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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. Apple Bush

    Wouldn’t it be a miracle if one day, perhaps in my lifetime, humans turned their back on the past and became the one incarnation of the species Homo sapiens to accept that there is no god and pour their intelligence and resources into the discovery of reality?

    February 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • bostontola

      AB,
      I consider myself an atheist and I have a different view (yours is understandable and well founded). I don't wish for a day when all people pour their intelligence and resources into the discovery of reality (I rather like literature, art, and the creation of new realities). I don't think any of us are grounded in pure reality anyway, and I like some of my own fantasies. I believe that humans are better off with as much diversity as possible, including religious thought diversity. There is a cost for that diversity, but I believe it is worth it. I recognize that others disagree with that. I don't know I'm right, it's one of my personal beliefs though. I don't consider it a blind belief. Nature thrives through diversity (gene pools, species, etc). I extrapolate that to human thought without proof, hence it's a belief.

      February 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        It would take a chapter to respond to this the way I would like, but I agree with some of this. Particularly the Arts. If people would read more, get out to the theatre, take in a art show, etc. intelligence would necessarily creep in. I don't agree that any resources should be wasted on religion though.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I just can't help but day dream about a world that actually moved forward on positives and did not waste time and resources on anything fictional. I am not talking about the arts but actual civic responsibilities. Imagine what could be accomplished in a sensible world. We would need an evolutionary leap and I don't think we have time as a species.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • bostontola

          I understand. I haven't met the person yet that agrees with me on everything. Love that diversity.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  2. bostontola

    I have a good friend who was a physicist who worked in a semiconductor company. He left that company and started his own business (not in physics). He told me that it was the hardest thing he ever did (but he is very happy he did now). He said it took him years to admit that he was an average scientist. He went to school all those years, worked as a physicist for many years, had a picture of himself as doing important things. He had to challenge the fundamental notion of who he was, to face the reality of the situation. That took courage. I bet Mr. Vollmar had to go through a similar difficult stretch where he had to re-invent himself to make this happen. That takes courage that many don't have.

    February 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Interesting post bostontola. That really made me introspective.

      February 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • Alias

      So you're saying I'm only an average programmer, but I could run a successful business?
      I'll call the bank,

      February 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • bostontola

        You may be an exceptional programmer that could also run a business.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
  3. Apple Bush

    Funny Man

    sweet smelling flowers roam the sidewalks
    while big bellied dandelions platoon;

    the spring rains are falling a funny tune at the expense
    of a funny man;

    stepping on and off the curb, looking a bit bored;
    eyes up and shoes flexed for the sprint

    suddenly bright sun elbows its way between two clouds;
    a funny man flaps his ready feat into a small puddle and smiles

    the sun was sweet;
    it tasted warm on his tongue and eye lids

    he looked to the heavens to say thank you
    thunder and a bolt of lightening

    a funny man was struck down
    umbrella at the ready; lips still smiling

    February 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You have brains in your head.
      You have feet in your shoes.
      You can steer yourself
      any direction you choose.
      You're on your own.
      And you know what you know.
      And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go....
      – Dr. Seuss, (Oh! The Places You'll Go!)

      February 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Oh the Thinks that you THINK!

        February 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  4. colin31714

    Ever wondered why God "appears" so often in dreams? Never in person. Doesn't that clearly suggest he exists only inside the cranium of people.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I hate the kind of dream where you fall deeply in love with someone and have a relationship and bond in dream land and then wake up. Dreams are powerful.

      February 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • agolf70

      I have never seen God in a dream.

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

        People from about every religion have religious, spiritual, mystical, experiences that are so powerful and moving, they feel it is unequivocal proof of their God.

        Since it happens to people with many different Gods, either 1. there are many different Gods, 2. one God represents all religions, or 3. these experiences aren't proof of an actual God, it is proof that belief in any God causes these experiences.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Boston,I would say it's no 2

          February 11, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • doobzz

        Let me introduce you to Austin....he has dreams.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Colin,it is the indication that the soul,(spirit) is awake as the brain sleeps. The soul is our link too God and is often the condiuit he will use to communicate with us as the brain is shut down in sleep.

      February 11, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
    • aldewacs

      Really?
      In my 6+ decades, after maybe thousands of dreams (I didn't care to count), I cannot recall ANY where any gods were ever featured.
      I suppose that if you START OFF believing while awake, your dreams are likely to replay some of your delusions.
      Same brain, after all.

      February 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
  5. bootyfunk

    good for the author of this piece.
    it's scary at first when you realize there is no god up above
    but it ends up being liberating as you kick off the mental shackles.
    most atheists were once believers, raised in religious households.
    you don't need a deity to be a good person.
    free your mind.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Here, here.

      February 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You don't need religion to have morals. If you can't determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.

      February 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • agolf70

        you don't have the knowledge of God's love if you reject salvation.

        things get better, when you release your faith to God, instead of holding the pride in your own understanding.

        Give God the chance to reveal Himself in your life, wait for the voice of God, trusting Him that He will deliver His promise.

        Trust in the Word of God, not with doubt or impatience.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          If that is all the superstitious nonsense you can manage to bring to bear on me... I have work to do on SIPRnet

          February 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • doobzz

          "you don't have the knowledge of God's love if you reject salvation."

          Just a recycled No True Scotsman fallacy.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          "release your faith to God, instead of holding the pride in your own understanding."

          follow like a mindless lemming

          February 13, 2014 at 6:01 am |
    • agolf70

      " you realize there is no god up above"

      you have not realized that. the father is in heaven in a place that is holy and not near sin, the Holy Spirit is present, you are surrounded with angelic warfare.

      February 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        ...or not.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • sam stone

        you have not realized that sin is a man made religious concept and does not mean anything to those outside that religion.

        February 13, 2014 at 5:57 am |
  6. xanderxvr

    If you want to discuss debate, you should go to http://www.godisimaginary.com if you don't want to, I can say you fail to debate. I know all (not some) christians and pastors fail to debate at that site you should look at their comments in the debate thread.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    Christians, I am an atheist. I am not your enemy. I don't understand how your brain processes information, this is true. And if you step on my freedoms we will have an issue. But other than your lack of common sense, I like you just fine, for what it is worth.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • agolf70

      I have a stack of dreams that proves the reality of a sovereign God, who allows wonders and signs to be experienced through the spiritual realm.

      do you have any evidence that can over rule mine? Because I do have evidence and proof.

