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February 10th, 2014
06:13 PM ET

Deaf pastor signs a mighty surprising message

Opinion by Justin Vollmar, special to CNN

(CNN) – When I was 18, I was drawn to a strict Christian sect known as Independent Fundamental Baptists. They convinced me that they were the only true church and I became a born-again, washed-in-blood Christian.

I left Gallaudet University, the nation’s premier school for deaf students, to enroll at Capital Baptist Deaf College, where I graduated with an unaccredited bachelor's degree in pastoral studies.

For the next seven years, I was a pastor in Silver Spring, Maryland, working 60 hours a week for little pay. My senior pastor was a harsh taskmaster, scolding me and always pushing me to work harder. Meanwhile, he earned $80,000 a year and played golf two times a week. I lived in poverty and did not see my children much. I got burned out.

I resigned my position and was shunned by the church. My faith in God was severely shaken. I started to have doubts about the Bible’s claims. I questioned whether God’s love, which is supposed to reside inside Christians, was real.

Still, I didn’t quit the church.

Rather, for two years I became a pastor at a church that is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. I called myself a “contemporary Baptist,” in the vein of megachurch pastor Rick Warren's “purpose-driven church.”

But that pit-of-the-stomach worry stayed, as I wondered whether I would leave the church and go through another shunning.

During that time, I established an online preaching ministry, Virtual Deaf Church, for deaf people like myself. I had a fairly sizable audience - averaging 3,000 viewers for each video or vlog - about the same as a good-sized flesh-and-blood congregation.

But I still had lots of spiritual questions and studied shelves of theological books in search of answers. I struggled with many more contradictions I continued to discover.

For example, how could dozens of Christian denominations fight and call each other false churches? Why are there thousands of conflicting interpretations among Christians? How could God be so loving when he will send millions to hell?

I moved toward ecumenism and tried to promote unity among churches. Nevertheless, my doubts still churned in my heart.

One day in 2011, while I was preaching at my former church in College Park, Maryland, I had a surreal moment and  doubts completely seized my heart. I decided I could no longer be a pastor.

I resigned from my church and moved away to another state, and I have been living a life of ex-preacher for the last two years.

But I still did the vlogs, still preaching, in a way, about the very religion I was starting to walk away from.

I enrolled into Liberty University’s seminary, aspiring to be a scholar and hoping to get a doctorate in church history. I graduated with a master’s of arts in theology in December.

But, to my complete shock, I found that my doubts led me into atheism. As part of my study at Liberty, I was exposed to many criticisms against belief in God. After studying theology and philosophy, I realized the Bible was not the word of God. Supernatural miracles did not happen. Jesus Christ was a mythical figure who did not rise from the dead.

My faith completely collapsed, but a clarification settled in my heart.

I understood that God is an ancient but powerful superstition. I signed up for Clergy Project, where I found fellow ministers who doubted the existence of God. They helped me deal with emotions I felt and helped me set new goals for my life.

After months in secrecy, I came out as an atheist last Friday because I want to give Christians a chance to break free from their traditions and superstitions.

The reaction so far has been explosive. Christians were devastated and skeptics were delighted.

I've received hundreds of negative comments and e-mails from Christians and hundreds of positive comments and e-mails from the skeptics.

For now, I will continue doing vlogs, only now from a skeptical viewpoint.

Justin Vollmar is the founder of Virtual Deaf Church. The views expressed in this column belong to Vollmar.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Journeys • Lost faith • Opinion

soundoff (574 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    Justin Vollmar, you are still my hero!

    I hope you are enjoying life in the real world. I wish you all the best!

    February 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • stevelegible

      I would like to join your message of encouragement.
      For 26 years the only religion I studied was Christianity. Then I was studying the King James Version, how it was translated from other existing versions, and how much scholars believe was deleted (much of it being the Apocryphal books found in the Catholic Bible). Then I studied ancient religions and found that Christianity is very derivative of them, just as Mormonism is derivative of Christianity. So I studied Mormonism for two months and came away with enough knowledge to realize what I discovered was amazing fallacy, fables and ancient tales that had been woven and rewoven in an effort to produce consistency where none exists.

      March 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        Does not sound like you did much studying...first of all..there is no evidence that Christianity is derivative from other religions..just because some things are SIMILAR does not mean it is derived from them...secondly...did you ever study as to WHY the Apocrypha was not added..or "deleted"? It was cause most of them were not condssidered Scripture in the FIRST place...

