say 10000 people witnessed something. Since there are 10000, what they witnessed MUST be right, since there is corroberation, right?.
          You think that that is corroboration? Not even close.
          The stories were written long after these "witnesses" were around.
          Also, it is suspect whether these "eyewitnesses" ever existed. Hermione Granger watched Harry Potter play quidiche. It was witnessed by all at Hogwarts. The were eyewitnesses, so it must be true, right?
          It is far more likely that it was all made up out of thin air.
          Since there is enough of the bible that has been proven false, the entirety of it is then suspect.
          You go and believe these alleged "eyewitnesses", since they cannot be questioned, or even have their existance verified, all you are really doing is verifying the validity of the bible by using the bible. That does not work, especially in the case of "eyewitnesses"

          October 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  3. The story of Jesus

    How the story of Jesus differs from the ancient myths[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&w=640&h=360]

    October 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  4. WS

    Don’t you all think it is possible for life after death, even if there might not be evidence that supports this?

    October 7, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Not life. Life requires matter. You would not be alive if not for your body and brain working. When they stop working you are no longer alive. There is no reason to think that there is life after death. Without a working body and brain, there is no sentience, so while the energy and matter continue, there is no reason to think any sentience would remain.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • dewie

        Chromus con domus, the idiot, noes life requires matter. She is known for her intellect and love for the stooges.

        Chromus, my love, prove life requires matter. U have 5 minutes. Go

        October 7, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • midwest rail

          Prove there's a lawsuit. You have 5 minutes. Go.

          October 7, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • WS

      I meant a spiritual life. Couldn’t that be possible?

      October 7, 2013 at 10:23 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The "soul", once thought to be a physical ent.ity, is nothing more than hopeful thinking by people who are afraid of dying.

        October 7, 2013 at 10:28 am |
        • dewie

          Snake oil vegatable man, prove my precious. Any one can lie. Show proof

          October 7, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Madtown

        I'd say it's possible, why wouldn't it be? That's the thing, for me, about these discussions. Most of these questions just cannot be answered, certainly right now and maybe never. Religion is speculative.

        October 7, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          When the meat machine that is your body wears out, the processes of said machine, including perception and thought, cease.
          If you smash a computer, do its programs keep running?

          October 7, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • Madtown

          Yo Doc, in my opinion it's a mistake for anyone, on either side of these debates, to draw conclusions. You're drawing conclusions. You may be right, you may not be right. You don't know. I don't know. We may never know. I say almost none of this stuff can actually be verifiably concluded. It's the 1 thing that the athiest and the theist have in common, no one "knows" for certain. Cheers to you..

          October 7, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • Truth Seeker

          Exactly! Some people would rather be delusional and have hope for an after life, than non-delusional and have hope for nothing at all.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Frank

      Well, it's certainly something to fantasize about, isn't it? So's having super powers, travelling at faster than light speed, and being a "good" vampire, but that popularity doesn't make them any more likely to be true, does it?

      October 7, 2013 at 10:29 am |
      • WS

        No, it doesn’t. You’re right about that.

        A "good" vampire. What does that mean?

        October 7, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Good" vampires don't drink human blood.
          Blade and Count Duckula, for example.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • ME II

          ... and Count Chocula, don't forget him!

          October 7, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Chocula is just a spokesmonster. His love of chocolate is nothing more than PR for General Mills.
          He slaughtered a member of the Associated Press during a press conference a few years back.
          http://www.theonion.com/articles/bloodthirsty-undead-ghoul-advocates-chocolatecerea,648/

          October 7, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • WS

          Do they consume animal blood instead?

          October 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • ME II

          @Doc Vestibule,
          Liberal media, no doubt. Yellow Onion journalism, smearing the good name of Von Chocula.