      We are told to "hold on to what is good"

      Because of this, the early church needed to exercise care and discernment. Prophets and their prophecies must be tested. Paul exhorts, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:20, 21). The Corinthian church is told, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (1 Cor. 14:29). John adds, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God...every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4:1-3).

      these passages show us tha NT prophecy is not claimed with the authority from God that old testament prophecy was. The manifestation of the gift is not authoritative, and need to be "sifted and tested" it is thus a fallible experience.

      I have the gift. i have experienced it over 3o times now. I am still writing my dreams down and adding to my evidence of a sovereign God, and the spiritual realm.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Please provide one item of proof. You can't of course because you have none. God cannot exist and you are a liar.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • agolf70

          God cannot exist...................buzz, you arent having a realistic conversation.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          @agolf70

          Why do you say that? Please explain yourself.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • bootyfunk

          the human imagination has produced thousands of gods.
          there has never been a shred of proof for even one, the christian god included.
          i'm pretty sure that's what he's talking about...

          February 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        oh Austin, I wondered when you'd be back.
        Once again we remind you that your dreams are not evidence of god to anyone but you. Unless they are testable, they mean nothing in the real world!

        February 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • agolf70

          yes I am here for you with my honest experience. I don't want anything from you. But I want you to trust God that He loves you and has laid the foundation for your redemption and eternal life .

          join the kingdom of faith. Allow Him to give you faith.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          oh Austin, you use the word faith like it's a good thing when all is does is indicate that you don't care what the truth is.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • bootyfunk

        your dreams are not proof of anything except a brain in REM.
        you don't seem to know what the word "proof" means.
        if you have some actual proof, please present it.
        no one has ever produced a single shred of evidence for the existence of god.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • igaftr

        " have a stack of dreams that proves the reality of a sovereign God, who allows wonders and signs to be experienced through the spiritual realm. "

        LOL...Freud would have a field day with you.

        You think that your dreams, which are entirely a product of your imagination is proof of god? In a way, since all gods came from mens imaginations.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        @agolf: you must remember to take your meds!

        February 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Changed your name Austin... but I see you're still crazy as a loon...

        February 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • snufflopagus

        agolf, you have the "gift" alright, the gift of unadultered BS. You pegged the meter again. No one believes your farie tales, let alone your "soverign" sky fairie.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
      • xanderxvr

        dream is just dream, dream is not proof.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • agolf70

          a dream is subjective. if you write it down , and it has 3 unrelated parts to it, and then 2 years later all the related parts come together in objective reality, and you observe the reality without lying to yourself, then you can say, "it was a vision"

          and it was.

          dreams do not have the ability to spontanteusly know or predict the future, your brain cant' know what will happen in 2 years with unfathomed people and places.

          there is also spiritual synchronicity, that does not involve dreams , rather the spirit revealing his work around you.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • agolf70

        If i experienced what i have experienced , and there was no existence of a bible, then what i would be telling you, is there is something that does know the future, and that can deliver information (word of knowledge is a gift.)

        the there is a spiritual power.

        but, the truth is that this has all been centered on my initial rejection of the bible. But I have been given faith. Since i have started writing about this stuff, a year ago, I have had more revelations come true. one from 8 years ago, and one from 2 years ago. again, the dream is subjective, but i write it. and then if things fall into place, one can objectively see it happen. And I have over 30 examples now. and with that , what I can tell you is that i have personal proof of God.,

        That is my hones testimony, and I have the paper work to back up my claims.

        and I hope you well all confess your sinful condition

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

        February 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          The way to convince would be to publicly state the specifics – who, what, and when. Then if they come true – others can evaluate objectively.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Pete

          "8 years ago,"

          That is 2920 dreams you could have had on because one came true you think it has to do with a god. LOL!

          February 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          "and I hope you well all confess your sinful condition"
          LOL. I have no gods, so cannot sin.
          I also try to be helpful to others and don't violate laws (except maybe speeding)

          Don't insult me by claiming I am a sinner. Your book does not have enough validity for you to project your belief on me.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • Pete

        "I have the gift. i have experienced it over 3o times now. I am still writing my dreams down and adding to my evidence of a sovereign God, and the spiritual realm."

        It's not proof at all I have had many of my dreams come true and don't believe in a god. 20% of people have this ability around the world because it has to do with our brains, not a god. By the way people when you take into account that this person claims it's been over years. So let's use 5 years, that's 1825 dreams and only 30 have ccome true, that is a 0.01% accuracy....pretty lame when you are trying to sell a god. This is the type of facts this poster leaves out when trying to sell their god.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • kcdalahast

      You don't understand how Christian's brains process information... like the ones that have won Nobel Prizes and have demonstrated superior logical and mathematical knowledge? Yea, maybe if you continue your education you might learn something from some of those Christians. You know, the ones that have actually demonstrated they can contribute to scientific and technological advancements.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I believe you have completely missed the point of my post. There are many Christians I admire.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Some of whom you can't understand how their minds work, because they are more intelligent than you, right?

          February 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Still not quite getting the point are you partner?

          February 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Uh, you are the one who left a silly message to "Christians" claiming they lack common sense and have inferior brain functions.

          Despite the overwhelming evidence that most "Christians" are probably more intelligent and rational than you. I mean, you imagine you are better and that is cute to post on a message board. But in reality you probably could learn a lot from Christians.

          At least they don't post silly message like yours. There is some evidence in their favor right there.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Still off the mark kcdalahast. Sorry.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Not really.

          It is funny to see someone claim others don't have common sense, and then turn around and demonstrate they aren't using common sense.

          Kind of the Christopher Hitchens logical fallacy disease at play.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Sorry, I don't follow your logic.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Unfortunately Hitchens didn't demonstrate logic very well, either.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Well at least you admit that you don't demonstrate logic and you are in good company. Nice effort.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          I, like Apple Bush and every other human being, am not perfectly logical. Yes. Most people will admit this. Some online atheists imagine and claim they are logical, but that is arrogance, not intelligence at play.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • bootyfunk

        scientists have among the highest rates of non-belief.
        but religious belief does not mean someone is stupid - just ignorant.
        there are many, many intelligent christians out there.
        being intelligent doesn't make you immune to brain washing.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Usually when I ask someone who insists most or all religious people are the victims of brainwashing, it turns out they are not talking about brainwashing.
          They are just trying to insult someone.
          The claim is usually based in ignorance.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          How do you know what they are thinking? Can you read their minds?