        March 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
  2. guidedans

    Everyone on this thread should be a Christian.

    Here's why: No one can prove anything. Heck, we can't even prove that we exist. If you really understand that, then you realize that everything you believe is actually just a choice between the various possibilities. No belief can be proven even the most fundamental (e.g., you say that there are laws of thermodynamics, and I say that we might be in some very intelligent monster's dream and that all the 'laws' here are made up by this monster. Then you give me a hug for bringing up such a good point).

    Anyhow, if nothing can be proven, then why don't you just go with the belief that provides you with the most utility? If you really think about it, Christianity provides the most utility, both in life and in the potential for an afterlife.

    Now that I have demonstrated why you should all be Christians, I hope you will all make the right choice and hop on board.

    February 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      asinine!

      February 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
      • guidedans

        What's asinine about anything I wrote?

        I laid out an argument:
        You can't prove anything
        You can believe anything you want to
        Your should believe in the thing that gives you the most utility
        Christianity offers the most utility
        Therefore you should believe in Christianity.

        I think that that is brilliant. No reasonable person can argue with it. You are welcome.

        February 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • mocasea

      So according to you because nothing can be "proven" we should all believes in something that can be less proven than our basic reality. Because everything might just be some giant snot monsters dream, we should embrace that which provides little to no help in advancing out lives, promotes discrimination and hatred, and doesn't improve quality of life in any significant manner.

      Your logic is flawed...

      February 22, 2014 at 6:23 am |
      • guidedans

        Hey Mocasea,

        Clearly, you do not hold high regard for Christianity, saying it "provides little to no help in advancing out lives, promotes discrimination and hatred, and doesn't improve quality of life in any significant manner."

        It would take a very substantial amount of discussion to prove or disprove any of those points. I will tell you that I disagree on all of them, and would argue that Christianity advances your life by providing a meaningful purpose and goal to it, it promotes loving thy neighbor and not discriminating against or hating him, and it improves your quality of life by giving you the assurance that your creator is watching over you. I understand that you do not believe those things, but I find it tiresome to try and debate the value that Christianity provides to a person's life compared to Atheism. I would argue that a Christian and an Atheist could have equally good lives, both from a moral standpoint and a fulfillment standpoint.

        Where the difference comes in is in the potential for an eternal life after death. While the atheist may be shepherded into heaven by an all-merciful God, there is the chance that that atheist, having denied that God's existence, will be cast into Hell for eternity. I understand that the Christian also faces that chance if, say Islam is the one true religion, but at least, if the Christian is correct, they are rewarded. The ONLY way an atheist gets rewarded after they die is if they are wrong. I would rather be rewarded for being right than be rewarded despite being wrong.

        February 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • dandintac

          So belief in God just boils down to a wager? Hey, put all your chips on Jesus here–you have nothing to lose, and you might hit the jackpot! Is that what your faith is to you?

          Or maybe more like you're just picking out a brand of Peanut Butter in the local grocery store? Hey–what's the risk? I'll buy the brand with the label that tells me if I don't, a man is waiting outside the door to beat the sh!t out of me. Better buy this brand!

          I'm sorry–but I cannot treat this issue so lightly. I take it very seriously. These are some of the biggest, most important questions ever–with profound implications about how we should lead our lives. It is not a wager. It's not a game where you are betting on rewards. Is this really how some of you see this belief thing?

          Sure–I could SAY I believe, but to be truly persuaded, I need evidence. Good, hard, repeatable evidence. Any kind of all-powerful, all-knowing being would know this, and if he were good, he would understand perfectly well, and not punish anyone for honest non-belief. I would think the sycophants are the ones who should really be afraid. "Sure God! I DID believe in you! Really! Trust me!" Don't you think this being would instantly see through it before the thoughts were even formed? Do you really believe this is the kind of people God prefers? People who will just say whatever–regardless of what they believe down in their heart? I don't believe in a theistic God, but if there were one, I would rather face this being with my integrity intact, rather than as a sycophant.

