By Daniel Burke and Livia Borghese, CNN
ROME (CNN) - Pope Francis' crusade against corruption in the Catholic Church, including an overhaul of the scandal-scarred Vatican Bank, has put the new pontiff in the Italian mafia's crosshairs, according to two organized crime experts.
"The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk. He disturbs the mafia very much," Nicola Gratteri, a top anti-mafia prosecutor in Italy, told CNN on Thursday.
"I don't have precise information about a plan of the mafia against Pope Francis," Gratteri continued. "But if I did, I wouldn't say."
Gratteri, a deputy prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, a city in southern Italy, is a well-known foe of Calabria's notorious mafia, known as 'Ndrangheta.
The mob's anger with the Pope centers on the Vatican Bank, which the new pontiff has tried to reform, according to experts on the Italian underworld.
MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.
Vatican officials were not immediately available for comment. Earlier on Thursday, a Vatican spokesperson strongly denied any concerns about the Pope's safety.
"The Holy See is not at all worried," the Rev. Federico Lombardi told the French wire service Agence I.Media. "These are the usual inventions."
In May, the Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, issued its first-ever report on money laundering, an apparent attempt to improve its financial transparency.
The 64-page report details the Vatican's efforts to crack down on money laundering in particular, though it made no mention of mafia connections. The report found six charges of "suspicious activity" within the past year.
In June, the Pope established a five-person papal commission to investigate the activities of the Vatican Bank, which has been under pressure from international finance authorities to clean up its murky business practices.
A month later, Italian prosecutors arrested a priest who worked as a financial analyst for the Vatican, accusing him of trying to help smuggle tens of millions of euros across Europe using a private plane in July 2012. That same month, two top officials at the Vatican Bank resigned, as Italian prosecutors continued their three-year investigation into the bank.
The Catholic Church and the Italian mafia have a long and complicated history, said Antonio Nicaso, an expert on organized crime in Italy and co-author with Gratteri of a new book called "Holy Water," which explores the relationship between mobsters and the church.
Underworld gangsters often paid for local church repairs or bankrolled feast day celebrations for Catholic saints, Nicaso told CNN. In exchange, Catholic officials kept silent about their illicit deeds.
"The church never raised the issue," he said. "The church has never excommunicated a mobster."
More recently, the mafia used the Vatican Bank to smuggle money, Nicaso said, though he offered no specific evidence. The Pope's reforms threaten that arrangement and will anger organized crime, he added.
"We believe that this is an unprecedented challenge to the economic power center of the Vatican, and for that reason he may face some kind of risk," Nicaso said.
The Vatican has strongly denied any ties to the Italian mafia at the Vatican Bank or at any other church institution.
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The Pope's penchant for wading into the massive crowds who attend his speeches and events poses a particular security risk, Nicaso said.
"He has to be more cautious. He can't go walk around Vatican Square anymore like he's a normal person."
Asked if the mafia would dare try to assassinate such a popular figure, Nicaso said, "There are so many ways to kill a pope. They have to be careful. But in the history of organized crime, whenever they had to remove an obstacle, they never thought about the consequences."
In addition to the Vatican reforms, Francis in his speeches has taken aim at corruption, saying on Monday, for example, that a Christian "who gives to the church with one hand but steals with the other hand from the country, from the poor, is unjust."
The Pope then paraphrased Jesus, saying that it would be better for a corrupt person "if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea."
"He is changing the church," Nicaso said. "It is not a church of power and luxury anymore, and his promise to restructure [the Vatican Bank] is like a Copernican revolution."
Political Powers to Turn Against Babylon
15 The whole world of mankind is now about to face an awe-inspiring spectacle. This will be the turning of the political powers against Babylon the Great, with the aim of wiping her out of existence. This may sound heart paralyzing to people who sincerely believe that all religions are good. But the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah God, has determined that Babylon the Great has no place in all the universe and that she has befouled the realm of creation long enough. She must be violently brought down to utter destruction.
16 There are already on hand powerful agencies that God can allow to effect her destruction, namely, the political elements of the world. The God-inspired book of Revelation foretells that Jehovah will turn her lovers against her, and they will strip her naked, exposing her for what she really is—a demonized fraud! And then they will, so to speak, burn her with fire and reduce her to a pile of ashes. They will give her a treatment similar to what she gave to the uncompromising worshipers of the true God.—Revelation 17:15-18; 18:24.
17 This violent antireligious action on the part of the political powers does not mean that they will thereafter turn to the worship of Jehovah God. Their fierce anti-Babylon action does not mean that they will now become the friends of God. Otherwise they would not take the later action that the book of Revelation shows that they will take. (Revelation 17:12-14) They may rejoice immensely at the antireligious exploits that Jehovah God has permitted them to accomplish, but they will still continue to be misled by “the god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil, the all-out, relentless opposer of Jehovah God.—2 Corinthians 4:4.
18 Babylon the Great will not survive to see the grand climax, the vindication of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty by means of the “Prince of Peace,” who is now the “Mighty God” at the right hand of the One Almighty and Supreme Deity, Jehovah.—Isaiah 9:6.
19 On the sidelines, under impenetrable divine protection, will be the witnesses of Jehovah. (Isaiah 43:10, 12) Under command from the righteous heavens, they will obediently have got out of Babylon the Great. (Revelation 18:4) Their righteous pleasure will be unbounded at what they witness. They will thereafter forever be witnesses of Jehovah and eternally be able to testify with regard to his vindication of himself over Babylon the Great.—Revelation 19:1-3.
If he(pope)is holy,he should dare & endeavour to fight against crime and corruption but if he's not,he should retrace his steps and not continue to be a hypocrite
Organized crime is angry at organized crime...the cath o lic church is a mafia in it's own right......compet ition for the dirty money they live on. Hypocrisy.
Those that bring about change will always face dangers.
Those who bring about change are always in danger.
Islam is the biggest threat to the Pope because he is opposite to the conduct of any Muslims priest/cleric or monarch.
