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January 28th, 2014
10:37 AM ET

Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

(CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was).

Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.

In ancient Mesopotamia, a round vessel would have been perfectly reasonable - in fact, we know that this type of boat was in use, though perhaps not to such a gigantic scale, on the Mesopotamian rivers.

The ancient Israelites, on the other hand, would naturally have pictured a boat like those they were familiar with: which is to say, the boats that navigated not the rivers of Mesopotamia but the Mediterranean Sea.

This detail of engineering can and should stand for a larger array of themes and features in the flood stories. The Mesopotamian versions feature many gods; the biblical account, of course, only one.

The Mesopotamian versions tell us that the Flood came because humans were too noisy for the gods; the biblical account says it was because violence had spread over the Earth.

Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. Neither is history; both are theology.

What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”? Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. But not so fast.

Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.

More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.

(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.)

This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.

There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.

One version says the Flood lasted 40 days; the other says 150. One says the waters came from rain. Another says it came from the opening of primordial floodgates both above and below the Earth. One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. The other says he sent out a raven, once.

And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.”

Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? Certainly not.

If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense. And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.

Likewise, the relative age of the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts tells us nothing about their relative authority.

Even if we acknowledge, as we probably should, that the biblical authors learned the Flood story from their neighbors - after all, flooding isn’t, and never was, really a pressing concern in Israel - this doesn’t make the Bible any less authoritative.

The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.

There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important. But from a biblical perspective, its importance resides mostly in the way it serves to remind us that the Flood story is a malleable one.

There are multiple different Mesopotamian versions, and there are multiple different biblical versions. They share a basic outline, and some central themes. But they each relate the story in their own way.

The power of the Flood story, for us the canonical biblical version, is in what it tells us about humanity’s relationship with God. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. Bible Reader

    These people need to read the bible more. Noah could offer up sacrifice to God cause he brought seven of a kind of the clean animals and on two of the unclean. Read Genesis 7:2.

    January 29, 2014 at 2:41 am |
    • Observer

      Yep. After a year in extremely cramped conditions bouncing around on the ocean, some of the animals walked off the Ark only to be slaughtered for sacrifice since God loved the smell.

      January 29, 2014 at 2:44 am |
    • saggyroy

      Yes. They need to read the bible. Not just read it but study it. We need more atheists.

      January 29, 2014 at 5:53 am |
    • G to the T

      But only 2 ravens and one died when he sent it out first... so... how do we still have ravens?

      January 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  2. Scott

    It had to be round how else would you get all the dinosaurs on board? Come on its an oral history, its not fact. The story predates the old testiment in the stories of Gelgaesh. It is probably about the flood caused by the mediteranian breaking into the Black Sea. There is no real Ark.

    January 29, 2014 at 1:26 am |
  3. saywatt

    The law of conservation of matter: where did all that water come from and where did it go?
    Why otherwise reasonably intelligent people believe these silly, simplistic stories is beyond me.

    January 29, 2014 at 1:14 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well it's all due to magic of course. Lots and lots of magic liberally sprinkled throughout the Bible.

      January 29, 2014 at 5:22 am |
    • The existence of God

      Strange argument but interesting. Maybe it became another layer of atmosphere that wasn't there before. 😉

      January 29, 2014 at 6:39 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        The mean global content of water vapor in the atmosphere is roughly sufficient to cover the surface of the planet with a layer of liquid water about 25 mm deep
        So much for that idea. If all the atmospheric water fell at once we would see just over 1 inch of accumulation. Not much of a flood there.
        And what the heck is a "firmament"? Got any scientific description of that?

        January 29, 2014 at 7:22 am |
    • 1miken1

      from the firmament

      January 29, 2014 at 7:16 am |
  4. Two of EVERY creature, eh?

    And only a handful of people were needed to feed, water, care for & clean up after!

    Noah also just happened to be the first meth cooker.

    January 29, 2014 at 1:04 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      LOL!

      January 29, 2014 at 1:16 am |
  5. timeitwas

    Back when I was an Evangelical Christian, we were told to expect the soon discovery of Noah's Ark atop Mt. Ararat...that this would be a prophetic confirmation...

    if they found an ark, that would b pretty hip? maybe it would indicate they weren't lying? god might b real?

    morons

    the heaven's declare the glory of god
    the firmament shows his stuff

    back when i was an atheist, i saw god's creative talent and knew i would never find him

    January 29, 2014 at 12:54 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Sorry, but the Christian god is far too immature to have created such an amazing universe as the one that does exist.

      However, he does bear a striking resemblance to...yup! you guessed it...Christians

      January 29, 2014 at 1:30 am |
      • bystander

        Why don't you troll somewhere else? Why must you be so inconsiderate and disrespectful of someone's religion. Whether or not you agree with it, you look ignorant for bashing others. Grow up and realize not everyone has to believe in what you do. Learn tolerance.

        January 29, 2014 at 2:20 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Tolerance! LOL! You apparently haven't sat at the feet of a pulpit recently where "tolerance" is Satan's latest invention in his politically correct agenda, according to the Assembly of God pastor I listented to.

          Tolerance, per the Christian standard, is: "We have burn them at the stake in order to make their soul acceptable to God."

          January 29, 2014 at 2:35 am |
        • you

          @S-3B Viking, your comment is so ignorant and stupid.

          January 29, 2014 at 4:04 am |
        • Science Works

          HEY You

          Tell me where I can find my soul ?

          January 29, 2014 at 7:07 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey You and Austin too.

          Finders Keepers – the breath of soul ?

          February 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
      • Humberto

        Words of wisdom from a scragg

        January 29, 2014 at 6:33 am |
  6. Dandintac

    ANOTHER QUESTION FOR CHRISTIANS–again, this is as good a place as any to ask it. Please be patient and read through this.

    We know that the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy with somewhere between 200 billion and 400 billion stars. We are now discovering that planetary bodies are common around many stars. Current estimates are that there are 2-3 trillion planets in the Milky Way alone. Let that number sink in for a minute.

    Now, we also know that there are at least 500 billion galaxies in this universe. So it is likely that in just this universe alone–and there is evidence that other universes exist–just this universe and it's hundreds of billions of galaxies, there may be 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets! And this is not just speculation out of ignorance–the data is coming in that planets are common.

    If even a tiny fraction of these planets–just an itsy bitsy slice–less than 1%–has intelligent life, that would still be millions of planets with intelligent life–although due to the vast size of the universe, the nearest one is likely still very far away.

    It seems likely that at least most of these beings will be imperfect like us, and based on the Christian perspective, will need salvation also.

    So now my question: does Jesus have to go to each of these individual alien civilizations and get nailed to the cross over and over and over again?

    And a follow up question. If by a slim extraordinary chance, (and I don't believe this has actually happened yet), one of them were to visit us, how much chance do you think there is that they will share your religion? Would you feel the need to convert them? What do you think they might think about that?

    And for Muslims–do these beings all have to turn and face Mecca on their home planets when they pray? Given the distances involved–how would they do that?

    When I contemplate the true stupendous scale and scope of the universe, and how truly paltry we are, it makes our religious notions seem fantastically absurd.

    January 29, 2014 at 12:34 am |
    • Cherilyn B

      Hi, Dan – I'm not a Christian or Muslim, so I can't answer your question.

      As I read your post, all I could think about is how overwhelming the concept of infinity is to me. And then I fixated on that scene from the classic "War of the Worlds" movie where the priest is incinerated as he approaches the crater where the Martians have landed.

      I realized if any E.T.'s wanted to conquer Earth, all they would need to do is study our religions; show up claiming to be GOD in all glory with a legion of ANGELS here to set up the new kingdom or whatever; and bring Revelations to life. The aliens could easily enslave the Earth's populace.

      And, no, I do not have point per se except to say that for humans to still be bogged down in supersti tion (i.e. religion) shows just how weak and gullible they are and thus ripe for conquest. More likely than E.T. we will see another Hitler or Stalin type dictator coming to power under the guise of religion. A true wolf in sheep's clothing appealing to the masses.

      Karl Marx: "Religion is the opium of the mas ses."

      January 29, 2014 at 3:14 am |
      • S-3B Viking

        Cherilyn,

        Sadly, the Evangelicals already are prepared for that. We were told that UFO's are simply demon-piloted crafts designed to fool the planet into believing just as you say...in some Christian circles a "First Contact" scenario is a pretext to the coming of the "Anti-Christ" referred to in Revelation.

        January 29, 2014 at 3:20 am |
        • OTOH

          S-3B Viking,

          If it's not too personal, how were you able to break out of that Evangelical mindset?

          Write as much or as little as you are comfortable with. I'll bet it's interesting.

          January 29, 2014 at 3:32 am |
  7. Lewis

    A large round craft that saved humanity and every species on the planet? The ancient alien nuts are gonna have a field day with this.

    January 29, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  8. dododontno

    So it doesnt bother you that tje same story has been told generations before Jesus lived?

    post it here dodo

    January 29, 2014 at 12:15 am |
    • Haven't you heard? That was Satan's doing...

      Yep – to "discredit" the Jeebus myth, Satan came to Earth hundreds of thousands of years before Jeebus supposedly was born (even though the Earth is only 5,000 years old, right?) to plant those false mythologies like he planted all those dinosaur bones in the fossil records.

      Sneaky little devil, ain't he?

      January 29, 2014 at 1:10 am |
  9. Lee Roberts

    I do believe people would question even if the ark was found and Jesus came back.

    January 29, 2014 at 12:08 am |
    • to "come back" he'd have to have been here before

      and since he's IMAGINARY – that would truly be a miracle.

      January 29, 2014 at 1:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      If real, verifiable evidence that proved that a god exists should surface, then I would believe. But in all the thousands of years of human existence, there has been thousands of gods and no proof at all. In fact, the more we know about the physical and anthropological history of the world, the less believable gods become.

      January 29, 2014 at 1:25 am |
      • G to the T

        I remember when I was a christian I felt that non-believers just weren't being reasonable. It brings a smile to my face now when I see other christians making the same mistake.

        January 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • Truth follower

        The evidence is right in front if you in creation itself.

        January 31, 2014 at 2:45 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          The existence of the universe can be "proof" that it was created by God or Zeus or the Three Stooges or a committee of zombies or an infinite number of other possibilities.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:11 am |
        • Truth follower

          Do you believe that intelligence can come from non intelligence?

          January 31, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Truth follower

          S-3B, aside from a Moral Law Giver, I see no other way to justify objective moral values (objective being independent of human opinion). Do you believe morality is subjective?