          Any God who would punish people for honest disbelief due to lack of evidence would be a capricious monster. And no one in heaven would be safe from his whims. I would be terrified living with a being who is willing to torture people forever just for being skeptical, applying their reasoning skills, and eschewing blind faith, yet on the other hand he is willing to forgive mass murderers as long as they believe in him and "found Jesus". I think heaven would actually be hell in these circu-mstances.

          February 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hey Dandintac,

          I understand what you are saying, but I think you might be missing the a very critical point in the matter by saying that you have an honest disbelief. When I was an atheist, I used the same argument. I thought that a good God could never punish someone for rationally looking at all of the evidence and then coming to a conclusion based on it. But I also realized that I wasn't just looking at the evidence, I was proudly interpreting the evidence to prove my own beliefs. My disbelief was not honest, it was proud and arrogant. I think that a good God, would want me to overcome my arrogance and teach me things that I need to learn on this world. A good God would not reward me for bad works (arrogance being one of them).

          Pascal's Wager is not the only reason to believe in God, and you are right, it isn't even a great reason if it is your core belief, but it is a really good reason to reevaluate your beliefs in light of the fact that there is a huge downside to believing certain things.

          Here are some other thoughts to ponder about God and the afterlife:

          If Heaven is perfect, how can imperfect people be allowed into it unless they are cleansed in some way first?
          Doing good deeds does not erase the badness and harm of bad deeds, so how can you right any wrongs that you have committed?
          If this is the only life you live, and everything just chanced into existence, then would it be any better or worse if nothing chanced into existence? That is to say, does it really matter that anything exists?

          February 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • dandintac

          guidedans,

          "My disbelief was not honest, it was proud and arrogant."

          I would say you still have not learned to overcome your arrogance. Just because YOUR disbelief was not honest, doesn't mean that the disbelief of others is also dishonest, and it is arrogant of you to assume so and project your dishonesty on to other people of whom you know nothing about at all other than what they say in a few messages on an Internet blog.

          Pascal's Wager is NOT a good reason to reevaluate your beliefs! It is a horrible reason. One should evaluate their beliefs honestly, based on EVIDENCE, not based on a THREAT! To me, it is a huge reason to disbelieve Christianity and other similar religions. The use of a THREAT instead of EVIDENCE. Can you think of any other claim at all–other religions, other beliefs, scientific claims–where instead of offering evidence, they threaten you with eternal damnation if you don't believe? Do you think it makes these claims more credible when they are accompanied with threats and bribes instead of evidence? Why would you accept this from the claims of Christians if you would never take it from scientists?

          Furthermore, I reject the notion that a person simply chooses to believe something, as if you're choosing a frozen pizza for dinner at the grocery store. A person believes religious claims because they are either persuaded in some manner, or indoctrinated in some manner. These are huge, important questions. A normal intelligent person would not consider these questions so lightly–in the form of a wager, as if they were of no serious consequence. It would be grossly irresponsible to ourselves and others–and frankly, stupid–if we treated these questions like a Vegas betting game. They should be weighed and considered carefully, and with EVIDENCE! I've spent a lifetime thinking about them. The evidence, and lack of evidence, weighs very heavily against religion–especially the western monotheistic religions.

          Don't try to bribe me with easy promises of eternal paradise, or empty threats of eternal torture for not believing. This is frankly–bullsh!t–and no normal, intelligent person would believe any claim for these reasons. Show me the evidence–and it should be hard, verifiable evidence of the type that would persuade you if it were any other religion other than your own.

          February 25, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
  3. truth1914

    Jesus talked about this same subject when speaking about the Kingdom of God. This person (like so many others) was exposed to the weed like teachings of false Christianity and this is why he was unable to sustain his faith. Matthew 13
    False Christianity with its horrendous record of bloodshed, and abuse of its flock, has turned the masses away from the true God but He has taken notice of this and denounced false Christianity and its teaching. Revelation 18:4,5

    February 17, 2014 at 10:42 am |
    • igaftr

      another No True Scotsman argument....boring.

      February 17, 2014 at 10:45 am |
      • stevelegible

        Christianity cannot withstand scrutiny or questions.

        March 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          what do you mean by that??