          February 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Actually, I ask them how have I been brainwashed.

          And they usually just start to insult me rather than answer the question.

          I haven't been brainwashed to believe in God.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • doobzz

          What kind of insults do they use?

          February 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Derogatory names and general put-downs. Basic atheist vs Christian, Christian vs atheist, Republican vs Democrat, Democrat vs Republican, Yankess vs Red Sox, Red Sox vs Yankees, your side vs my side generic insults. Basic message board crap.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          The Yankees do suck... GO REDSOX!

          February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • joey3467

          Actually the Yankees and the Red Sox suck. Along with the rest of the American League.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Actually, I think baseball is boring as hell... but when you see an opportunity to be funny... take it by the throat! LOL

          February 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • joey3467

          I would watch Bass Fishing before I would watch a baseball game on television.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • snufflopagus

        Real snarky of you, kcd. Just what I would expect from a "real christian."

        February 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Uh, that was... snarky.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • doobzz

        I've worked with scientists of many different beliefs and no belief in deities. Their abilities in the sciences have zero to do with their belief or non belief in deities.

        All scientists and mathematicians use the same body of peer reviewed, evidence based knowledge in their scientific work. And it's not the bible, the Qur'an, the Vedas, or any other dusty old parchment scrolls.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Their belief in God certainly doesn't make them have an inferior brain processing or lack of common sense, that is for sure.

          Maybe some day Apple Bush can win a Nobel Prize and proclaim the Christians who say science is evidence of God are silly and others will respect his opinion. But for know he can just post passive-aggressive message to Christians on religious blogs.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • doobzz

          "Their belief in God certainly doesn’t make them have an inferior brain processing or lack of common sense, that is for sure."

          It doesn't in the area of science or mathematics. What they do in their home or church doesn't interest me, as long as that's where it stays.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          This is America. They have the right to say they believe science is authored by God. They don't have to keep that in their home. They have to keep their belief system in their home, or what? You'll reject their real contributions to science? Oh no.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • doobzz

          "They have to keep their belief system in their home, or what? You’ll reject their real contributions to science? Oh no."

          I said that they didn't bring their deities into the laboratories or the meetings and conferences, nor did they attribute their contributions to their deity in those venues. As it should be. A laboratory is a place for facts, not opinions. None of us talked about our beliefs or lack of beliefs in gods or an afterlife while at work. It would have been considered the height of unprofessionalism by everyone.

          No one was bothered by a cross, dream catcher, Om symbol, Buddha statue or whatever on the wall in someone's office or someone saying "grace" before they ate.

          Professional life vs. personal life, not us vs. them. There's a difference.

          February 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Hey, scientists don't come onto message boards and tell you how to post on the internet. Let them do their work in the laboratories how they want. We don't need your PC patrol.

          February 12, 2014 at 1:30 am |
        • doobzz

          Why do you keep changing your name?

          February 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  8. xanderxvr

    my question to you as christian – if you said god created everything, what created him then? If you said nobody created him, I can say nobody created us your argument is worthless. If you asked me like who created people? I can ask you back who created god then? your argument is pointless.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Why always "one" god? If there is one, there must be others. And they had to come from somewhere.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • xanderxvr

        how does god exist from nothing then?

        February 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Indeed. There can be no gods. It is not logical.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "And the Lord smelled a sweet savor."
    Noah kills the "clean beasts" and burns their dead bodies for God. According to 7:8 this would have caused the extinction of all "clean" animals since only two of each were taken onto the ark. "And the Lord smelled a sweet savor." After this God "said in his heart" that he'd never do it again because "man's heart is evil from his youth." So God killed all living things (6:5) because humans are evil, and then promises not to do it again (8:21) because humans are evil. The mind of God is a frightening thing. 8:20-21

    February 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Alias

      Nope. He took seven of the clean animals.
      He had to do something with all that extra space.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
  10. kcdalahast

    “The belief that God will do everything for man is as untenable as the belief that man can do everything for himself. It, too, is based on a lack of faith. We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superst-ition.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • Alias

      So basicly, do for yourself then give god credit.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
      • kcdalahast

        Give God thanks, not credit.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          or do neither... and get the same result

          February 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          I get better results with God, than without. That is what the evidence shows me.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          'evidence' LOL... now I know you are insane

          February 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Yea, cause all religious people are insane and are victims of delusions.

          And you are the sane and rational one.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I am glad we can agree on that

          February 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          It is always nice to see people can be arrogant and closed-minded.... without religion. Nice job in demonstrating that fact of life.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "Arrogant" A little... why not? I'm pretty awesome. "Close-minded"? Nope... I analyzed religion and found it to be archaic superstitious nonsense. Rejecting religion because it is inane does not make me "close-minded"

          February 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Rejecting religion and being an atheist doesn't make one open minded. Claiming you are open minded doesn't make you open minded, either. It is usually something people say about you. Not something you tell others.

          You don't seem very open-minded. Sorry, but you can do some things to become more open-minded, like practicing tolerance and acceptance of other people's beliefs systems.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Who said I didn't tolerate you religious clowns? I live in VA... I have to tolerate you clowns everywhere I go in this state.
          I have family, friends and colleagues who are religious (or at least pretend that they are)... and I get along with them just fine... they know my thoughts about their religious superstitions but they know also that I (mostly) still like them anyway...

          It seems to me that YOU are the one who seems very "close-minded" about me not needing your religion

          February 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          I don't care if you don't need my religion.

          And you can claim all people in my religion are clowns or are closed-minded. But that is probably you projecting yourself onto others.

          And you are still acting closed-minded. You don't see to be very tolerant or accepting of others.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Whatever... you are unoriginal and boring... I have lost interest in talking to you further... "E pili mau na pomaika'i me 'oe"

          February 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          You are so original and interesting. It is amazing nobody else has noticed this and you have to resort to posting your opinion on message boards of a belief blog.