          February 2, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • Dandintac

          I know you are talking to S-3B Viking, but I'd like to ask you a few questions.

          Does this "Moral Law Giver" (God presumably), just make up the laws as he goes, or does he get them from some principles or other source?

          If he gets them from some other principle, then what do we need the middle-man for? Christians usually reject this answer.

          If he makes them up, aren't these "moral laws" subjective to him? Subject to his whim basically? Christians usually prefer this answer, but I confess that I have always found their answers unsatisfactory. How can this be "objective"? I'd like to see how you do.

          If this "moral law giver" is "personal", as Christians usually insist–"personal" being the latest buzz-word among Christians, then by definition, these moral laws are subjective.

          Another question: suppose morality is subjective–what's the harm in that? Maybe morality is indeed subjective. So is beauty and justice, but they are still important.

          Final question: I'm starting to come around to Sam Harris's notion of morality–that "moral" is best defined as what contributes to or takes a way from human well-being, and by extension, the well-being of the Earth. This is indeed measurable and objective. What's wrong with this understanding of morality?

          February 2, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower

          The "Moral Law Giver" you are talking about supports slavery, discriminations, beating children, forced marriages, etc. etc..

          If you want to use those as examples of why we should follow your "Moral Law Giver", please go right ahead.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:54 am |
        • Truth follower

          Didantac,

          Good afternoon. I really appreciate the questions and will do my best to answer.

          Does this “Moral Law Giver” (God presumably), just make up the laws as he goes, or does he get them from some principles or other source? – I believe that the moral laws flow necessarily from God. They are a reflection of His nature (do not lie, steal, commit adultery, etc.).

          If he makes them up, aren’t these “moral laws” subjective to him? – I don't believe He makes them up. I believe that they flow necessarily from God as a reflection of His character. As Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has said: "God’s nature is The Good and that this simply determines what goodness is." I reject the two options given in Euthyphro's argument if that is what you are wondering.

          If this “moral law giver” is “personal”, as Christians usually insist–”personal” being the latest buzz-word among Christians, then by definition, these moral laws are subjective. – I'm not sure what you mean by this. When I hear the word "personal" being used in this way, I take it mean "relational" in that the Christian has a relationship with God and knows Him.

          Another question: suppose morality is subjective–what’s the harm in that? Maybe morality is indeed subjective. So is beauty and justice, but they are still important. – If this is the case there is no real moral good or bad. It's subject to opinion, kind of like "to each his own". If a man's wife cheated on her spouse, she hasn't done anything morally wrong by this view. You would just have to say everything is "different". Morality isn't a matter if taste like beauty. You and know that it is objectively morally wrong (morally wrong independent of personal opinion) if a baby is kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. The same goes for the Holocaust. These atrocities are certainly not just a matter of opinion as to whether they are morally bad or not. And if only one thing is objectively morally wrong, then objective morality exists.

          Final question: I’m starting to come around to Sam Harris’s notion of morality–that “moral” is best defined as what contributes to or takes a way from human well-being, and by extension, the well-being of the Earth. This is indeed measurable and objective. What’s wrong with this understanding of morality? This is not objective. It is Sam Harris's opinion and what makes his opinion any more valid than Hitlers? With a Moral Law Giver, we can ground our moral values in God. I know of something you might find very interesting, for I know I did. One of my favorite Christian scholars William Lane Craig did a debate over morality with Sam Harris at Notre Dame. You can watch it on YouTube. If you do watch, please let me know what you think.

          February 3, 2014 at 12:10 am |
  10. Name

    "The Bible gets its authority from us"
    Spot on

    January 29, 2014 at 12:03 am |
  11. Des

    Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here often, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

    So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

    January 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
    • OTOH

      Des,

      Agree with you, but frankly, you are getting as pesty as the JW doorknockers.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:05 am |
      • JW

        I like to talk and reason with people, but when they became like Des, copy/paste all the time, it brings nothing new to the conversation and it's just wasting page space.

        January 29, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • sam stone

          JW: Once you start posting "scripture", it becomes an appeal to authority, and you are no longer reasoning with people, you are preaching to them. Learn the difference

          January 29, 2014 at 6:12 am |
  12. rosethornne

    Why, exactly, is this piece of mythology debated as though it had any relevance in the real world?

    January 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
  13. Chuck

    A cute mythological story. A story of a "flood" does not a world event make

    January 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
  14. S-3B Viking

    Back when I was an Evangelical Christian, we were told to expect the soon discovery of Noah's Ark atop Mt. Ararat...that this would be a prophetic confirmation of Matthew 24:37ff "As it was in the days of Noah..." and was a confirmation from God that he was about to tell Jesus to come and rapture us....

    (BTW, they still believe this....see this link to "Rapture Ready" website...for a good laugh)
    https://www.raptureready.com/featured/funk/noah.html

    No gopher wood, but look to Topher, Austin and others to claim that this "find" and even the upcoming movie with Russell Crowe is the alternate prophetic confirmation of the "pending" Rapture.

    Much like the special modifications of Hal Lindsey to his end-time prophecy after the collapse of the Soviet Union...

    Fear has always been an exceptional money-maker and inducement to believe...couched in the concept of "free will," of course.

    And where did they get the guy holding the tablet? Every image of Noah in every picture bible I've seen could have been modeled after this one!!...and Santa....and....

    January 28, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
    • JW

      The rapture is misunderstood by many "Christian" churches.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
      • OTOH

        Not "misunderstood" by you and your church, though. No, indeedydo.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • JW

          One of the mistakes of the evangelical rapture is that they think they will go to heaven in a physical body, simply disappearing... When the bible says that "flesh and blood cannot enter in heaven". The other is that like Christ the ones with a heavenly hope must die first and prove faithful!

          January 29, 2014 at 12:06 am |
      • Up Your Rear Admiral

        I'll see you in the Rapture Capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the big steel chain onto when we were practicing for the Uplifting.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • S-3B Viking

          Worked "under" many a Rear Admiral :0)

          The New Yorker had a great cartoon years ago In the single frame, there was a homeless guy on a sidewalk crying after a pair of Christian legs attached to a whole Christian just as they were being raptured.

          He yells: "Leave your wallet" or something such. LOL!

          January 28, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • OTOH

          I love the one (don't know if it's a cartoon, or just a fantasy prank) about the parking lot full of cars with their doors open, clothing neatly fold on the ground beside them with pairs of shoes with dry ice fog coming out of them - and the shock and gasps from the Christians who think that they were 'missed'!

          January 29, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          OTOH!

          LOL!

          There's a great picture depicting the rapture painted back in the '70s found here:

          http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/End%20of%20the%20World/rapture.htm

          that really tells you what is in the hearts of Christians about those poor sots who are in the pilotless airplanes and driverless cars that are lambs to the Rapture-slaughter

          ...from a "loving" god, no less...LOL!

          And if you google "Rapture images" you'll see that the newer, similar pictures don't show the slaughter...Christians must have thought they were being a little to hard on the unbelievers!

          January 29, 2014 at 12:31 am |
        • Petyr

          The plane flying into the building was weird ...and that silhouette of the guy at the bottom? What is HE doing?

          January 29, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Wonder if Bin Laden got his ideas from a Chic Tract...LOL

          Notice the newspaper headlines and the pic of St. Peter's Square? That should tell you what Evangelicals really think of Catholics....they really are only good political bedfellows...but Mike Warnke said it best when he quipped that "All Catholics are going to Hell" back in his Christian comedian days.

          Take that, Daniel!

          January 29, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Wonder if OBL got his ideas from a Chic Tract for 9/11...LOL

          Notice the newspaper headlines and the pic of St. Peter's Square? That should tell you what Evangelicals really think of Catholics....they really are only good political bedfellows...but Mike Warnke said it best when he quipped that "All Catholics are going to Hell" back in his Christian comedian days.

          Take that, Daniel!

          January 29, 2014 at 1:26 am |
  15. Observer

    JW,

    Same question. Same answer.

    The logic is that for something to exist, something must have created it.

    That's why believers are so ILLOGICAL when they claim God came from nothing and created EVERYTHING from nothing.

    January 28, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
    • JW

      God is from time indefinite to time indefinite.
      And he is the source of "dynamic energy"

      January 28, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
    • Truth follower

      Once again this is not the claim. It is that everything that BEGINS to exist has a cause.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
      • Observer

        MATTER is from time indefinite to time indefinite.

        MATTER, like God didn't BEGIN to exist.

        NO PROOF for either statement, just like for God.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
        • JW

          How did the "big bang" matter start? If there was a Big Bang...

          January 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          You are making the mistake that many Christians make.

          Atheists and agnostics don't necessarily believe in Big Bang either. There are an infinite number of explanations for live other than God.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • Guest

          "NO PROOF for either statement, just like for God."
          ... so hence there is no God? No Proof as of yet and no proof that we know can know of.... which does not mean either statement is false. Lack of proof does not prove that either statement is untrue.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • Observer

          Guest

          "NO PROOF for either statement, just like for God."
          ... so hence there is no God?"

          That's why I am an agnostic.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
      • redzoa

        @Truth Follower – The inclusion of "BEGINS" is simply a poor attempt to exempt a preferred cause from the premise of everything that exists must have a cause. It is special pleading via definitional fiat, i.e. an uncaused cause.

        January 29, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • Truth follower

          the claim that was made is not the Christians claim. The Christians claim is that everything that begins to exist has a cause. That was what I was saying. Someone had previously mis-stated it. I don't claim that everything that exists has a cause. There is a big difference.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:22 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Reread what redzoa says in his post. See if you can grasp the point you seemed to have missed in your reply.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:35 am |
        • Truth follower

          Nope I didn't miss it. You seem to be missing the difference and it's a big difference.

          January 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Redzoa, I can't find any of our other previous conversation nor do I see my question to you regarding Julius Caesar or my own comment concerning the early Mormon apostles so if you followed up, I apologize but I don't see them. Would you be able to repost your last comments?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Well, you could always explain yourself logically, so I could understand how I got it wrong and you were right all along. Hmm.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
        • Truth follower

          As I said before, the Christian claim is not that everything that exists has a cause. It is that everything that BEGINS to exist has cause. Big difference.

          February 1, 2014 at 12:23 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          That's just playing with semantics. Unless you can prove that something that exists didn't "begin" to exist, it doesn't mean much of anything and logically it's pretty bad.

          February 1, 2014 at 12:31 am |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, I'm glad to see your still on here! That is precisely the concept of who God is. An infinite immaterial eternal Being. He has no beginning or end which is why the Christian should certainly reject the initial way the premise was stated. Also, can you please answer my earlier question: "Do you believe that intelligence can come from non intelligence?"

