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Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But watch out for the trolls
Pope Francis addressed digital technology and social communications on Thursday.
January 23rd, 2014
10:40 AM ET

Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But watch out for the trolls

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) Careerist clergy. The super rich. And now we can add another pelt to Pope Francis' collection: Internet trolls.

In statement released on Thursday, the Pope said the Internet and social media are making people across the world "increasingly interdependent."

"The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis said. "This is something truly good, a gift from God."

At the same time, though, all those tweets and texts and comment streams can cause people to "lose our bearings," said the 77-year-old pontiff.

"The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression," Francis said.

"The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful," he continued, "but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests."

There's a tinge of irony to the Pope's comments, considering that his own soaring popularity can be partially traced to the Internet and social media. According to a study released in November, Francis was the most talked about person online last year.

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.

Whether consciously or not, the Pope has become an unlikely poster boy for how stories spread in the modern world.

Photos and videos of him washing the feet of Muslim inmates, embracing a severely disfigured man and giving his pal a lift on the Popemobile have gone viral, with hundreds of thousands sharing the images.

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

"Goodness always tends to spread," Francis said in his apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," a line that could have been uttered in the boardrooms of savvy online outlets like Upworthy and BuzzFeed.

But the Pope's theory of communication seems to derive from a more ancient source: his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

"Preach the Gospel all the time. Use words when necessary," the 13th century friar is often quoted as saying. (Some call the quote apocryphal.)

Rather than "bombarding people with religious messages," the Pope urged Catholics on Thursday to listen patiently and engage their interlocutors' doubts and questions.

"Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts," Francis said.

The Pope also warned against spending too much time online, saying  the "desire for digital connectivity" can sometimes isolate people from their friends, family and neighbors.

“It is not enough to be passers-by on the digital highways, simply 'connected'; connections need to grow into true encounters," he said.

"We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication."

Drawbacks aside, the Pope did not argue that people should reject social media, which he said can foster unity and "help us feel closer to each other."

Instead he argued that advances in bits and bytes shouldn't distract from the fact that digital communication is, at root, about people connecting with each other.

"What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding?" the Pope asked.

"We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Internet • Pope Francis

soundoff (2,371 Responses)
  1. Saraswati

    I find the capitalization of "Internet" so annoying I have difficulty reading articles that still do this ten years after the Idiotic Custom should have died out.

    January 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Mr. and Mrs. George and Judy Internet will be very offended by that comment.

      January 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
  2. Sam

    Somebody should make a joke about Al Gore and the internet. Like every 25 minutes would be great.

    January 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • doobzz

      It's slowed down from yesterday, when it was practically every other post, thank FSM.

      January 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
  3. Reality # 2

    Dear Francis, Part V

    (Only for Francis and the other new members of this blog)

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    January 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • Manasseh

      '....and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices'

      Before you criticize something you should know what it is that you are criticizing.

      Sacrifices are no longer made because the ultimate sacrifice was already made by Jesus as an atonement for the sins of mankind. When Christians take part in the Holy Communion they remember this sacrifice that was made by Christ for them, every Christian that takes part in the Holy Communion examines themselves for any sinfulness and repent of it before they can take part in the Holy Communion. Christians take the elements of bread and wine that represent the sacrifice made.

      Bread symbolizes life. It is the nourishment that sustains life. In the wilderness, God provided a daily, saving provision of manna, or "bread from heaven," for the children of Israel. And Jesus said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry." ) Bread also represents the physical body of Christ. At the Last Supper Jesus broke bread, gave it to his disciples and said, "This is my body given for you…" (Luke 22:19 ).

      Wine represents God's covenant in blood, poured out in payment for mankind's sin. Jesus said in Luke 22:20, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Believers partake of communion on a regular basis to remember Christ's sacrifice and all that he has done for us in his life, death and resurrection.

      January 24, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
      • tony

        Then why don't churches burn their collection so the money rises to heaven?

        January 24, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
      • Reality #2

        And now moving back to the rational thinking of the 21st century:

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

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

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

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

        January 25, 2014 at 12:35 am |
        • Ryan

          You should check with Crossnan, he may not believe in sins, repentance and atonement. In the absence of atonement, mankind has no way of reconciliation with God. Irrespective of what you believe or don't believe, God's provision for reconciliation was only through a supreme sacrifice. In your mind you can come with million other ideas of how God could have redeemed sinners, your ways are not His ways, your thoughts are not His thoughts, He is God and you are not.

          Quit fighting and accept His grace, Jesus loves you!

          January 25, 2014 at 3:58 am |
        • VM

          Ryan,
          "Jesus loves you!"

          Loves us so much that he left only fantastical hearsay stories written by who knows who and letters from a first century misanthropic zealot... and if we cannot accept those tales as fact, it's curtains for us forever? If you call that "love", well, what can I say...?

          January 25, 2014 at 4:26 am |
      • Reality #2

        Luke 22: 19, 20 have been rigorously analyzed by many contemporary NT scholars and found to be historically nil. See for example Professor Gerd Ludemann reviews in his book, Jesus After 2000 years and the summaries at http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html. Note: Remove the hyphen in o-rg if you want to review the reference. Tis a word/fragment filter issue.

        January 25, 2014 at 7:53 am |
        • Manasseh

          "...See for example Professor Gerd Ludemann reviews in his book"

          There is no way of knowing what the intentions of Professor Gerd/Crossnan are, but whatever the intentions are, I would prefer to trust Dr. Luke over Professor Gerd/Crossnan anyday. Ultimately, Gerd/Crossnan are not responsible for your eternal life, they may be responsible for leading you astray, but you've got to use wise judgment when it comes to your life.
          Choose wisely, my friend. We will pray for you.

          January 25, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • Reality #2

          Prayers are worthless. Good ideas are priceless.

          Read the studies of Professor JD Crossan. Your starting point:

          The studies referenced at earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html


          Your "Dr. Luke", whoever he was, c-o-pied most of his book from Mark and Matthew's gospels. See Father Raymond Brown's RCC approved book, An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 216 for what little is known about Luke.

          January 25, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Reality #2

          Ditto for the studies of Professor Gerd Ludemann at the same referenced web site. You can buy their studies at amazon.com. Some might be found for free at Google Books.

          January 25, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  4. Cpt. Obvious

    As far as ANYONE can determine, god is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. There is no proof of your god or any god, no matter how many people THINK that your belief is valid. Popular opinion has never had an edge on truth. Anyone pretending otherwise is some sort of troll, be it minor or major. Pope, you're a nice guy in many respects, but YOU are the troll, here, albeit a decent one on many levels.

    January 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • Ladies and Gentleman,

      The opinion of one man.

      January 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Anybody with proof could demonstrate that I am wrong. Anybody???? Anybody??????? Anybody?????????????????

        January 24, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          Nobody can prove you wrong about your opinions. Good for you.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          No, but a claim can be proved incorrect. I have made a claim. Can anyone prove that it is incorrect? No.

          You see, PROOF would shut us atheists up. Proof. Got any? No. God is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. No faith even required-–just observation. Why would you believe differently than me? You don't have any proof for a better idea, do you?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          I know men and women smarter than you that claim God is detectable and relevant. Get back to me when you win a Noble Prize or lead a civil right movement. Or do anything than just provide evidence that you are just as bad as the people you profess to hate. You are just a troll with a huge ego that is unwarranted.
          Nobody but a few other trolls on here will bother to back up your rant.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Ladies and Gents

          How about you get back when you can answer the question without resorting to ad hominem attacks?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          99.999999% of people would read his statement and conclude it is an opinion. The .000000001% minority will defend it as fact because it matches their biased understanding of the universe.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Ladies and Gentleman,

          Perhaps you're just too stupid to get it?

          You see, smart people say and do and believe stupid stuff all the time. But nobody can argue with PROOF. That's why muslim suicide bombers and Christian fundamentalist terrorists use the same math and chemistry when building their bombs. Math and chemistry MUST be done correctly as we have PROVED their principals.

          Get back to me when you understand the difference between proof and opinion. Or just keep spouting stupidity that everyone can see is stupidity. You've proven you're good at that.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          And stupid people become atheists and troll religious message boards and claim their opinions are facts all the time.
          And most atheists do not support viewpoints like yours. You'll only see such things on religious and fringe atheist message boards. I've read your viewpoints in a book called the God Delusion, which is attacked by most people for being trash.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          If you could detect god, he'd be detectable. No god believer has EVER demonstrated ANY way to detect god.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • doobzz

          L&G

          "99.999999% of people would read his statement and conclude it is an opinion. The .000000001% minority will defend it as fact because it matches their biased understanding of the universe."

          This is your opinion, unless you've managed a worldwide poll in the last few minutes.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • Simon Peter went up, and drew the net

          Ladies and Gentlemen needs a hug he's butthurt. 🙂

          January 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Why does god make math and chemistry so detectable and relevant that muslim suicide bombers and Christian fundamentalist terrorists use them exactly the same way? Why doesn't god make himself and his will as detectable and relevant as math or chemistry? Stupid god.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          The only people I ever see defending that viewpoint are the same handful of people that continuously post on here. And none of you guys seem to be doing much but trolling a religion blog.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          I do need a hug.
          You trolls are embarrassment to most of us atheists.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Proof sure would shut us up, good, wouldn't it? Where is it?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          How stupid is it to be an atheist if you think god is detectable and relevant? How stupid is it to argue that god is detectable and relevant but have ZERO proof? All I'm saying is that something isn't visible/detectable that isn't visible/detectable. That's a much more sensible claim than to say that god is detectable and relevant without showing how god is detectable and relevant. Have you tried to be less stupid, maybe?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • doobzz

          L&G is just a concern troll. No more needs to be said to it.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          When Cpt Obvious says "As far as ANYONE can determine, god is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant", he is speaking out his ass. He has determined for himself that god is invisible, undetectable and irrelevant. Not all people believe that way or demonstrate that that viewpoint is a fact. It is an opinion. It might be a very good opinion. But stating that is a fact can only lead him to arrogance.

          This can be easily fixed:

          "As far as I, CPT OBVIOUS, (not anyone, because I don't know what everyone knows) can determine, god is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant",

          January 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          I don't think it is stupid to be an atheist. Some are atheists for intelligent reasons and do intelligent things with that knowledge.
          Some are atheists for stupid reasons and do stupid things with that knowledge.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I would welcome PROOF that my opinion is wrong.