That was quite a remark. It really shows your ignorance. It sounds like it is really YOU who hates in the name of his religion.
Islam is the biggest threat to everyone, even themselves. It is an insane ideology of hate and violence and oppression.
And yet here you are spouting off hate and defacto implying the necessary usage of violence (threat). You may have the freedom to speak, but you have the obligation to use your brain before you open your mouth.
I merely state the truth of the matter. You think I am implying other things, but that would be the sort of thinking you do, not me.
You are measuring my words by your own violent stupidity. It only makes you look more stupid, but go ahead if you want...
He did not spout hate here, only truth: the Sunni's and the Shia's are not only preaching hate against each other, they're killing each other. He said nothing that requires thinking: Go ask any Sunni Iraqi and he'll tell you he hates Shia's. I've never seen someone so against the truth that anyone with eyes can see.
Shia's will always hate the Sunni's for killing Hussein and Ali, Mohammad's prodigy.
Sunni's will always hate Shia's because they refuse to accept the Hadiths as authentic and refuse to agree that Mohammad's successors were his friends.
I agree. The Muslim religion is a religion of the sword. If any Muslim disagrees and tries to make people believe their religion is a religion of peace, they aren't as faithful in their religion and don't really know it well enough.
What animals? Most of them, most notably mammals.
Elephants cry when then encounter the bones of dead elephants. They will feircly protect their band, co-operating. Dolphins and porpoises are among the animals that have recreational $ex. Rats will share food with strangers, will help a stranger out of a trap, nearly ALL social animals create language, culture, creating a society. This is not exclusive to humans at all, we see it ALL AROUND. Start with Jane Goodall. She was ridiculed for her ACCURATE identification of emotional connections within her chimps, and it has only taken off from there. Try studying things instead of your bible.
For years, and to some extent even today, biologists and naturalists do not want to say it IS the same emotion, since the religious nuts will lambast them. Another case where religion stands in the way of what is really going on. You think that ONLY humans have emotion? You have not spent enough time among animals.
meant as reply to Cick Joke. ( He is the one who started crashing my good name...(simply turnabout)
CC and animals (kitties) and that spirit stuff = ?
Really took time to do your research, didn't you? While you're correct in some points, your thick skull is yet to grasp the key point of the debate. Yes, these animals display some sort of emotion, but only at an instinctual, primal level. Which of them demonstrates creative intelligence, what animals have the faculty of imagination, of intricate expressivity? It is not for nothing that Scripture says that God created man and gave him dominion over all things, in effect, giving him higher spiritual and mental qualities than mere animals
More wild assumption. You do not know the level that animals feel emotion.
You do not know that humans are anything special, as a matter of fact there are many things other animals can do that humans cannot.
That is part of the problem. You think that we are a special animal because our cognnitive ability is at a different level.
To think that we are somehow special is again, scientically irresponsible.
So if you yourself are not making wild assumptions, prove that animals are mentally and intellectually at par with humans. Perhaps you know of a chimp called Mozart, or a bear called Einstein, or an elephant called Bill Gates. Though I won't be fazed at an orang utan called Richard 'the Skull' Cranium.
Just because one has a high intellect or a low intellect, they feel emotion. A human with an IQ50 feels the same emotions as one with 150, so your point is moot.
I'd like to see you instantly change the texture of your skin, color and generate light patterns on your skin as many Cuttlefish do. It is all controlled by their brain, which is the seat of all intellectual activity. We are intellectually superior so it should be easy for you. Let me know how you make out with that.
There are different kinds of intellect. You presume that humans are somehow superior....not really. Perhaps in our form of inteligence, but since we do not know all kinds, we are best to only compare humans with other humans, since we do not know how other creatures think, or to what level they do.
You ask what evidencethere is no god...silly question since you know there is just as much showing there are gods as there is there aren't gods.
That is just one possibility among an infinite number of other possibilities, some with higher PROBABILITIES, for example, it is MORE probable that we are inside a dust speck on the pedal of a flower, that is being held in the trunk of an elephant named Horton, than we were created by a god...do you know why the first is MORE probable...simply because we KNOW elephants, flowers and dust exist.
I'm not saying anyone thinks that, but you see we cannot discount all other possibilities, as you have done by presuming gods exist. Not a shred of evidence to back that up, so it doesn't even qualify as a theory...it is an hypothesis...nothing more.
Still don't get it do you? Those traits you describe are instinctual and arise from a neccesity for adaptation within a pecuiliar ecological niche. I can understand, dear Skull that due to your very low intellect you see yourself as companion of beasts of prey. It really shows up in your thinking. To make it easier for you to grasp, the superiority of the human is in the mental aspect – both conscious and subconscious thinking. Humans as a survival mechanism don't have to say, compose music, but we find that music is often the soul of our existence. Why? Higher spiritual and mental attribute. Need we build Eiffel Tower? No, but we do. What asbout the concept of human rights, freedom equality ... Do you get it now, Thick Skull?
No cick joke. Considering the fact that my IQ is over 150, your ridiculous claims of a low intellect are false. Since I have taken more classes than I can easily count, and have not seen anything less than an A in 3 decades clearly means you are wrong.
It still doesn't explain why you think humans are special among the animals? We have a greater intellect, in OUR terms. Thinking first that there are gods (presumption number one) , that this presumed god gave us something special, presumption number two based on presumption number one)...well you can easily see you aren't worth the explaination., You will never understand.
Good luck not pi$$ing off the other thousands of gods while you worship your clearly ( from the false bible) false god.
CC: "Perhaps you know of a chimp called Mozart, or a bear called Einstein,"
LOL – my goodness, how ridiculous. I don't think a dolphin is concerned with trying to compose music or build a sky scraper. We are obviously learning more and more each day about the mental capabilities of some other mammals. Until you can demonstrate what a dolphin is thinking, all you have is conjecture for the limitations that you believe are in place.
Apparently he did NOT give us dominion over everything, as we cannot control the weather (which god frequently uses to commit genocide) and we cannot control the insects (which god frequently uses to destroy nations with a plague or two).