          February 1, 2014 at 12:39 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower

          "Do you believe that intelligence can come from non intelligence?"

          Sorry I missed your question. I don't avoid them.

          Every bit of intelligence we have filled an area of non intelligence.

          February 1, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • Truth follower

          So you do you start with intelligence in the beginning (whenever that is for you)?

          February 1, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • Truth follower

          I'm not asking you about the intelligence we have. I'm asking if you belief if intelligence in general can be the result or can come from non-intelligence.

          February 1, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          Not likely. A baby knows nothing and has to learn everything from what they are told or find out through experimentation.

          Someone said that success isn't something we fall into, it's something we FAIL into.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:01 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Now it's clear I was right the first time. You missed redzoa's point. If a person believes that the quantum foam is eternal then they're basically believing the same thing as you minus jew-god intent and interest in humans. The problem with faith is that you can use it equally well for any unproven belief.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:11 am |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, I'm speaking with regards to creation. Can non intelligence create something of intelligence. Obviously a baby has an intelligently designed brain that allows the baby to learn.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:24 am |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious, if you believe this concerning the quantum foam being eternal or if whatever you believe to be the first cause, please provide your evidence or reasons for this belief as the Christian does for theirs.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:31 am |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious, also, you seem to be missing the point concerning what redzoa and I discussed. The statement: "everything that exists has a cause" leads to an infinite regression backwards (one cause after another). The statement: everything that begins to exist has a cause goes back to the First Cause, who is infinite and eternal. It's not just a play on words and that both statements ultimately mean the same thing. There's a huge difference.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:38 am |
        • midwest rail

          "..everything that begins to exist has a cause goes back to the First Cause, who is infinite and eternal."
          Your statement must be taken on faith, since there is no way to prove it.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:48 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower

          A baby's brain does not include intelligence. It is all acquired through the teaching of others or its own experience. Experimentation (and failures) can lead to intelligence. As we commonly use the term "intelligence", it certainly is NOT programmed into a person.

          Like EVERYONE else, I cannot prove that evolution is true (and am not claiming that it is). I will say, however, that there is credibility that natural random variations of life forms can result in more advanced versions. The "survival of the fittest" would favor more and more capacity for intelligence. The fact that we have to take a new flu shot each year shows how viruses are "evolving" to circ-umvent our vaccines.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:49 am |
        • Truth follower

          I believe you are confusing the word intelligence with knowledge, like say 2 2=4. But obviously this knowledge pails in comparison to the brains intelligence to control the body and it's reactions.

          If you don't mind, if like to ask you, Captain Obvious and any other who'd like to respond as to whether you believe in objective moral values. By objective moral values I mean moral values that are valid and binding independent of human opinion. An example would be that of the Holocaust. To say that the Holocaust is objectively evil is to say that it is evil even though the Nazis who were involved in it thought that it was good. And even if the Nazis had managed to exterminate everyone who disagreed with their views, the Holocaust would still be objectively evil. Do you believe in objective morality and if so, what do you base it on?

          February 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Your arrogance is disgusting to me. What makes you think that others have to base their values and beliefs on the same principles that you base your values and beliefs?

          When you say that "Everything that begins to exist must have a cause, but god, who is completely invisible and undetectable is eternal and so is exempt from the rule I just made up" you are just making sh!t up. You have no idea. There is no more proof for something existing eternally than there is for infinite regress, just like there's no proof it couldn't be some other mechanism that neither of us has considered. The fact that YOU believe that YOU are soooooo smart that it MUST be the way you imagine is proof of your extreme arrogance. I'm willing to admit that it might be anything at all, and I'm honest enough to say that it might be something I could never understand. There's no requirement that we must be capable of understanding these mysteries, and it's arrogance to behave as if it MUST be the way YOU have figured it to be.

          I have no idea if quantum foam has always existed. I have no idea if some sort of energy-ground-of-being has always existed. I don't know, and I don't claim to know. I do know that if somebody BELIEVES that the quantum foam represents an eternal energy, they've got just as much evidence as you do for you belief, and you've got no argument because your argument states the same thing with a different name. Neither believer has any proof, and your logic has NO edge at all. \

          Of course there is no objective morality. Morality is always subjective; it depends on the circvmstances and the environment and all sorts of other factors. The Holocaust was evil BECAUSE of the subjective circvmstances and the environment; when an insect population does what the holocause did, it isn't evil because there ARE different circvmstances and a different environment.

          For sure, in the bible, god's morality is both subjective and "might-makes-right." His followers never call his destruction and death "murder" because they give god a free pass to do what for any other being would be "evil." He's the "mightiest" and therefore above the law---according to the Christians. His morality is also subjective in that sometimes he drowns an entire planet's worth of babies and women and animals, and sometimes he just forgives them, and sometimes he makes them suffer for all eternity in a pit of never ending fiery torture--even though he says to "love your enemies." Subjective morality based on his own whims and you believers don't care because he's mightiest and "might makes right" according to you.

          You have no argument, here, and you have completely overlooked extremely simple logic when it comes to your claims about eternal conditions. In short, you've not thought about your silly statements in a critical and careful manner. Don't waste time being ashamed, though. Take my yoke (of critical thinking) upon you and learn of me (my careful, precise argumentation) but my yoke is not easy and my burden is not light. It requires careful, measured thought.

          February 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • Cyndi Kelly

          I'm surprised at so many of the responses- how angry some seem. And, the name calling. And sad for some. God is love. The " might is right" doesn't make any sense when it comes to Christianity either. What is understood is HIS authority and our reverence for HIM. Evil exists where the love of God does not. He doesn't cause the disaster, etc- but allows them – because for some- that is what it takes to humble them- and bring them back to him. As a Christian- I believe in the bible- HIS word- in Life- not death through Jesus Christ. Nothing can separate us from HIS love. Death can't, demons can't..( see bible). Those that accept him here on Earth now- often are blessed here- and certainly promised to be in heaven. But, even for those who choose not to now- because HE allows you to- will be given the opportunity to come to know HIM when you do pass away- and finally know the truth. So, praise God right- that HE allows these conversations, this forum. And, it seems that within all of the angry responses – there is this underlying anger or fear that someone is trying to convert someone to something. Just remember- HE is in control- maybe that's what's so difficult for some? To give up the facade of control they think they have or want to have. And, the desire to deny that truth when disaster strikes and there is absolutely no other possible explanation. God even allows your heart to soften or harden to HIM based on the free will HE gives you. That's how much HE loves you. We are always in HIS grip- a loving grip- it is us who walk away- HE allows us to. But right there-when we choose/ decide/ more like realize we need HIM

          February 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Cindi, if you believe that god could never do any wrong action, because of his authority over right and wrong, then you believe in "might makes right" AND subjective morality. Wanting love and joy and peace does not exempt you from the consequences of logic.

          February 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • Cyndi Kelly

          Hi, thank-you for responding. I don't view things in terms of right and wrong as far as God's actions are concerned. So, I don't believe in what it is then you believe in. Is that illogical? No, it's simply beyond my understanding because I have no right to judge. That right is given only to Jesus Christ. And, I accept that it is beyond my understanding. I'm thankful Jesus Christ has set me free. And, I can say that because I am a scientist. I do understand the desire to want to seek, find, prove, want to know. Because HE made me that way. And, I know the exhaustion of experiment after experiment, trial after trial only to not prove. But, I found the truth- the proof- when I surrendered. And, again, I'm so thankful for the blog and discussions. See- HE gave us all something exciting to talk about- get all passionate about- peak our interests- our curiosities- now that's intelligent. 😊

          February 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Cindi, if you don't allow yourself to judge god's actions as right or wrong because he is so great and powerful and beyond your human understanding, then you don't judge god because of his "might." Might makes right, for you. Are there any other beings (imaginary or real) that you refuse to judge because they are so far beyond your ken?

          February 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          "Do you believe in objective morality and if so, what do you base it on?"

          Yes. There seem to be some universal morals that would apply to most civilizations. The concept of the Golden Rule would be a primary example.

          Proof of there being some can be seen when even most Christians can have common morals that find many things like slavery WRONG in the Bible in spite of their religion..

          February 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious, I apologize if you feel I am being arrogant. That is certainly not my intention. I appreciate your post and will try to respond more in depth a little later. However, I have a question concerning your subjective view of morality. Can you give an example of a circvmstance or environment in which you would say that the Holocaust was morally good?

          February 1, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, would you say that the Holocaust is objectively evil (independent of anyone's opinion) and if so, what do you base that on?

          February 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • Observer

          Yes. It violates the principle of the Golden Rule.

          February 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
        • Truth follower

          And who says that a violation of the golden rule is morally bad?

          February 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Truth follower, you seem to miss the exact points that are put directly to you. First you miss redzoa's obvious point that it's just meaningless semantics to discuss things that "begin" versus eternal things--even though it was put to you twice, and then you miss my very obvious explanation of the holocaust. Yes, I already explained to you, extremely similar situations to the holocaust occur as a matter of course in the insect kingdom, and when insects do it, I don't consider it immoral. As soon as you discuss events between humans, you immediately put a condition upon the example. You're not very good at critical thinking, and it shows.

          February 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious. What is the condition? According to natural evolution we are just evolved animals but animals nonetheless. I obviously don't believe this but it is the natural evolutions view. We both know that the Holocaust was morally wrong but from your position, why was it morally wrong?

          February 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower

          "And who says that a violation of the golden rule is morally bad?"

          Usually logic, common sense, intelligence, and experience.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Because our species (like some other animal species) has evolved empathy and the ability to reason. It is hypocritical, and therefore, illogical to inflict upon another person what you would not want inflicted upon you. For this reason, the holocaust is considered "evil" by most humans and meets the requirements.

          But let's skip the bvllsh!t. Obviously you're going to ignore the other excellent points I've made because you don't think you've got a good enough response, so why don't you just azzume that you've "won" whatever point it is you're attempting to make about morality, and go on to show how it demonstrates your god is more real than anybody else's idea of what god they think exists.

          What's wrong with your reasoning that you can't get to your point and that you abandon lines of argument when you're tired of their uselessness for your position?

          February 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • Truth follower

          What if Hitler disagrees with your statement which he certainly did. Who's right? Does it just become a matter if opinion? What makes you right and not Hitler?

          February 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth Follower,

          I never would have agreed with Hitler.