          God and unicorns are EQUALLY invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant.<-- Prove this statement wrong, dipsh!t, or admit that you have ZERO proof that points to my claim being incorrect.

          Let me guess, you're just a liar who can't admit the truth when it's streaming into your eyeballs and flooding your soul?

          PROOF. That's all it takes. PROVE me wrong? You can't do it, because I am correct. God is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. If he were visible, you could show me. If he were detectable, you could provide me with a detector. If he were relevant, you could demonstrate with measurable, repeatable experiment.

          You have NOTHING. At all. Nothing.

          Next.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          You are absolutely right: You don't believe in god and you believe anyone who doesn't think like you is wrong.
          Thanks for sharing your opinion. Let us know if your opinion ever becomes worth something. Right now you are just posting it on a religious blog for free. And nobody but a few atheists are responding to it.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • Simon Peter went up, and drew the net

          Here you go L&G: (((hug)))

          January 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • Simon Peter went up, and drew the net

          And I'll ignore the fact that a troll accused me of being a troll as if you're not guilty of it yourself Ladies and Gentleman.

          January 24, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          Anyones belief in God is their opinion. An atheists disbelief in God is also their opinion but since the burden of proof lies with the one making the claim, I'm not sure how anyone could have any other opinion since there has been Zero proof of God/gods. The religious make a claim for God and present no evidence and then get all butt hurt when sane people don't all jump on the believer band wagon.

          January 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Cpt, what do you consider proof?

          January 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • Horus

          First, religious belief is about experiencing God. It’s not the mere belief that God exists, in the same way that extra-terrestrials may exist. We do not expect everyone to believe in God; if we did, then the onus would indeed be on us to prove it beyond doubt, and of course this would be impossible. We respect people who choose not to believe, though we have to be clear that this is just a choice, and not one that is more clever, more rational or more realistic than other options.

          Dogmatic atheists, on the other hand, claim that belief in God is impossible, that it goes against the evidence, that nobody in their right mind can possibly be a believer. As they are the ones who expect others to think like them, the onus is on them to prove, to believers and agnostics alike, that faith is a logical impossibility or that it is inconsistent with what we know about the world. They’ve never been able to show this, and we don’t think they can!

          January 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Horus, I don't know who would be stupid enough to think that someone who believes isn't in their right mind, and I know of no atheists who say that "belief in god is impossible." Obviously it's not true because there are believes. I have a to say that your rambling lies hardly make any sense at all, whatsoever. At least the other troll can piece together a decent fallacy with halfway coherent lies and a grammatical structure that doesn't fall apart.

          January 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Horus, SoChristians respect people who don't believe and atheists think all believers are insane? Way to generalize there...you have some data behind those claims? Last I heard most Christians wouldn't vote for an atheist, and most atheists wouldn't survive in a world where they thought 90+% of the population insane. Heck, most psychologists I know are atheists and they know perfectly well that by definition religion insanity (or at least by DSM).

          January 25, 2014 at 12:04 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Proof occurs when a concept is too robust to logically deny. For example: 2+2=4. It cannot be denied because of the continual, never-changing evidence of practice. The same goes for any testable principle, such as the fundamentals of the periodic table and atomic structure. The evidence is so consistent and convincing that the fact cannot be denied.

          I believe that that a god who would judge humans according to their opinion of him must necessarily be a d!ck. Why? Because god could make his existence as obvious as gravity and his will as discoverable as the laws of chemistry and his proper worship as defined and understandable as the facts of physics. That he allows so much di.spute proves he's either a jerk or he simply doesn't care about us or he doesn't exist in any way we are familiar with.

          January 25, 2014 at 12:06 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          This God apparently wants to be worshiped and glorified by people who are expected to find it worthy of such on the basis of as little evidence is possible.

          January 25, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • Saraswati

          It's easier to make minions of the gullible. They tend to cause less trouble in the long run.I

          January 25, 2014 at 12:14 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Opinion or the result of studying the scriptures, related doc-uments and world history?

        One result:

        The Apostles' Creed 2014: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

        Amen
        (references used are available upon request)

        January 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Captn, I fully understand your feelings because I was there once myself. What I learned later was that I was not seeing God as he was,but as I made him in my own mind. I had an unclear view due too my lack of understanding of what he is and I accused him of not caring for people and allowing bad things to happen to good people. He tells us all things in many different ways but few listen. He seeks those who are hungry for justice and fairness and reaches out to the honest. He hides himself from those who don't seek his true nature which is love.

          January 25, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
    • Bob

      "Ladies and Gentleman" lacks a counterargument (and even a single set of balls). Cpt. Obvious is right on the mark.

      January 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
      • Ladies and Gentleman,

        Uh hu. That is pretty much the point of view of a hostile sounding atheist that hates Christians. Which represents less than 2% of what most atheists believe. And .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000009% of all human beings on Earth beliefs.

        January 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • doobzz

          Argumentum ad populum is still a fallacy. So is thinking that anyone who disagrees with you hates Christians/ity. Just fallacies and defensive maneuvers – weak sauce.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          The OP posted a logical fallacy, too. Except you ignored that to attack mine because it doesn't agree wit your biased viewpoint.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • Simon Peter went up, and drew the net

          Asking questions=hating Christians in illogical land. 🙂

          January 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          No, these people are hostile toward all Christians. Nothing wrong with a little tolerance and acceptance.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          No need to discuss god's hostility in maintaining a place of eternal fiery torture for his enemies (who cares if he tells you to love your enemies, he's a hypocrite!) as long as you can talk about the WORDS of OPINIONS as being hostile towards Christians. How stupid would that be?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          So, if the Christian God is real, he would probably be a lot like you?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Nope. I would kill myself before I allowed anyone to be tortured forever in a pit of fire. Also, if I could use magic to fix situations, I wouldn't decide to kill every living thing on a planet. Also, I wouldn't make a perfect universe so fragile that one wrong wrist movement would throw the whole thing into nuclear meltdown. Also, I would make my will and existence as knowable as math or chemistry, and you would have to get it right for it to work -- like math or chemistry.

          Also, if something appeared invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant, I would say that it was invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. No, biblegod is nothing like me. He's a terrorist and a liar. I'm neither.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • Ladies and Gentleman,

          If only you were a god. But instead you are a guy who makes logical fallacies and is unreasonable.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
      • But...

        You know what else is a logical fallacy? Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam. That is, arguing that just because you cannot prove something that it must be false. That is the crux of Captain Obvious' point.

        January 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm |

    • What's odd is the the Pope never said a word about internet trolls; Mr. Burke, however, did.

      January 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • doobzz

        Mr. Burke got really defensive when a few people pointed this out yesterday.

        January 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
  5. Tired of the Anger

    I thought Al Gore gave us the Internet. Wait, is the Pope telling us that Al Gore is God???

    January 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • Vic

      LOL..that is so funny! I had this in mind yesterday: "..not to be confused with Al Gore.."—that is the US Government inventing the Internet—when I posted this:

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/23/the-pope-takes-on-internet-trolls/comment-page-5/#comment-2895345

      ..but I refrained.

      January 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • Vic

        With all fairness, Al Gore did call for the commercialization of the Internet at the time, though. Maybe that's what he meant by "he invented the Internet."

        January 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Science Works

          Vic the TCP?IP communication standard was NOT created by the BEAN fairy !

          January 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Science Works

          TCP/IP

          January 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, aka TCP/IP—the standard communication protocol over Eithernet and inadvertently the Internet—was invented in the 1970's by humans who were, as a Christian I believe, created by Almighty God, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • Science Works

          Nice try Vic

          In 1982, the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was standardized, and consequently, the concept of a world-wide network of interconnected TCP/IP networks, called the Internet, was introduced. Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed the Computer Science Network (CSNET) and again in 1986 when NSFNET provided access to supercomputer sites in the United States from research and education organizations. Commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. The Internet was commercialized in 1995 when NSFNET was decommissioned, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet

          January 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Science Works

          So Vic if you know what is up the military = god then ?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Science Works

          Vic with said facts above what is the pope doing with his statement about the internet ?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • tallulah13

          He never actually said it. The whole situation was blown out of proportion by journalists, who then were quite contrite when we got Bush for President.

          January 25, 2014 at 2:20 am |
    • Anthony Crispino

      What does Al Gore think about this breast feeding thing in the churches. Does he know when it's supposed to start?

      January 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
      • ME II

        Didn't he invent breast feeding...

        January 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • Bob

          AC and ME II, I would like to congratulate you on that fine pair of posts. Great stuff.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • Terrybob

          A nice pair indeed, Bob.

          Sorry, I had to...

          January 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
  6. Vic

    Speaking of the Internet, here is a News Flash:

    A federal appeal court has struck down "Net Neutrality" rules. That is reminiscent of what happened with Cable TV before, price hikes, that is.

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/14/technology/fcc-net-neutrality/index.html

    January 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  7. Doc Vestibule

    So what exactly is required to be considered a Christian?
    To me, a Christian is someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

    But given how many times I hear Christians saying that any sect other than their own isn't actually Christian, I am curious about compiling a list of the various requirements for becoming a True Scotsman.

    January 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm |

    • I notice direct questions never get answered.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Sometimes a sheep just needs help getting through the fence.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Doc
      The answer to your question cannot be answered by anyone on this blog that claims they are the true Christian. You have probably surmised by now that the majority of our Christian posters are the fringe element of Christianity. What we see day after day are the creationists and elitists that believe that if you do not agree with them you are a heretic or doomed. It is too bad that the co-editors cannot attract some moderate rational Christians to post on this blog; that can debate on " is religion a force for good in the world". That would include all religions not just their narrow beliefs. Then CNN could really achieve a Belief Blog.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • Topher

      Doc

      I answered this for you a few pages back.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Topher
        Missed your answer a few pages back of the answer to Doc's question. Here is one from me...How many people on earth are going to experience the rapture if and when it finally comes? Of course it will be you and your family and your fellow Baptists, but who else? Not me although I have never accepted the idea of "sin" and am right with the law, I would not want to be raptured, thanks anyway, jesus.

        January 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Topher

          I have no idea how many will be raptured.