          October 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Invisible unicorns that leap from comet to comet are "possible" only in so far as we have not disproved them, so yes a spiritual life after death is "possible" simply because we have yet to discover a way to test and prove or disprove it. Now what I think you were really asking is "Is it likely that we have a spirit existence after death?" and to that I personally believe the answer is, No. And that answer is based on the thousands of years of recorded human history where we have exactly zero evidence of or for anything like a spirit form or soul or anything that survives after our physical bodies die.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Zach Bagans would probably disagree with that.
        OK, I'm just kidding, but I had to say that. 😉

        October 7, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          If you believe anything found in a ghosthunters tv show you have far worse problems than I thought Larry... 🙂

          October 7, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Nah, I just think its funny to see grown men scare themselves and scream like little girls... 🙂

          October 7, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I saw a docu/mentary film in which a number of scientists presented incontrovertible proof of spirits.
          One of the scientists has a doctorate in physics from MIT, another degrees in psychology and parapsychology.
          Back in the mid 1980's, the EPA tried to shut down their New York based operation with disastrous results.
          They had contructed a sort of spirit containment unit that, once shut down, enabled the manifestation of an ancient demon in the form of a brobdignagian marshmallow mascot.

          October 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • lunchbreaker

          If ghosts could manifest themselves visually, surely someone would have snapped a pic or a video one thier phone by now.

          October 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Normally you do not find that type of behaviour in a household appliance.

          October 7, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • WS

          Lunchbreaker,
          http://now.msn.com/ghost-pictures-evidence-of-ghosts

          October 7, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Samuel

          lunchbreaker: "If ghosts could manifest themselves visually, surely someone would have snapped a pic or a video one thier phone by now."

          I've always had the same thought about all the supernatural things some people believe in. If ghosts were real, everybody would know it; if magic was possible, everyone would know it; if a particular religion was true, everyone would know it; and so on. The "truth" of these notions would not be restricted to just a few people.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • Alex

          Very well said!

          October 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • Doc Venkman

          Thank you Doc Vestibule, I always appreciate validation from my peers, and yes, we did of course confirm the existence of ghosts back in the 1980's. Of course at that time you called us from a land line phone if you had a paranormal problem, now the ghost is in the cell phones themselves, so who ya gonna call now?...

          October 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Nance

          Lol< "Ghostbusters". Well done, Doc.

          October 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  5. Ann

    I'm often amazed at how vehemently people defend the absolute truth of the bible, given the many many absurdities it contains (Jonah, Noah, virgin birth, talking donkey and snake to name just a few). Then I listen to people Monday-morning quarterbacking the latest sports news, and getting just as excited about all that. I realize it's just the same thing – tribe vs. tribe mentality. "My" team is so much better than your team – even though I've never met the guys. MY belief is so much better than your belief, even though I've never even bothered to read the whole story.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Very true. It's just to much to ask of them to just enjoy football, they have to pick teams and get emotionally invested because part of the draw is being on a team that proves it's superiority by beating your opponents, and as a fan you get a little tiny piece of that, and many people get addicted to it, just like religion.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In the United States more women are battered on the day of the American football championship than on any other day of the year. This should not be taken as a characteristic of football itself, which has been an important and agreeable factor in stabilizing the gonadal energy of young men for more than a century.
      The Super Bowl is relatively typical of compet.ition used as a social value. Everyone, except the few who are best at the game, is reduced to the disembodied role of a spectator.
      Spectators do participate through some of their senses. Eyes, ears, mouths and emotions can be used to worship their subst.itutes. But in this process the seated are deprived of their existence as individuals capable of action. Instead, they become passive participants in the mythology of gladiatorial Heroism.
      The aim in football is to move the pigskin across the goal-line. This positive skill is unfortunately little more than the exotic sp.ice of the game. The central characteristic, involving most of the players on the field, is that the movement of the football is halted in each play by a physical assault on its carrier.
      Spectators may well get excited about these repeated demonstrations of basic masculinity. The more excited they become through passive participation, the more their own active manhood may be put into doubt. In the final an.alysis, a guy’s got to prove his own worth by hitting someone himself.
      Or it may be that American women are unbearably slow fetchers of beer.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Today is the Feast Day of the Holy Rosary in Catholic Churches. It used to be called the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory out of reverence for The Blessed Virgin's intercession during the battle of Lepanto. You can google the Battle of Lepanto and then find out just how valuable it was in the sixteenth century to have people who vehemently defended their faith. Otherwise, instead of enjoying the National football championship every fall, you might be doing something of a decidedly more middle eastern flavor.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • Samuel

        And we'd be OK with that, because that would be our culture instead, right?