          “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
          - Adolph Hitler, Munich, April, 1922

          February 1, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious. I'm just trying to have good conversation about important matters with open people. I'm not here to insult you in any way but to just have an open and honest two way dialogue. There is no animosity on my end in any of this so please just hear me out. All I am saying is that I can't see any way of affirming objective morals without a Moral Law Giver. Without God, morality is just each's opinion. Kind of like to each his own. But you and I know that it is always morally wrong if, for example a child is tortured and then murdered. The fact that objective moral values exist demonstrate the existence of God.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Morality is subjective. That is my opinion, but I think it is unazzailable because extreme conditions can change what actions are or are not considered immoral. (Consider having to kill an innocent person because that is the only way to save thousands of other lives--normally, it would be immoral, but because of the special circvumstances, the killing of an innocent becomes the ONLY moral choice).

          But the real issue is that you have not shown how morality (subjective or objective) proves anything about any "moral law giver." It's almost like you want there to be a moral law giver who is your god, so you pretend that there's some logical connection between something you haven't even proved (objective morality) and something for which you have no proof (a deity). You're using two unproven concepts to attempt to prove one of them, and that's just ridiculously silly.

          Let's go over your logical failures, here:
          1. morality is subjective (not proven except in the case of your god where he gets to do anything and it's always moral)
          2. morality proves a law giver (not proven at all; completely non sequitur -– perhaps some weird azzumption you have been taught)
          3. Some things "begin" to exist and some things don't (not proven)
          4. Things that begin to exist come about from a thing that didn't begin to exist (not proven)

          There's more, but I'm already bored with listing examples of your poor logic.

          What point are you trying to make?

          February 1, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, my question to you is not if you would have agrees with Hitler and what he did (I sure would hope not!). My question is that if Hitler disagrees with your definition of morality (the golden rule), why is he wrong and your right? Why couldn't you be wrong and he right?

          February 1, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth Follower,

          "The fact that objective moral values exist demonstrate the existence of God."

          Only if we consider it MORAL to support slavery; discrimination against women; discrimination against gays; discrimination against the handicapped; beating helpless children with rods; forcing people to marry even if they hate each other; punishing children for crimes committed by their ancestors, etc.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          The real question is this:

          If Hitler believed, with perfect faith, that he was doing god's will, who could have possibly convinced him that he was doing something wrong? After all, god has done far worse things than Hitler and continues to do far worse things than Hitler. Hitler could never have dreamed of torturing the Jews for all eternity in a never ending fire.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, that sidesteps the question I posed to you. If Hitler disagrees with your definition of morality (the golden rule), why is he wrong and your right? Why couldn’t you be wrong and he right?

          February 1, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Truth follower, why are you asking a question that azzumes that Observer thinks an individual gets to define morality for himself? What a stupid question that has nothing to do with the issue of objective morality or subjective morality? Your questions don't even follow a logical pattern for your own reasoning. Are you trying to make your position look foolish?

          February 1, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          Yes, morality is subjective. We could get into another "How Many Angels Could Fit on the Head of a Pin" discussion that would resolve nothing.

          As I stated, my morality comes from morals I was taught, common sense, my level of intelligence (for whatever that is worth), and experience. And again, there appears to be some morals that exist for everyone which enable so many Christians to feel that the Bible is WRONG about many things. Obviously, reading a book does not alone set morals.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          I should have explained that the morals we are taught are set by the society in which we live and hopefully those were based on the wisdom gained by their ancestors.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
        • Damocles

          Ahhh... morals. Heh.

          Well, let's see... poll a hundred people... fifty say hitler was a horrible, horrible person and fifty say he was an ok guy. Now what?

          Poll the same hundred... eighty say he was an ok guy, yet they have no fighting skills worth mentioning and the twenty who say he was a tool are pretty much ninjas.

          Morality is fluid, it can be determined by weight of numbers or weight of arms or the simple passage of time.

          And why put the burden of this conversation solely on hitler? Try it with the crusades. Try it with suicide bombers. Leaders always try to instill this 'morality' clause into their followers.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious,

          The problem is not only your view of God, but your view of yourself as well (I had this problem myself). I generally thought of myself as a pretty good person but if I may ask you a few questions to help shed some light on things.
          1. How many lies would you say you've told in your whole life? What do you call someone who tells lies?
          2. Have you ever stolen anything irregardless of its value? What do you call someone who steals things?
          3. Have you ever used God's name as a cuss word?
          4. Jesus said that if you look at a wan with lust you have already committed adultery with her in your heart? Have you ever done this to a man or woman?
          If you are like me, you are a self professed lying, theiving, blaspheming, adulterer at heart or some form thereof.
          With God being the Author and Giver of life, He can take anyone one out of the world as He sees fit. Who are we to argue with the One that gave us life in the first place? But when you factor in the atrocious and guilty lives of rebellion to God we've lived, one can see God's patience as he gives us another breath all the while people curse His name. Concerning eternal judgment, if you answered yeah to those above questions and stand before God upon death, do you think you will be innocent or guilty? I am certainly guilty! Imagine you're in court and your standing before the judge and your guilty. Then walks in someone who pays your fine for you. This is exactly what Jesus did on the cross. He paid the fine so God could legally dismiss us from our sentence. However for those who reject the offering of Jesus, their guilt still remains and the just Judge MUST discipline because He is just.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • Damocles

          @TF

          First of all... irregardless? *shudder*

          Second of all... you pretty much advocate not living a life at all. If you are so afraid that your every action is being weighed, why bother doing anything for fear that you might make one tiny mistake? Would you lie to save a life? Steal? Murder? I would. Gladly.

          For a deity... wait... for an eternal, loving, perfect, flawless, no evil in its head, deity... to constantly and always put you in harms way by giving you ample opportunity to disobey its nebulous rules seems more than a little odd.

          The punishment must fit the crime. Here in the US we don't remove fingers for stealing, we don't shoot someone in the gut for telling a lie. I don't punish the neigbor's kids when mine break curfew.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Observer,

          "I should have explained that the morals we are taught are set by the society in which we live and hopefully those were based on the wisdom gained by their ancestors."

          What if you were raised in Germany and taught that Jews weren't human beings and were to be exterminated. If your saying morals are based on society then you would have to say that those raised in this German society weren't morally wrong if they went on to do atrocious acts for Hitler's army. That would be like saying if Ted Bundy were your father and taught you that it was morally good to do all the atrocities that he did, then for you, those acts would be morally good.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • fyi

          Truth Follower,

          Sorry to interrupt, but if you want that list of forbidden word fragments, you'd better scroll down now (and copy it) - before some idjit(s) get it deleted again because they are clueless as to its content.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower ,

          "What if you were raised in Germany and taught that Jews weren't human beings and were to be exterminated."

          You appear to be making the FALSE assumption that most of the people in Germany believed that. This is where intelligence, common sense, logic, and experience came in.

          If all the people of Germany were that way, then why were Americans thrilled when their country was reunited? Why have so many of them been welcome as tourists here? Why did President Bush give their leader a neck message?

          February 1, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • Truth follower

          FYI, thank you for the info

          February 1, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, I said:

          "What if you were raised in Germany and taught that Jews weren’t human beings and were to be exterminated.”

          "You" implies one person and my premise states what you were taught. Let's say you believed what you were taught. If you're saying morals are based on society then you would have to say that you, raised in this German society would not be morally wrong if you went on to do atrocious acts for Hitler’s army. That would be like saying if Ted Bundy were your father and taught you that it was morally good to do all the atrocities that he did, then for you, those acts would be morally good.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          "You" implies one person and my premise states what you were taught"

          You don't appear to be reading what I write. I have TWICE stated that my (and likely most people's morals) are determined by a COMBINATION of factors:

          Here is what I SAID: my morality comes from morals I was taught, common sense, my level of intelligence (for whatever that is worth), AND experience.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • redzoa

          @TF – "Redzoa, I can't find any of our other previous conversation nor do I see my question to you regarding Julius Caesar or my own comment concerning the early Mormon apostles so if you followed up, I apologize but I don't see them. Would you be able to repost your last comments"

          It looks like our thread was deleted and I'm afraid I didn't see your Julius Caesar/Mormon Apostles comments. Also afraid I didn't save any of the comments I'd previously made. Rather than clutter up this already long thread. I'll make a fresh comment and we could pick up again there . . .

          February 2, 2014 at 12:00 am |
        • redzoa

          @TF – "But you and I know that it is always morally wrong if, for example a child is tortured and then murdered. The fact that objective moral values exist demonstrate the existence of God."

          How do you reconcile this statement with the direct and indirect killing of children and infants by the biblical deity, e.g. the flood and 1 Sam 15:3?

          Regarding Hitler and the Holocaust, I would recommend to anyone who's interested, "The Altruistic Personality" by Oliner and Oliner. It explores, compares and contrasts the background traits of "rescuers," "non-rescuers," and "bystanders," i.e. those who helped rescue jews and those who didn't in various Nazi occupied countries. A key take home finding is that the indigenous culture played a significant role in whether jews survived or didn't.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          redzoa,

          Two recent examples of what your referring to played out here in the US with the kids in the Salt Lake City ISD who had their lunches taken away and the D.C. firefighters who refused to cross the street to aid a dying man.

          This CNN opinion piece describes the human "nature" of folks who "do what their told instead of what is right, morally:

          http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/01/opinion/marsh-empathy-utah-school-lunches/index.html?hpt=op_t1

          February 2, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • redzoa

          @S-3B Viking – Thanks for the heads up. Saw the headline, but didn't read further. Needless to say, I was a little pleased to see this:

          "A seminal study by Samuel and Pearl Oliner suggests that one commonality of people who rescued Jews during the Holocaust was that their parents nurtured empathy in them, such as by encouraging them to see the world from other points of view and emphasizing the universal similarity of people."

          February 2, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Absolutely....the circu.mstances were far more complex...and there were plenty of Lutherans and other Protestants and Catholics who were quite pleased with the solution to the "Jewish Problem."

          Just as there were the Corrie ten Booms and Bonhoeffer's...

          One point the article makes is that people would rather follow "rules" and "regulations" than think morally...i.e. literal followers of scripture...any scripture, are subject to the "letter of the law" and can do evil things as well.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          ...and many, today, are so afraid of losing their jobs that they are unwilling to act in a moral fashion...I am surrounded by Christians who are faced with moral choices each day they come to work and turn a blind eye in favor of "not rocking the boat."

          I laugh at TF and others who are certain morality can only be achieved via "God" or some other divine influence.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • Truth follower

          Observer,

          "Here is what I SAID: my morality comes from morals I was taught, common sense, my level of intelligence (for whatever that is worth), AND experience."