          March 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • newatheistnation

      Atheists know your Bible better than you do: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/28/nation/la-na-religion-survey-20100928

      February 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        YOU justy proved to me you dont a couple of posts ago wyhen you have NO clue abou the background culture of the Jews regarding Numbers 31. Let me ask you this..do you know the word AGATHOS? (found in matthew 19) do you know MONOGENES (found in John 3:16) do you know ANYTHING abou tthe economic ways of the Jews then...like social security? (Ill bet you think they had social security cards back then-do you?) they had different ways of supporting themselves..albeit not perfect..but do we even have perfect ways? (if so perfect today why is economy failing?) Think about it..and also tell me what you KNOW of the Jewish culture

        February 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          99%+ of the Hebrews did not believe the Jesus legends... and they were right there on the spot in Jerusalem and all of the other places that Jesus allegedly traveled to. Paul of Tarsus & Co. had to peddle the stories to other folks who were more gullible.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          99 percent of WHAT Jews? Jews of today? SO what???? You have no basis for your argument

          February 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          BY the way./..Paul said there were eyewtinesses that the people reading could check in with on the stories! Peddling stories? goodness..you dont know the Bible huh?

          February 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • otoh2

          No, kermit... read my comment again.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I did..explain better to me..the Hebrews of Jesus day? at the time he lived?

          February 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • otoh2

          Yes.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          First of all..where ddid you getyour numbers? and you syaing at the time Jesus lived 99 percent didnt believe it....the eyewitnessses did not believe it? explain more

          February 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,
          "Paul said there were eyewtinesses that the people reading could check in with on the stories!"

          - Really? Who? It's like the old ads that "more doctors prefer Anacin..." No Truth in Advertising laws in those days.

          - Perhaps the 99%+ of Jews of the day *did* look for those "witnesses" and found their stories bogus.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          PERHAPS? so now youre going to base your argument on assertions? BY the way.....you cant compare then to today...oral tradition was the thing..and people knew others....with so many eyewitnesses..it was pretty easy to go there and find one...Paul had over 500 of them in mind..he isnt abou tto list them all....as I said..with that many it would be pretty easy to go find them....This was not relegated to one area of the Middle east..but all over! Im still waiting to find out where you get the 99 percent number

          February 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          Here's one place where the numbers of early Christians (and the # of Hebrew 'converts') are calculated and discussed:

          http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/viewFile/430/329

          (it's a long article, sorry)

          February 19, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Listen...numbers mean nothing..so what if they dont? does that make the Jesus story UNTRUE? SOrry..this is very weak argument..in FACT..look in the Bible! MANY Jews who witnessed it did not believe Jesus was the Messiah! Peoples OPINIONS dont make facts. MANY of the Jews did not believe cause they did NOIT WANT change! They had a misconception about who the Messiah was to be. Fact is, the Gospels are records of eyewitness reports and accounts. Yuo got to do better than this

          February 19, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • otoh2

          It's simply preposterous that these ancient Hebrews that you consider to be ever-so holy, prescient, prophetic, wise, and all-around the cat's meow– and guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bruise, bend or tear,– all of a sudden become "disobedient" and "willful", when they were right there on the spot to witness (or allegedly to easily verify) this "Messiah"/"God" character within their midst.

          February 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          wow....where did you get that idea they were perfect ittle angels who knew everything? and you say SUDDENLY? apparently yuo are very ignorant of the Bible and the context of the times! As I saidin previous post these people had a misconception of the Messiah! They wanted one who would save them from the Romans! Not for eternal salvation! They were disobedient from the very start (READ the OLD testament. Your argument is baseless and with ignorance of what was happening in the times...STUDY..dont merely read it

          February 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I mean seriously...where did this ever so holy, "guareneteed" (who said it was guarenteed) to never rust, bump nor tear...where did all that come from? we are NOT talking about super race of humans or such

          February 19, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          It is simply preposterous to consider these Hebrews (Jews) to be so Holy and guarenteed rust proof and all around wise and such.....they are HUMANS like rest of us

          February 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • otoh2

          "they are HUMANS like rest of us"

          Except for the ones that you have so firmly decided were touched by "The Lord" - like Moses, Elijah, Ezechiel, Isaiah, Daniel, etc., right?

          This "Jesus" couldn't even be bothered to convince his own ethnic/religious/ancestral group of his godhood, which should have been easy-peasy at the time.