        October 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          If you're asking me, yes, I prefer a liberal democracy with religious freedom over sharia caliphate.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • David

      This is exactly what Bishop Spong has described – a tribal mentality.

      For those who are not familiar with Bishop Spong, think of him as Toto the dog and religion as the all powerful wizard. Spong uses scholarly research, logic, and a willingness to discard beliefs that prove incorrect (the biggest stumbling block for most I would bet) to expose religion for what it truly is. His books are as mindprovoking as you can imagine, but a simple Youtube of one of his lectures or interviews will give you an idea of "where he is coming from."

      October 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  6. Agnostickids

    This is a great article. It calls people out for what they are – makes em face the mirror.

    It did, however, leave out the uber-troll. The uber-troll has to comment over and over and over, just to see their username posted, over and over and over.

    You'll know who they are – you'll recognize their username, even if you only visit the belief boards once a month.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  7. Lawrence of Arabia

    I think the problem is that in this time of post modern thinking, many people are on a search for truth, and many of those on the search feel that when they find what works for them, or fits nicely into what they feel that truth should be, when someone comes along with a truth claim that conflicts with their own, they get angry because they don't want to get told that they are wrong. (It seems that's the only sin left these days)

    It seems like math class is the only place that you can be told that you are "wrong" about anything anymore and not get called a bigot.

    Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but opinions are not automatically made correct just because their ideas work for them. After all, the basis for right and wrong is NOT in pragmatism. Truth by its very definition is exclusive, and that in itself is offensive.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • ME II

      " After all, the basis for right and wrong is NOT in pragmatism. Truth by its very definition is exclusive..."

      I'm curious as to what you mean by this.

      October 7, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        MEII,
        Well, when I speak to people, especially college kids, I always get the response of "Well, that may be true for YOU, but it isn't true for ME." And I always think that if it is true, then it is true no matter WHO you are. An opinion on whether the "truth" is right or wrong doesn't change the fact of if it is actually true or not.

        For instance... I can be sitting on a park bench with you, and I look at you and say that I sincerely believe that I am actually sitting on a big pink chicken. Well, my belief in something has no actual bearing on whether it is true or not.

        Hence, just because it "works" for me, (pragmatism) doesn't mean it's true.

        October 7, 2013 at 9:56 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Well, that is a pant load Larry. You may say Jesus is the Messiah but to a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, etc. that premise is not in the least true. You cannot impose that truth on others if they deny it as true.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • ME II

          So truth is objective, not relative? The "exclusive" term was throwing me off.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • RC

          "I sincerely believe that I am actually sitting on a big pink chicken."
          Dude! I want some of what you had....

          October 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Larry
      How did you jump to the conclusion that truth is exclusive, not according to the Oxford definition?

      October 7, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Truth is exclusive because a truth claim excludes everything else as false.

        For instance, a statement like: "water is wet" excludes statements like "water is dry" as being flase.

        If something is actually true, then all other claimants to truth are false, and may be considered as opinions.

        October 7, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • ME II

          I think "exclusive" is misleading.

          For example, ice is not wet, if keep cold.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • ME II

          ^ kept

          October 7, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          MEII,
          Then maybe my illustration to exclusivity was not specific enough.
          Look to the chicken/park bench illustration that I gave earlier...
          Two competing ideas of truth cannot both be true. It cannot both be a park bench and a pink chicken. The exclusivity of truth says that one idea is right while the other idea is wrong, OR, it could be that both are wrong, but they both cannot be right.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • Charm Quark

        A thing is of course one thing or the other of course but an idea or belief can be true to some people and nonsense to another.