          And your being a Baptist has no bearing on it.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          So if you have accepted jesus as your saviour and repented all your sins (supposed) and are right in every way with the Lord but just happen to be catholic and believe in the dogma of the RCC are you then a Christian and Rapturable? Inquiring minds want to know, you have been very ambiguous about this, can a catholic be a Christian and be saved?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm Quark

          You must have me confused with someone else. I haven't been ambiguous about Catholics at all. A Catholic CAN be saved, but they'd have to reject many teachings of the Catholic church ... thus being very bad Catholics.

          In order to be saved you must repent (not just say you are sorry, but agree with God and turn from your sins) and trust in Christ alone.

          This second part is where Catholics really get into trouble.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • Madtown

          In order to be saved you must repent (not just say you are sorry, but agree with God and turn from your sins) and trust in Christ alone
          ------
          And, back to that nagging problem that God continues to create humans who will go their entire lives and never hear the name Jesus, or learn anything about him. Pity for them, I guess.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          So I will take that of course it is a yes, but only if they reject things they have believed and practiced all their lives. Of course Christian groups could look at your version of Baptist's and say the exact same thing, they have to rid themselves of their unfounded practices according to US or they are not true Christians. You may want to stop ragging on your fellow Christian cults. Here's why, there is never ever going to be a rapture or a judgement, no gods exist. Feel free to be free without the need for absolution from some myth.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • sam stone

          god creates people he knows won't be saved. i guess he get a perverse joy out of torturing people

          January 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          BULLITEN TO CATHOLICS
          Topher has DECLARED that you CAN be saved but only if you give up your CATHOLISM. Topher has SPOKEN. Topher is a fool, disregard the above message.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Of course all my posts are trying to get through to you that you and your fellows are judgemental bigots when it comes to those that do not believe as you do. You probably can not see that or don't care, may your god have mercy on your hateful soul.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm Quark

          "Of course Christian groups could look at your version of Baptist's and say the exact same thing, they have to rid themselves of their unfounded practices according to US or they are not true Christians."

          The answer to that is, don't compromise on the Bible. We back up everything we say with scripture. They teach things not found there.

          "You may want to stop ragging on your fellow Christian cults."

          I don't rag on anyone, even those I disagree with.

          "Here's why, there is never ever going to be a rapture or a judgement, no gods exist. Feel free to be free without the need for absolution from some myth."

          Wrong. We know God exists and you'll have to answer to Him whether you like it or not.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm Quark

          I'm not hateful toward anyone and it's not bigoted to tell people what God has told us in His word. You reject it, fine, your blood is free from my hands. But this repeated call of bigotry just makes you look bigoted and hateful.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          No I won't have to answer to any god or judgement. Funny thing is though, if by some twist of fate you are proven right about a judgement, I may fare far better than a pandering sycophant such as you. Your god might just passover the money changers (scam artists) and go for the people that led ethical lives without the panderings to ALL of the gods/religions, never know which of the gods are real do we, just guessing?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm

          Ever told a lie?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          You and your church are not bigots?
          What is your policy/dogma on those that provide abortions?
          What is your policies towards LBGT in your church and gay marriage?
          What is your policy of allowing cross racial marriage in your church?
          Has your church really gotten over the racial divide, most have thank goodness?
          Has your church accepted that other Christian denominations are equal in your eyes?
          Topher you are the hateful one, not just yo your fellow Christians but the other 5 billion people on this earth but you are to deluded to recognise this. Love you Dude, hope you get your wish and see jesus in heaven right soon, I know you can't wait.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Do you mean perjury? No never have, your religious sense of "sin" does not apply to me. If I did the crime, I paid the fine or did the time. Never did any time and paid only a few traffic fines in my life. Damn it man do I have to get a pardon for my parking tickets or go to your mythical Hades?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm Quark

          "You and your church are not bigots?" Nope.

          "What is your policy/dogma on those that provide abortions?" They are committing murder.

          "What is your policies towards LBGT in your church and gay marriage?" My policies? It's a sin. What else is there supposed to be?

          "What is your policy of allowing cross racial marriage in your church?" No problem what-so-ever. God only created one race: human.

          "Has your church really gotten over the racial divide, most have thank goodness?" So now you're presupposing there was ever an issue with my church.

          "Has your church accepted that other Christian denominations are equal in your eyes?" If they are orthodox, they are my brothers and sisters, yes.

          "Topher you are the hateful one, not just yo your fellow Christians but the other 5 billion people on this earth but you are to deluded to recognise this."

          All I can do is role my eyes at you anymore. I don't hate anyone, including you.

          "Love you Dude, hope you get your wish and see jesus in heaven right soon, I know you can't wait."

          Hope the same thing. But I hope you get saved so you can see Him, too.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Some Wise words from someone far wiser than I,Thomas Jefferson...
          Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them, and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."
          God night Topher, Hope all goes well with the wife and the fetus.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • sam stone

          Of course, gopher will deny he and his jeebus c-i-r-c-l-e j-e-r-k buddies are bigots

          He thinks that just makes them good christians

          Well, he wants to denya group of people equal rights. This makes him a bigot.

          The fact that he hides behind the bible makes him a pious bigot

          But, a bigot nevertheless

          Tell us all, gopher, which other "sinners" do you seek to deny their civil rights

          Come on, coward, speak up

          January 24, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Topher
        You didn't really answer the question – you just asserted that Catholics aren't Christian and elaborated on what you think are their various heresies.
        Was Martin Luther a True Scotsman? You didn't answer me that.
        In your opinion, is a literal interpretation and steadfast belief in the asolute innerrancy of every word of the Bible necesssary to be Christian?

        Also, you said that we already discussed why ice cores are unreliable – but you and I have never had that discussion. I talked at length with Live4Him and their argument was basically that we can't know whether or not the antarctic light/dark cycle has been consistent becuase nobody ws there to directly observe and record it since the beginning of time.

        It's like the micro/macro evolution obfuscation used by Creationists. When backed into a corner, they'll admit that 1 apple plus 1 apple equals two apples, but won't admit that 1 million apples plus 1 million apples equals 2 million apples unless they count them all up themselves.

        What about , Eastern Orthodox, oriental Orthodox, As.syrian, Byzantine, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Anabaptism, Brethren, Methodist, Pietism, Apostolic, Pentocostal, Charismatic, African Initiated, United, Quakers, Couthcotti.tism, Millerism, British-Isrealism, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, 7th day Adventism, Kelleyism, Co.oneyism, Shakers, Methernitha, Strigolniki, Yehowism, Christadelphians, Christian Science, doukhobors, Iglesia ni Cristo, Makuya, Molokans, Subbotniks, Ebionism, Martinism, Rosicrucians, Rastafarianism, Santo Daime, Umbanda or any of the other tens of thousands of sects of self-professed Christians?
        Are the cuts of their kilts suitable to you, or is it only member of YOUR sect that get to wear a Jesus sporran?

        January 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "You didn't really answer the question – you just asserted that Catholics aren't Christian and elaborated on what you think are their various heresies."

          Well, there you go right there. If you're a heretic you're outside of orthodoxy. Catholics are outside for many reasons. Unless you want to discuss each of those things, I'm not sure how this doesn't answer the question.

          "Was Martin Luther a True Scotsman? You didn't answer me that."

          To be honest, I don't know much about Luther. I've never read up on him. So I have no idea about his feelings on Revelation, whether what you said was true or not.

          "In your opinion, is a literal interpretation and steadfast belief in the asolute innerrancy of every word of the Bible necesssary to be Christian?"

          No, I don't think so. I think you can still be saved and, for instance, believe in an old earth, believe in evolution, not believe in Noah ... but you have to be careful. If you hold to these things you're calling God a liar.

          "Also, you said that we already discussed why ice cores are unreliable – but you and I have never had that discussion. I talked at length with Live4Him and their argument was basically that we can't know whether or not the antarctic light/dark cycle has been consistent becuase nobody ws there to directly observe and record it since the beginning of time."

          Apologies, it must have been someone else. We were discussing the problems with ice core samples.

          "It's like the micro/macro evolution obfuscation used by Creationists. When backed into a corner, they'll admit that 1 apple plus 1 apple equals two apples, but won't admit that 1 million apples plus 1 million apples equals 2 million apples unless they count them all up themselves."

          No idea what you are talking about. There is a difference in micro and macro, though. One we observe, the other we don't and goes against known science.

          "What about , ..."

          I can't just lump them all into a group and say one way or the other. It wouldn't be fair and frankly not honest. I have no idea what most of those groups believe. Some I can tell you are indeed outside of orthodoxy. We'd have to take each on a case by case basis and look into them.

          "Are the cuts of their kilts suitable to you, or is it only member of YOUR sect that get to wear a Jesus sporran?"

          What do you mean by my sect? Baptists? First, being a Baptist doesn't save you. There are many who call themselves Baptists and are not going to Heaven. Second, it depends on if you're inside orthodoxy ... basically if you are in agreement with the main issues. We can disagree on secondary issues and still be orthodox.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • Austin

      Doc the gospel should have nothing added to it or excluded,

      and then you have to watch out for profane idolatry or graven images.

      this is an indication that the gospel is not enough if there is profane idolatry.

      January 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Austin
        Thanks for a more straight answer than Topher gave.
        What about the deutero-canonical texts accepted by Catholics but rejected by Protestants?
        One could argue that teh Catholics have a more complete Bible than the Protestants – especially considering that they had those texts for a thousand and a half years before the Reformation....

        January 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • RB

      Ye must be born again.

      January 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        You might as well claim that "You must fly by flapping your ears." Nobody has ever been "born again." There is no way to measure such a metaphysical act, and just because you chanted something that you thought was a magic spell, that doesn't mean it actually did anything. Obviously.

        January 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        But what does it mean to be "born again" beyond a personal acceptance of Christ as ones saviour?
        Some sects have rituals like drownings, confessions, cannibalism, mutilations, incantations etc.
        Which, if any, are necessary and why?

        January 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      If Christian salvation is real, there would really be no way of knowing who has done it for real. Being that the real "act" is in the Christian's mind, only God would know, and the other Christians to join them in Heaven.

      January 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  8. bostontola

    The Third Day: Dry Ground
    …10God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.

    No need to discuss the non-seed plants, but how did God create plants before fungi (and bacteria, but that's a story for a different day). Almost all plants can't live without fungi. Plants are not capable of absorbing key nutrients (e.g. phosphorus) through their roots. Fungi do it for them along with greatly improving water intake and many other things essential to a plants life.