          February 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          MY God you are so full of assertions aren't you? Apparently you have NOT read the Bible! David, Moses, Daniel are ALL snners..they are ALL humans....YOu assume too much about others..as for Jesus..He DID convince people..but one is NOT able to convince every single person..for EACH person has their own right to make up their own minds...ou make it sound as if humans aree right all the time and never wrong.,...you make it sound like Jesus is a puppet master to have to make everyone believe! They have a CHOICE to believe or not..and many are arrogant (like you) who need more...who don't want to change

          February 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I mean sersiously..again yo udno tknow the Bible..the thought processes of many of thie religious leaders..whjo thought they were like the Pope...all knowing and never wromng. jesus pointed out their errors.but Im sure you know how that feels to be pointed of your errors..yet you have arrogance to deny it.

          February 19, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • truth1914

        If they did they would believe in God. :(

        February 25, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
        • dandintac

          Quite the opposite. Many atheists have read the Bible. I find that few self-described Christians have–at least not all of it. Most of them have read only select passages chosen for them by someone else, who also tells them what to think about it.

          Reading the whole Bible, without someone telling me what to think, was the first step on my long journey from a Bible-believing Christian to a happy atheist.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        • kermit4jc

          WHY do you guys keep insiting on reading the Bible but never STUDYING it? I study the whole thing...I TEACH it to adults..and yet IM not an atheist

          February 26, 2014 at 1:39 am |
        • kermit4jc

          AMEN

          February 26, 2014 at 1:38 am |
    • stevelegible

      Do you believe in UNICORNS?
      They're in your Bible NINE TIMES (if you use the King James Version, five times in other versions).
      What other religions have you studied? You might be surprised to find out that there are virgin births in 16 dead religions and three persistent ones (not including Christianity), great deluges in 28 other religions, raising of the dead and walking on water in nearly every major religion since 4400 BC.

      March 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  4. letmeeatcake

    ..."i've received hundreds of negative comments and e-mails from christians and hundreds of positive comments and e-mails from the skeptics"...duh! of course!...switch from using a mac to using a pc and expect the same thing...or go back to religion and get the same shunning from the atheists that you got from whatever church that was that you blindly followed...now you get to be the poster child for atheists the same way a repentant drugged up rock star gets to be the poster child for church...except from the atheists' arrogant point of view, you went from uneducated, ignorant, bigoted, intolerant and stupid to being sophisticated, intellectual, open minded and free thinking...in their opinion you were formerly a stupid a s s...hope you are smart enough to realize that the same stupid tribalistic forces at work in that cult church that shunned you are still at work in the snot nosed atheist circles that now embrace you...and that they will shun you just the same if you ever decide to break ranks with them...do i trust people? sure...but they are only human, so i don't trust them 100%...i've met plenty of christians i didn't like...however i still trust God...

    February 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
    • igaftr

      yes....your rant sound like most christians I know....

      February 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • incredulousmark

      "I still trust in god" Ok, so you're still deluded...just deluded in your own way. Got it.

      February 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
      • mocasea

        You are an intolerant jerk. Instead of attacking a person for their beliefs, you should instead be encouraging them for following what they believe in. You believe there is no deific power in our universe? Good for you, that is your choice. He believes in the Christian God? Good for him. Hold fast you your own beliefs and don't belittle others theirs.

        February 22, 2014 at 6:26 am |
        • incredulousmark

          Why should I encourage people to follow beliefs that are demonstrably false and lead to actions that cause real world harm to others? Not all beliefs are worthy of respect.

          February 22, 2014 at 6:45 am |
    • newatheistnation

      You call atheists arrogant, and then you claim you know all the answers. By your description, you sure haven't met any atheists. Why don't you talk to one? Is your faith that weak?

      February 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • guidedans

      You are very correct. You switch from one group to another and of course the old group is going to hate you while the new group will praise you. Keep trusting God. Everyone else is kind of just a dummy anyhow.

      February 19, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
  5. incredulousmark

    Any intelligent person that honestly examines their beliefs will eventually become an atheist. I mean, religious beliefs are just so bloody ridiculous.

    February 16, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • letmeeatcake

      ...religious beliefs are just so bloody ridiculous...says a guy who thinks that a rock will turn into a single celled organism if it sits in warm salt water long enough...

      February 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      That is such an arrogant statement....IM intelligent AND honest...and yet I am a believer..not an atheist...

      February 17, 2014 at 1:57 am |
      • incredulousmark

        Believing outlandish claims for which there is NI evidence is not intellectually honest. It is irrational.

