By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
(CNN) – In the close-knit town of Middlesboro, Kentucky, almost everyone knew what was happening inside the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church – including Police Chief Jeff Sharpe.
Despite a Kentucky law that prohibits snake-handling at religious events, Sharpe said he "made a decision not to involve this police department in somebody's church service."
"I'm not going to tell you that I didn't know what was going on. This is a small town," Sharpe said. "But we're not going to bust into anybody's church on Sunday morning."
The trouble at Full Gospel Tabernacle began on Saturday night, when Pastor Jamie Coots, whose serpent-handling religious rituals made him a reality TV star, died after a rattlesnake sunk its fangs into his right hand.
Coots was a third-generation serpent handler and aspired to one day pass the practice, and his church, on to his adult son, Little Cody.
MORE ON CNN: Reality show snake-handling preacher dies - of snakebite
Despite Coots' death, Sharpe said he will not enforce Kentucky's ban against using serpents in religious services.
"The Middlesboro police have their priorities and the State Police have theirs. If they want to come in and investigate that or any other church, they are quite welcome."
A National Geographic show featured Coots and cast handling copperheads, rattlers and cottonmouths. The channel's website shows a picture of Coots, goateed, with a fedora covering his bald head.
"Even after losing half of his finger to a snake bite and seeing others die from bites during services," Coots "still believes he must take up serpents and follow the Holiness faith," the website says.
Coots belonged to a small circle of Pentecostal Holiness pastors who take this passage from the Bible's Gospel of Mark literally: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Since those words are said to be spoken by Jesus, pastors like Coots take them as divine commandments. But there are other spiritual reasons to handle serpents, practitioners say, often describing the dangerous rituals as a mental and emotional rush, as if they were touching the hand of God.
"They almost always use drug metaphors, like 'higher than any high you can experience," said Paul Williamson, a professor of psychology at Henderson State University in Arkansas who studies serpent handlers.
At the same time, they are extremely careful with the serpents, Williamson said, only allowing those who live sin-free lives and have been "annointed" by the Holy Spirit to handle the snakes. "There's death in that box," pastors often warn the congregation before services start.
"Because serpent handling is not a practice that occurs in the mainstream, people tend to look at it as anomalous and strange, " said Williamson. "But to them, it's really no different from a Catholic who takes Communion. It's a powerful and immediate experience of God that gives meaning and purpose to their lives."
Williamson estimates there are at most 2,000 people who belong to the few hundred churches, centered in Appalachia, that practice serpent handling. Most of the churches, like Coots', are fairly small, with less than 50 worshippers.
Faith in the divine played a role on Coots' death Saturday night, Sharpe said.
"He was very open about his beliefs, that if he was bitten, he did not want medical treatment." Coots had been bitten by a snake a half-dozen times before and recovered.
Williamson said Coots and other snake-handlers generally seek medical treatment for other ailments. "But when it comes to serpent-handling, it requires a belief in God and obedience to the commands of Jesus. If something does happen, they trust God with the consequences."
Sharpe said his department and an ambulance crew responded to a call at the church Saturday night but Coots and his family had already gone home. When they arrived at the Coots home, the pastor was unconscious and "in pretty bad shape."
Medical professionals stayed at Coots' house for half an hour, telling the family about the consequences of not seeking treatment, the police chief said, as family, friends and church members came and went. But the Coots family was adamant that God alone would heal the pastor, if it was divine will.
"Certainly, they were not aware of the danger," Sharpe said. "We have to offer this treatment, but we can't force them to take it."
Coots was far from the first serpent-handler to die from a snakebite. Mack Wolford, one of the tradition's most famous practitioners, was killed by a bite in 2012. His father died in 1983 from the same cause.
The police chief said he knew Coots fairly well and spoke with the pastor several times about being bitten by serpents.
It is not illegal to keep poisonous snakes in Kentucky, but it requires permits from the state Fish and Wildlife Department. Coots' permits were up-to-date, Sharpe said. "He was pretty meticulous."
"They were well aware of what they were doing, that they were handling dangerous snakes and could get bit. Please understand that these are not ignorant people but people with beliefs just a little outside the mainstream."
In February 2013, Coots was given one year of probation for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes. The state banned snake-handling in 1947 after five people died within a two-year span, the National Geographic Channel says on the show site.
He was previously arrested in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes in his home, according to the channel.
(CNN's Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.)
Why the snake handler refused treatment: To get to the other side.
"...and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" I do know that these strange literalists do sometimes drink poisons. Why is that not more common? I can recommend quite a few things they might try.
That little if seems important. In those days it could be deadly to drink the water.