          February 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "I ain't lookin' for help from on-high. That's a long wait for a train don't come." – Malcolm Reynolds, “Serenity"

      February 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  11. xanderxvr

    all pastors try to pull peoples legs into going to church and make them to contribute money as offsprings to church using scare hell and heaven tactics. All biblical books are full of 100% frauds. If you wanted to look for the truth, please go to http://www.godisimaginary.com and read all carefully so you will understand better.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • kcdalahast

      Not all pastors do that. There are a lot that have never even considered doing such a thing.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • snufflopagus

        kcd, probably because they eed the income to supoert their families, or afarid they too will be shunned, spurned, and made outcast. Good xtians who do that, eh?

        February 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • kcdalahast

        Is that what you imagine? In reality that is not always the case. Not all pastors live in fear. Perhaps you are projecting your motives and feelings on other people?

        February 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • snufflopagus

          I don't project, kcd. I have seen what you so-called "real christians do to those who 'fall out of the club". It isn't pretty. Your self-righteous club members have destroyed families, friends and neighbors, yet still dare to call themselves good christians. I label all christians as false witnesses to their 'god', if you believe. Sanctimonius crap you spout.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          You mean they treat and talk about atheists the same way you treat and talk about Christians?

          February 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • joey3467

          N, by and large my experience is that Christians treat Atheists much worse. I don't know any atheists who would stop talking to their family members for being a Christian. However, I know of 5 people whose parents won't speak to them anymore because they told them didn't believe in god anymore.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          I know some atheists that treat religious people poorly on message boards. Ironically they do this while telling others how horrible religious people are.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • dandintac

          kc,

          That's a door that swings both ways. We get the same flack all the time from believers, and it is every bit as vitriolic as you perceive coming from us. But one thing we will never do: we will never ever threaten you by saying you are going to burn in Hell for all eternity for not seeing the world the way we do. Ever had any atheists knock on your door and wave a book in your face? Or threaten you with eternal torture screaming on a street corner?

          February 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • joey3467

          Who cares about a message board, I am much more concerned with how people are treated in real life.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • joey3467

          and my experience shows that far too many Christians treat non believers like dirt.

          February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          In real life, most pastors are not how the OP describe them.

          Some are, yes. But insisting all are is ignorant and not factual.

          I've experienced ugliness in all people. Both atheist and Christian. In real life and on message boards.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
  12. agolf70

    These are all signs of unbelief. This blog is the repeat , or like any other blog about the boasting of un belief. These arguments just appeal to the flesh of non believers which is "popular" like the choice to free Barabbus was popular with the crowd.

    "For example, how could dozens of Christian denominations fight and call each other false churches?"
    not a strong question. look at the missionary journeys of Paul, there were 3 of them that I can remember. If you read the letters to these churches that paul wrote to, Paul was exhorting people regularly and talking about demonic doctrine of demons, false teachers , false prophets.

    This is a weak question. Why did the ten tribes of israel have corrupt kings? Why did people sin?

    " Why are there thousands of conflicting interpretations among Christians?"
    The answer is obvious, and not a reason to reject Jesus Christ.

    Galatians 2:17.

    But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

    " How could God be so loving when he will send millions to hell?"
    God send no one to hell. People reject Christ and FOLLOW, the devil. there is no injustice. Those who reject Christ get what they want. seperation from God and Christ.

    "I moved toward ecu.menism and tried to promote unity among churches. Nevertheless, my doubts still churned in my heart."
    ecu.menism is specifically warned against in the bible.

    This guy, rejects all biblical insight, and then questions the bible and acts like he does not understand it.

    This is selective trickery. dishonest, self deceiving, and willfully complacent . he wishes he did not understand what the bible says, but i can garuntee he knows the answers to his questions if he knows the word of God.

    maybe he has a learning disability. he could be spiritually opressed.

    February 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I reject all gods. It is common sense.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Your absurd conjectures not withstanding ... why do you feel so threatened by someone who has studied your superstitious nonsense... and found it just that... nonsense

      February 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • agolf70

        because people go beyond the gift of faith, a supernatural faith, and then they experience the supernatural realm of God. The Holy Spirit is a real experience. Evil, Demonic evil is also recognizable more so in some situations than others. There are wonders and sighs. and the gifts from 1 Cor ch 12 or 13.

        People have personal proof of God.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          You sound insane...

          February 11, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          "People have personal proof of God."

          No they don't. They have things they attribute to gods, but they have not examined the other possibilities, and WANT it to be a god, so try to convince themselves it is a god, and that god is exactly what they believe him to be. The cycle of self-delusion.

          NO ONE has proof....there would be no reason for faith if they did.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • dandintac

          Exactly, and well put. When people say they have "personal proof of God"–they really mean faith, and when they say "faith"–they basically mean they have no real evidence at all. Faith is really just an excuse to believe things when you have no justification. It is used to claim the supernatural to be objectively real, when there is no objective evidence to support the assertion. We are all supposed to respect and admire this faith, and adopt it ourselves. It's the Invasion of the Mind Sna-tchers.

          February 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • agolf70

          John 6:63 ►

          The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.

          seek the birth of the Holy Spiriit.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • agolf70

          igaftr , you like to speak as if metaphors are truth. you attribute the bible to satan.

          but I know that my visions came through the Holy Spirit, the unveiling of truth through the Bible. my experience is centered on the bible. If some spiritual ent.ity chooses to reveal itself through the bible , then so be it. it is some spiritual power, and i found it THROUGH THE BIBLE. I can statistically prove the bible as the power/ medium /intercessor.

          if that is satan tricking me, fine, it still proves that God is Satan's father. period. but I have been sanctified by the baptism of fire, and freed from sin. Through Christ.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          agolf
          You do realize that quoting from your man made book does nothing to verify the validity of the book, right?

          February 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • snufflopagus

          Austin, your coo-coo clock is wound to tight, that little birdie in there is gonna fly the coop...wait, I think it has already done so

          February 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • igaftr

      agolf
      "but i can garuntee he knows the answers to his questions if he knows the word of God. "

      That might be true, if one had any "word of god". Instead all you have is a bible, and many other religious texts, all made by men.No sign of any gods. The bible is wrong in too many places...god would not have gotten so much wrong. It is just as likely that your bible is the word of satan, as it is "god", but it is definitely the word of men.

      and the word is guarantee.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  13. agolf70

    does this work?