        February 17, 2014 at 4:03 am |
        • kermit4jc

          There IS evidence..it is why I believe and KNOW.....so it may seem that way to you cause YOU don't see the evidence....phooh on you

          February 18, 2014 at 1:47 am |
        • incredulousmark

          You don't know what the word evidence means.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:31 am |
        • kermit4jc

          And why you say I don't know what evidence means? sounds kind of arrogant don't you think? I have Bachelors degree in psychology..I love science and biology..I KNOW what evidence means....too bad you wanna limit its meaning to say there is no God

          February 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • incredulousmark

          A gut feeling is not evidence. The evidence you claim to have for your religious belief is no different or convincing than that claimed by Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs for theirs.

          February 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WHY must you assume andnot ask? DID I say or even IMPLY gut feeling? I did not..I said very clearly..I have KNOWLEDGE of Gods existance

          February 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • incredulousmark

          Well, let's hear it.

          February 18, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          PLUS>.it is NOT my place to convince you God exists! IF God certainly does exist..the best evidence is from HIM....to take my word for it is dishonest and naive

          February 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • dandintac

          But Kermit, you haven't provided any hard evidence–either here or other threads I've read your comments on.

          Think of it this way–would you, or any other rational person, accept the same arguments you strive valiantly to demonstrate your god, if it were any other claim? Think of the arguments you use, then apply them to the claim that Superman exists, or some other god. They don't work too good–do they?

          February 18, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WHY IS IT that you have to depend SOLEY on ME for the evidence? WHY are you so naïve to take my word for it if I gave you the evidence? wouldn't evidence from GOD HIMSWLF be better? YOU sound like youre avoiding it. I AM rational cause I got the evidence from GOD HIMSELZF..NO man proved God to me..why should I expect anything less from others????????????

          February 19, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          First of all, I don't rely solely on you. I've tried to get this answer from many theists, and not one has been able to produce any hard, verifiable evidence for their god-belief. Not one.

          Second, I am not so naive as to take your word for it. If I was–I would already be a believer–right? But this is the nature of real evidence–it can be verified. It can be tested. So I don't have to rely just on your word. When claims are verified, we can start referring to them as "knowledge". But neither you, nor God (who apparently does not seem to exist–or else remains incognito, withdrawn, and inactive) nor anyone else has produced any good evidence.

          So the question becomes this: why should anyone believe a highly improbable claim based on such poor evidence?

          February 19, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          BUT....you are ultimately seeking me to convince you....that's not good...God does exists,HE does the convincing and proviong..which is why I MYSELF believe...as I said..NO man proved God to me..if you TRULY want ptoof..seek God and He will show you....look at our testimony......and then see for yourself.

          February 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          No–I don't believe God DOES provide evidence of his existence–or else I wouldn't be an atheist–would I? I can think of many things God could do to persuade me. And if I can think of them, I'm sure God could think of a lot more things. Being all-knowing, he could think of things that would persuade every single person on Earth, regardless of background or culture. In fact, I can think of them too. Hec–just APPEARING would be a good start. Yet he does not. He provides no proof at all. And being all-powerful, it would be child's play to him. Being all-good, he certainly wouldn't punish anyone for their reasonable doubt. Therefore, an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God who cares about whether people believe in him and/or punishes unbelievers does not exist.

          As far as the supposed "proof"–I HAVE read the Bible. I was raised by a Christian mother who made sure I went to Sunday School, and Bible School. I attended Bible classes in High School. I attended church and was a Christian while I was in the Navy. Throughout all of this–no hard, verifiable evidence is ever forthcoming.

          Do you care to claim that a God exists? If so, do you have any hard compelling evidence? By that, I mean the sort of evidence that would convince you if someone claimed THEIR god existed. If not, why should anyone believe?

          Indeed, what sort of evidence would you expect from someone who claimed Thor, Odin and Freya existed? Are you open to the idea?