Hello, Robert. Do you agree that these verses should not be taken as a command or a promise?
Yes, Jesus reminded satan that we shouldn't tempt God. We have us enough sense to know better than to do certain things. I think he expects us to use it. I feel sorry for this man's family. I don't think he had a death wish as some have posted. It seems that those who practice these things really believe that God will protect them. It is a mistake to interpret scripture without considering the whole bible.
Drinking poison is not as dramatic. Snakes make for a better show.
Thank you Jesus for getting rid of the report button. Atheists have been abusing the report button in the name of atheism for a while now.
For some people, trolling is smooth and effortless. For others, there's much work to be done.
In the name of atheism I rebuke thee. Out foul spirit!
Jeebus, I get banished for a week and like weeds some new Topher takes root.
Sorry bro, but you will need to take some writing classes to fill his spot.
A mind is a terrible thing to lose, to religion........
Please provide evidence that jesus had any part in the redesign of this site. Why couldn't it have been an atheist programmer taking away some believer's last gasp method of ending losing arguments? Your scenario requires the intervention of an unproven being with nothing better to do than guide a programmer's fingers – I would have thought it would be time better spent ending child poverty or definitively proving it's existence. My scenario is much simpler requiring no voodoo at all.
LOL, "In the name of atheism!" Uh, atheism isn't a belief or a cult like religion. There is no common view among atheists, we simply call BS on the god concept.
Atheism is a religion. Takes faith to believe we exist without a creator and have NO proof to back it up. Priceless comedy right there!
Do you have any evidence to back up anyone's opinion regarding the beginning of the Universe, tf1?
"A" = Without. "Theism" = a belief in the existence of God or gods. Therefore "Atheism" means, literally, "without a belief in the existence of God or gods."
Atheism is a religion in the same sense that bald is a hairstyle.
I get you're an idiot, but I can't help trying. No, atheism doesn't require faith. There's a hypothesis: a god floats in the sky and runs the universe. I don't believe that hypothesis. Nothing to do whatsoever with faith. Faith is believing things without or despite evidence.
I'm always amused when believers argue that atheism is a religion, as if dragging atheism down to the level of religion would somehow make religion better.
Please provide a verse that literally states heaven is on a floating cloud. In fact, the bible mentions NOTHING about the exact location of heaven. Why would a spiritual realm be above our heads? Cite the verse or verses that support your child-like mind. And atheists fool themselves into thinking they know more about the bible than Christians! Comedy gold folks!
thefinished, atheists don't have to make up crazy sh!t about your cult's beliefs, you whackjobs do it yourself. For example, please explain all the pictures in museums and churches that show your imaginary buddy reigning from the clouds?
You completely missed the point. Try again.
Athiests believe everything comes from a rock. How stupid is that?
13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
Atheists simply don't believe in any gods. Atheism says nothing about where we came from. Atheism isn't a religion or a set of beliefs. Being an atheist says absolutely nothing about what a person believes.
Most atheists I know don't claim to know where life came from, but coming from a rock is no sillier than being made from dirt by an as yet unproven supernatural buddy.
I was the victim of all my posts being deleted. And somebody would post derogatory and anti-Christian messages to me. I tend to think it was just 1 troll. Most atheists aren't religious hating morons. Just some.
I've had many non-offensive posts deleted as well. Considering the CNN programmers can't figure out how to allow the word cons...t...i../tution through, I'd chalk it up to incompetence on their part.
Yea. I noticed sometimes it appeared somebody was just trying to yank the chains of all people. It usually worked.
I'll bet the snake was poisoned by that experience too.
Saw this coming several years ago when he initially made the news. No respect for nature or God's creatures. It will be interesting to see how his followers 'reason' themselves out of this one.
Calling them "God's creatures" suggests you don't believe in evolution, which suggests you're just as delusional as this guy was.
Man, they sure do make it hard on a brother to keep posting on this site.
Rat bas tards deleted niknak so I had to add to it.
Watch out believers, cause niknakisback to make even more fun of your sky fairy!
Absurd Christians shame and preach at those they don't understand.
Absurd atheists sarcastically mock and belittle those they don't understand.
And you both lose.
Oh I understand them well.
Which is why I sarcastically mock them, and their god(s).
And you get mocked just as easily. Even by other atheists.
Are you an atheist?
If so, mock away bro ham!
Yes I am.
Ok, you are just as intolerant as the religious people.
Yes, I am intolerant of people trying to force their unproven beliefs on our government, or courts, our medicine, our classrooms and in our bedrooms.