    In fact, the entire ecosystem relies on fungi to recycle nutrients from dead things that were alive back to living, growing things. The bible tells it like animals and plants were just created, boom, when in fact the ecosystem is a web of interacting things that can't live in isolation. No mention that the living world is a bunch of interacting cycles of carbon, nitrogen, water, etc. Could it be because humans didn't realize that at the time the bible was compiled?

    Forget evolution, the bible gets life wrong.

    January 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • Austin

      how did God give life to some thing with out life?

      i do not know. but I have received the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

      29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

      “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
      “Sit at my right hand
      35 until I make your enemies
      a footstool for your feet.”’[f]

      36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

      37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

      38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

      January 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • WASP

        @austin: "i do not know. but I have received the testimony of the Holy Spirit."

        you should have stopped at " I DON'T KNOW." atleast that part would have been truthful.

        January 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  9. lol

    The final verdict on all world beliefs relies on one test, and one test only. Microsoft Word auto-capitalizing.
    Judaism
    Islam
    Hinduism
    Christianity
    Taoism
    Shinto
    atheism

    Sorry atheism, looks like you didn't make the cut this year. Maybe you'll count as a serious population group in Office2015.

    January 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • doobzz

      Did asantaclausism make the cut?

      January 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm |

      • Hilarious, considered Bill Gates is considered atheist.

        January 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm |

    • Probably because atheism isn't a religion. How many times does that have to be repeated?

      January 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • Bob

      Not that it was hard to guess which religion you belonged to, troll!

      January 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
  10. Jesus' Beloved

    There is a difference between the man CREATED in Gen 1:26 (And God [Elohim] said, Let US make man in OUR image)
    and the man FORMED in Gen 2:7 (And the Lord God [Yahweh Elohim] formed man of the dust of the ground)

    In the creation patterned after Elohim, the creation was one creature, having both male and female attributes. And all the trees of the garden were good to eat – there was no fracture into a tree of life and a tree of good and evil.

    And then, Adam was formed after that. Note that he was not created, but that he was formed. And rather than being created by Elohim (which includes El Shaddai and Yahweh), he was formed by the Yahweh nature of the Elohim family.

    And it was after this formation, that the fracture showed up in the formed Adam in the way of a separation into man and woman and a resulting nakedness of the soul.

    The potential for double-mindedness occurred when the tree of good and evil was placed in the garden. For it was in a garden that the serpent caused a breach in the mind and took advantage of the nakedness of the soul that had already occurred.

    And what is the garden?
    Isn't it our soul?
    Isaiah 58:11-12 And the Lord shall guide thee co.ntinually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden.....

    January 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      There should be an Olympic sport for apologists. The mental gymnastics you are capable of is mind boggling.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      JB, is that me?

      January 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      questions for you please:

      1) who wrote genesis and how did they know? Adam and god were the only ones there.

      2) how do you know what you just wrote, or are you just making it up based on what you think the story says?

      January 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
      • Jesus' Beloved

        Genesis and all the other Books of the Bible are narrated by the Holy Spirit and written down by men.
        All Scripture is God-breathed.... and God doesn't waste His breath.

        The creation of Genesis is "a" beginning and not "the" beginning.
        21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? (Is 40:21)

        Another witness:

        23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. (Jer 4:23)

        Yet another witness:

        4 ¶ Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
        5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
        6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
        7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7)

        There were witnesses to creation-

        January 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Austin

          Amen! very shiny!

          January 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Award Notificaton Department

          Congrats Jesus' Beloved – you have once again quickly clenched another award for the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification!. For those not familiar with the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification, it can be graphically depicted as:

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YIj4rLYo0c&w=640&h=360]

          January 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm |

        • Is this the same Holy Spirit that some sects of Christianity insist doesn't exist?

          January 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          Austin... how's it going friend?

          January 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          JB
          Do you understand that there are dozens of different creation myths throughout our little planet? Why is yours the correct one, I prefer ones that state that the earth was created out of chaos but they all get bogged down in the god thingy, so sad.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • Madtown

          narrated by the Holy Spirit and written down by men.
          ---–
          Why do you doubt the power of God? God didn't need human help, obviously, to create the universe, what makes you think he'd need human help to write down a few words in a book? Isn't he powerful enough for that?

          January 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          The heavens is the Lord's, but the earth He gave to man. That's why God does nothing on Earth without first establishing a covenant with a man.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Madtown

          That's not an answer, how would you expect to know any of that? If God wanted us to follow a certain line of thinking, and wanted it written down in book form, how come he didn't inspire humans in each culture to write the same concepts so all of humanity would have them? Doesn't God love everyone equally?

          January 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          C.Q..
          I agree with you that there are different creation stories/philosophies. However only one speaks of a redeemer.
          All others speak of one's effort to redeem himself.

          Jesus is the only one through whom "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men".
          As JGLake puts it..
          Philosophy is light, it is the best light the individual possesses. But who frames that philosophy?

          However, from the soul of Jesus there breathes a Holy life of God that comes into the very nature of man, quickens him by His power and by the grace of God, he has the life of Jesus in him, eternal light, eternal life, (eternal love.)

          January 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Austin

          its going great. hey what was the web cite url to the word press blog? i never made it back but i have something i would like to share. and maybe i can just give you my email address there. i would not mind doing so .

          January 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          JB
          A covenant with a man, really, how did an all powerful god miss, what is it now, 5 billion people, pretty useless god you have there. The great awakening of knowledge means your god is out the door, bring on the FSM. RAmen.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          Austin:
          http://secretplacesofelelyon.wordpress.com

          January 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • Austin

          got it! I will be there by the end of the day so , you can expect it tomorrow. all right brother, let it shine on a stand!

          January 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • Madtown

          However only one speaks of a redeemer.
          ----
          And, that one is still not available to all the humans that God creates, even today. Unless you're going to try and argue that a perfect God plays favorites, very simple logic says that God doesn't care if we follow a particular religious path.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Austin

          He cares. He does not condemn anyone, those who reject Him are granted their will in most cases . the choice is one of freedom. there is one way to the Holy place, and that requires the mediator, and the unblemished Lamb of God.
          John
          12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

          Romans 10:9

          9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

          God does give favor to His children.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          Madtown:
          I posting Fred's reply to someone else because he said it well and there's nothing to add to it.

          Books are written by men and contain their writings addressing their audience. There is nothing Divine in the alphanumeric (I use this word because a great deal of numerology is implicit) symbols themselves. God uses a technology that you do not know and science is still trying to figure out. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enlightens our mind and soul as we read the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit that communicates the things of God in general not a book. What makes the Bible Divine is how it brings out the truth through the Holy Spirit.
          People are saved by grace not by a book. That capacity far exceeds anything known to man

          January 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Madtown

          Either you need a belief in Christ, or you don't. You can't have it both ways. What Fred says seems to indicate that religion isn't necessary at all, which is good and I'd agree with. However, that means we don't need to follow and "accept" Christ, which you probably don't agree with.

          January 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
    • doobzz

      So how did Eve get here?

      January 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • Jesus' Beloved

        It was the masculine part of the Godhead, (Yahweh Elohim) that formed Adam. But there was no helpmeet (feminine component) found for him.
        What would be done? See Gen 2:20-23

        The Adam that was formed, was changed – so to speak – so that a helpmeet existed for Adam.

        Why – Oh Why was all this allowed to happen?
        We can agonize over this for a long time, but perhaps the foll. verse sheds some light.

        Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

        January 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • doobzz

          So god took a rib? Is that what you're saying? Please just answer the question directly. I have no need for your extraneous blather and bible quotes.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          May I compliment your lovely disposition 🙂

          1. 6th day of creation in the image of Elohim Gen 1:26 [Elohim (God), Yahweh (Lord), El Shaddai (Almighty)

          2. El Shaddai returns to Heaven – left with : Yahweh Elohim and Yahweh. Forms Adam Gen2:7

          3. Adam --> Eve Eve taken out of Adam is a reflection in the Earth of El Shaddai (Wisdom/Holy Spirit) being taken out of Elohim. The earth is a reflection of the heavens.

          The book of Enoch tells why El Shaddai/Wisdom left the earth.

          Enoch 42:1 Wisdom found not a place on earth where she could inhabit, her dwelling therefore is in heaven
          2. Wisdom went forth to dwell among the sons of men, but she obtained not an habitation. Wisdom returned to her lace and seated herself in the midst of the angels....

          This is important because, when Jesus ascended he promised us the Holy Spirit (Wisdom). This is why baptism in the Holy Spirit is important...because it's the same H.S. that we lead us into all truths and bring all things to our remembrance.

          So now we can move from Pentecost (the Earnest of the Spirit ) to Tabernacles (The fullness of the Spirit).... of course this is a process and doesn't happen in a day.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • doobzz

          Don't mind me if I don't compliment you on yours. I'm not partial to cowards.

          You still didn't answer my question. How did Eve get here? Specifically and without the other attempted diversions and distractions.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          You use your words very lightly. Words are very important. There's a creative force behind words. So I absolutely reject your use of the word coward.

          Since you clearly know the answer you're looking for, what else would you have me say?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • doobzz

          "Since you clearly know the answer you're looking for, what else would you have me say?"

          That is exactly why I called you a coward. You still haven't answered my very simple and direct question. Instead, you try to put me on the defensive with statements like the above, or turn the conversation away from it by quoting extraneous passages.

          I'd like you to answer my question, how did Eve get here?, without the distractions, diversions, irrelevant bible quotes, and in your own words.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          3. Adam –> Eve Eve taken out of Adam
          Gen 2:20-23
          (I already gave you this answer).

          January 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Doobz, I don't see why it's so hard for you to understand. A big invisible sky wizard who chanted magic spells for six days to make a universe so fragile that it went into nuclear meltdown when one woman twisted her wrist with a fruit in it took a rib from a guy made of dirt and used more magic to make "Eve."

          Stop being obtuse, Doobz.

          Sorry about Doobz, Jesus' Beloved; he's a little slow.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • doobzz

          I know you gave me a bible verse to look up. I asked you to describe how Eve got here in your own words. Not "out of Adam", not "there was no feminine helpmeet", or any other dodge.

          You still haven't answered my question.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ CaptainO

          Oh, thanks so much! That explains everything – I didn't know about the majik spellz. It's all clear now.

          R'amen!