        October 7, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Frank

          Or heresy. Best not to forget that every group that the Church labeled "heretic" was actually just a rival version of the same faith. Somehow, the Church makes this sound like something noble, when all the while it was just ruthlessly eliminating the compet ition like any other corporation.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Facts are sterile, but myths have flavour!

      “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!”
      – Robert Heinlein

      October 7, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Truth
      that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
      a fact or belief that is accepted as true.
      How does that make truth exclusive?

      October 7, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Because two competing ideas for truth cannot both be right.
        Something cannot both be "A" and "non-A" at the same time and in the same way.

        October 7, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • ME II

          Wait a second.

          Jesus is supposedly fully god and fully man, man is not-god, ergo He is both god and not-god.
          How does that work?

          October 7, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          MEII,
          Because in the instance of the incarnation, where God was both fully God, and fully man, you could not say that He was not God, neither could you say that He was not man.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          Isn't that 'special pleading'. a man is not a god, I would think by definition. At a minimum, being "fully" man implies mortality; being "fully" god implies immortality, Those two are mutually exclusive.

          Therefore a god is not-man and man is not-god, how then can Jesus be both?

          October 7, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Larry
        You are being deliberately obtuse. A fact or belief that is accepted as true, I do not accept it as true and you do, so your truth is superior to mine that is quite the christian mindset.

        October 7, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          No, I'm deliberately attacking post modern thinking. Many people today have a hard time with the idea that just because a truth is "accepted" as truth – truth is not defined by consensus. Truth is defined by actuality.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • Frank

          Lawrence
          Christians often point to their majority as some kind of indication that their "truth" is somehow better than anyone else's, but you're saying that this is a fallacy?

          October 7, 2013 at 10:19 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Again the definition, a fact or belief that is accepted as true, I do not accept that your belief is true but you are demanding that your version is the only truth and all others must accept it. That is just plain wrong, do you want to dictate to everyone Larry?

          October 7, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Frank,
          I'm pointing to the fact that majority rule doesn't make truth, yes, that's one of my points.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm.
          OK, look at it like this. You are communicating right now with some form of a computer. You are not typing with a banjo, no matter how much you may sincerely believe it. A "belief" is not necessarily true JUST because you believe it.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Larry
          A "belief" is not necessarily true JUST because you believe it. Exactly your belief in your version of a god is not necessarily true JUST because you believe it.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          Right, and that goes also for the ideas of some theoretical physicists that I have been reading lately who I won't name... The point is, whatever our truth claims happen to be, just believing it doesn't make it true. Truth is not determined by opinion, for that is all that belief is, unless that belief is grounded in actual truth. Actual truth being determined by actual reality.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          If you understand that a belief is not necessarily true just because you believe it, then why do you hold so firmly to your version of beliefs if you know they may not be the right ones? Do you not think that others who claim to have experienced the power of their Gods be they Hindu or Muslim or other, are just as real to them as the experiences you claim to have had with your God?

          I think the only thing we know for sure is that we don't know enough to draw any sort of conclusions. To do so would be foolish and would only serve to hurt the continued research into our origins.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • ME II

          I think some are confusing factual truth with moral "truth".

          While factual truths can be verified objectively, moral "truths" cannot. Many will claim that morality is objective, as in objective right and wrong, but even if that is true, I don't think that there is a way to determine those morals objectively.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Larry
        You are conflating a thing, your park bench, with an idea or belief, your belief in your god. The park bench, that which is true in accordance with fact or reality, a bench is a bench. Your beliefs, a fact or belief that is accepted as true, again it maybe accepted by you and not by others, therefore true to you but not everyone else.. Actual truth is based on reality determined by you no doubt, you are the arbiter of actual truth in accordance with fact or reality based on faith which is a belief system based on spiritual conviction not proof. Your reasoning places you on the same level as your god does it not?