I am sick of reading about what other religions are doing to woman, children and to other people who won't go along with their imaginary friend.
And I am way past tired of your various houses of myth not paying their fair share of local taxes.
Very compelling point. Yes, acting extremely immature on a message board ought to fix all that. Carry on.
How I am being immature?
Why didn't any of your fellow atheists welcome you back? But they do post to "thefinisher1"?
Good point, as none did.
So I am glad I have you ;)
welcome back, niknak!
We atheists get so wrapped up in hating the "other side", we forgot to say "hi" to our side.
Truth is, I don't hate them.
But I hate what they do, especially in the ME.
And I am weary of them bothering me at my home trying to talk to me about god.
Gets old cleaning up their literature off my front stoop, especially after it has rained.
I'll stop with the pamphlets. But may I have your email address?
And you're above it all?
No. I'm guilty of being both. I strive to do neither.
Herd thinned. Darwin vindicated.
Unfortunately his seed has already been perpetuated. Hopefully the bloodline will die out soon.
After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. Ask Jesus into your heart. There is still a path to the bathroom sink. Sit back and smell the devil’s spit you will spin on.
Good riddance. The fewer religious people the better.
They always reproduce first.
Why limit it to religious people?
because they are more dangerous to freedom and progress.
Religious people, although slow, and dangerous behind the wheel, can serve a purpose.
Advancements in science, piloting jets, performing neurosurgery, flying to the moon, authoring great novels, Olympic bobsledding and being our parents.
But was it his purpose or one someone else decided for him?
Let me correct that, would it be his own purpose?
I don't know. I actually read the question wrong. Sorry.
All people can be dangerous. If you think it is only religious people, you are probably a bigot.
Not founding our country, luckily.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."
From the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams on November 4, 1796. It received unanimous ratification from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797
"Being our parents" and brain-washing children to believe the same craziness they believe is not a valid purpose.
Most of our founding fathers were Christians. The desire for a free country and equality for all was a Christian ideal, as well as an ideal of the other founding fathers.
Most of the atheists posting on here have religious parents, is my point.
Sort of brainwashed, but not really brainwashed, I hope you mean.
Most of our founders were atheists, or at least as much as you could be an atheist in that day an age (example: Thomas Jefferson).
My parents were raised religious, but luckily are highly intelligent and were strong enough to not raise me or my siblings with the childhood indoctrination that so many unfortunate children go through. I'm not sure if it's true that most atheists were raised religious. Perhaps. The smartest ones become atheists as is shown by many studies.
It's brain-washing, nothing less. Not with evil intentions, but when you've been brain-washed, you don't realize what you're doing to the child you're brain-washing. We've been through this.
A few may have been atheist. Most were Christians and wanted to set up a free nation. They didn't want a theocracy, but wanted to practice their religion.
Why would you belittle and demean people who have been brainwashed? How does that help them?
Most atheists have religious loved ones, including parents.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
This always comes to mind when I start thinking about strong and smart I am.
No, I try to help people who have been brain-washed to understand what's happened to them to prevent them from being able to be objective. The sad thing is that it isn't recognized as a serious issue of childhood mental abuse because it's so prevalent. People who have been brain-washed are not typically receptive to changing their ideas, no matter how illogical they are.
I would leave it to the professionals. You are doing the exact opposite of what they would suggest, when dealing with a person who has been forcible coerced into believing something dangerous.
Don't play doctor.
You are an example of someone who doesn't even believe he's been brain-washed, so I doubt you're seeking professional help. If religious people sought help on their own, I'd stay out of it. As long as they continue to brain-wash their children, I'll do what I can to bring attention to what I consider to be mental abuse.
Haha. You are funny. I'll trust my professionally trained therapist over some guy on the internet who has no clue what he is talking about.
Why did NO atheists defend your outline of why all religious people are brainwashed?
Because, like I demonstrated, it was circular reasoning. A logical fallacy. A silly idea.
Uh, actually, plenty of atheists did agree with me.
Some, not all. Nor most.
Does anyone know if there is a new word filter that goes along with the new site? I have had a few posts not accepted, is it an auto filter or do they actually moderate comments at word press?
The ones that get me the most are consti/tution, atti/tude, circu/mstances and salt/water.
Are the programmers at CNN really that inept that they can't figure out a way to allow those words through? So stupid. I'm not sure how many children go to CNN news boards in the first place, but if they're online, they certainly have access to much more raunchy stuff than this!
Also frequent offenders might be ra/pture and va/gue.
Vague is one of the ones that always gets me.