A must read James !
The state of Texas is the talking snake no ?
Bill Nye: Debate Over Evolution In Texas Schools Is Jeopardizing Our Future
Posted: 11/23/2013 5:01 pm EST | Updated: 11/23/2013 7:28 pm EST
And another part of the problem is the RCC's biblical stand on procreation when they teach and supposedly understand evolution.
Evolution should not be up for debate.
The funny part NO response from Sue or Vic yet ?
Best post yet. Animal are more cognitive that we give them credit for and we are finding out more all the time.
Vic, all that you have presented in support of your god beliefs still boils down to argument from ignorance, at best. It can be summarily dismissed as such. As others have often noted here, the courageous, honest answer regarding the origin of the universe is "We don't know.", not "God did it".
We can go a step further than that with certainty, and also state that the Christian god as presented in the bible cannot possibly be the creator of our universe, for several solid reasons. Among those are the internal inconsistencies of the bible in regard to the presented characteristics of the Christian god, and the conflicts of the bible with reality via ready observables. Your reading of "Theoretical Physics" does not give you an excuse to ignore that certainty that your beliefs are simply complete hogwash.
@Sue, what can be summarily asserted from your arguements is that the 'godless posturing' of so-called atheists is nothing but living in denial and mental indolence. For all the pretensions at logical thinking, your conclusions reflect plainly the prejudice that underlie atheistic thought. Could it be that atheism has become a synonym for autism?
Don't be ridiculous.
Atheism is siimply NOT believing in gods. That's all.
You don't believe in Zeus, or Ra or Ja or Quetzlcoatl, do you?
If no...you are an atheist. You see the word atheist ONLY pertains to NOT believing in deities. Nothing more.
Richard, if atheism is Not believing in 'gods', does atheism mean beliving in a God?
It means you do not believe in ANY of the thousands of gods men have worshipped.
That includes yours.
You do realize that the whole jesus story is based on previuos cultures stories right?
They incorporated a huge amount of Buddha in the character as well.
Can you not see the bible and all within it are man-made creations?
Your deceitful use of words serves only to obfuscate your illogical minds and further compound your mental derkness
You dance around a lot to call me a liar.
Please be more specific.
What "deceitful" words have I used, "obfuscate" what.
You clearly do not understand what an atheist is, and you are trying to promote an opinion as if it were fact ( that gods exist).
Fallacy, sophistry, and casuistry... Halmarks of blind atheism. Upon what facts do you base your claims that the Bible is consists of man-made stories?
Your Bible was written by men. The dispute is over whether an invisible God inspired them to write exactly what they wrote and that they added or withheld nothing – such that it can be called that God's inerrant Word.
On the history of man kind.
On what do you base you thinking the bible , with all of it's flaws, it believable or accurate in any way.
We know it has been translated, translated again, originally written by men, but not the men that are attributed to writing.
What makes you think ALL the other thousands of religions are wrong, but yours is the correct one. By the way, to try to claim the bible is why, you would then be using the bible to calim the bible is right, which does not work from a logical standpoint.
Why don't you believe in Zeus?...he was around long before your god was created.
And try not to call me liar, or satan or any such ridiculous names.
First off Richard, try to know the diff btw atheism, monotheism and polytheism. 2ndly, understanding that outside of that which is physically percieved, there's a spiritual and mental spheres of existence. Unfortunately atheist are only aware of that which is physical
"there's a spiritual and mental spheres of existence"
And your evidence of this is?
And there you strike the nail at the head. You ask for evidence of a spiritual and mental existence? What is the difference between a living breathing person and a corpse? From what source do you get your powers of reasoning and other mental attributes?
That of which you speak is an unknown. We do not know waht life is yet, so thinking that it is a spiritual thing is irresponsible. We do not know what it is yet.
You are speculating, not providing any answers.
Yes, life is different that inanimate...what exactly that difference is is unknown.
That which you think is unknown is fully established. That is the difference between godless atheist and thinking people who have come to know that the physical universe is only an infintesimal part of existence and 'being', in fact, that its only the tip of the iceberg. Therefore the Godly ones are those who appreciate this truth and make conscious effort to integrate it into their daily life, knowing that there's an existence beyound theat percieved by the senses
Please support your assertion that atheists do not think.
Cijay is nothing more than a algorithms of a loosely-defined kind running on a squishy sort of computer in his head. He does not want this to be so, he wants to be a soul with eternal aspects, made in the image of a transcendent omnipotent God. But there is no evidence of souls or of transcendent God-beings. He may know this, and hope that no one can maintain through logical arguments that he is not what he wishes he were.
That is YOUR delusion. We do not know what the energy is that is life, do not know where it comes from. You are jumping to a conclusion that is unwarrented.
That is common for believers. To take something and leap to an unjustified conclusion that you know what it is.
I find it all of the time from the immoral christians, trying to disprove our default atheism. It is religious ridiculousness that prevents finding actual answers.
You would fail as a scientist. You have far too much bias.
Your problems, Tom and Dick is your myopic mentality. But that's alright. True faith isn't dogmatic or erratic as you tend to suggest. The greatest evidence for God is in our human longings for things that go beyound what is primal. It is a field that psychology has been historically interested. Also have you ever heard the term spiritual science. I'd bet you haven't. It acknowledges that there's life beyound deductive reasoning
"spiritual science"...is not science at all. Since there is no basis for any of it, it is a made up psuedo scince trying to chase one's tail into believing that which we have no evidence for.
Until there is an actual science that deals with it, which I know there is none, you can site any creationist ridiculousness. It is not science. Try again.
[ "That which you think is unknown is fully established. That is the difference between godless atheist and thinking people who have come to know that the physical universe is only an infintesimal part of existence and 'being', in fact, that its only the tip of the iceberg. Therefore the Godly ones are those who appreciate this truth and make conscious effort to integrate it into their daily life, knowing that there's an existence beyound theat percieved by the senses" ]
That needs a bit of correction. Let me fix it.