          February 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WHat maxe you think you were a Chistain? if you had no evidence..were you merely a Christian by name? culturally? I mean one who is a Christians has a personal relationship with Jesus...in order for that to be true..one has to know God does exist...so were ou really a Christian..or by name only? ANd apparentlyt you have to see Hi to be concvinced...sounds more like youre playing a game and youre very untrusting of anything

          February 21, 2014 at 1:40 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          I'm not quite sure what you mean by "personal relationship" in this context. When I was a Bible Believing Christian, back in the 70s and early 80s, no one ever used this term. In fact, I think people–including Christians–would have raised their eyebrows if anyone had claimed to have a "personal relationship" with Jesus. Some may have even laughed. This phrase seems to be a fairly recent innovation in the past 10 years or so. It seems to be a phrase employed when evidence is requested–as if by using this phrase, you don't have to provide evidence. Or maybe it's designed to get under your skin or to appeal to the loneliness many people experience.

          Up until my early to mid-20s, I believed what the Bible said–that it was mostly true, that Jesus was real, died for our sins, etc. I believed in Jesus the same way I believed in Santa Claus when I was younger. I believed so much in Santa, that I remember driving to my uncle's house Christimas eve and I was looking around on all the roughtops, because I figured if Santa was supposed to show up at Uncle Tony's house, I ought to be able to seem him around the neighborhood on such a clear night landing on other people's houses as he worked his way through town.

          So, with regards to Jesus, I remember my aunt, a born-again Christian (she still is) helping me and my sister to "find Jesus" and be born again, and I remember crying when they did. I remember feeling good. Is that what you mean by a "personal relationship"?

          February 21, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT at all...personal relationship is just that..you have a personal relationship with Jesus...I have personal relationships with my friends..I am with them...I talk to them..they talk to me....we exoereince each others presence..its not about feelings. I mean feelings are involved..sure..but that's just a result of a relationship. from what you described..sounds like you didn't have one..and this is nothing new..Jesus spoke of it all the time..abiding with him...and he says "away from me for I never KNEW you" those are a few examples.

          February 22, 2014 at 1:52 am |
        • dandintac

          I I see–just like an imaginary friend. I don't think people conceived of Jesus quite that way back when I was a believer. This is something that appears to have developed in recent years.

          February 22, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Quite the contrary..just cause YOUR church didnt say anything about it..didnt mean it wasnt said elsewhere or it was new thing..maybe its a new thing for the church YOu were in..but this is nothing new at all! Many early church fathers spoke of it as well...next time I will get you the lsit of them....either that or maybe you didnt pay attention? or the leaders in yoru church did a very poor job if tteaching (NOT teaching it)

          February 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • dandintac

          I grew up in several states. My father was in the USAF. Please provide some sources. I never heard this term used in the 70s or early 80s. I'm confident that even fellow Christians would have been bewildered if they had heard it. It would have come across as presumptuous at a minimum. Kind of like claiming you're buddies with the president. Now–it's all over the place, with every Christian claiming to have this "relationship".

          Here's how I see it. I find it amusing. I think it's designed to appeal to people's loneliness, and bring the concept of Jesus down to earth and make it more intimate feeling to followers. But really, it just adds a greater degree of absurdity. Kind of like this: "The God Thor exists! Really he does. AND, he wants to have a personal relationship with you!"

          If you add in any other mythical character you wish, it's easy to see how absurd this sounds to the ears of someone who does not believe. If you do not want those of us who do not believe to not laugh when you say this, you need to start by proving your being is factual to begin with.

          The truth is this–the "personal relationship" claim does an end-run around our reason. It goes straight to the emotions–in a place we may be vulnerable–loneliness that most people have experienced at one time or another–rather than seeking to appeal to our intelligence.

          February 23, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Als9o, the fact I know God personally..and Since he has propven Himself ot me in many ways thourghout my life..I have no reason to believe thor or odin exists as God proclaims them to be false gods

          February 21, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • kermit4jc

          ALSO..when cou0pled with when YOU seek God yourself..from GOD..not from man....you will NOT get poor evidence.....

          February 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • incredulousmark

          Well, your random capitalization has convinced me. Hallelujah!

          February 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          IM glad..cause it is not my place to do so..GOD will do that :)

          February 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          Kermit
          The word knowledge indicates you know. I seriously doubt you know anything of the sort. You claim evidence of the existance of a god...so how did you exclude any and all other possible explainations, such as a completely different god than you think, satan, coincidences, a glitch in the programming, delusion...an infinite number of possibilities.

          You claim it to be evidence of god, and that is only because you WANT it to be god, so claim evidence of same.
          You do not want truth, you want your belief to be truth.