          January 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      JB
      We are made in your gods image, why would it need any kind of genitalia? Did god have some broads on the side that he was banging? If so why was Eve an afterthought? So many stupid creation myths that raise so many unanswerable stupid questions, but try JB, when you get a lucid moment.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Austin

        seed of Abraham.
        Leviticus 23
        Passover
        barley
        wheat
        firstfruits
        all these festivals were the original sheaf being consecrated and dedicated. one seed yeilds 100. ect.

        Christ is the first fruit of the spirit, He resurrection is a spiritual victory over death, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the seed being born or germinated in the soul of man.

        Christ is the seed of life.

        January 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  11. Science Works

    Little of topic but pope won't like this big money in property taxes !

    Nebraska’s Atheist State Senator Introduces Bill That Would Force Churches to Pay Property Taxes

    by Ernie Chambers posted on January 24, 2014 06:50PM GMT

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/23/nebraskas-atheist-state-senator-introduces-bill-that-would-force-churches-to-pay-property-taxes/

    January 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Austin

      this does not change who Christ is. this is a worldly dispute. who cares. it won't stop the will of God if it flies.

      Man lives not on bread alone but on every word that proceeds for His mouth.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Science Works

        And thank the bean fairy Genesis 6:18-19- is a fable !

        January 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
  12. Rundvelt

    God's greatest gift is a tool that's causing people not to believe in him?

    January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    Sam Harris is brilliant!

    January 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    And if the bible is the word of god, why are there two contradictory stories in genesis? Surely you could get this part right? Surely?! Two contradictory stories in the master work of your religion? The word of god contradicting the word of god? Seriously?!?!

    so ...
    a) did god get forgetful?
    b) did primitive desert dwellers make up two different stories and 21st century man still believes these stories?

    January 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      First Account (Genesis 1:1-2:3)

      Genesis 1:25-27 (Humans were created after the other animals.)
      And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image.... So God created man in his own image.
      Genesis 1:27 (The first man and woman were created simultaneously.)
      So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • Austin

        my translation does not repeat the actual creation of man. it said God said "let us do this thing"

        and then verse 27 was the doing of the thing that God said "let us do this"

        it was not redundant. what translation is that?

        January 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Second Account (Genesis 2:4-25)

      Genesis 2:18-19 (Humans were created before the other animals.)
      And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

      Genesis 2:18-22 (The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man's rib.)
      And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them.... And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • Austin

        These authors are referred to as J, E, P, and D. Some scholars subdivide them even further, e.g., J1, J2, etc. “J” stands for “Jehovah,” since that name for God was prominent in certain sections. “E” signifies Elohim, another divine name allegedly identifying certain portions. “P” purports to be a “Priestly Code,” and “D” identifies what is known as the “Deuteronomic” writer. The critics claim that all of these writings eventually were collected and combined by a “redactor” (editor).

        I cut that out and pasted it.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Topher

          Austin, is that me?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          Not sure where my question went posted elsewhere, but maybe either you or Topher would like to tackle it:

          Was Jesus capable of sin while on earth? If so would that not mean God had sinned? Would the universe disappear if God had to send Jesus to heII for sinning, thereby sending himself to an eternity of torment? What did God actually risk by sending himself to Earth? And if nothing was risked, was it truly a ransom sacrifice since the death wasn't really death if part of him was still alive somewhere in the universe?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Austin

          well no, becuase He was God.

          6Who, being in very naturea God,

          did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

          7rather, he made himself nothing

          by taking the very natureb of a servant,

          being made in human likeness.

          8And being found in appearance as a man,

          he humbled himself

          by becoming obedient to death—

          even death on a cross!

          so it was His blood as God, and his death, as the death of a man, that was the resti.tution of the death that came from Adam's sin.

          He was totally dead, but being God raised up on the third day.

          could he have sinned? was he tempted? Satan did tempt Christ but was Christ tempted?

          James 1
          13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

          however, all sin was placed on Christ and He felt the sin He bore. That amount of evil was something words can not express.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Austin

          there was no evil desire in Christ.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          So if Jesus could not sin, why would Satan bother trying to tempt him? And was it really such a big deal for a man to come and live a sinnless life and die to pay for Adams sin if Jesus was not able to sin?

          January 24, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
    • Austin

      we do not necessarily have the book written by Adam. There is a book called Enoch that predates Job, i find that interesting and suppoortive, and it is prophetic as well, but not ordained as cannon.

      some say an Angel translated the stuff to Moses, If I am not mistaken.

      At any rate, since Christ is risen,we can trust that what we have is what God intends us to have. God did not intend for you to be educated spiritually in the book of evolution. That is the wrong thing therefore to give to children.

      Children deserve spiritual truth and that is sin, and salvation. that is what matters.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        "the book of evolution"?

        January 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Austin

      If this book is the word of an omnipotent and all knowing god, there would be zero errors, there would be zero need for interpretation, there would be zero need for passage to be considered not worthy for children, there would be zero need for a "book called Enoch that predates Job" there would be zero confusion. ZERO confusion!

      If this book was the word of an omnipotent and all knowing god, it would be perfect in every way. The exact message to the letter that he wanted us to know and obey.

      is the bible the word of god?

      January 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • Austin

        yes it is. And you will see that you are being tested in a sense that you can't figure it out without his guidance and that you should approach it with fear and trembling every day.

        The old testament as you know, is a docu.ment about all of the mistakes that Israel made. this does not agree with your hypothesis that things would be perfect. The main idea about the resurrection, is that God is sovereign enough, He wants you to glorify Him through the testing of your faith.

        James 1:4 ►
        Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

        as you know Aaron ran down the mountain and made a calf.
        King david author of psalms was a murderer ect. God used these fallen humans to work His will into the world.

        God has communicated to you through the Bible, exactly what He needed to. And ultimately , Adam died unto sin, and through Chris the curse of death has been lifted. That is the glory of God that He gives to you, and you can walk with HIm in spirit and in truth.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • fred

      Dyslexic doG]
      " why are there two contradictory stories in genesis? Surely you could get this part right?"
      =>I am certain you have had this explained many times. You have you argue any points. Is that so you can maintain your bias?
      =>There were not two chapters however, during translation in order to make the reading easier it was presented in Chapter and verse form.
      =>Genesis 1 is the overview of creation by God focused on God the powerful creator. God in Hebrew here is "Elohim" which has specific relevance. Chapter 1 is the chronological order of creation.
      =>Genesis 2 we change to "Lord God" or in Hebrew for this chapter "YHWH i.e. Yahweh". This name has personal relevance as Chapter 2 deals with Gods relationship with man. The focus is on Gods personal touch in froming man and placing him in a garden suited for man. Chapter 2 gives details in topical fashion

      January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • Science Works

        Genesis 6-18-19- is say6ing you are related to Ham who owns the creation museum ?

        January 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
      • Bob

        fred, sorry to see you back, despicable coward that you have already shown yourself to be, repeatedly. Your excuses and dodges are tiresome, and are just one more of your wimpouts. Look, the fact that your sky daddy isn't powerful enough to be able to get his story across uniformly, and without an obsolete technology such as a book, is just one more clue that your sky fairy doesn't exist. The only problem is that you lack the guts to face that fact.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          It's really unfortunate that you would choose to address someone in this manner. Your point would have been understood without resorting to name calling.
          This reflects poorly on your character.

          I don't know Fred personally, but like to read his posts whenever I come across them. In my opinion, he's one of the few people on these boards with the Spirit of Wisdom.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • fred

          Bob, you may be onto something! I do lack the guts, as I know it would be a terrifying thing if there is existence without the presence of God.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Austin

          ya , but remember, Paul killed Christians. Bob is justified by the blood, and can turn on a dime.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • fred

          Austin
          There is something to be said for that since Jesus said I would rather you be hot or cold than lukewarm. Most people that fall from faith do so over indifference whereas Bob is passionate enough (Hot/cold) to firmly embrace his belief.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Austin

          Fred your courage is irreplaceable in this world today.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Bob

          fred, coward, enough of your whining and dodging already. Face up to reality.Your excuses and dodges are tiresome, and are just more of your standard wimpouts. Your fear point is also heading into Pascal's Wager, and tends to indicate that your god would be an ass hole.

          Look, the fact that your sky daddy isn't powerful enough to be able to get his story across uniformly, and without an obsolete technology such as a book, is just one more clue that your sky fairy doesn't exist. Stop dodging the issue and try to rebut that. I highly doubt that you can, coward.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Austin

          Bob. start with contemplating the fact that you are spiritually dead , blind, and totally depraved spiritually.

          the only way you will ever know otherwise is through the baptism of the Holy spirit and the remission of sins.

          You will never know, unless you understand sin, and if you agree to continue to hate God, then you can't even enter a conversation about the word of God. because you are biased and you serve the flesh and deception.

          that is worthy of pity , grace and mercy.

          Hang in there Bob. Don't give up in your search for supernatural light and life.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • fred

          Bob
          "Look, the fact that your sky daddy isn't powerful enough to be able to get his story across uniformly, and without an obsolete technology such as a book"
          =>book? Books are written by men and contain their writings addressing their audience. There is nothing Divine in the alphanumeric (I use this word because a great deal of numerology is implicit) symbols themselves. God uses a technology that you do not know and science is still trying to figure out. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enlightens our mind and soul as we read the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit that communicates the things of God in general not a book. What makes the Bible Divine is how it brings out the truth through the Holy Spirit.
          People are saved by grace not by a book. That capacity far exceeds anything known to man

          =>Uniformity is a pipe dream, no two people are alike no two people see the same wonder. That only way to open up the infinite expanse of creativity. If you limit options you stifle creativity. We were created in the image of God and just one look around demonstrates that creativity.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • Bob

          Enough of your dodging, fred. Grow some balls, coward, and respond directly:

          Your excuses and dodges are tiresome, and are just more of your standard wimpouts. Your fear point is also heading into Pascal's Wager, and tends to indicate that your god would be simply a vindictive ass hole.