        October 7, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      One more quick quote:

      MARKOVIAN PROCESS

      You will all say that I am surely crazy
      Only an unrepentant pessimist whose thoughts should be detained
      But facts are sterile, not vulgar nor sublime
      And they're not religion, they're for everyone
      And signify the times

      Today is a window, tomorrow the landscape
      All you need to do is take a look outside
      To know what we're bound to face

      The level of disparity
      The common man
      The manner of destruction of the native land
      The poverty of reprisal from all involved
      And the scathing trajectory from the past

      Markovian process lead us not in vain
      Prove to our descendants what we did to them
      Then make us go away

      – Dr. Greg Graffin

      October 7, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Madtown

      Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but opinions are not automatically made correct just because their ideas work for them.
      ---–
      Excellent Larry, I agree completely.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  8. Thoth

    I disagree with the author that there are 'limits to knowledge', or that the use of logic is not going to cause someone to 'jettison a lifetime of belief'....okay, maybe not immediately; but knowledge and logic inspire reflective thought. I was raised in the church. Went through Confirmation, and even earned all 3 parts of the God and Country award in scouts. (there were only 3 parts back then). I never questioned what I was told, or what I learned until I began to study mythology in school. This new knowledge provoked thought...why were all the past ideas about gods and goddesses wrong? What made what I was told 'right'? I spent over a decade trying to justify belief and just couldn't do it. Knowledge, coupled with an open mind truly is powerful.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • aldewacs2

      A mind is like a parachute: it works best when it's open.

      October 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Gschutz

      Interesting. I am finding that as I talk with people who are outside of faith that it is using knowledge and an open mind that is leading people TO God not away from him. It can go both ways I suppose.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    I find it at least mildly amusing that the author quotes HeavenSent – perhaps the most often misappropriated username on this board. All of the regulars have had their names hijacked now and again (Hi Sam Stone!) but the non-sequitors in the middle of HeavenSent posts should be a dead give away that they're not quite on the level...

    October 7, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Yeah Doc, I noted that in a previous post. Also, Merideth and Karie that he also quotes are the same troll HHarri/faith and the one stealing names all over the place. They don't pay any attention to the blog, then put up an article with quotes from some of the worst of the trolls. No one at CNN is paying attention.

      October 7, 2013 at 8:46 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I'm curious as to whom they sent emails.
        Given how freely people toss in their 2 cents around here, I find it hard to believe that "Not one commenter wanted to talk on the record for this story" –
        Now, if they primarily tried to engage Ye Troll of Many Monikers, I can see why they wouldn't get a response.
        But what about Topher, Live4Him, Bill Deacon, Sara, Tallulah13, and the handful of other who, if nothing else, act as conversational stimulators?

        October 7, 2013 at 9:01 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          controversial stimulator, I like that.

          October 7, 2013 at 9:19 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        yeah Doc, I wasn't contacted either, But I would love to see who it is that keeps stealing names, the one who keeps posting page after page of pointless garbage that always gets deleted and why they can't do something about the name theif and Merideth/hharri/faith (likely the same person) threatening lawsuits and generally posting nonsense and general garbage. CNN is supposed to be world class, with one of the worst blog formats around. They can't even police properly and have one of the most moronic word filters around.

        October 7, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @dewie/hhari/faith/captain america/prayerbot/pithy lol/troll-o-many-monikers
          You're the most special fella here, in that extra-chromosome kinda way.

          October 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Doc, by the tone of the quote attributed to heaven scent I'm, fairly sure it was Apple Bush posing as fake heaven scent the author spotlighted.

      October 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  10. Who says those things?

    God must love Stupid.

    You are stupid

    You are a moron

    You are an idiot

    You are an uneducated fool?

    October 7, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Mandel

      Who says those things?

      There was brilliant you tube video that was made called the "Atheist Tri-polar shift" which has since been taken down. You have to watch it and be on belief blog to make the perfect correlation.