          Here is an example. Let's say Ted Bundy had a son whom he raised and taught that preying on women and killing them was a good thing, was morally right. If this son grew up and followed what his dad taught him, would his actions be morally good according to your premises?

          February 2, 2014 at 12:42 am |
        • redzoa

          @TF – "That is precisely the concept of who God is. An infinite immaterial eternal Being. He has no beginning or end which is why the Christian should certainly reject the initial way the premise was stated."

          And this is what I was referencing when I said the addition of "BEGINS" is special pleading via definitional fiat to excuse the preferred cause from the original premise. Here, you're simply defining god as without a beginning to escape the premise with no way of actually knowing whether this is true. As you state, this is the "concept" as opposed to "the empirically and objectively determinable" nature of god.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          No. It violates one of the more universal morals of the Golden Rule.

          Can you please get to your point? Yes, nearly everyone has a unique set of morals. Yes, the world would be a mess if everyone did ONLY what they wanted and never considered morals involving treating other people. And no, the Bible is not a determining factor for morals since even Christians find many places where the Bible is "immoral" by today's more enlightened standards.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • Truth follower

          S-3B, aside from a Moral Law Giver, I see no other way to justify objective moral values (objective being independent of human opinion). Do you believe morality is subjective?

          February 2, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          One of the many failures of "propositional truth" as espoused by the likes of C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer....

          The "concepts" become the Christian's idols...they worship definitions and theologies and doctrines....and concepts

          One of the reasons why Jesus said: "you have heard it said, BUT I SAY...."

          February 2, 2014 at 12:52 am |
        • Observer

          S-3B Viking,

          It's interesting that you mentioned Christians and definitions since nearly every Christian I've seen on here insists that the definition of words is not what we know them to mean.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:57 am |
        • redzoa

          @S-3B Viking – "One point the article makes is that people would rather follow "rules" and "regulations" than think morally...i.e. literal followers of scripture...any scripture, are subject to the "letter of the law" and can do evil things as well."

          I agree this is the problem, particularly with any brand of fundamentalism. To be fair, the Oliners' work did show that a non-trivial # of rescuers were acting in response to what they perceived were the demands of their faith, i.e. a lot of rescuers cited their Christian faith as requiring them to rescue. Still, I think your point holds true that there is a clear difference between obedience and independent moral reasoning based in empathy, and that although obedience to a rule requiring empathy can yield positive outcomes, we're better off when this drive comes from internal moral reasoning rather than external rules. If morality is simply following the rules, then this bypasses any personal responsibility in evaluating the rules themselves. This is precisely what we saw with the Nuremberg Defense. "I was just following orders" is perhaps one of the most morally repugnant attempts to evade personal culpability. At the very least, morality requires some critical mental engagement beyond mere obedience to perceived authority.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, the Christian maintains that God has written his moral law on the hearts of men. We need a Law Giver to have Objective morals in which we can ground morality in. Natural evolution provides no objective morality, only every mans opinion is as valid as the next. But we know some things are inherently evil, not just because it's just our opinion, but because it actually is. This type of universal morality can not be achieved naturally.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower

          "Observer, the Christian maintains that God has written his moral law on the hearts of men."

          Then why does nearly every Christian believe that many of them which I have repeatedly mentioned, are IMMORAL?

          February 2, 2014 at 1:03 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Hi, TF:

          A good question...I was an evangelical for the first three decades of my life. Since then, I've been down a long road away from Christianity. So I have been deeply influenced by the "Lawgiver" concept. However, I think you saw my criticism of the Christian God several days ago....

          I do like the concept of morality expressed by a Ja.panese ethicist, Tetsuro Watsuji, in his book 'Rinrigaku' which, in a few words, identifies that in the presence of two human beings, morality arises.

          And since I accept that humans are the creators of all that we call morality, God, religion, belief, etc....then I, at this time, accept that morality does not require a divine input to be valid.

          However, I also believe that it will take an intelligence other than human to help us understand the philosophical questions we humans ask.

          February 2, 2014 at 1:05 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Observer...

          Funny how that works...Christians, despite their belief that the dictionary is, next to the bible, almost sacred, don't understand that it is a book about USAGE and not TRUTH....(sorry, but had to all caps that).

          And, I can remember when I was witnessing to atheists back in the day, definitions were quite fluid so they could fit my needs to "always be right."

          Remember, if the Christian is wrong, then they have so much to lose.

          February 2, 2014 at 1:12 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          redzoa,

          ...as well as My Lai and Abu Ghraib...

          Many, many of us find an underlying joy in "blaming" a father or mother or boss or Lt. Col for our failure to think for ourselves.

          February 2, 2014 at 1:17 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Dandintac,

          I'm sure you've seen some of the Christian/moralist responses on this blog when replying to the genocidal acts committed by the OT God and the ones that will be committed based on the books of Daniel, Isaiah, Revelation, etc.

          Their god is not to be questioned...and his actions are always "just."

          God has an impressive collection of lawyers defending him

          February 2, 2014 at 1:23 am |
        • Truth follower

          S-3B, I apologize. I have not read the earlier post you referenced. However, I do want to ask a question regarding your belief concerning morality. It sounds to me from your post that you believe morality is man-made (which would deem it subjective). Would you say that that the kidnapping, torturing and murder of a child is morally bad and if so, why? I obviously believe it to be but from a skeptics position, I'm interested to know your thoughts.

          February 2, 2014 at 1:24 am |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          When you can figure out where the morals came from that tell you it's wrong to sell your daughter into slavery in spite of what the Bible says, then maybe you'll be able to figure out where many non-believers' morals may come from.

          Good night.

          February 2, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Good night, Observer....

          February 2, 2014 at 1:28 am |
        • Observer

          S-3B Viking,

          Good night/morning.

          February 2, 2014 at 1:30 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          TF,

          I'm guessing that you are itching to practice what you've learned from your apologetic texts on anyone who'll bite. You seem to have pat examples and pat questions and I have to laugh at your use of the most extreme examples...the Bundy, Hitler, etc., etc. in an effort to have them say something that will be seen as abhorent...such as your poor analog of the morality of torturing or killing a child....

          But lets play for a bit...you and I both know that it is abhorent to torture or kill kids...(I notice you won't answer those who call you to account for the OT God's actions against innocent kids)....

          So why? is it wrong to kidnap, torture or kill a child? Because we, as a species, have determined it is so legally. We have also determined individually that it makes no sense and has no value...

          February 2, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          BTW, TF,

          If a verse in Exodus commanded that each family will kill and eat the third-born and every third child thereafter, would you comply?

          February 2, 2014 at 1:49 am |
        • Truth follower

          S-3B,

          "So why? is it wrong to kidnap, torture or kill a child? Because we, as a species, have determined it is so legally. We have also determined individually that it makes no sense and has no value…"

          So you go the legality route. There is a big issue with this however. Do you believe that the Holocaust was morally good? Because it was done legally. But surely you believe it was a moral abomination irregardless of the legality.

          February 2, 2014 at 2:00 am |
        • Truth follower

          "How do you reconcile this statement with the direct and indirect killing of children and infants by the biblical deity, e.g. the flood and 1 Sam 15:3?"

          My short answer to this is as foll

          February 2, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • Truth follower

          Redzoa, nice to see you back! My short answer to this is with God being the Author and Giver of life, He can take anyone one out of the world as He sees fit at any time. Who are we to argue with the One that gives us life in the first place? If our every breath we breathe is a gift from God and our existence is solely and completely dependent on Him, then any day we are given is a blessing. However, if a bullet should hit me tomorrow and I leave this world, God has certainly done me no wrong. In addition, I believe that you may have lost sight of the fact that God works with eternal purposes in mind, not finite. A Christian believes that this life is not the end destination for any human being.

          February 2, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          TF,

          Again, extreme examples and pat questions/answers. Your simple examples refuse to consider all the variables of what goes into a specific example.

          If the questions were easily answered then the Philosophy departments and Divinity Schools would have long been closed due to irrelevance.

          What influenced Hitler coming to power...where were the Christians? Why didn't Lt. Calley's platoon members refuse his orders at My Lai? What about the catholic priest and nuns in Rwanda who allowed the Hutu's to slaughter the Tutsis who thought they were in a place of refuge? Why didn't your pastor go to Rwanda in 1994 and stand between them?

          Show me that you are willing to address the complexities of your questions and maybe your questions would be considered worthy of a direct answer.

          February 2, 2014 at 2:21 am |
        • redzoa

          @TF – "Redzoa, nice to see you back! My short answer to this is with God being the Author and Giver of life, He can take anyone one out of the world as He sees fit at any time."

          With respect, this is not a reconciliation of what you yourself claimed was an "objective" moral standard against the killing of children, this is simply excusing your preferred deity from the objective standard when the deity engages the behavior. This is relative morality, not objective or absolute morality, in that whether a given act is moral or not is relative to the actor, not the action. We're moving into Euthyphro's dilemma, i.e. is it good because god says so v. did god say so because it is good. Of course the first option is relative morality, again relative to the actor rather than the action. The second indicates an objective absolute morality, however, this objective absolute is superior to the "choice" of a deity, i.e. there is good above or without god. I appreciate that the likely response here is another argument by definitional fiat, i.e. the immutable good nature of god. But this is really just restating the absence of a truly objective absolute standard, because, first, we're back to relative morality based on the actor not the action, and second, one can't impose an immutable nature on an omnipotent being lest they no longer be truly omnipotent, i.e. god becomes incapable of freely choosing their own nature if they are bounded.

          The ability to create life is not synonymous with the morality of choosing to exterminate said life. In other words the power to do something does not speak to whether that something is good/bad.

          You are certainly free to defend the killing of children/infants via flood or orders to Israelite soldiers, but I'd offer in doing so, you will invariably engage some form of the Nuremberg Defense, i.e. the abdication of personal responsibility in evaluating the morality of an edict in favor of simply acquiescing to perceived authority. Add to this that the moral framework of the bible (minus the 2nd greatest commandment) is entirely bookended by a threat of eternal punishment and a promise of eternal reward. This is akin to making a "choice" with a gun to your back and a pot of gold in front you. It's not a truly "free" choice . . .