          Look, the fact that your sky daddy isn't powerful enough to be able to get his story across uniformly, and without an obsolete technology such as a book, is just one more clue that your sky fairy doesn't exist. Where is your god's website (no, religious shill sites don't count). Why can't he push some tweets out?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • fred

          Bob, I am not sure why you continue to confuse the things of God with the things of man. I understand the need of man to bring God down to our level but both observation and the Word of God is clear about such folly. By observation we see all the man made gods (from Zeus to an empty set i.g. nothingness) reflect their creator (man) and that selfish desire to be creator (a god) or at a minimum in control of their own destiny. By observation we see that the best of science and philosophy cannot comprehend the eternal or the internal wonder that is God. Such is beyond the greatest dreams yet has the power to transform lives. One cannot deny the observation of transformed lives. Such transformation is beyond the physical so as to eclipse death itself morphing past, present and future into a seamless transition of eternal good for all who believe in Christ. That is the reality of God.
          Tell me how a tweet stands up against the way of God

          January 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • Bob

          Stop dodging, fred. See if you can find within yourself the courage to answer directly. So far, I'm doubtful that you can.

          The fact that your sky daddy isn't powerful enough to be able to get his story across uniformly, and without an obsolete technology such as a book, is just one more clue that your sky fairy doesn't exist. So, where is your god's website (no, religious shill sites don't count). Why can't he push some tweets out? Or use some more advanced means?

          January 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • Tim

          fred, your god's "transformative power" seems to consist at least partly of creating deadly diseases for millions to die painful deaths from, along with causing huge grief for their relatives. So, I have to agree with Bob, your god seems to be an asshole. And that's being polite, given what he would have to be responsible for, if he existed.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • fred

          Tim
          Like Bob you confuse God the creator with the creation. That which you bring up (disease etc.) are part of the creation. Given you reject God as a possibility then you further confuse your belief with what you protest. If there is no God then the natural is all we have. Do you call the wind nasty names or give disease anthropomorphic characteristics? Since you do not then at best you are hypocrite otherwise you would term each in like manner.
          Regarding pain a lion will kill non biological offspring, is that lion a cold blooded vindictive killer? If you want to talk logically we can do that but we cannot confuse the creator and the creation as even an atheist will admit there is a difference. Why...because even an atheist at his or her core struggles to justify one or both in view of a core instinct that knows and observes there is something rather than nothing at the extremities of the boundaries of knowledge.

          January 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Post by 'fred' presents a form of the Argumentum ad Ignorantiam fallacy.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          January 24, 2014 at 11:47 pm |
        • The Disastrous Skydiving Attempt of Cluckles the Boneless Chicken

          Where you been hiding, FS101? Good to see you again?

          Just to let you know, there is a new fallacy to add to the list: Argumentum Ad SquishKittyum. That would be Austin's turf.

          January 24, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
        • Tim

          No fred, I am not a hypocrite. If you had half a brain, you would realize that if a still-active creator was responsible for our world, we can establish points about its characteristics, and its characteristics cannot be those described in your Christian doctrine, which is itself not even self-consistent.

          Like Bob said, grow some balls, coward. And grow a better brain too, stupid. Bob is right on about you, and about your beliefs.

          January 25, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • Science Works

        Come on fred are you related to that person ?

        January 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • fred

          Given that I share all but 385 nucleotides with Denisova hominin I would say chances are better than being related to a chimp (share all but 1,462 nucleotides).
          When you go to Vegas Odds are 3:1 in favor of descending from a relative of Ham over descending from chimps. Not to debunk evolution but to debunk your suggestion.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Science Works

          I now I am NOT fred – bit glad you think you are !

          January 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Science Works

          *know*

          January 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • fred

          Knowing your origin makes all the difference in the world when it comes to knowing who you are. My origin is from the hands of God. Genesis reflects a unified relationship between creator and the created. If there was a creator there is relationship. As with any relationship your can foster growth and intimacy or destroy the beauty that accompanies unity. The choice is yours and you go to a great extreme to deny the possibility of a creator. That extreme is such that all the odds addressing the impossibility of our existence are excused away. That extreme is such that you take factual evidence for evolution to create a belief that has no scientific validity whatsoever. Can you not see that?
          The scientific evidence is that we are more closely related to the first hominids than Lucy (Australopithicus Afarensis). Odds are in favor of Genesis account.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Science Works

          That idea is stuck between your ears fred and not fact.

          Human Origins Project

          http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/projects/human-origins/

          January 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • WASP

          @fred: "My origin is from the hands of God. Genesis reflects a unified relationship between creator and the created."

          so basically you and your ilk prefer being inbred, ok nice to know.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • fred

          Science Works
          Nothing new there just a way to "help scientists understand hominid behavior like tool use, piece together basic hominid lineages, and understand hominid diversity."
          Do you actually think we can find the soul of a hominid when you deny the soul of one living ancestor today? God gave us science for a very good reason and Genesis discussed the beginnings of art, literature and science. What you are observing is that there is no end point to the expressions of mankind in all its forms. You need to ask why you without evidence think there is an end.
          I might simply suggest you look at space and time to observe there is no boundary as a boundary would need to be something or nothing. It cannot be nothing because that describes lack of boundary. Any atheistic or agnostic thought that our essence has boundary or that existence has boundary violates space and time as we know and observe it to be.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • fred

          WASP
          Based on science today it is confirmed you and I originate from the same initial population. Better yet should evolution theory hold then the origin would be male or female. How much more inbred could we be?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Science Works

          Take a DNA swap fred might help !

          January 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Science Works

          fred see above post to Vic the internet is not a gift from your god !

          January 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • LOL!

          " Any atheistic or agnostic thought that our essence has boundary or that existence has boundary violates space and time as we know and observe it to be."

          The problem with your argument is that there are boundaries, it's called death, that's the boundary for ourselves and the universe.

          January 24, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
        • fred

          LOL
          Tell me more about the mechanism that ends the expansion of our universe and creation of hydrogen within our universe.

          January 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • Science Works

          fred there is about 1millionth of a second unaccounted for before the big bang so is that where heaven is ?

          Must be splitting a the seems with all those souls ?

          January 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
        • fred

          Did you ever count the number of assumptions it takes to arrive at the point in time you suggest?
          Paul J. Steinhardt, no longer buys into the old inflation assumptions. He has come up with good inflation and bad inflation. My bet is it has more to do with good and evil than it does the inflation assumption.

          January 24, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • Science Works

          Yeah fred and what supposedly represents evil – the talking snake or the red horned thingy ?

          But MOM there is something under my bed !

          January 24, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
        • fred

          science works
          What represented fast 300 years ago....a horse...then a car ....then a plane...rocket...
          I don't know of anyone who has seen God or that evil thing you think about. Generations have given their best shot and that horned thing or red thing or serpent most likely are symbolic for lack of ability to comprehend pure good and pure evil. One assumes the presence of God the other absence of God. Who living has stepped foot in hell or heaven?
          We are not talking about physical properties that can be identified. When Jesus was before Pilate he said " "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
          If you want that kingdom then Christ shows the way if you reject it then you do not get it. Personally I am drawn to the way and you are on some other path. On that path you as do I draw conclusions regarding existence outside the physical world that is known. I do not see red horned evil things I see only the presence of the God and everything outside that presence.

          January 24, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Post by 'fred' contains an instance of the Secret Decoder Ring fallacy.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          January 24, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • Tim

          Better add "confirmation bias" to the fred fallacy list, Mr. Spotting 101. His latest post reeks of it. fred, you stink.

          January 25, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • Science Works

          fred is just stuck in the tree and can not find a way down (or out of all the BS he spits out )

          January 25, 2014 at 10:58 am |
  15. Sea Otter

    Kyle: So what should we do now? It's Saturday! we have to have as much fun as possible.
    Cartman: Hey, I know, let's go play laser-tag at Fun-Plex.
    Kenny: Hey, yeah!
    Stan: No, I don't want to spend any money, you guys. Let's just find something fun that's free.
    Cartman: Stan, don't you know the first law of physics? Anything that's fun costs at least $8.

    January 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    if god made adam first, why did he give him ni.pples?

    January 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • Barry Christ

      Omniscient God knew that thousands of years later the Batman suit would look cooler with nipples in the movies, so he went for it in the design phase.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        lol

        January 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Pete

        I assume it was so Robert De Niro could ask Ben Stiller to milk him in Meet the Parents.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dyslexic: your objection presupposes a god who didn't know what he was going to make later – a god without omniscience. it's a straw man – or 'straw god' – argument.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        but the bible clearly says that eve was an afterthought ... and the bible is the word of god right?

        January 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Dyslexic: do you also think God didn't know where Adam & Eve were when he came looking for them in the garden & said "where are you, Adam? why are you hiding?" or he asked Cain "where is your brother?"

          you *begin* by presuming a self-contradictory view of God. throughout the Bible, it teaches that God is omniscient. now, you can simply say "the Bible is contradictory" and – through such an intentionally shallow reading – dismiss the 'straw god' out of hand. but that is to fail reading comprehension 101, not to mention ignores how it has been understood by its own adherents for millennia.

          for the sake of conversation, just take Genesis as a singular book of literature: the literary character 'God' creates everything with just a word in Genesis 1-2; the book ends with Joseph saying "you intended it for evil, but God intended it for good" (Gen.50:20), clearly stating a deep sense not just of knowledge of everything, but even having control for the sake of good (sovereignty). that theme of God's sovereignty is demonstrated throughout the book, but you want to read that as "God didn't know"?

          even basic literature requires reading the character in context. you want to take that question out of context because it serves your argument, but that requires a purposefully shallow reading. it doesn't help your argument to purposefully misrepresent your opponents' position. there are plenty of intelligent, atheist critiques out there. this is not one of them.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          "@ Dyslexic: do you also think God didn't know where Adam & Eve were when he came looking for them in the garden & said "where are you, Adam? why are you hiding?" or he asked Cain "where is your brother?""

          That doesn't answer Dog's question, you're just dodging it.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz: did you not read the rest of what i said? you are *demonstrating* the same sort of shallow reading, but in this case it's not of the bible, but my own words. seriously, did you read the following paragraphs? it's a rather direct answer not just to his immediate question but to the more important underlying questions.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • ME II

          @Russ,
          " i'm saying he *designed* us that way. the Author has the prerogative – even if, by our understanding, there is no perceived purpose."

          Why didn't you just say that to begin with?

          January 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ME II: you are quoting me from OTOH's response below. did you mean to put that here?

          here i was responding to the *greater*, more foundational issue Dyslexic raised – namely, hermeneutics (one's method of interpreting Scripture). and that's important when you are asked a question whose particular problem is actually manifesting a different set of presuppositions. to simply answer the question w/o addressing the presuppositions become a tacit approval of those (normally, categorically *more problematic*) presuppositions.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          "@ doobz: did you not read the rest of what i said? you are *demonstrating* the same sort of shallow reading, but in this case it's not of the bible, but my own words. seriously, did you read the following paragraphs? it's a rather direct answer not just to his immediate question but to the more important underlying questions."