    February 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
    • hal 9001

      Yes, "agolf70", this does, in fact, "work".

      February 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • agolf70

        Hal, hook me up with your epic fail message. I need a laugh.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      hi Austin

      February 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
  14. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Want to become an atheist? Read the bible...

    A sampling of the Christian's 'all powerful' god

    Jacob wrestles with god and wins. God changes Jacob's name to Israel to signify that he wrestled with God and "prevailed." 32:24-30

    Unable to beat Jacob in a fair fight, God dislocates Jacob's leg. 32:25

    God begs Jacobs to let him go, but Jacob says, "Not unless you bless me." So God blessed Jacob and Jacob let God go. 32:26-29

    "What is thy name?" (God didn't know Jacob's name.) 32:27

    God renames Jacob for the first time. God says that Jacob will henceforth be called Israel, but the Bible continues to call him Jacob anyway. And even God himself calls him Jacob in 46:2. 32:28

    "Tell me, I pray thee, thy name."
    God refuses to tell Jacob his name. (It's a secret.) 32:29

    "Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew ...."
    Jews don't eat the sinew of something or other because God messed with Jacob's leg while wrestling with him. (Now that's a good reason!) 32:32

    "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God."
    Since Jacob just saw the face of God a few verses ago (Genesis 32:30), he ought to know what God looks like. So now we do too. God looks just like Esau! Which is kind of strange, since God hates Esau. So all those pictures of God that you've seen? They had it all wrong. God is a redhead, just like Esau was. In fact, God is covered with red hair all over his body. 33:10

    God renames Jacob a second time. 35:10

    February 11, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Those are some fun facts. Another great way to become an atheist is to apply common sense to life.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • kcdalahast

      What about the context? In the wrestling match, Jacob wrestles with God until daybreak. Then God touches the hollow of Jacob's thigh and dislocates it, demonstrating that He could have easily defeated Jacob at any time. This was a lesson in humility – showing Jacob that compared to God, he was nothing.

      February 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        God the bitter, abusive father.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          If you read the whole story, you'll see Jacob has some issues. He is a thief, an adulterer and a horrible father.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        LET's Religiosity Law #4 – If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • kcdalahast

          Context helps apply true meaning.

          Or you can imagine everything illustrates your "law" and your knowledge is infallible.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  15. averagejoe7six

    One of the fundemental reasons I am atheist is the Bible's lack of creativity concerning God. Once you tell me god is 'all-powerful', I actually tried to understand what 'all-powerful' really meant. A facet of being 'all-powerful' [my mortal mind, of course] was to know everything at all times. To never be surprised, or ignorant, or mislead because 'all-powerful' means I know the path of every particle in exsistence. I know the story [a-z: beginning to end] of everything in reality.

    After that..... 'free will' was a sham. Meaningless. This superbeing can never be caught unawares. It knows my entire story before it even starts it. That's ultimate design. I'd expect no less from a 'god'.

    I believe that most theists don't explore this seriously. Or they begin to explore, but still trust whats been told to them. Too scared to initiate anything that would shake their shiny explanations of their faith. But 'free will' and 'all-powerful' do not mix. 'Free will' implies that 'god' wants to see what I will do on my own accord. It implies that 'god' could be surprised by an action of mine. Or be dissappointed, or be happy, depending on my choices. And that implies that 'god' has a lack of knowledge into the future. I adamantly disagree with any concept of god not fitting the 'all-powerful' label. Because.... if you say there's something god CAN'T do...... then it's not a god.

    February 11, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Joe, The idea of all knowing seems to throw a lot of people. But I can tell you that I don't understand the conflict. Yes ,all knowing means knowing the end from the beginning and every possibility in between. How does that effect free will? You can still do whatever you want. What if God knows what you might or could do? ,the action is yours to complete. The effect of the action is what you created. You are in charge of your own choices and actions. God is just an observer to those actions.He know all the possibiliyties ,but you determine the action.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • Doris

        So in your view God cannot predict? Or are you of the belief that God is outside of time? If you believe God is outside of time, do you believe he have the power to affect choices, actions & results if he chooses? Sooner or later God's ethics will come into question with all this power.

        February 11, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • Doris

          ...he has the power...

          February 11, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          doris, he is outside and inside of time. He has the power to affect choices, but only does so if we ask for his help in choosing. He can and does somtime interfere for our own good, but mostly dos'nt interfere. This is not a perfect place to live and not designed so. It is a perfect place to learn and thats what we do. If all was perfect,we would just cruize along and not struggle or strain or sweat or grow .

          February 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • dandintac

          Ing,

          You seem to know ALLLLLL about this super-being. He knows this, he'll do that, he won't do this, he has the power to do this, he seldom does that... The truth is, you don't know anything at all–you're just making stuff up in order to answer tough questions that are otherwise unanswerable, and cast doubt on the God claim.

          The basic claims of God from the Bible are untenable given the universe we observe today–with tools and knowledge that was unavailable to the ancients. Therefore believers are left with tough unanswerable questions, and resort to making things up in an effort to fill the many gaps in logic. One believer will say one thing, another something else–because these claims are not based on any sort of evidence–they spring from the imagination.

          February 11, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • dandintac

          "...he is outside and inside of time."

          Ing, do you realize that with this one sentence here, you've increased your huge, sweeping, unsupported claims from one to three–1) there is a God; 2) there is an "outside of time"; and 3) this God is both inside and outside of it.

          This is without even going into the rest of the post.

          February 14, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Dan, It's called a long term relationship. I'm an older guy, I've learned about him by spending time with him in prayer.. That's what prayer is for,to learn about him and in turn about myself. I can say he is this or that and he wants this or that because of that relationship we've had for many many years. The Bible tells about him but is hard to fathom sometimes and can be confusing . Better to go to the source instead of a middleman.

          February 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Who taught you this nonsense? Child abuse.

        February 11, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • averagejoe7six

        Again.... when one knows everything (absolutely every. thing.), then at what point will God NOT know what I'm already going to do with 'free will'? As the Designer Of Reality, god knows where all things initiate and stop. It's like expecting a different result from a meal I'm cooking because the meal 'choose' to do something. But I'm the cook. I'm dictating this entire event.