Man has always attempted to establish meaning for the unknown and failed miserably. He first must accept what is unknown and not try so hard to further describe it. Proper description will come when he knows more. The Godly ones are those who are uncomfortable with this truth and make conscious effort to invent things that can be referenced in their daily life (like dreaming up a deity and giving it a proper name for added emphasis), thus being disrespectful of all of the natural universe which has yet many more things yet to reveal to us.
CC Joke: "spiritual science"
LOL – "spooky" physics, perhaps?
You are truly what your name says – (Dick) thick skull! Note that spiritual science is the next big thing. Recognized since the begining of the 20th century, it posits to integrate fields of knowledge for instance quantum physics, psychology and faith. Would it interest to know that those things which you stubbornly believe to be imponderable are today being clearly elicidated.
CC Joke: "[...] spiritual science. I'd bet you haven't. It acknowledges that there's life beyound deductive reasoning"
Our studies have revealed to us that the mentats are not a threat to us. Their capability is very limited.
"Note that spiritual science is the next big thing."
LOL – I almost spewed coffee into the monitor laughing out loud over that... Oh my.
@Doris, and from what source would the natural universe reveal its secrets to you? Also its blatant falsehood to say that man has 'failed miserably' to give meaning to the'unknown'. What needs to be fixed in you is base, primal thinking that seeks only a selfish, bohemian lifestyle, which afterall is the anthem of the atheist – live today as there will be no tomorrow!
A pity Doris, that you'll soon be makking coffee tainted conclusions. Just don't let it colour your thinking
Actually, what I want (I can't speak for atheists in general) is to be able to discern what is likely to be true, what is not likely to be true, and what isn't yet ready for consideration. So, Cijay, what do you have to offer that can be substantiated? Mostly you seem to operate as did Paley (of Paley's Watch). When something is amazing and complex beyond your understanding you are driven to God as the explanation and claimed that you have gotten access to the truth by spiritual means. That does not work. It can't be distinguished from self-deception and substantiates no claims you might make based on it.
@Tom Tom. The challenge in your statement is that your opinions must of neccsity be judgemental. Also as a general rule, atheists do not look beyound their noses, in a manner of speaking. It is the appreciation of those complexities you speak about that lends evidence to creative intelligence – God, and not the random chance that atheists wrongly hold on to.
CC Joke: "@Doris, and from what source would the natural universe reveal its secrets to you? Also its blatant falsehood to say that man has 'failed miserably' to give meaning to the'unknown'. What needs to be fixed in you is base, primal thinking that seeks only a selfish, bohemian lifestyle, which afterall is the anthem of the atheist – live today as there will be no tomorrow!"
Nonsense. We understand a little about some things that are sources for other things. Religions in general have obviously failed at explaining the unknown. We see time and time again that today's discoveries were yesterday's mythological belief. In attempting to lock in their audience, theists claim and rely on absolute "truths" that come from outside our individual and collective human consciousness – for some, directly from the Abrahamic God. Perhaps if you could demonstrate such an objective "truth", you could better make a case for this external agent of the universe – this thing that I assume is the same thing you say is so well established. Of course, to not taint your reply, I assume you agree not to have to resort to subjective means or human consensus.....
Cijay, appreciation of things that are not explained, or not understood, hasn't provided evidence for God. Such things may bring about awe, even a sense of underlying purpose, but as I mentioned before, people have a facility for filling in gaps, seeing patterns and meaning when nothing is there.
There is yet hope for you Doris. You see, religions as a rule are man-made fabrications, a twisted path to the Divine. I don't shirk from saying that there's only one absolute truth. Afterall only one thing can have the quality of being right – 'If a thing is true, there is a way in which it is true' That "Abrahamic God" is the source of that truth.
" there is a way in which it is true' That "Abrahamic God" is the source of that truth.
Way to leap to an illogical conclusion, that YOUR god is the one true god, without showing how the thousands of other gods are NOT real.
By the way, the abrahamic god, as described in the bible is an impossibility, and since the bible is so full of flaws, your god is just as full of flaws. ( IT is because men created him)
You have demonstrated nothing, CC Joke. I see a claim, so go ahead and try to demonstrate any absolute "truth" from your God. Otherwise, I'm afraid I have to keep your god and its alleged "truths" in the delusion category.
Also I do not need to demonstrate truth; it is self-evident. What answers do you give yourself when you ask questions about the origin of life? The purpose of our existence? The marvellous harmony, order and synchrony of the universe? Granted, religion does poorly in explaining these issues, the Creator, Supernal and Immanent leaves us with abundant evidence of his works. We only need to lift up the mental veil to percieve truth.
"Also I do not need to demonstrate truth; it is self-evident"
And that is all you need to say.
You would never make it as a scientist, since your statement is false.
Today's winner of the Fundy Circular Logic Award goes to "Cijay Chijioke". Congratulations!
Here was the qualifying statement that clinched the award:
"I don't shirk from saying that there's only one absolute truth. Afterall only one thing can have the quality of being right – 'If a thing is true, there is a way in which it is true' That "Abrahamic God" is the source of that truth."
How does a fundy approach inquiry and verification? It's like this:
@Tom Tom, and here we reach a denoument, of sorts. We can resolve this through a conscise definition of terms. Who is God. Well. God is certainly not an old man with white beard that lives up there in the skies. In fact, you have to know what God is, before you know who he is. He is the power, principle and intelligence behind the manifest and unmanifest universe. Incidentally, its the Jews that had the accurate knowledge of this God, hence the Abrahamic God
"He is the power, principle and intelligence behind the manifest and unmanifest universe. Incidentally, its the Jews that had the accurate knowledge of this God, hence the Abrahamic God"
No evidence to back it up. There is no evidence that there are any gods, yet you have then gone and assumed there are, then actually define it.
There is nothing to verify what you say is true. The bible itself, shows the Abrahamic god to be an impossibility.