          I added a comment near the end to pick up the Resurrection v. Golden Plates evidence discussion. I may get a little distracted but will check in as time permits. Again, I sincerely appreciate the cordial tone here and want to reaffirm that it's not my intention to disparage you or your beliefs, rather, like yourself, I enjoy dissecting the ideas and their underlying reasoning for purely masochistic purposes 🙂

          February 2, 2014 at 2:41 am |
        • Truth follower

          S-B3,

          "What influenced Hitler coming to power…where were the Christians? Why didn’t Lt. Calley’s platoon members refuse his orders at My Lai? What about the catholic priest and nuns in Rwanda who allowed the Hutu’s to slaughter the Tutsis who thought they were in a place of refuge? Why didn’t your pastor go to Rwanda in 1994 and stand between them?"

          How do any of the above questions effect the question I asked you: Do you believe that the Holocaust was morally good? Because it was done legally (I am using this because of your earlier justification for morality being legality). Surely you believe it was a moral abomination irregardless of the legality.

          February 2, 2014 at 3:26 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          TF asks: "How do any of the above questions effect the question I asked you"?

          Hmmm...here's my three-part answer, TF:

          1. They affect and have everything in the world to do with your question.

          2. I see that you don't like it when someone you question doesn't play by your rules....and yet, when you've been asked numerous times by others to answer their questions, you don't. How does that make you feel?

          3. I see you read responses selectively...ignoring what others have to say. Pretty disrespectful.

          So, TF, I see that you are incapable of looking beyond your concepts. I wonder, if in fact, you don't worship the concept of Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit instead of the actual three "persons" of the trinity. I think you do...and, therefore, are guilty of idol worship...but don't feel bad, most 21st Century Christians worship the concept.

          I also wonder about your humanity. That you show youself incapable of seeing that there is more to one of your questions makes me wonder if the "Hom.ose.xual," the woman who gets an abortion, the pedophile, the Wiccan, the Muslim, etc. are nothing more than just concepts to you.

          It's really safe and comfortable to read your books and worship at your various altars and not have to actually walk among us sinners.

          It's not unlike the training we receive in the military that dehumanizes our enemies. Enemies, TF...Makes me wonder how you conceptualize away Jesus' command in Luke 6:27ff?

          February 2, 2014 at 4:15 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Truth follower, you should be ashamed of your behavior on this thread. You ignore excellent questions or arguments put forth as if they did not just destroy your entire rationale, and then you continue to ask weak questions whose answers have no relevance to your position. I can't remember when I've seen a more dishonest and obstinate debater for the Christian side.

          Of course, I could play your silly, dishonest game, but since your a Christian, and I'm perfectly okay with Christians making stupid arguments instead of good ones, I'm going to not answer you ridiculous questions that have nothing to do with your points or mine, but I'm going to watch for your further dishonesty in dealing with redzoa and Observer and the rest. It's humorous to watch how weak is your "best" response to the direct questions and observations put to you.

          Remember, for a god believer, any excuse will do. Who cares if it makes no sense or if any believer of any god and holy book could use it? It's an excuse, so it works to keep you from having to think honestly about your fragile beliefs.

          February 2, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • Truth follower

          Redzoa, how are you today? Quick question. Do you believe that what God did by having all of these people and children killed was morally wrong? If so, why?

          February 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • Truth follower

          S-B3, how are you this afternoon? Please below.

          Hmmm…here’s my three-part answer, TF:

          1. They affect and have everything in the world to do with your question. – are you saying your questions must be answered before you will answer mine?

          2. I see that you don’t like it when someone you question doesn’t play by your rules….and yet, when you’ve been asked numerous times by others to answer their questions, you don’t. How does that make you feel? What question have I not answered that you are looking for?

          3. I see you read responses selectively…ignoring what others have to say. Pretty disrespectful. – There are many conversations and allegations being made. I apologize if I haven't answered a particular question you are wanting an answer concerning.

          So, TF, I see that you are incapable of looking beyond your concepts. I wonder, if in fact, you don’t worship the concept of Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit instead of the actual three “persons” of the trinity. I think you do…and, therefore, are guilty of idol worship…but don’t feel bad, most 21st Century Christians worship the concept. – I have a relationship with God my Father. This certainly excludes worshipping concepts.

          I also wonder about your humanity. That you show youself incapable of seeing that there is more to one of your questions makes me wonder if the “Hom.ose.xual,” the woman who gets an abortion, the pedophile, the Wiccan, the Muslim, etc. are nothing more than just concepts to you. – these people are certainly so much more than only concepts to me. They are people to be loved and in need of a Savior just as I and everyone else on this blog is.

          It’s really safe and comfortable to read your books and worship at your various altars and not have to actually walk among us sinners. – this is the reason I am on this blog, a concern for the lost, though I wouldn't use the word "sinner" in this pretext for we are all sinners including those who are saved. I would use the word "lost", those who do not know The Lord Jesus Christ. I am on this blog, not to win a debate, but to witness to the Truth.

          May I ask you a question concerning your evangelical past? What did you believe a person needed to do to be saved? What specifically, if it was something specific, led you away from your profession? Thank you.

          February 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          Where did the morals come from that (hopefully) convinced you that the Bible was WRONG to support selling daughters into slavery and WRONG about supporting slavery in general?

          February 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Observer, how's it going this evening. I'm just watching what I thought would be much closer Super Bowl game but it hasn't turned out that way!

          "Where did the morals come from that (hopefully) convinced you that the Bible was WRONG to support selling daughters into slavery and WRONG about supporting slavery in general?"

          Concerning slavery in general, please see the below quote from Christian philosopher William Lane Craig: "Slavery in the Old Testament was not the same thing that we associate with slavery in the Antebellum South. In the Old Testament, they didn’t have a large central government and any sort of welfare program for the help of the poor. If a person found himself incapable of paying his debts there was no welfare safety net that would rescue him. Rather, what was possible in that culture, was that he could sell himself into indentured servant hood and work for seven years to pay off his debts, and this enabled him to keep his family together, to preserve his dignity, to work off his debts, and get himself out of poverty and back on his feet. So, this was not slavery in the sense that we associate with the term. This was really an anti-poverty program that worked, I think, quite well in a system prior to the big government era."

          I would also say that if you or anyone else on this blog are interested in some of the Old Testament topics that have been raised, please check out a book called "God is not a moral monster" by Paul Copan.

          February 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • Truth follower

          By the way, how is everyone tonight? Did anyone catch the Super Bowl?

          February 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • tallulah13

          The ownership of another person is morally wrong, no matter how many excuses you make. There are indeed parts of the bible that condone slavery, even going so far as to list the duties of the person who is owned. I sincerely doubt that a slave of the ancient world would find your spin to be compelling.

          February 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • redzoa

          @TF – "Redzoa, how are you today? Quick question. Do you believe that what God did by having all of these people and children killed was morally wrong? If so, why?"

          Doing Ok, and hoping all's well with you too (i.e. that you're not a Broncos fan). I'll begin my answer with your own words: "But you and I know that it is always morally wrong if, for example a child is tortured and then murdered." I suspect that my reasons mirror your own reasons when you made this statement. The bigger point here is that if you are now willing to qualify "always," then you are implicitly accepting that this moral "absolute" is not, in fact, an absolute, but is relative to the actor.

          With respect to the biblical deity, I find the killing of children/infants even worse. Two frequently cited justifications are: 1) the children/infants would have grown up to be evil, and 2) killing them was merciful in light of suffering they were allegedly enduring at the hands of their parents. Neither of these justifications wash. The first justification nullifies free will in that the children were not judged on any actual exercise of free will to choose evil; rather they were expressly judged for the actions of others. The second fails because an omnipotent being has unlimited options to remove the children from the harm without inflicting additional and final pain/suffering.

          I'm aware apologists attempt to distinguish "murder" from the biblical killing of children and infants based on what is and isn't "lawful"; however, this twist fails in light of the plain language definitions of deliberate homicide found in the Model Penal Code. In other words, "murder" and "deliberate homicide" (i.e. knowingly or purposefully ending the life of a human being) are effectively synonymous. The "true" purpose or intent of a killer is not a consideration (other than the legal mental capacity to stand trial). Our legal system has effectively dispensed with subjective "intent" because we simply cannot know what was in the mind of a killer when they chose to kill. We rationally and reasonably base our judgments of culpability on the acts and immediate circ-umstances. This is important because we can no more know what god's intent may or may not have been than we can know what Jeffrey Dahmer's intent may or may not have been. And it is no more rational or reasonable to engraft an immutable good nature to one than it is to the other. Of course, I appreciate that you believe you must make such an assignment to your preferred deity, but for all we actually know, the immutable nature of god may be malevolence or simply complete indifference. Like the use of "begins" to qualify the Kalam Cosmological argument, the use of an "immutable good nature" is likewise just special pleading via definitional fiat to excuse a preferred actor from the premise of strict absolute/objective morality.

          Lastly, as I noted before, attempting to exempt a particular actor's actions from moral evaluation based solely on the perceived authority of the actor is a form of Nuremberg Defense. One's subjective apathy or even confidence in the perceived valid purposes of a superior's actions and commands does not excuse one from personal moral culpability in acquiescing to the superior's actions or carrying out said commands. Apologists frequently object to any critical examination of the nature of their preferred deity claiming a "mortal cannot judge God!" However, this is precisely what every mortal is called upon to do when choosing to give or withhold their allegiance.

          February 3, 2014 at 1:32 am |
        • redzoa

          @TF – I noticed elsewhere you stated you rejected the 2 prongs of Euthyphro's Dilemma choosing (as I believe I predicted) to use W.L. Craig's "immutable good nature" argument. I pre-emptively responded to this earlier but, in addition to the points directly above, I'll add it here again:

          I appreciate that the likely response here is another argument by definitional fiat, i.e. the immutable good nature of god. But this is really just restating the absence of a truly objective absolute standard, because, first, we're back to relative morality based on the actor not the action, and second, one can't impose an immutable nature on an omnipotent being lest they no longer be truly omnipotent, i.e. god becomes incapable of freely choosing their own nature if they are bounded.

          February 3, 2014 at 1:48 am |
        • redzoa

          @TF – Ok, one last point and I'm done for the night, but will check back later. Again, not my intent to disparage you personally and I don't want to appear to be "ganging up" on ya. Nonetheless, your deference to W.L. Craig's biblical slavery defense is misplaced. What Craig and virtually all apologists reference in making their knowingly false distinction to antebellum slavery is the treatment of fellow Israelite slaves, who were to be effectively treated as indentured servants and eventually released. However, foreign born slaves were not afforded this treatment and were to be held as personal property that could be passed down to the slaveowner's heirs (Lev 25:44-46). This latter group is the target of criticism. It should be noted that where even mere mortals would eventually come to identify as morally repugnant the practice of owning another human being as personal property, the alleged divine law giver expressly condoned this practice.