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

          Average, but He's not the cook, he supplies the ingredients ,we do the cooking. What we cook is what we get, sometimes it's not edible, somtimes it's deadly,sometimes it's good.

          February 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • dandintac

          Just supplies the ingredients eh?
          God is ALL-POWERFUL
          God is ALL-KNOWING

          The two admittedly go hand-in-hand. I don't see how you could have one without the other. Do you believe this? God is all-powerful, and all-knowing?

          If God is all-knowing, that would mean he knows EVERYTHING. He knows every last detail of every last human life, including people who will not be born until the human race is close to an end, which could be millions of years. He knows my entire life, long before I was even born, and yours too. This goes way beyond merely "supplier of ingredients" or mere "prediction." This means the tapestry has been woven–without any input from you or I. Your decisions have been made for you. You have only the illusion of "free will". Your whole life, even down to every single thought you have, or anyone else, past, present and future, has been determined and planned. Any effort to claim that we have a choice implies unpredictability, which is an admission that God is not all-knowing.

          Furthermore, if God is "all-powerful", that means not only is everything planned out in advance, it means that even if it were not true, that he has everything planned out, and is therefore NOT all-knowing–being all-powerful, he holds absolute will over every single action, or even thought, that we may have. We cannot have ANY will–he has all of it. His will is ABSOLUTE–there is none leftover. "Will" is therefore a concept that can only apply to God, not to any of his creatures, including us. We are truly puppets to his imagination.

          This is one reason why I believe an all-powerful, all-knowing God cannot exist. Think about the absolute nature of these claims!

          February 11, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Dan, Being all powerful and all knowing isn't the point. Shure he is those things, but that's not the game plan. You have to understand that he put us here to learn and to experience life on our own,with his presense in our life if we so wish, but to learn to live and love and grow into adults. This is a learning place for us, a time zone that is short in the scheme of things. Our souls are eternal and have come here to mature. We enter our bodies to experience life and hardship and to assist each other in that quest to succeed andgrow to be stronger more mature beings.And if we so wish , to find our way back to God if we so desire.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
        • dandintac

          Ing,

          You haven't even addressed the arguments. You concede that God, as claimed by Christians, is all-knowing and all-powerful. You have not addressed the necessary logic that must follow if these claims are true. Instead you make multiple, sweeping assertions–without any evidence, except apparently, your personal assurance that you've got God's game plan all figured out. Sorry–that's not enough.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Dan, the argument may never be enough for you . You argue against God's existance and I argue for his existence .By your own stance, you will never come to a place where you will believe in God unless you have a personal encounter of some kind , you will remain where you are presently. I think that's a fair statement .

          February 12, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • dandintac

          ing,

          Would this "personal encounter" include some hard, verifiable, testable, repeatable evidence? If so, I would certainly welcome that.

          I know "personal relationship" is the latest buzzword among Christians. I guess it's the fill-in used when one can't cite any kind of actual evidence. But just think how silly it would sound, if you were asserting that any other mythical character you would care to name–how about one of the gods of the past? Let's suppose I claimed that Ishtar is real. And then I told you "AND, she wants to have a relationship with you!" Don't you see how that would sound utterly ridiculous? Would you not laugh if someone told you that? This is how we feel every time a Christian tells us the same thing about their god.

          February 13, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Dan, I totally understand, it's a hard concept to accept. I bet even most religious people would have a hard time with the some of the things Iv'e said. They would undoubtably say thats' not Biblical. But these things make sense to me and are real to me and I've come a long way from my rigid doctrine beliefs of my early Christianity . I believe we learn untill we die , and I"ve allways had a deep hunger for spiritual understanding ,the hows and whys of my beliefs. Some Christians will say "Oh you should'nt ask so many questions , just accept things as they are." But I want to know all the unanswerable things ,the more to understand The universe and creation, and the creator.

          February 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    The worst crime possible in the world of religion is apostacy.
    While most religionists can tolerate an ignorant heathen since they have a chance of being converted, those who willfully and purposefully reject the tenets of a given sect are to be scorned.
    At the very least, the apostate is shunned – but often throughout history they were killed.
    Even today, apostacy is a capital crime in a number of Islamic countries, including Iran, Qatar, Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somallia and Pakistan.

    The Bible itself calls for the execution of those who turn their backs on Abraham's God, even if it is your brother, your mother, or your best friend.
    "Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God"
    – Deuteronomy 13

    There is enormous pressure in religious communities to keep on walking the walk and talking the talk even if you know in your heart that much of it is nonsense. Even if a religionists loses their fear of divine, posthumous punishment, the punishments that can be laid down in the here and now by mere mortals is more than enough to silence the doubter.

    February 11, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      as ever, well said Sir!

      February 11, 2014 at 11:26 am |
  17. averagejoe7six

    "How could God be so loving when he will send millions to hell?"

    They're called 'holes-in-the-plot'. Classic problem humans have when telling complex stories.

    February 11, 2014 at 10:45 am |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    even as a child getting indoctrinated at church and at sunday school I kept looking around puzzled, wondering if all the other children actually believed this nonsense they were telling us. I figured it was something we pretended to believe to keep the adults happy. Sort of an inverse santa claus.

    The more I have studied the bible, and believe me I have spent years studying it and other religious books, the more I see this as a hangover from primitive days when our ancestors had no scientific knowledge and had to imagine gods to explain things. The human mind and its weakness for cognitive dissonance are all that keeps religion alive.

    In the words of Isaac Asimov: "Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."

    February 11, 2014 at 10:06 am |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    Christians continually post that "god believes this" or "god says that" or "the devil knows this" or "the devil knows that"

    Really?! Really?!?!

    And how could you Christians possibly know this? The fact that you can read a story book written by primitive, desert dwelling goat herders and come up with claims like this is asinine! And no, your book is not the word of god, otherwise you would obey EVERY letter of it, not just some of the parts that suit your lifestyle.

    "asinine". Look it up. It describes your bold claims of knowledge of the supernatural perfectly. Asinine!

    February 11, 2014 at 9:52 am |
    • dandintac

      doG,

      This is something I've pointed out before as well. Because the claims are already so huge and sweeping, they therefore raise a lot of tough questions. But for some reason, Christians can rarely ever bring themselves to say "I don't know". Probably because the questions, if unanswered, make these initial claims look mighty dubious. So they find themselves in the position of making things up on their own, often with only the most tenuous support from the Bible–or more often no support at all. They seem to know ALL about this super-being. God is this, God is that, God would never do that, God knows this, God will do that... But they create a towering edifice of fluff, which can be dismissed without evidence, because it was all asserted without evidence.