      October 7, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  11. Charm Quark

    John Blake
    1. Faith (oxford)...strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual convictions rather than proof.
    2. The diversity of religions and creation myths around the world are often dismissed by Christians, they know what they know and disregard all others even among the thousands of diverse Christian belief systems. Roberts paraphrased, you to are an atheist, I believe in just one less god than you.
    3. I often do not get an answer to some of the obvious hypocrisy. How do you square the Christian "golden rule" with "Onward Christian soldiers onward onto war."? Islam has enemies they know it and state it plainly, love one another if you are part of the tribe, but woe betide the infidel, much more honest.
    4. I guess my point is that when you ask many Christians on this blog why they have faith it is because they have Jesus words in the bible but when asked to prove that the bible is not just fiction they quote bible passages, the circular argument, probably is the similar with Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Jews, etc.
    5. You are right, the threatening believe or rot in hell crowd and or you will stand before MY god at judgement day are the most offensive to me. Scary non thinking lot if they can convince someone with threats, very silly.
    6. I am a deist that like a little bit of Christianity, Buddhism, the Hindu creation myth etc. I certainly do not believe in an all seeing god that watches are every move and will pass judgement in an afterlife. Taking moral teachings from all the religious tomes is probably my best answer.

    October 7, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Charm Quark

      dippy...our not are...Mea Maxima Culpa (a docu mentary all catholics should have to watch)

      October 7, 2013 at 7:51 am |
      • sam stone

        Of course, posters like Gopher, and Robert Brown and Larry of Arabia and many more speak directly for god

        Allowing others to take the punishment you feel you deserve is a cowardly act

        Yet, not only do Christians flock to it

        They fvckig brag about it

        They do not have belief, they have KNOWLEDGE

        and they preach to those who do not share their mass delusion

        They are pompous, and should be soundly ridiculed whenever they attempt to witness to others

        fvck them all

        October 7, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.
      You will notice the “as.” There is no hypocrisy in the hymn.

      We have faith because we have had experiences with God. We do believe the word of God is true and that it can lead you to faith.

      October 7, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Haven't got a hymnal in front of me, but I seem to remember in my forced church going years hymns praying for the vanquishing of the enemy. In some Christian religious groups throughout history they actively warred against their supposed enemies. You are missing the broader picture, Why?
        When you say "we" do you mean the believers in all gods and all religious books as being the word of god? Faith is believing in something without proof I am afraid I require reason and logic to accept one mythical god over another. Your experiences maybe only tricks of the mind that you yearn to believe based in no way based on reality.

        October 7, 2013 at 9:38 am |
        • Charm Quark

          forced church going for years, poor proof reading.

          October 7, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • Robert Brown

          When a few had the word of God and the people depended on those few for interpretation we had the crusades, forced conversion Charlemagne style, & etc. There is hypocrisy and sin amongst Christians. When we are yielding to the flesh we can sin just like anyone else. The broader picture is that I think you are missing the context of vanquishing the enemy. The enemy and the war are in the spiritual realm.

          I’m a Christian, so when I said, “we,” I meant Christians. Christianity teaches that Jesus is the only way to God, so If God has another way for another group that will be between them and God.

          October 7, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  12. dewie

    That's y u r being sued!

    October 7, 2013 at 6:59 am |
    • sam stone

      big, big, big, really fvcking big lawsuit by the troll of many names

      coming about the same time jeebus arrives

      that is to say

      never

      October 7, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  13. ibiwisi

    "“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." Hey, maybe his god was really Elvis, and that's why his vision was of Memphis!

    There's currently a tv commercial running for State Farm Insurance, in which a guy tells a girl about all the apps available for State Farm. She says she didn't think State Farm had all those apps. He asks her where she heard that. She replies "On the internet. And you can't put anything that isn't true on the internet." He asks, "And where did you hear THAT?" Her reply: "On the internet." Try inserting the word "Bible", or "Quran" or "Torah" or any other holy book word into the spot where "internet" is....makes for an interesting perspective.