          February 3, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • Truth follower

          Redzoa. I am not a broncos fan. I was more of a neutral observer.
          Please see below:

          “But you and I know that it is always morally wrong if, for example a child is tortured and then murdered.” I suspect that my reasons mirror your own reasons when you made this statement." – I don't see how your reasons can mirror my reasons concerning this if you don't believe in a Moral Law Giver. My first question is if you do you believe the above example is morally wrong and if so, why? This is very important in helping me understand where you stand with regard to objective morality. How do determine if something is morally good or bad?

          "The bigger point here is that if you are now willing to qualify “always,” then you are implicitly accepting that this moral “absolute” is not, in fact, an absolute, but is relative to the actor." I'm not sure I follow your reasoning in this. I certainly believe there are objective moral values that are independent of personal opinion. The Holocaust would be an example of a moral evil that is independent of personal opinion. It is morally evil. My question to you is why, based on your view, is it morally evil? (I'm assuming you do agree that it is morally wrong but I could be wrong). Maybe the confusion is in my example above. I forgot to premise that the child was kidnapped and then tortured and murdered. Would you say based on your view, that this morally wrong and if so, why?

          "With respect to the biblical deity, I find the killing of children/infants even worse." This is a key statement. Why is it worst to you? Do you believe it be morally wrong and if so, why?

          February 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • Truth follower

          Redzoa, good afternoon. You state: "I appreciate that the likely response here is another argument by definitional fiat, i.e. the immutable good nature of god. But this is really just restating the absence of a truly objective absolute standard, because, first, we’re back to relative morality based on the actor not the action, and second, one can’t impose an immutable nature on an omnipotent being lest they no longer be truly omnipotent, i.e. god becomes incapable of freely choosing their own nature if they are bounded."

          This will be a pretty straightforward response to this as you already understand my position. How do you consider my position based on an "absence of a truly objective absolute standard"? As I quoted Dr. Craig above which you saw: "God’s nature is The Good and that this simply determines what goodness is." I can't think of a better absolute standard of moral goodness than God Himself! One of the many wonderful things about God is that His nature doesn't change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. See Hebrews 13:8 and James 1:17.

          February 3, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
      • Truth Follower

        just testing to see if this posts

        February 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • Truth follower

          I looked for the list but didn't find it. Can you please be more specific.

          February 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • fyi

          Listen, joker(s) who deleted this list: it is NOT just listing nasty words for fun. It is necessary knowledge for people who find their posts not appearing.

          PLEASE DO NOT DELETE

          Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
          Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
          You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
          -
          ar-se.....as in ar-senic, coa-rse
          Ch-ardonnay
          co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
          co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
          crac-ker…
          cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
          ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
          ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
          ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
          ho-oters…as in sho-oters
          ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
          inf-orms us…
          hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
          jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
          ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
          koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
          ni-gra…as in deni-grate
          nip-ple
          o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
          pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
          p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
          p-orn… as in p-ornography
          pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
          que-er
          ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
          se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
          sl-ut
          sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
          sn-atch
          sp-ank
          sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
          sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
          strip-per
          ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
          tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
          va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
          who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
          wt-f....also!!!!!!!
          x-xx…
          There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

          There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

          February 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
    • Guest

      "The logic is that for something to exist, something must have created it."
      So then how logical is the argument that nothing created something?
      God does not come from nothing. God doesn't come from anything. His existence is itself self-existing. God alone is self-existing. He is God not creation. You cannot apply logical argument to the nature of God whose nature is transcendent of all things.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
      • Observer

        Guest,

        "You cannot apply logical argument to the nature of God"

        Amen. Something that believers, atheists, and agnostics can ALL agree on.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
      • Dandintac

        Then why not save a step and say the Universe is self-existing? At least with the universe, we have actual evidence for its existence, unlike the God claim.

        There is evidence for a multiverse, in which multiple universes arise. So it's quite possible that the universe, or some sort of "mother" multiverse is self-existent. There is no evidence for any sort of intelligence behind it all. There is zero hard evidence for the God claim.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
    • Truth follower

      Observer, I want to leave you with a challenge. I ask you to research from a historical perspective the death and resurrection (if the evidence leads you there and I believe it does). Go watch debates on YouTube between leading non believers such as Bart Ehrman with leading Christian thinkers on the subject such as Michael Licona and Gary Habermas. See both sides from scholars. Read books on the matter. Please set aside your bias and see where the evidence leads. If Jesus truly did rise from the dead, then Christianity is the true religion of the world. Thank you for the conversation. I've truly enjoyed it.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
      • Observer

        Truth follower,

        It's like an argument about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin.

        The bottom line is that the story of God is told by the Bible and that's the problem.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • Truth follower

          I believe that the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth can be demonstrated using historical data that even the skeptics (atheists and agnostics) accept. A very good book on this is The Case for the Resurrection by Dr. Gary Habermas. Go watch the debate between world renown critic Bart Ehrman and Michael Licona and notice the HISTORICAL DATA that Bart Ehrman agrees to. I believe it will very much surprise you and open your eyes to much more evidence than you seem to acknowledge knowledge of in your posts.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth follower,

          Sorry, but like I said I'm not interested in "angels on the head of a pin" arguments for either side.

          I would be interested if they come out with a new version of the Bible that refutes much of the older version.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • Truth follower

          I'm sorry to see that you are not truly open to where the evidence may lead. I have prayed for you tonight.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:04 am |
        • Truth follower

          They have these types of bibles you refer to. They're made to suit what the people want to hear as opposed to what they don't.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Some people are afraid to admit that there's this huge mystery about our origins. They can bring themselves to face the reality that we really don't know where we came from or why we are here. Rather than find the mystery interesting, they make up silly stories about some big invisible sky wizard chanting magic spells for six days to make a universe that was 'perfect' but yet so fragile that one twist of one woman's wrist threw the whole thing into nuclear meltdown of "sin/corruption."

          January 29, 2014 at 12:48 am |
        • Observer

          Truth tollower,

          Thanks for your concern, but if you want to make the world a better place, pray that some of your fellow Christians will actually follow the Golden Rule rather than be such HYPOCRITES and pick on gays and pro-choice supporters.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • Truth follower

          Captain Obvious, this is a personal statement concerning yourself (we really don’t know where we came from or why we are here). You cannot apply this to everyone as the Christian would state something completely opposite. We know why we are here and the purpose of existence. Acknowledging the God of the Bible certainly doesn't make things less interesting at all! Where do you get this notion from?

          February 1, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Anybody can claim to know anything, Truth Misunderstander; but the real test is measurement. What can be measured that provides evidence for your claim. My claim is that god believers have just as much evidence as people who believe in leprechauns with pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Just because someone says that the KNOW that there are leprechauns with pots of god at the end of rainbows does not mean that I should somehow give their idea credence.

          People in insane asylums have all sorts of varying ideas that they "know," but they are kept locked up because nobody can verifiy that what they KNOW actually exists as they claim. If you KNOW that your house is green with yellow shutters, you can demonstrate that to such a convincing degree that others will KNOW it, too, but you have no way to objectively prove anything that you claim to KNOW about your god. All you have is your opinions held by faith. You KNOW your god is real in the EXACT same way a muslim knows that the Koran is correct. Are you really wiling to admit that the Koran believer KNOWS god with exsactly the same reasoning as you use to make the same claim about your god? Don't be a hypocrite, now.

          February 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • S-3B Viking

        Whether its Josh McDowell demanding a verdict for his evidence...or Lee Strobel's case studies...or Bill Craig's charisma, the daily lives lived by Christians confirm the stone was never rolled back and the grave clothes still cover the skeletal remains of a once great teacher and moralist....

        BTW, there are more options than Lewis' "Liar, lunatic, or Lord."

        January 28, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • Truth follower

          What other options or option are referring to?

          January 29, 2014 at 12:01 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          TF,

          Your question exemplifies your mindset...such as your certainty that the resurrection can be considered via the "historical method."

          Your ideology and conceptualization of the world prevents you from seeing that there are more ti.tles that could be given Jesus.

          You are not unlike the idiot conservatives I used to be a proud member of who spout: "America, love it or leave it" as if those were the only two options.

          Thus, your historicity will always be suspect.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • Truth follower

          Okay....so once again....what other options or option are you referring to? Please be specific and please do not sidestep the question. I wonder if you are familiar with the historical data based on your response. Even agnostic historical scholar Bart Ehrman accepts some things to be true regarding the events surrounding the death and reported appearances of Jesus.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:55 am |
  16. JW

    A question for my atheist friends:

    Your driving pass a deserted area, and as you drive you spot something simple as a house standing lonely. What would you think? Was the house projected and built by someone? Or it simply came to be out of nothing, or by evolution?.

    January 28, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
    • Petyr

      Abandoned or occupied?

      January 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
      • JW

        Abandoned

        January 28, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • Petyr

          Why?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • JW

          Because you believe that the universe is an abandoned thing...

          January 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
        • Petyr

          Please show me where I said that. Is it your intent to bear false witness?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • Petyr

          And I merely meant why abandoned instead of occupied, but clearly you know what I think already, based on your projection.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          WRONG again. Atheists don't believe in gods, but they have individual beliefs on the meaning of life. You are STILL making things up.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:10 am |
        • Petyr

          Oh, I see our error, JW; because I answered your question, (because I was curious as to what sort of point you were trying to make) you assumed I was an atheist.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • JW

          I actually thought you were an atheist..

          January 29, 2014 at 12:25 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Typically poor analog, JW, of an Evangelical or a Witness who only reads his apologetic text books.

      You are part of a "Western" and human mindset that believes because we can create things then the gods we create must have created us and the universe as well.

      Frankly, your God and the Christian God simply isn't smart enough, wise enough or mature enough to have created the depthless complexity of the universe as we are coming to know it....

      Your God and the Christian God look entirely too much like you, JW...and Topher and Austin and my ol' buddy Chad...

      January 28, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
    • Dandintac

      I'll answer it, but I don't see any relevance to Noah's ark, or the existence of any gods, or the validity of Christianity.

      We all know of course, that a house was built. OF COURSE–IT'S A HOUSE! We know those are designed and built by men. There are things that are designed and built by us, which we recognize. There are things that occur naturally, and we know how this happens.

      Now a question for you. You're driving in the desert and you pass something–a large granite boulder. Was the boulder built by someone?

      Did the boulder occur through natural forces such as volcanism which we can actually observe? Or does God have to come down and design and sculpt every single rock from the granite mountain ranges to the individual grains of sand on the beaches?