      February 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
  20. Jett

    "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."

    –It's unfortunate that someone's faith is shaken by the actions of others.

    However, trusting in Christ as the anchor of your soul is the only way to remain in faith– Matthew 22:14

    February 11, 2014 at 9:09 am |
    • igaftr

      More self affirming bible quotes. You don't think the bible is going to tell you the truth, maybe a disclaimer saying that there is no evidence that any gods exist, and that men wrote every word...no gods involved at all.

      You can only enter Valhalla if you die in glorious battle...there is no other way....same baloney.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:12 am |
      • robertbeliefblogginbrown

        Affirmation comes from God. At least in the article there is no mention of any experiences with God. He did say he became born again, just no details, so we really don't know what he meant by that. I personally don't believe if you are saved that you can be lost. He may have simply believed in God, even the devil believes in God.

        February 11, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • igaftr

          RB
          "Affirmation comes from God"

          Really? You must have some evidence of a god to say that, which I know you do not have. So you do not know what comes from "god" or if there are any gods in the first place.
          You want your belief to be the truth, but even you must admit, you do not know what you said is true.

          Men wrote your bible, you just choose to believe a story book.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          "even the devil believes in god"

          Really?! Really?!?!

          And how do you know this? The fact that you can read a story book written by primitive, desert dwelling goat herders and come up with claims like this is asinine!

          "asinine". Look it up. It describes your bold claims of knowledge of the supernatural perfectly.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • robertbeliefblogginbrown

          Igaftr,
          More accurately, affirmation of my faith has come from experiences I have had with what I believe is God. Happy?

          February 11, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • robertbeliefblogginbrown

          doG,
          Yeah, humans just evolved intelligence in recent years, those people 3500 years ago were dumber than rocks.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • igaftr

          RB
          "affirmation of my faith has come from experiences I have had with what I believe is God."

          So, you have examined ALL other possibilities, right? Likely you wanted it to be god, so atribute things to this god, even though there are likely other rational reasons.

          How do you know it was god?
          It could be satan, coincindence, your imagination, no cause at all, alien mind control, or the supernatural writer, writing your life story, wrote your character to experience what you claim to have experienced. Simple fact is, you don't know if any gods exist...you WANT your belief to be true, so convince yourself that things that have happened were influenced by your god...and of course YOUR god is the right one.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          3500 years ago, even the smartest man knew less than a 5 year old child today.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Robert
          " humans just evolved intelligence in recent years, those people 3500 years ago were dumber than rocks."

          It isn't that ancient people were unintelligent – it is just that they lacked a systematic means to explore and explain the natural world. Science didn't exist except as a "hey don't push me in the water or I'll get wet" kind of practical exercise.
          For those things that seemed mysterious and yet obviously out of man's control, supernatrual explanations were invented as means of rationalization. Most often, the pitiless va/garies of nature were ascribed to enti/ties pretty much like humans, but smarter and more powerful – though they frequently exhibit the manners and morals of petulant children.
          As a means of understanidng the natural world, god hypotheses aren't rational, they are rationalizations.

          February 11, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • snufflopagus

          RB, to which god do refer? There seem to many 'christian" gods as well, eh? Which one do you like best, the Methodist, SoBaps, Prysbies, RCC, Lutherans, Anabaptists, etc, etc ad nauseum. BTW, youe 'experiences are nothing more than you talking to yourself and having "feelings, nothing more than feelings."Face it, you god is fiction, and you 'belief is in your head, and you deparately need that belief so you can "feel special." News flash, you're not.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • believerfred

          Doc
          "As a means of understanidng the natural world, god hypotheses aren't rational, they are rationalizations."
          =>So, like a bunch of alcoholics sitting at a bar with common rationalizations (denial) Christians need to wake up and adopt the rationalizations of enlightened godlessness?
          =>God or the substance of causation remains unknowable and so like the men of old all you really know is not any different than I push you in the water and you get wet. Perhaps we know a bit more about how hydrogen and oxygen combine but all we have done is complicate the concept of wet. In essence exactly how is your rationalization of being all wet any better when it comes to explaining the unknown?

          February 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • Jett

      Kudos to him for revealing his skepticism.

      He's not the first and definitely not the last skeptic to have served in a church.

      Church leadership calling is a great honor and hope people who serve in these position act in good conscience.

      Now, may all the other church leaders who are skeptics please reveal your skepticism and not continue to lead people astray?

      February 11, 2014 at 9:14 am |
      • robertbeliefblogginbrown

        Amen, if you don't believe it, don't preach it.

        February 11, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • Doris

          Jett: "Now, may all the other church leaders who are skeptics please reveal your skepticism and not continue to lead people astray?"

          That would be interesting.

          Robert: "if you don't believe it, don't preach it."

          I don't think you quite got Jett's point.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • Jett

          Indeed, Robert.

          I would further clarify that skeptics who have lost faith in God should not be serving as ministers/pastors/priests or whatever.

          I shudder to think how many of them are currently holding such positions with a conscience that is in direct contradiction to their calling in ministry, a sort of –conflict of interest.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • Doris

          My bad, then. Sounds like you were in tune with Jett, Robert.

          It would be interesting to see how much of a shortage of ministers would be created if those who no longer believe in the supernatural (preaching in churches that are "all in" with that aspect) were to reveal their true thoughts on the matter.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:40 am |
      • dandintac

        Jett,

        Although what you say makes sense, both logically and ethically, Christians could help this process a great deal. They could start by being far less judgmental, and far more forgiving, of people who no longer believe. It takes a great deal of courage to come out just for a regular person. Think how difficult it must be for a minister where far more is on the line? Sure–I agree they should stop. But it must be far easier said than done. Their livelihood is instantly gone, and they might have no other training or way to feed their families or keep their homes. They will have to face the wrath and scorn of their congregations, people they may love and care about. The love of friends will often turn to hatred. Their families may disown them, possibly they could lose their spouses and children. They could find themselves isolated from everyone they know and love. I can't imagine what it must be like–trying to tell yourself you believe, but knowing in your heart you don't, but knowing you will lose–literally everything in your life.