God or not, NO ONE KNOWS...having a definition for exactly what that god is? Pure delusion.
"He is the power, principle and intelligence behind the manifest and unmanifest universe."
You begin by using the word "he" and go on to mention intelligence. Apparently you think that a person underlies the Universe, Cijay. Why?
@Dick Skull, what evidence do you have to show that my statement is false? Also, what makes a good scientist?
I said you have no evidence to back up your claim.
As far as your god, read the bible. The god as described therein is impossible. You cannot have free will AND an omniscient god, for one reason.
CC Joke: "God is certainly not an old man with white beard [. . . ] Incidentally, its the Jews that had the accurate knowledge of this God, hence the Abrahamic God"
Well you just get sillier with each post CCJ. Accurate, I assume includes Genesis where we first learn the concept of "~in his own image". Nothing smacks more of serving one's own needs; calming one's own fear of the unknown; bolstering one's own self-importance in the universe than dreaming up a higher power that you are patterned after, right CCJ? Because that way, you get a daddy for the universe that you always wanted to calm your nerves, and you might just get a tiny fraction of his power...
Actually, you can't show that omniscience can compel anything to happen. So omniscience doesn't make freewill impossible.
@Tom sans the gender, God is not a person as we know it. Consider the analogy of electricity: we can’t see it, but we can feel its effects – in powering appliances etc. The more accurate description of God is the Creative force
Ah – moving away from that Abrahamic God now, are we, CCJ? Where else does this goose chase lead? Lol.
Since when can't we see electricity?
We see it all the time, can detect it, its magnitude...What a poor analogy.
We know that there is SOMETHING different, but to assume it has anything to do with any gods is like saying god is responsible for the fire when I flcik my bic.
You like to leap to unjustifiable conclusion, such as there is a god...WE DO NOT KNOW means just that. Not we do not know therefore there is a god.
@Doris, am not insolent if I point out your shallow mentality. Being made 'in God's image' refers to the spiritual qualities in man and of that even a dimwit can acknowledge the universality of that. The ability to love, think, empathasize forgive et al, are what it means to be made in God's image.
@Dick Skull, since when can you see electricity? The essence of the anology is to point out that God is the unseen force whose prescense in manifest in creation. In your own words, He is 'that something out there' whom you refuse to acknowledge.
We may not be able to see electricity with the unaided eye, but we can measure it objectively with a variety of tools. It's behavior is predictable and repeatable, unlike a god who loves on some days and smites on others. Please demonstrate how one can objectively detect and measure god?
Since many animals have been shown to have those very same qualities, it seems that all/many creatures are in god's image.
A more believable and likely far more accurate way of seeing it it men make gods and anthropomorphize god to have the same traits and qualities men have.
Ah so you have a different notion of the God of the Bible than "literalists" who also hold a belief and rely so heavily on the Abrahamic God. Now back to the issue of a demonstration of an absolute truth from such a God – you know that would help us perhaps see more about this God that we all understand we can't actually see with our eyes. Your answer before, for which you won an award, was obviously not very well thought out. It certainly did not demonstrate in any reasonable fashion any kind of objective truth anymore than if I claimed here that the ghost of the bug I killed yesterday spoke to me in a dream last night and proclaimed that the real God was tired and transferred all his power to it – to take over for God.
Turning the tables, Dick and Doris, what is the evidence for the non-existence of God. Am open to a change of mind
@Dick, what animals share those same qualities. Be specific please. @Doris, you trivialise serious issues. Maybe the bug that bit you affected your thinking. How would you prove out your hallucinations?
CC: "what is the evidence for the non-existence of God. Am open to a change of mind"
If you are really open to a change of mind, you have to prepare yourself for the realization that those that don't hold a belief in the Abrahamic God have different thoughts on themes that concern the theist such as creation, morality. etc. It may seem like a disarray of opposing belief to someone trying to understand different views, but for many who are more agnostic, issues boil down more to what is known or accepted via consensus. Some who don't hold a belief in the Abrahamic God don't necessarily claim that some kind of creator does not exist and never existed. They are open to the possibility that a creative force may exist or may have existed (but no longer does). As you can see, with such consideration of other possibilities, the general arguments against mainstream atheistic thinking of "atheists are dumb – something couldn't have come from nothing" is itself pretty dumb.
So to answer your question more directly, though, you have to keep my last paragraph in mind because people will vary on what the basis is for and what brought them to their disbelief in the Abrahamic God (not to mention the possibility that someone may never have even heard of such a God and that's simply the reason for their disbelief). For me, I think there could be or could have been a creative force that kick-started this universe. I don't claim to know, so I don't hold a belief of such. I simply don't find what has been claimed to be convincing. I find the alleged evidence for the magic of the Bible not well grounded and therefore not convincing. But I don't really need evidence for buying into poor evidence for anything, especially extraordinary things.
sorry – I had to clean up that last post a bit – this is not an exact copy...
If you are really open to a change of mind, you have to prepare yourself for the realization that those that don't hold a belief in the Abrahamic God have different thoughts on themes that concern the theist such as creation, morality. etc. It may seem like a disarray of opposing belief to someone trying to understand different views, but for many who are more agnostic, issues boil down more to what is known or accepted via consensus. Some who don't hold a belief in the Abrahamic God don't necessarily claim that some kind of creator does not exist and never existed. They are open to the possibility that a creative force may exist or may have existed (but no longer does), they just haven't been given decent evidence to make them hold a belief in some external agent. As you can see, with such consideration of other possibilities, the general arguments against mainstream atheistic thinking of "atheists are dumb – something couldn't have come from nothing" is itself pretty dumb.
So to answer your question more directly, though, you have to keep my last paragraph in mind because people will vary on what the basis is for and what brought them to their disbelief in the Abrahamic God (not to mention the possibility that someone may never have even heard of such a God and that's simply the reason for their disbelief). For me, I think there could be or could have been a creative force that kick-started this universe. I don't claim to know, so I don't hold a belief of such. I simply don't find what has been claimed to be convincing. I find the alleged evidence for the magic of the Bible not well grounded and therefore not convincing. But I don't really need evidence for not buying into poor evidence for anything, especially extraordinary things.
and one last edit – the very last word of my last post should really be "claims", not "things".