The first two that lunch mentioned have that trio of letters in so many words. For a long time it was hitting me for constitution, but lately it's more from institution or Institue.
oops type – Institute
I took me forever to figure out spo.on was one. And I was trying to paste a parable about spo.ons.
It's always been run by WordPress here, AFAIK. They just changed it to registered posters only. The filter list is the same.
Here is a copy of the list:
Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
ar-se.....as in ar-senic, coa.rse, etc.
co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
ho-oters…as in sho-oters
ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
ni-gra…as in deni-grate
o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
p-orn… as in p-ornography
pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).
wonderful us – test
hmm, I guess that 'wonderful us' does work - I'll have to take it off my copy of the list.
is it lust?
wonderful us that
I know gasp horror, the guy offed himself at church. But from a hypochondriac who worries about having a heart attack on the freeway, and the inevitable cancer 24/7. The man went out, he went out with courage and without costing the medical community a dime. I admire his courage. I know I am alone in that sentiment but all things considered I do.
I didn't know the guy, so I have no idea if he was courageous or not. He may have just wanted to die because he was sick of living such a ridiculous lie. I don't know if he was smart or not. The only thing I know for sure is that he was indoctrinated in his parents' particular version of Christianity and that directly led to his death. If he hadn't been brain-washed as a child, who knows what kind of person he would have become.
Probably someone like you and me with no air time post mortem.
Sometimes what appears to be courage is really just stupidity. There is ample evidence that this is the latter, or a third option, an elaborately staged suicide.
"You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]
There can be no free will according to the Bible.
thats according to YOUR bible not mine. i don't believe in bible or god
I am an atheist as well. I fail to see what that has to do with it.
Bull. There are dozens of stories in the Bible that involve people deciding for themselves what they were going to do and doing it. Dumba**
Perhaps there are contradictions in the Bible.
Funny, that, when it's supposedly "the word of God."
"There are plenty of stories in the bible..."
Exactly, STORIES. The fact that many people think any of it is true is the sad thing.
Mark my words, when the time comes for me I'm going to believe something to get me over that last hurdle. I don't care if I'm laying there imagining twelve angels screaming "PUSH!" as I astral-glide out of my body on enough morphine to choke a horse I will have something fascinating kicking in my mind when I go.
God is not limited to our time line. Our time is sequenced past, present and future. God simply is.
We can only speculate as to what or how the eternal moves in our linear time line. Saul of Tarsus stated that for those he knew he predestined yet we must make the active choice and are accountable for what we do with what we were given.
If God can do anything then certainly God could predestine your path after seeing the result of your existence. It is written I will make all things new and wipe away every tear. All things work to the good of those who believe in Christ. So God knows already what will be as we fulfill a destiny based on who we in Christ.
You are a prime example of free will as you reject that which is real for that which is not. Just as Adam and Eve bought the deception at the tree in garden you bought the deception in the garden God has placed you. Without free will Adam and Eve could not have fallen for the deception.
"Adam and Eve"? Seriously?
Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
Your expression of unbelief follows the emptiness of existence absent purpose. The Bible is the awareness of purpose which brings hope outside of ourselves. It says the very opposite of emptiness. The Bibles speaks of an overflowing love out of creation that is without limit. You are missing out when you limit the time and wonder possible.
A book can be inspirational without being true. That believing what is written in it fills you with joy and a sense of purpose has no bearing on whether the stories told in the book are true.
Why don't you just say, "....I don't know."
Because asserting the existence of God to explain the unknown is a longstanding Christian tradition.
I do know and I try to be truthful. I know that I have free will because I exercise it as you do except I went from agnostic to Christian. I do know that God follows through on his promises and has done so since the beginning of written biblical history. Do you really think the Hebrew would have believed if God did deliver on promises?
God knows all things which includes who I really am where I have been and where I am going. God knew this for all eternity not just during my time line.
I do not know how God does that or how eternity works relative to time outside of our existence.
You claim to "know" when, in fact, you simply believe. You're no different than those before you who believed in Zeus, Osirus, Marduk, Tengri, or Pangu. Everything that goes right in your life you attribute to "God" and everything that goes wrong is either the God "testing you" or "working in mysterious ways." You're like the ancients who prayed to their Gods for good harvests and, then, when the harvests were good, gave credit to God for their success.
If a family member got cancer, you'd pray for the cancer to be cured, wouldn't you? But if a family member lost a leg, would you pray for God to make the leg grow back? If not, why? If you truly believed that God could make miracles happen, why would you not ask for his intervention when someone lost a leg?
believerfred has major league faith. He is an All Star at pretending to know things he does not.