          Yes, I read your entire post. You didn't answer the simple question he asked, is the bible the word of god? It's a yes or no question, not an essay question. Unless you don't want to give a direct answer. Then the bullshit shoveling and calling it "important underlying questions" is your best bet.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz: really? i'm finding it hard to believe you don't fully anticipate my answer here, but in case you are actually sincere...
          "is the bible the word of god?" YES.

          so now, do you really think there are no other "important, underlying questions"?
          or – as i expect – does that raise other questions for you?

          January 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          Thank you for finally answering the question.

          Your assumptions about me are unfounded, as I have no skin in this game. I wasn't the OP, I just pointed out that you were dodging his simple yes or no question. And despite your assumptions, I don't have any follow up questions.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz:
          1) everyone has skin in this game. if there is a god who has authority over us, it matters. if not, it matters. and there are vast differences in what life means as a result.

          2) the OP question is falsely loaded. it assumed things i directly disagree with ("eve was an afterthought"). a simple 'yes' or 'no' would give tacit approval to a mistaken premise within the question. it would be like saying "did you like it when i robbed your house?" to respond simply 'yes' or 'no' implies you agree that my house was really robbed. so i gave the "you never robbed my house" answer – which requires more than just one word.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • ME II

          @Russ,
          "did you mean to put that here?"

          Yes.

          "there i was responding to the *greater*, more foundational issue Dyslexic raised – namely, hermeneutics ..."

          I placed it here because if you'd just said that, rather than your first response of "straw man", then this sub thread wouldn't have been necessary.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          That was amusing but unnecessary. You assume you know what I think, need and want. You don't.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz: you said: "You assume you know what I think, need and want. You don't."

          do i know what you prefer for dinner? of course not.
          do i know that humans must breathe to live? yes. that's safe to assume.

          this is not a "i prefer chocolate" discussion.

          January 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ME II: purposefully misreading for the sake of dismissing IS making a straw man.

          January 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • doobzz

          Good grief, Russ. Give it up. I asked you a question and after a few posts you answered it. No need to keep going on and on about why I asked, what my motives are, or any of that. Just end it already.

          January 24, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz:
          "do you know where i can get bread?"
          "yep... ... ... ...it's right over-"
          "hey! don't jump to conclusions. you answered my question. this conversation is over."

          January 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          What is it that you are trying to prove?

          January 25, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • Russ

          @ doobz:
          prove? no.
          pointing out that the conversation doesn't logically stop there.
          unless of course, you came to the belief blog merely to poll the audience.

          January 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • doobzz

          LOL. Still at it.

          DD asked you if you believe that the bible is the word of god. You finally answered the question. So, yeah, for me, that was the end of the conversation. Sorry to disappoint you.

          January 26, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz: no, you are re-narrating.

          Dyslexic said:
          "but the bible clearly says that eve was an afterthought ... and the bible is the word of god right?"

          he made two assertions to form *one* argument. to separate them is to lose the force of his argument.
          1) he claimed the bible said Eve was an afterthought. (a claim with which i strongly disagree)
          2) ON THAT BASIS, he asked if the Bible was the Word of God (correctly presuming the Christian answer: yes).

          *only together* does his argument hold sway. he wants to debunk biblical Christianity by showing it to be self-contradictory. to say (as you have) "just answer his question" fails to understand his argument. as i said above, a simple 'yes' or 'no' would give tacit approval to the first assertion.

          but since we covered that ground already, i am fairly certain you knew all that. You leave me to think either: a) you are so naive you actually didn't understand Dyslexic's argument (the more favorable option, under the circ.umstances) or b) you are purposefully wanting to misrepresent those with whom you disagree (the more likely option). neither is a very flattering.

          January 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          As I said, I was only interested in whether you believe the bible is the word of god. The rest is you projecting what you think DD's motives were onto me.

          What is unflattering is your continuing to insist that I have some ulterior motive.

          January 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Russ

          @ doobz:
          1) you said: "The rest is you projecting what you think DD's motives were onto me."
          I did no such thing. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you *understood* his argument. also, it's not as though you have made no other comments on this blog.

          2) you said: "What is unflattering is your continuing to insist that I have some ulterior motive."
          option "a" (naivete) did not assume you had an ulterior motive. but your ongoing comments continue to diminish the likelihood that you sincerely hold that position.

          3) the discussion of your motives could easily be rendered moot if you simply stated them outright. considering that, in the face of my given options, your persistent silence is becoming deafening.

          January 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • doobzz

          Lol, you are clearly spending a lot of time thinking about what you think I'm thinking.

          January 28, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • Russ

          @ doobz: no, i actually care about the point in question. and i'm willing to say what i think.

          you feign apathy, and yet you keep coming back. your position is clear enough now. why are you unwilling to have a substantive conversation?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • doobzz

          @Russ

          I just like seeing you try to bait me.

          January 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
      • Barry Christ

        So knowing what we now know about what came later, why did God give men nipples?

        Oh, a straw man is where someone misrepresents what another would say and responds to the misrepresentation, not the reality. So Dog's post was not even remotely a straw man.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Russ

          @ BC: read my response to Dyslexic above... your definition notwithstanding.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • OTOH

        Then you are presupposing that if 'he' knew what 'he' would make later and what would eventually happen, 'he' made a mistake on purpose, along with a whole lot of upcoming torture.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ OTOH: you are describing what has been labeled "foreknowledge." that's NOT what i'm talking about. i'm saying he *designed* us that way. the Author has the prerogative – even if, by our understanding, there is no perceived purpose.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • Happy Atheist

        There are many vestigial body parts we have no use for as humans have evolved, ni pples on men are one of them.

        Our DNA proves we did not come from a single pair of original humans. It shows how the species never got smaller than a few thousand individuals in the last 150,000 years. It shows we interbred with neanderthal and denisovian species. The idea that the Genesis account is accurate and Adam was created as the first fully formed human is laughable.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          Genesis literalists might have some difficulty with that, but as for concordism, it is merely another objection. The word Adam in Hebrew directly translates as 'man', while Eve means life. These two represent the early men and women, while the garden represents the pleasantness of the early humans living in earth. The snake is a representation of wickedness, and the Days are much greater than 24 hours. At this time a standard time measurement wasnt common, and as we see in the Book of Peter, "One day with The Lord is as one thousand years, and one thousand years as one day." Now, in Hebrew, the word thousand, can also mean a much higher number. At this time, the word million or billion didn't exist, they could only talk in reference to thousands, explains why the word million isn't found in the Bible. The creation account is allegorical, however, as any literature teacher will tell you, the utilization of symbolism in a book doesn't mean the entire book is.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • Russ

          @ happy atheist:
          http://www.livescience.com/38613-genetic-adam-and-eve-uncovered.html

          January 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • ME II

          @Russ,
          From your linked article:

          "Despite their overlap in time, ancient "Adam" and ancient "Eve" probably didn't even live near each other, let alone mate."

          January 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ME II:
          1) i was not commending *every* claim of the article. i was merely pointing out that HA's claims about the lack of support for a common ancestor in scientific findings were not accurate.

          2) however, i did note that "probably" – along with the 10,000 year window. ironic that there's such precision alongside such imprecision? i imagine both sides of this debate will claim support for their own position.

          SUM: the point remains, though – HA was mistaken. for now, scientific findings DO seem to support a genetic Adam & Eve.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • ME II

          @Russ,
          "SUM: the point remains, though – HA was mistaken. for now, scientific findings DO seem to support a genetic Adam & Eve."

          Incorrect. Genetics supports a male and female *most recent common ancestor*, not, as Happy Atheist said, "a single pair of original humans" suggested in the Genesis account.

          January 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      What is the difference between the man CREATED in Gen 1:26 (And God [Elohim] said, Let US make man in OUR image)
      and the man FORMED in Gen 2:7 (And the Lord God [Yahweh Elohim] formed man of the dust of the ground)

      Why is the nature of God "different"...Elohim – then later Yahweh Elohim?

      January 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  17. Sungrazer

    Test. Anyone else ever have trouble with comments that don't get posted? When I try again, I get a message saying a duplicate post was detected, but I certainly don't see it on my screen.

    January 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      For me it is usually a word with t i t or c u m in it. like consti tution or circu mstance.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Hidden no-no word, like Consti.tution has a ti.t in it (oh no!), circu.mstance has cu.m in it (might be pregnant), and despi.cable has a racist epithet. Search out the no-no word, and do as I did.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • doobzz

        I just realized that any recipe I put up here had better not have cumin in it, lol!

        January 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • Chef

          Nope - no spi.ces, no gra.pes, no cuc.umbers, no coa.rse-ground pepper, and no stirring with any sp.oons. We might all get quite hungry, but will not be doomed by the adding of any ar.senic.

          January 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          LMAO!! Well done, sir!

          January 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Thanks everyone. I have identified the "offending" word.

      January 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  18. DeepNorth

    The whole of the Catholic church hierarchy is like a big troll on humanity, taking away resources from it, inflicting harm (in prior times, even death) while pretending to be benevolent.

    Don't try to defend the RCC via their "missions" and charitable works and such either; those are among the least efficient organizations and activities for helping people in need. Seems all those fine silk dresses that the priests wear and all the lavish cathedrals are expensive to maintain.

    January 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • doobzz

      If the RCC really cared about humanity, they would be helping people to NOT have children they can't afford by education and distribution of condoms. It would also help with the spread of HIV/AIDS in impoverished countries.

      But no, they drag out horrid old crones like Mother Teresa who spread the lie that suffering is a blessing from Jesus and people should be happy that they are poor, starving and sick.

      January 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    I am seeing a lot of christian passive aggressive whining and claims of persecution in this comments section.

    Preventing you from forcing others into following your deluded rules is not persecution. Preventing you from making religious laws, is not persecution. Preventing you from injecting your fantasies into public schools, is not persecution. You have churches on every street corner in America. You have 100% representation in government. You have your motto imprinted on every dollar bill and uttered at every baseball game. You are the persecutor, not the persecuted. You confuse "not being in charge" with persecution.

    - SP

    January 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      The Christian "Right" in America have often reminded me of an abusive husband.