    October 7, 2013 at 6:07 am |
  14. Dave Green

    I've tried to have reasonable discussions related to the topics, but sometimes things do veer off. I think most people know the difference though, between someone who is seriously trying to discuss an issue and someone is just trying to get a rise out of someone.

    October 7, 2013 at 5:46 am |
    • sam stone

      i agree. i try to seriously discuss the issue, but get frustrated when others just want to quote scripture

      October 7, 2013 at 5:56 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        Correct. When the validity of what scripture says is what's being contested then using it to defend your position seems fruitless. As an atheist I have no Big Book of Supernaturally Inspired Rules to structure my beliefs around. Instead I must rely on reason, evidence and logic to determine what has actual merit. Where information is lacking I must accept being ignorant. Anything else simply isn't honest. Scripture makes claims that aren't sufficiently supported by the criteria I mentioned above. There is nothing in the natural world that distinctly indicates the existence of the supernatural.

        October 7, 2013 at 7:06 am |
        • Woody

          "There is nothing in the natural world that distinctly indicates the existence of the supernatural." – AtheistSteve

          Steve, you're exactly right. Here's one my favorite quotes from James Huber on that very subject:

          "I believe that gods are by definition supernatural beings, that the supernatural by definition violates natural law, violating natural law is by definition impossible, and impossible things by definition can't exist."

          October 7, 2013 at 8:13 am |
      • Frank

        Yup.
        It's like trying to point out scientific inaccuracies in a Star Trek episode to a fanboy who only quotes from other episodes.

        October 7, 2013 at 7:50 am |
      • Bill Deacon

        Whenever you find yourself with no peace because of something someone else says or does, the cause usually is within yourself.

        October 7, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  15. Small 'c'

    Well, it seems that as I write this, we have more than 3200 comments that by and large prove the point of the article.

    Figures..... btw- put me in the "peacemaker" category, with just a touch of the provoker on the side.

    October 7, 2013 at 3:33 am |
    • Gladys

      I'm just trying to order ink.

      October 7, 2013 at 3:42 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      sooo – if all the "anti theists" as we are now called, go elsewhere like the theists and the powers that be here at CNN would like – what would the 'click' drop be? how long before the new "atheist" class gets further divided down?

      What this article and many on these board seem to be saying is that both sides need to acknowledge the validity of the others position.

      October 7, 2013 at 3:51 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        No, the author is not saying both sides need to acknowledge the validity of the other side. What he is saying if that one needs to respect the fact that someone has a different opinion, and to have civil discourse. It makes no sense to acknowledge what an opinion that has no validity, but the person holding that opinion has the right to do so.

        October 7, 2013 at 6:24 am |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          It just seems that lately, there has been an attempt to divide and conquer so to speak where atheists are concerned. First there was the attempt to define us...once that was done, there was the attempt to paint the 'anti theist' as a counterpart to fundamentalist religious nuts. Now here we are being coached on how to debate?

          October 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  16. Bootyfunk

    "What does KatieRose say in response? She doesn’t go to war. She makes the peace:"
    +++ were those the only two options, peace or war? john blake sees everything in black/white. so if Katie had disagreed, it would have been war...?

    the author's advice is absolutely terrible here. he suggests that instead of stating your opinion, no matter how unpopular, you should always give in if it means you can avoid an argument. it's okay to disagree.

    October 7, 2013 at 2:48 am |
  17. Helorik

    I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. Since I started freelancing over this site, with a little effort I easily make $55 – $85 per/h. I started several months ago, and now my monthly income is around $9k. Here’s my source going1.C0M

    October 7, 2013 at 2:22 am |
    • Observer

      Don't get suckered by phony promises.

      October 7, 2013 at 2:24 am |
      • sam stone

        pretty much the only product of christianity

        October 7, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      So you work OFF your laptop, not on it and use this blog as an e-commerce site even though it is not a store of any kind. I must have misunderstood...

      October 7, 2013 at 2:28 am |
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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.