It seems to be the common thing for believers in God to try to the tables on non-theists and put out a challenge that they prove that God does not exist. This is like the 4 Knights Game in chess, they hope that the symmetry will hold up and the positions will remain equal. It doesn't work. The instance of God that they want the non-theists to disprove was not created by the non-theists. It was instantiated by the one who presumably has evidence that implies it, or at least a reason to to bring it to light. A non-theist has no reason to accept it as something that is worth consideration – it is not his God, after all.
The tactic doesn't seem to fit biblical ideas, either. So it's strange that Christians will use it:
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Quite dishonest of you Tom to try to apply different criteria for the same hypothsis. If you demand proof of God, it is also logical to demand proof of His non-existence. Essentially its a question of 'what is the reason for 'all there is'." This arguement can be made from both sides
It is not dishonest at all. The burdon of proof lies with the one making the claim. You cannot prove a negative, that is not how it is done. It is intellectually dishonest to claim there are gods, then to tell those who disagree that THEY have anything to prove. The onus is on you.
CC: "Essentially its a question of 'what is the reason for 'all there is'."
No, it's not. That's quite a different question from "Is there reason to believe the evidence put forth claiming the existence of the Abrahamic God".
If you still don't understand why, go back and read my last comment.
(Remember readers, the last few replies were in response to CC's "what is the evidence for the non-existence of God. Am open to a change of mind")
For instance, it is dumb for you to claim that with regards to the origin of the universe "We don't know" Equally, it is with certainity that you make dumb and unsunbstantied claims as to validity of Scripture. If there are 'internal inconsistencies' they arise from your warped perception. FYI, the Bible is eternal truth; however those truths are necesserily hidden from arrogant trolls such as yourself but reserved for the humble ones who willingly open their minds to spiritual guidance
"...reserved for the humble ones ..."
Yes, just everyone knows that truly humble people label those they disagree with as autistic.
@midwest...humility is the essential trait of the sage. Wisdom is with the modest ones
Nicely evaded, I expected nothing less.
Scripture omly means that soemone wrote it down.
There has never been a gloabl flood, you can't make striped goats by having goats stare at stripes, and you cannot tell a womans infidelity by having her drink your magic water mixed with dust from the floor.
It is your book that is wrong, why can't YOU see how false it is?
You are the one that's wrong. Anthropology confirms that a global deluge is a UNIVERSAL feature of historical records of all cultures. 2. Genetically and metaphysically, it is evident that subconcious mentation is a precursor to physical manifestation. Concentrated focus on stripes by a pregnant dam can affect the phenotypic expression of its offspring. This is well-known even in humans especially among native cultures
I can name several cultures who have no flood story.
Anthopolgy confirming something it has nothing to do with. It is common to find many stories about things people are afraid of, such as fires floods and earthquakes. The earths geological records are proof that at no time was there ever a world encompassing flood. To have one as told in the bible would require 5 times the water that exists on the planet, and the water level would have had to rise at 6 inches a MINUTE, for 40 days. That is only ONE of the many things that are wrong with the story.
There is not only no evidence of this, but there are literal mountains of evidence proving it never happened.
The point is that the commonality os such 'stories' suggests their innate veracity as does the findings of the Human Genetype Project which traces the genotypic make-up of the human population to 8 individuals – the survivors of the deluge. I would also like to know whay geological records exist to counter the fact of the deluge as well as the basis for the computation you make. Plus your mountains of evidence that rebut this historical truth.
Wow, Richard has more on his side here. He's by far not wrong, scientists have been able to show that a global flood is impossible to have happened. There are numerous factors involved here not the least of which is the simple fact that a ship the size needed to accommodate that many people/animals couldn't have happened largely due to the lack of technology of the day, it simply would not have floated....common sense should tell you that. Where did they store food? How did they dispose of waste? Just because the bible says it happened doesn't mean it did.
The following explains it from a scientific standpoint and explains both sides...if you have the slightest open mind, you'll read it: http://ncse.com/cej/4/1/impossible-voyage-noahs-ark
Way to misrepresent scientific findings.
There is evidence that there has been flooding, in this area, that area, etc.
There is NO evidence that this flooding occured at the same time, actually shows it occurred in many places at many various times. NEVER all around the world at once.
Also the human genome project does not say that at all, that is flat out false. If it were true, due to the family involved, it would show not 8 at all, due to the similarities in the family's DNA.
How long have you studied the sciences you are trying to twist into your book? I would wager that some creation "scientist" told you this garbage.
@truthprevails, scientists have also been known to be flat wrong about so many contemporary issues, not to talk of events that happened before they learned to theorize on issues they are unaware of. 2ndly, you mention the 'technology of the day' You'd be suprised at the level os sophistication those ancients had. The Pyramids of Giza?
Scientists are frequently wrong, but they are allowed to be, and we learn just as much from failure as we do from success. The scientific method is not easy. It offers no shortcuts. It requires hard, fastidious work (sometimes spanning decades or more). The only reason "religion" is never wrong is because the faithful do not allow any serious questioning and testing to take place, and the people who DO question it are frequently ostracized, outcast and even put to death in some eras and cultures.
The pyramids of Giza: remarkable for their immense size and also for the extremely limited open space they contain. They have their place in the history of architecture – near its beginning, before anyone knew much about structural engineering and built big by simply piling up mass.
So... was the sermon on the mount actually on a hill or on flat land (the gospels don't agree) And do you still believe that the mustard seed is the smallest object in all of creation, as the bible states?
When will cnn make an atheist blog? No reply required.
This the new Dan Brown book?