      "We never wanted to do those things to you, you FORCED our hand. We don't want to smack you but you make us because you just won't do what we keep telling you to do. We don't want to force our theocratic laws on everyone else but your inability to live like a Christian ends up making it look like living like a Christian isn't the only way to find happiness, and we just can't have that, now can we bltch...!" ...smack...

      January 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Vic

      It is not either or. Persecution can happen to anyone for whatever reason. A Christian or an atheist can be persecuted for his/her belief depending where, when, and what the issue is, separately or simultaneously.

      January 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • DeepNorth

        Vic, stop tarring atheists with your "belief" brush. That was pretty sneaky, you cowardly liar.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • Happy Atheist

        Think of it like this Vic:

        Two groups show up at a large park one Saturday. One group wants to have a picnic. The other groups wants to have a picnic but they also want to play paintball. The first group asks the second group if they can keep their paintball game to one area and away from the other people enjoying their picnic. The second group says they want to use the whole park and offer to provide paintball guns for the first group. Group one politely refuses as they do not feel like participating. The second group says fine but then goes on to play their pantball game accross the entire park often accidently hitting members of the first group who did not want to play. When confronted by the first group the second group says "Hey! It's a public park! We get to do what we want! If you don't like it find another park!"

        The religious have been splattering America with their painted balls of faith for too long. The mess is almost impossible to miss, it's on our money, it's in front of our courthouses, it's in our Senate and Congress and Executive branch, it's in our pledge, it is everywhere. So when a non-religious person just simply asks for equal access to our country and the benefits of their tax payments they have made during their lives in this country, you would think the other citizens with no greater claim to this country than any other would respect that and keep their paintball faith games where they belong, in their homes and Churches, no where else.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm |

        • Pretty good analogy.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Vic

          Ironically, you are painting Christianity with a very broad brush, and not with just a paintball, lol.

          I don't mean ill, but I believe your analogy is out of reason. You left the Parks & Recreation System out of the picture, who usually would manage such activities by groups and individuals during parks' hours. Also, usually, parks give exclusive reservations and designated areas to group activities, so there would be no conflicts.

          Furthermore, you are exclusively blaming Christianity for what is commonly individual's problems for the most part, hence corruption, let alone taking the responsibilities off the shoulders of the individual and non-Christian groups.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          My point is that people getting gay married have fired ZERO paintballs at you. The people lobbying the government to continue banning gay marriage is directly firing their faithballs at other citizens who have done nothing to you.

          People who don't have a religion are not forcing you to say "God doesn't exist" in the pledge of allegience, the religious are firing their faithballs in the non-believers face by inserting "Under God" in the pledge.

          Women who want to have control over their own bodies and lives are not out trying to force you to have an abortion or force you to raise their unwanted child from a r a p e, but the religious want to again fire their faithballs right into the uteruses of fellow female citizens.

          The examples go on and on.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • Pete

        While it is true that anyone can face persecution I can't think of a single instance of Christians being persecuted in America, unless you count Christians persecuting a different group of Christians.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • doobzz

          Christians think that when someone tells them "I don't believe in your deity and your bible" it's persecution. Then they tell you that you're going to be tortured for eternity while they laugh and dance with Jesus on pink cotton candy clouds.

          January 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
  20. Jake

    As far as I can tell, there is no difference between a cult and a religion. Can anyone provide a definition of "cult" that wouldn't apply to religions?

    January 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Tom Wolfe said a cult is a religion with no political power.

      January 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • Vic

      A cult is an overzealous, unorthodox, extreme, and exclusive belief system.

      A religion is a common, orthodox, and inclusive belief system.

      January 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • ME II

        @Vic,
        So it's just a matter of numbers then?

        January 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • Vic

          Not really. It is a matter of principle, I believe.

          January 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          " common, orthodox, and inclusive belief system."

          – common obviously is dependent on numbers

          "or·tho·dox
          1.(of a person or their views, esp. religious or political ones, or other beliefs or practices) conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true; established and approved"

          – generally or traditionally, is number dependent.

          – if enough people are "included" couldn't a system be considered "inclusive", i.e. numbers?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Vic

          Yeah..but what generates that commonality and numbers? I believe it is the believed principle(s).

          January 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          It's right because it's popular
          vs.
          It's popular because it's right

          How can you tell?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Vic

          Good question. I believe it is by the "conviction of the heart."

          January 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          "I believe it is by the 'conviction of the heart.'"

          Ah, so the difference between religion and cult is personal preference, or opinion.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • Happy Atheist

        I think Vic just pointed out the true difference between a cult and a religion: personal opinion.

        Most religious persons believe whatever religion they are in isn't a cult but all other religions are as the word "cult" is subjective.

        January 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Vic

          A religion can become a cult if practiced in an overzealous and extreme way.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Backwards. Cults become religions. Christianity started as a cult. This is indisputable. There are some differences in the way Christianity is practiced today versus how it was practiced then. But it's just numbers. Charismatic leaders, rituals, music, dress – all these things religions and cults share. If only 50 people on a ranch in Idaho believed what you believe, that group would most definitely be regarded as a cult.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          There is zero ideological difference between a cult and a religion, thus it is purely subjective.

          cult: 1. a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Vic

          I believe you are confusing cults with minorities.

          Christianity started out as a minority, and then spread out to include multitudes. Then, overtime, some cults spun off from Christianity.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          Please explain the ideological difference between cults and religions then Vic.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          Cults include strange rituals, however, Christianity doesn't.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          The difference between a cult and a religion

          Within a healthy religious environment, family bonds are upheld and even strengthened, questioning of the leader and basic tenets is accepted, and the leader lives in a similar manner to the followers. One is offered all the information necessary to make an educated decision about joining, and once involved, people can choose the amount of involvement that feels right to them.

          A cultic environment tears families apart, does not accept any questioning, and has a leader who claims to have an exalted position and to be above reproach. The cult is designed to solely advance its own goals, to abuse the members’ trust, and to use fear and shame to manipulate the followers. It freely utilizes deceptive techniques while recruiting new members and fundraising, misuses scripture, and declares other belief systems as false. Because it is not under the umbrella of a recognized religion, there is no governing body and the leader is, therefore, free to do as he or she pleases.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • Pete

          Ritual cannibalism is pretty strange if you ask me.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          Mormonism is a cult, it is strange and follows quite weird rituals. Christians rituals only extend to attending church. Based on your definition, I could say the Smithsonian is a cult because it reveres ancient persons.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Vic

          You would have to specify what religion(s) and cult(s) we are looking at to pin point and explain the ideological differences. Plus, I believe it would be a tedious job this forum.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • OTOH

          josh...
          "Cults include strange rituals, however, Christianity doesn't."

          My grandmother used to say, "You'll get used to hanging if you hang long enough!"

          You are just used to those very old rituals.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          Because going to church, greeting others, and donating money to the poor is the same as killing animals for God.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "Cults include strange rituals, however, Christianity doesn't."

          Like eating bread and drinking juice and believing it be the literal body and blood of Christ? That is very, very strange. It is very strange even if you don't take it literally. Tell me that is not so completely cultish. That is only one example.

          You see the beliefs and practices of other religions or denominations or cults and you see them as strange. But this is exactly how outsiders see your own beliefs and practices. You simply don't see it as strange because it is familiar to you.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • OTOH

          josh...

          Do you know that Jews quit the **ritual** of kneeling and folding their hands in prayer? Muslims don't do it either.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          "Cults include strange rituals, however, Christianity doesn't."

          I guess ritually pretending to eat your saviors flesh and blood doesn't count...

          January 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          Utilization of the word 'pretending' shows your subjectivity. And it isn't a strange ritual, it is honoring the last supper, a reenactment in a sense, civil war reenactments aren't considered cults.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          And your claim that is isn't strange is subjective! You don't seem to grasp our collective point that it is not strange to you because you are familiar with it. It is very strange for those of on the outside. If this was not something Christians did, but that only a group of 50 people living on ranch in Idaho did, you would no doubt find it strange and consider it cultish.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • OTOH

          josh...
          " Christians rituals only extend to attending church."

          Your church doesn't do baptisms, then? Jews don't do that. Muslims don't do that. Not sure about Hindus and Buddhists and others, but I don't think so. They may have other initiation rituals though, and may think that yours is strange.

          Christianity was also merely a cult for hundreds of years until it got some gravitas from a Roman emperor in the 4th century.

          January 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
      • DeepNorth

        Vic, your statement is false in the general case. Many cults are quite inclusive, at least in the sense of trying hard to pull new members in.

        Sure, some religious folk don't like their particular sect to be called a cult, but religious folk are pretty cowardly to begin with, for example, not able to face the obvious truth that their beliefs are unfounded, so that isn't really surprising.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, I think it is safe to say that it is not a clear cut scenario and there are a lot of grey areas.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Vic

          "..gray areas."

          January 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Science Works

          The ONLY gray area (mass) is between your ears Vic.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
      • Madtown

        and inclusive belief system
        ----–
        Sure it's inclusive, as long as you accept the beliefs in the system! If you don't, you're an outsider. As an example, at a church I frequent to do some volunteer work, on communion Sunday the pastoral staff will stand in front of the congregation and say that all who "accept the statement of faith" of the church(evangelical free) are welcome to communion, but those who haven't gotten there yet are encouraged to pass, and remain seated........for all to observe and judge, no doubt. I believe other denominations are like this, but I grew up as a Lutheran, and it wasn't common, all were accepted. Religion is divisive, not inclusive.

        January 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • joshtheapologist

          Depends on the church, my Catholic one invites everyone to communion. You paint religion with too broad a stroke.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Vic

          Schisms are but human problems, no doubt. I am a born again Christian Protestant simply by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior, that we are saved by the Grace of God through Faith alone and apart from the works of the law, and that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between us and God the Father. That's the fundamental of Christianity. I can attend Church Service at any Protestant denomination church, no problem, without having to agree in all with their secondary details.

          January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Pete

          Really, is that why non Catholics can't take communion?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Madtown

          Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between us and God the Father
          -----
          Right here is divisiveness, you've just given a fine example. You're aware the Jesus Christ is NOT available to every human on the planet. God hasn't seen fit to allow all his creations to have a pathway to learn of christianity, though you'd think he certainly could if he wanted. So by naming Christ as the "only mediator", you're leaving out all those humans who've never heard of him, and never will. They can't join your group, they're in another group. Divisive.

          January 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.