          February 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Again I find you arrogantly assuming about me. IT did NOT result that I WANTED God to exist..though I WANTED truth...whether a god did exist or not..THAT is how I searched. MY coclusions have been built on evidence given to me over the years (by God Himself) and it was consistent, etc. Please refrain frommaking arrogant assumnptions about someone you don't know. I DO know God exists..and I find it sad that you cannot accept that (YOU don't have to know he exists,,but allow ME the freedom to say such without you being arrogantly assuming)

          February 18, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          You sound a lot like Tom Cruise saying how he KNOWS that psychiatry/psychology are pseudo-sciences... and at that, Tommy at least has some small measure of concrete info to account for his diatribes. I haven't seen you present anything other than the fantasies of primitive, superst.itious Middle Eastern Israelites as the basis for yours.

          February 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • sam stone

        "IM intelligent AND honest...and yet I am a believer..not an atheist"

        What makes you think that "sin" is anything other than a man made concept?

        February 17, 2014 at 6:11 am |
        • kermit4jc

          YOu think I take the Bible blindly? You think I blindly believe there is a God? I know God exist..i have knowledge..thus I know that sin is transgression against God

          February 18, 2014 at 1:48 am |
      • newatheistnation

        Apparently you don't know that many atheists come to atheism after actually studying the Bible. I DARE you to read Numbers 31. When you get to the part where Moses tells his soldiers they can keep the virgin girls for themselves, you will either be an atheist or a horrible human being. Open your book and read it.

        February 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          BY the way....CULTURED dictated the women get married for support..this is NOT like USA today where women can finally work and get paid to make a living (actuallym, they did this back then too) but ALSO it haelped preseve the family..unlike today..there are hardly families anymore. PLUS..the women did NOT have to marry them..the men would then be held responsible for marrying them off to someone else of their choosing...You sir are dishonest cause you ask me to READ? I ask You to STUDY it..cause this is nOT AMERICA...this is from a DIFFERENT CUlture and YOuhave to know the background. its sad people become atheists cause they dont know how to STUDY the Bible...only read it and make wrong conlusions as you did

          February 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          So...because the culture said it was okay for invading armies to rape the women and keep them as slaves, god just told them to go ahead and continue doing that?

          February 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • joey3467

          The fact that god didn't just come out and say "hey don't keep all the virgins as slaves" doesn't bode well for your god. Especially if you think that all of humanity gets their morals from that monster.

          February 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • hotairace

          I wonder why wolfie hasn't jumped in here to straighten out the wayward believer above on universal morality.

          February 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • mocasea

      Fail...

      There are those that examine their beliefs and become stronger and more convicted in them. While there are those that question them and eventually move towards Atheism or Agnosticism. To each their own. To attempt to belittle anyone because they didn't follow YOUR path is just as ignorant as you claim believers to be.

      February 22, 2014 at 6:29 am |
      • incredulousmark

        Believing outlandish claims for which there is no evidence is not intellectually honest. It is irrational. That some people are unwilling or unable to apply critical thinking to their religious beliefs and become more steadfast in them is no evidence of their veracity.

        February 22, 2014 at 6:37 am |
  6. believehimnotyou

    Thanks for helping usher in the end times. Remember 2 Thes 2:3 was written to church members.

    February 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Eventually, one of you "end of days" doomsayers will be correct – but not because of any prophecy. It is simply the law of averages.

      February 16, 2014 at 7:26 am |
    • incredulousmark

      Boy, so people will believe anything. I find it very difficult to take adults who believe in talking donkeys seriously.

      February 16, 2014 at 9:44 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, the "end times".....how frightening

      for those who bellieve that tripe

      February 17, 2014 at 6:14 am |
    • mocasea

      Umm... yeah... The "man of sin" has yet to be revealed... Yeah I know you all have proclaimed this person or that person as "the man of evil" before. But then you have been wrong every single time.

      Please don't forget that regardless of what you think, post, read, say or pray you will be caught by surprise when Jesus comes again (per the Bible, he comes as a thief in the night). Trying to tell someone that not believing will bring the end of days faster belies your knowledge of the Bible.

      Try again...

      February 22, 2014 at 6:35 am |
  7. Creationists say the darndest things

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    February 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
  8. joeyy1

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_F9nIps46w&w=640&h=390]
    .

    February 14, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
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    February 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
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About this blog

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