Overall, I think that modern technology such as the internet, the increased presence of and access to cameras and monitoring capabilities (privacy concerns aside), and related things such as open discussion boards will eventually cut down on the more visible/brute force criminal activities and bullying employed historically by organized crime groups. The same technologies are also causing a closer examination and the eventual decline of god-fraud ponzi schemes such as the RCC, and Christianity itself. It's high time for that, and it is human progress.
Oh, I hope so, but it seems internet crime is on the rise...
Its time for Big Brother to cancel religion for everyone?
And start constant surveillance? For the good of all people and to cut down on crime?
How about we stop raising @ssholes and start killing off sociopaths? "The Good Son" anyone?
The internet and computers are the worst thing that has happened to mankind sinc ethe bgining
Doesn't it get anyone that the Mafia controls the Vatican bank? We're talking CENTURIES of money building and building…now the question begs to be asked, "who are the real powers-that-be?"
On the same track, where do the Grahams, the Warrens, the Hinns, the Osteens and all their ilk shelter their millions? Perhaps the Swiss are the true masters of religion?
It sure gets ME...
They really aren't leaving any options out in the PR campaign. Well played.
And there was suppose to be a list of priests names released but ...
Minnesota Se-x Abuse Scandal Entangles University of St. Thomas ...
Oct 23, 2013 – The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has found itself in the middle of the ongoing se-x abuse crisis in Minnesota, according to Inside ...
They should not keep secrets !
silly, the mafia could care less. This is just another PR to pretend. Meanwhile children victims continue to suffer. The pope ignores that!
I wonder how much money over the years the church knowingly accepted from the mafia. And now this pope wants to end the deal, but everyone knows you just don't walk away from deals with the mob.
yet lets the children who suffered at the church, continue to suffer. The catholic church lobbies to stop Bills that would expose the truth and help victims. All children victims now lose, no matter who abused/
Even though Francesco was not directly involved he would understand it is nothing personal, it is only business.
Of course this is bound to happen. Nothing done in this world as far as governing, doing business is just with the frame of the law. It is constantly done under illegal procedures, profiting, blackmailing, threatening, bribing, etc. etc. you name it.
I said it long time ago, Pope Francis is to much of a good man to the Pope to try to reform the corrupted Catholic church. God help him. Do you actually think that the other Pope quit just because he was too old?
praying is important.
Only to those who are too lazy to actually use their hands and do work.
The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.
Atheism is another word for being delusional and living in abject self denial. Those who deny the existence of a Creator-God may as well believe that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is a random collection of sounds
why add "god" to creator?
could it not just be a creator?
"god" infers judgement and heaven and hell, an overseer
Sorry, that's funny.
Atheism only defines a disbelief in a god or gods. You're also an Atheist by denying all other gods but your own.
Technically speaking Beethoven's 5th is a random collection of sounds, at least when it was originally written.
I happen to care that my beliefs are true and based on evidence. My opinions are likely to change as evidence is presented.
Your opinions are based off of a 2000 year old that has been debunked and proven fallacious time and time again. Your opinions are not likely to change no matter how much evidence you are presented with...the fact is you have your security blanket and as long as that keeps you together, no amount of evidence will change your opinion. What a horribly sad life.
People don't need imaginary friends (god) to be good and if you feel you do (that you couldn't live without it or you'd go on a murderous rampage-raping; pillaging; beating women and children; killing LGBT etc), then it would appear that you are a much better fit for the description of a delusional person.
People have a facility for seeing patterns and purpose even when none exists. I think your statement, Cijay, comes from something like Paley's Watch – Beethoven's Fifth in this case. The Universe is marvelously complex, but complexity can arise from systems without design or intervention.
There is no irrefutable evidence to support the existence of any god(s). If you have any, you should present it. Insulting people people because they don't share your blind faith just makes you look silly.
No evidence period. They don't even offer evidence to refute.
Some have been brave enough to offer evidence, but it's been emotional anecdotes, delusional claims or junk science - all easily refutable.
I'd call that stuff conjecture and hokum, not evidence (although I guess we're arguing semantics now).
If someone says they have proof, I am willing to explore what they put forth in that light. And yes it is conjecture and hokum, but they consider it proof. Semantics, as you said.
No sam stone, it dosent. That's the false perception of a darkened mind.
@ truthprevails, the drivel you spewed out is just illogical rant. Tom tom, you are unbelievable. A self-perpetuting harmony in the universe is a random occurence? The mathematically exact physical laws that sustain it came about by chance? Where do you come from? And I thought Neanderthals were extinct.
Or those so afraid of the Bronze Age supersti tion that they would try to appease it, right? Prayer is either about greedily asking for something from God directly, or toadying to God either out of fear of him, or to charm such favours out of him.
If we Americans wanted to be treated like this we would have kept the King of England instead of fighting for our freedom.
Praying is talking to yourself and generally useless.
Only if you so believe!
Prayer is only useful if you believe it is, you mean?
Come on, did you really have to say that? This is a religious article, and posting anti religious comments isn't just rude but disrespectful to the people who DO pray and worship god. This is not the place to go on an atheist crusade, go to an article that discusses atheism, where this sort of comment may be appropriate. I don't mind atheists, you can believe anything you want, but the moment that atheists start fighting against religion, then it's not right.
This article is about illegal business. You should be criticizing 'prophet' for making completely irrelevant posts, not truthprevails for his factual rebuttals.
AtheistSteve, not truthprevails.
Sometimes the truth hurts. This is a belief blog and as the late Carl Sagan stated "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." When religious people stop trying to force their beliefs in to the lives of other people, non-believers will have reason to stop posting rebuttals.
We find it rude (and horribly disrespectful) when christians tell LGBT they are living 'sinful' lives or when they attempt to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies. Get the picture here?? That respect you demand is a two way street.
I don't mind theists and you are free to believe whatever you want.
prophet chose to come to this open forum tp proselytize and pronounce unfounded claims that are rude and disrespectful toward any who don't share his belief. Prayer has been demonstrated though numerous studies to be ineffectual so I merely pointed out how he is wrong. Since when is challenging bad ideas inappropriate?