      January 28, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
      • JW

        The natural forces that created the boulder where already created before. It's like the engine of a car... The engine was already calibrated before you buy the car... Every time you turn on the car the engine automatically does whatever it was projected to do.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Good! I'm glad we can agree that there are natural forces at work. This kind of invalidates your implied argument that a designer is needed, if natural forces can create things like boulders and grains of sand. Now you seem to imply that a god is behind it all. Please define this god, and provide some hard evidence for its existence.

          Keep in mind that you have just admitted that natural forces can create things, so you cannot use the argument from existence. We both understand that natural forces can do that job.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:01 am |
        • JW

          Just like an engine that is designed and built then it works automatically... The same thing with God, he built the universe, and calibrated it" by the laws that our universe and planet works on, then it automatically works according to the laws created by its creator.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • Dandintac

          JW,

          You've already admitted and agreed that things can be created naturally, like the granite boulder. We can either describe how most things in the universe were created naturally, and we can even observe these processes. What evidence do you have that indeed, some sort of superintelligence was required? Evidence, JW, evidence!

          Please understand that your assertion that intelligence was required to create the universe is just that–an assertion with no hard evidence to back it up. Since we both agree that things can happen naturally, existence does not const-itute such evidence. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

          Thanks

          January 29, 2014 at 12:44 am |
        • Truth Follower

          This is a test.

          February 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
    • Truth Follower

      This is a test.

      February 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
      • fyi

        TF

        See message above... at 5:03pm

        February 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
  17. Dandintac

    Regarding this Noah’s ark story. In a lot of ways, this is a non-story. This is one of many flood myths.

    Keep in mind that flooding is very, very common, and always has been for as long as there has been water running across the face of the planet. Furthermore, human beings need a lot of water–maybe more than any other land animal. We are constantly using water–to drink–and a lot of it compared to other animals, to irrigate our crops and provide to livestock, to wash our bodies and clothes, to wash away our waste, and so on. So of course we overwhelmingly live near rivers. Look at any map and see how often you find a city that is not close to a river, or at least a body of water. So when these rivers flood, they have a big impact on us. A cat by comparison, will swim to safety or die–and that’s it. With humans, everything we have is washed away, our livestock lost or killed, our homes and belongings, our tools, our crops destroyed, etc.

    So we should certainly expect that floods will play important roles in our myths, and our historical record is going to contain a lot of accounts of flooding and how people reacted, and since our ancestors had no knowledge or understanding of what caused floods and the weather, everything was attributed to one god or another. And indeed, almost every culture and religion has flood myths, just as they have creation myths. Why would we expect anything different?

    In different civilizations at different times, there may have been wealthy and far-sighted men or rulers who had barges built, and when the flood came, their families and flocks were gathered on to the barge to ride it out. This is a possible kernel of truth to the various flood myths. I’m struck by the precise and realistic measurements of the ark described in the Bible. This round ark may have worked well too. Both are probably created and or embellished based on various designs for barges that the people knew of in their cultures.

    For those who believe the literal reading of the Noah’s ark story, the best think I can say about you is that you are wildly deluded. This is not a story any rational adult could believe in literally–especially that two of EVERY animal in the world was gathered, and the entire Earth was flooded to the tallest mountain. Others are doing a fair job of describing why in further detail, so I’ll leave that for now.

    Thanks

    January 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
  18. Reality #2

    When is this myth finally going to be put to rest? Maybe the Myth Busters should take up the task???

    January 28, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
  19. Txseo

    This article is innaccurate. The flood story from a Judeo-Christian perspective was the result of many human sins. Not just violence. That's basic without any need to interpret. I would recommend accuracy in areas such as this. I almost stopped reading.

    January 28, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
    • Petyr

      Wow. Just...wow.

      January 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
    • Observer

      Txseo,

      "(the flood) was the result of many human sins"

      Not exactly. God drowned babies and fetuses that obviously DID NOT SIN.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
      • 1mytthnk

        sin is a part of each of us as much as our blood, our toes, our fingernails

        January 28, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
        • Observer

          1mytthnk,

          Name ONE SIN committed by ALL the fetuses God DROWNED.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
        • Petyr

          Translation: those infant and fetuses deserved it?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Not the way they like to phrase it–but yeah, that's basically what they believe. One of the most revolting notions of Christianity. They need it to brush everyone with the guilt tar–regardless of what people have actually done in terms of deeds.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • Petyr

          Hard to reconcile that, Dandintac. I cannot think of anything more innocent than a new born baby.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          armed robbery, murder, skull crushing

          instead of being an ignorant, opinionated, know it all, loud mouth fool, get some education at a good school.

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

          Babies are guilty of armed robbery, murder, and skull crushing?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          instead of being an ignorant, opinionated, know it all, loud mouth fool, get some education at a good school.

          Observer
          No one likes abortion,

          u don't like truth
          @60,000,000 somebody loves abortions

          u cant keep lying and expect to interact with people other than u

          January 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
        • Petyr

          Oh! You're a troll. Gotcha.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          what did jesus deserve?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • doobzz

          Is it a part of animal DNA too? What "sin" did all the animals commit?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Peytr,

          Yeah, even innocent babies. That's one of the things that makes Christianity so bad. They have to splatter every single person with the guilt paint, in order to claim that we all need saving. See, that's the central hub of their religion. Guilt is the cornerstone of their religion–although they call it "salvation". We're all born bad and evil it seems, and only Jesus can save us. Christianity beats people down, chopping the legs of morality right out from under us, then offers us the prosthetic of their myths to prop us back up–the very same tool they used to beat us down to begin with. And of course, it's all your fault–didn't you know? Small wonder Christians often act as if they have Battered Person Syndrome. I think it's vile.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • Petyr

          A better spokesperson than you.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          what did jesus deserve??

          January 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          what did jesus deserve??

          he was sinless

          January 28, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          what did jesus deserve??

          he was sinless!

          January 28, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • Petyr

          Jesus deserves a better spokesman than you, 1.
          Babies are sinless.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • 1mytthnk

          what did jesus deserve??

          he was sinless!

          Jesus deserves a better spokesman than you, 1.
          Babies are sinless.

          i am wonderful
          1. prove babies r innocent.
          2. sin is something that we do
          3. sin is who we r w/o doing anything. Just as blood, toes, mind, dna r part of us.
          4. because god does stuff you don't agree with, does not destroy his reality
          5. god is, always was and will be no matter what you think

          January 29, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • 1mytthnk

          what did jesus deserve??

          he was sinless!

          Jesus deserves a better spokesman than you, 1.
          Babies are sinless.

          i am wonderful
          1. prove babies r innocent.
          2. sin is something that we do
          3. sin is who we r w/o doing anything. Just as blood, toes, mind, dna r part of us.
          4. because god does stuff you don't agree with, does not destroy his reality
          5. god is, always was and will be no matter what you think

          u no these things

          January 29, 2014 at 12:04 am |
        • Hallux valgus

          Baby toes are cute - all too often adult ones are gross!

          January 29, 2014 at 1:20 am |
      • It is what it is

        Observer,

        Just a comment about your statement that fetuses and babies DID NOT SIN. What people have to realize is that we are born sinners, to say that it's not what we do that makes us sinners, it is the fact that we are born with a sinful nature and there for we sin. So depending on your perspective of when life begins, babies in the womb ( or fetuses as some refer to them as) are born with a sinful nature.

        Also about the flood, it does say in the genesis account that God closed the door of the arc, not Noah. That being said the only reason that Noah and his family were the only humans on the boat is because mankind rejected God and choose not to get into the arc.

        People have different takes on this and a lot do not agree with the bible, but it says what it says and is what it is....Gods version of the truth...the only one that matters.

        Not trying to be argumentative it's just that I read that portion of scripture about a week ago.

        January 28, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • Petyr

          Babies are born completely innocent, unless you consider the mere act of being born is sinful.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • doobzz

          What "sin" did the animals commit?

          Also, did Jesus have original sin?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • Petyr

          doobzz, wouldn't he had to have been, if he was born?

          January 29, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • doobzz

          @Petyr

          I would think so, if Jesus was truly human, that he would have "original sin" and a "sin nature". But then he couldn't be the perfect sacrificial lamb, could he?

          But if Jesus wasn't born with "original sin" and a "sin nature" then he's not really man, he's god pretending to be man for a little while and then returning to heaven. So he couldn't be man's representative sacrifice, since he wasn't truly man.

          January 29, 2014 at 1:51 am |
        • Pete

          Indeed, it is impossible to be both fully god and fully human at the same time.

          January 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  20. Dandintac

    AN HONEST QUESTION FOR CHRISTIANS

    Okay, there’s a question I’ve been wanting to ask, and this is as good a place as any. It’s an ethical dilemma I want to pose for you–because I honestly have no clue how you would deal with it. It’s easy for me, but I’m an atheist.

    Let’s suppose you and I are able to travel back through time to when Yeshua (or Jesus as he is called now), assuming he existed, was crucified, and I think it probable that a Jewish Rabbi with that name did exist and was indeed executed by the Romans roughly 2000 years ago. Let’s further suppose that between the two of us, we have the means to save him from this fate. We COULD do it with a high probability for success.

    Would you do it?

    On the one hand, you have the opportunity to save an innocent man’s life. Is that not ethical? And this is JESUS–the greatest person ever. The perfect man. How can it not be moral to save him?

    On the other hand, if you do indeed save him, there is no blood sacrifice, no resurrection, and no salvation. Would you not be condemning billions of souls to Hell by saving him? How can that be moral?

    For me, this is easy. Since I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in the blood sacrifice, Jesus’ divinity, the need to kill him to save us from thought crimes, souls, the existence of God, Heaven, Hell, etc. The obvious answer is to save him if I can. I would want to save any innocent man from being killed. I would probably find Yeshua to be deluded, a lunatic, a con artist, or simply that he’s not all he was cracked up to be, but still–an innocent man I should try to save. But I can only do it with your help.

    So what is your answer?

    January 28, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
    • Reality #2

      An a-nalogous view:

      Paul of Taurus was first of the "necessary accessories". He recognized early on the great wealth of Roman and Greek Gentiles so he wrote his epistles raising Jesus and his embellished life from the dead and the Gentiles "ate it up". His promise of the imminent second coming was shear brilliance in gathering much silver and gold (the prime necessary accessory). The Romans got jealous ending the life of the first necessary accessory.

      Pilate, although not the founder of Christianity, was another "necessary accessory i.e. he could have easily sent Jesus to the salt mines.

      Constantine and his swords finished the "necessary accessory" scenario.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:01 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.