        February 11, 2014 at 9:53 am |
    • justindvollmar

      No, this situation proved me that there is no such thing as Holy Spirit. He do not reside into Christian's hearts.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:32 am |
      • The Running Twit

        Ouch!

        For someone who has studied long and hard, that must have been like hitting a train head-on.

        February 11, 2014 at 9:41 am |
      • dandintac

        Justin,

        Thank you for having the courage to come out in such a public way, and be honest with yourself and everyone else. I hope you land well, and that the people you care about accept you.

        February 11, 2014 at 9:56 am |
      • snufflopagus

        Justin, it takes a brave person to do what you did, after all your studies and the hard work you put into your career. I am sure, with the stamina and intelligence you posess, that you will find gainful employment. Hang tough.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      What is unfortunate is that these church members behaved that way. It was obvious the man was having trouble, struggling...and rather than reach out to help him, rather than offering him an ear, a shoulder, they shunned him.

      If the religion allows an entire church body to behave that way, what good is it?

      February 11, 2014 at 9:39 am |
      • Jett

        Not all Christians behave that way, for every one Christian that does not show godly love there are ten other Christians, serving faithfully.

        That is the point of the OP, a person has to have their anchor in Christ and not another Christian. Everybody is a sinner, I have seen pastors who are divorced, they are sinners like everybody else, who need to repent. So, if you put your trust in those sinful men/women you will be disappointed.

        Lean on Christ as the anchor of your soul!

        February 11, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • myweightinwords

          Jeff, in my personal experience those numbers are reversed. For every person who lives what they say they believe, there are at least ten more who say the believe, but continue to behave as if they don't...or worse yet, use that belief to cast themselves as better than those who don't.

          If a church body claims belief, as Justin has indicated in comments, that the Holy Spirit dwells within each of them, and they shun a person who is having doubts rather than trying to help him, is it not logical to then doubt whether the Holy Spirit actually does dwell in these people?

          It is a logical next step to doubt whether the Holy Spirit dwells in anyone else. And then to whether or not the Holy Spirit exists.

          Belief is built on experience, if your only experience with "Christ" is the emotional manipulation and the spiritual blackmail of the religions that come under the label "Christian" one day, much like a battered woman, you will realize that your belief that you are loved is false.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • dandintac

          Jett,

          I don't buy into those numbers either. I'd believe some other ratio–6:4 perhaps. You believe this because it's not aimed at you. We tend to not see or overlook bad behavior not aimed at us.

          Christianity has a long history of bullying or trying to coerce those who stray. It's built right into the religion. There are many passages in the Bible which damn the nonbeliever, and prescribe punishment, including stoning. The concept of Hell as promoted by the Christian religion for centuries is probably the single biggest act of bullying ever, along with torture and burning of "heretics" and blasphemers which went on for centuries, and social ostracization which continues to this day.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • snufflopagus

          Jett, you pinned the needle on my BS Meter so hard you broke it.

          February 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • The Running Twit

        For them, it is a kind of war. They have to defend themselves and their faith.

        It is not easy for someone to lose faith by witnessing acts of others who pretend to be good neighbors but I guess that he slowly outgrew his faith after he became aware of these acts.

        February 11, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • myweightinwords

          It is very sad to me. I come from that type of church as well. It saddens me the way our culture holds up "good Christian values" as if that was some kind of ideal, and yet doesn't bat an eye when so called Christians behave this way.

          Especially when Christ taught that his followers should love their neighbors and love their enemies.

          I had to walk away from Christianity all together to figure out how to do that.

          February 11, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • The Running Twit

          Well, I have two aunts who are nuns, one is missionary in Peru and one was teaching at a private school until she died.

          Every time we meet may aunt when she travels here, we are always overwhelmed with emotions for her dedication and hard work. She is used to see the good and the bad sides of people, but she keeps going on. And at 5'1" and around 100 lbs, she is the spitting image of may grandma.

          She never toss people aside because of their faith or atheism, she is more interested in people.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:16 am |
    • Jett

      Most of the responses here is pointing to other Christians that might have been to blame for someone's skepticism.

      Okay, so you were disappointed by the lack of love of those Christians, you walk away into the arms of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris or some other new age atheist looking for love.

      That argument is fundamentally flawed, if you are looking for true love look to Christ, all else will disappoint you.

      Put your anchor in Christ and rest on Him as the author and finisher of your faith, you will not be disappointed if you do so!

      February 11, 2014 at 10:02 am |
      • myweightinwords

        Jett, I did that. I still ended up doubting. I still ended up walking away. People were not the cause of my doubts or the catalyst for my disbelief. Studying the bible was. Learning the history of it. Testing it against history. Holding it up to my heart and realizing that even if the bible turned out to be truth, it wasn't good enough...that the god described in those pages was not one I could in good conscience serve.

        The reaction of people to my doubts did nothing to draw me back, offered no confirmation that I was wrong. I imagine for Justin it was much the same.

        February 11, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • Jett

          There is one passage that I already quoted, Matthew 22:14

          Wishing you well in your journey!

          February 11, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • myweightinwords

          Quoting a book I no longer believe to be the word of god is not going to convince me of anything.

          My journey has been amazing and wondrous and I have never been happier or more filled with love than I am today.

          May the same be said for you and yours.

          February 11, 2014 at 10:23 am |
      • doobzz

        "Okay, so you were disappointed by the lack of love of those Christians, you walk away into the arms of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris or some other new age atheist looking for love."

        Jett, it's your argument that is flawed. He did not say that he became a skeptic because of a lack of Christian love, he said it made him question. He then spent what sounds like several more years seeking a church community and most important, studying the bible. It wasn't an impulsive or emotional decision.

        This is very similar to my journey. I was "dismissed" from the RCC for leaving my drug addicted, violent husband. I joined a bible believing, fundamental church and spent many years there and in intense bible study. It was studying the bible that lead to my non belief, not the people in the various congregations. I had never even heard of Dawkins or Harris, so I hardly "walked into their arms". I still haven't read any of their work, other than a few quotes that have appeared here, because I don't need a book, a person, or a congregation to tell me how to think.

        February 11, 2014 at 12:01 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.