"Praying is for idiots" would be rude. "Praying is generally useless" is simply a statement of scientifc opinion and you might be better off asking yourself why hearing such a statement bothers you so much.
This blog is open to all those who wish to discuss belief. In this country, our freedom of speech and freedom to worship (or not worship) as we choose are protected equally.
You can believe as you choose, but your beliefs are not above criticism. If you wish to silence non-believers, you can start by proving that your god (or any god) actually exists. Then you need to show why your particular religion is the one that correctly represents hat god. No one has ever done either. This is why humans have worshiped thousands of gods, and why christianity alone has over 30,000 sects.
This is a discussion blog; where else would one honestly discuss the value of such things?
Frankly Steve, you wouldn't know how true your statement is on the one hand. What you don't realize is that talking to your Self in a focused and concentrated manner is the same as talking to God – the Creative Power and Intelligence behind all observed phenomena
No he would...he's a recovering Catholic. There is zero evidence that there is a difference between speaking to yourself and speaking to god...how does one tell the difference???
Actions are more important.
God is with you all
Which god?? How do you know you even have the right one???
If the truth must prevail, then know there's only one God. Other gods are mere doctrinal hues, a sort of religious mascara.
Which god is the one god?
The one God we have come to know as YAHWEH
Your proof of this assertion?
@ ... Dave: You are the living proof, if ever you needed to have one.
So no proof. I'm glad that's settled.
No, that is merely your opinion, there is no evidence to support that. How are you so certain that your god is the right one? What evidence do you have to support your claim?? Why should I believe your claim over the claim of someone who believes in another god??
cijay: and you feel yahweh is the correct one because......?
I suppose if Cijay knows that one true God, then he knows its name. But if he knows it, he should be able to describe how he knows it. Did he come to know it in such a way that if God did not exist, then he would not even believe in it?
"The one God we have come to know as YAHWEH"
So, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also part of the "mascara" then?
Sorry folks that I switched off. Had to handle some critical issues.
@... Dave, your cynicm is proof of ignorance of scientific facts. What do I mean? The human body is a marvel of creation – FACT. This naturally implies a creator. That you are able to think and articulate your torrid atheism is proof of a spiritul existence that random evolution can't account for. Who created all these? YAHWEH
Only in your imagination.
we are praying for those that are misled. God is with you all.
God is imaginary.
That's your opinion and belief not a fact.
God is at least imaginary. Have you been able to show it is something more?
as is the idea that god is not imaginary
Prophet! Get a life!
Not misled. We happen to care that what we believe is based on evidence and so far there is not a shred of evidence to support biblical claims or your imaginary friends existence.
As previously stated, an education is a wonderful thing, read this and read your bible in full (it is the greatest path to disbelief ever): http://freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Top_ten_arguments_for_the_existence_of_God
Actually, there's very scant if at all any evidence to support atheistic dogma and illusory claims. The evidence for God if he ever needed to prove Himself abounds in his creative works as well as His Word – The Holy Bible.
Using he book to prove the book is fallacious.
The Holy Bible is not evidence. It is circular reasoning-God exists because the bible says he exists. The works (I take it you mean our universe) is not evidence of a god. Yous still have not proven that god exists, you are merely using the god of the gaps here-I don't know, therefore god. So now without using your bible, how do you know?
What dogma exactly is it that you believe Atheists go by? We don't have a book to guide us, so please provide the evidence for your claim.
Have you ever considered why the creation story can't be taught in schools?
And "Dracula" is evidence of vampires, I suppose?
And we have hope that one day everyone will see reason.
of course the people that don't believe are pleased to have the holidays that God has given. So they are takers, but if they don't believe then they should not accept the gifts, hypocrisy. Holidays exis because God gave them to us through Israel.
And just what might those be? What holidays have been given by God? People celebrate for many reasons. Some holidays are tied to religious ideology but are nonetheless constructs of man, not God. Christians usurped Xmas from earlier pagan winter solstice festivals and Easter was usurped from pagan spring festivals.
First off, it's not that we're pleased...we simply have no choice-it is one example of how christianity has forced its way in to the lives of people.
Second, your imaginary friend didn't give us those holidays.
The Christians Stole Most of Their Traditions from the Pagans
1. Saturnalia. Saturnalia is a Pagan holiday that starts on December 17 and ends on December 25. The Christians decided they were going to make Christmas on that day, hopefully to get converts. And since Jesus' birthday isn't even in December...
2. Birthday's. Early Christians didn't celebrate birthdays. That was a Pagan thing.
3. Christmas things. What does a pine tree sitting in your living room have to do with Jesus? Nothing. The Christians stole that idea from the Pagans. They also stole the idea of candles in the window, putting decorations on the tree, and giving presents. (Though Santa Claus isn't a Pagan thing, the Christians stole that, too).
4. Easter things. At the beginning of spring, the Pagans would celebrate life buy coloring eggs, because eggs meant the start of a new life and a new season. And bunnies were just cute. And the Christians stole this, too.
You only show how ignorant of history and reality you are by your claims...an education goes very far in this world, attempt to get one please.
Christians didn't invent those holidays, the Roman Catholic Church did. For more than 300 years Christianity was not corrupted by Romans and their pagan practices. There are many Christians in the minority until today that still not corrupted. The Roman Catholic have their own beliefs and practices that contradict the Bible, they don't use the Bible as their source of teaching, don't use them in their Cathedrals for people to read, so stop associating Roman Catholic practices to all Christians.
So now the RCC isn't christian? As long as you follow the same bible, you are all christian regardless of what denomination you pay heed to. And you're wrong, those holidays all have Pagan under tones to them.
A few of our holidays are secular, like the fourth, and I suppose we would have created other holidays simply out of the need to break up the work year with the occasional long weekend.
Do you thank Saturn for having a day off after Frigg's day?
Holidays? That is the weakest argument I've ever heard. "Believe in God because of the Fourth of July and Labor Day!"
Congrats. In the contest of silly statements, your wins the medallion.
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