Exerting the non existence of God because you don't know does not offer anything positive. Exerting "I don't know" as some atheist badge of honor is a lose lose proposition. You ignore and refuse the worlds historic relationship with God and gods (real or imagined) and refuse to learn what about this worship attracts mankind. How is it that with the exception of a small minority of atheists the world continues to function under the world view that there is a greater purpose and we are not simply a cosmic accident. Even if you are right you still lose out on the wonder that is Christ. That is your free will choice.
You wrote: "Exerting the non existence of God because you don’t know does not offer anything positive."
Beliefs should be based on facts, observations, logic, and reason, not on what makes you feel good.
You wrote: "You ignore and refuse the worlds historic relationship with God and gods (real or imagined) and refuse to learn what about this worship attracts mankind."
No, that's not true. I understand why these beliefs are have, for centuries, been so appealing to so many, but that has nothing to do with whether the beliefs are true. I don't get comfort out of believing that I will someday die and not live on for eternity, but I accept it as true - since there's no compelling evidence to the contrary.
It's far more likely that the world exists and carries on in spite of religion, not because of it. But go ahead, prove the cause and effect you seem to be suggesting.
The amazing thing about faith is that it actually reveals the entire reality of our existence. I can see the same materialistic world you see plus the wonder of Gods love in context of the plan of creation itself. Why anyone would intentionally choose to see life as originating without purpose is beyond me.
I prefer reality, based on science over the pablum of religion, based on unproven bullsh!t. But do enjoy your delusions.
The scientifically acceptable evidence actually leans towards the unknown as existence of intelligent life absent an infinite number of universes (Hawking multiverse) is impossible. Science cannot and does not speculate on God or gods yet alone religion.
It is unfortunate that you think of yourself more intune than Jesus, Moses etc. as to purpose of life. How does your idea of purpose for creation match up with that of Jesus? Have you written a book of life that has billions of copies in print and followed by over 8 billion people since the creation of the world?
Go ahead, prove the desert dweller called jesus was divine and wrote a book. You do know that not one chapter in The Babble is an actual eyewitness account don't you?
"Beliefs should be based on facts, observations, logic, and reason, not on what makes you feel good."
=>There are no scientifically acceptable facts or observations concerning God or no god. Facts actually point to the impossibility of an accidental existence of intelligent life. Observations actually point towards hope in a purpose outside of self as a common pattern for successful intelligent life. Logic and reason favor an agent outside of our known time space construct over an agent within our time space as to origin of time and space itself. Logic and reason dictate the existence of a presence that is not constrained by the physical boundaries of matter. Even most atheists understand there must be something rather than nothing before and or after our physical existence. Even simple logic dictates there must be something rather than nothing at the boundaries of space and time.
You wrote: "You ignore and refuse the worlds historic relationship with God and gods (real or imagined) and refuse to learn what about this worship attracts mankind."
No, that's not true. I understand why these beliefs are have, for centuries, been so appealing to so many, but that has nothing to do with whether the beliefs are true. I don't get comfort out of believing that I will someday die and not live on for eternity, but I accept it as true – since there's no compelling evidence to the contrary.
You wrote: "There are no scientifically acceptable facts or observations concerning God or no god."
Absolutely untrue. And absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The burden of proof is on those who make an affirmative claim regarding the existence of some deity. You've not disproven the existence of Zeus, yet you don't believe in Zeus, do you?
"Facts actually point to the impossibility of an accidental existence of intelligent life."
That is absolutely untrue and I point you to the work of renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who has written extensively on the subject.
Please ignore the last two paragraphs that somehow attached from your post.
You wrote: "There are no scientifically acceptable facts or observations concerning God or no god."
=>You are one who made the claim facts and observation rule out God or gods not me. I stated that any such facts or observations were unacceptable.
"absence of evidence is evidence of absence"
=>What is your evidence that our universe had origin.
"You've not disproven the existence of Zeus, yet you don't believe in Zeus, do you?"
=>I have not met anyone who believes in Zeus do you?
"Facts actually point to the impossibility of an accidental existence of intelligent life."...evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who has written extensively on the subject."
=>Dawkins is a biologist and at best would agree that there are 720 minimum requirements allowing the creation of intelligent life. Dawkins needs to see Hawking to see how the math works. No doubt there is the possibility of Dawkins to be correct, unfortunately it requires and infinite number of universes.
How does being scheduled long in advance mean that there is no free will? Is there anything showing in that verse to indicate that you cannot do anything but follow that schedule? Just because one may be scheduled for something doesn't mean that one has to follow that schedule.
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
(Matthew 20:16 KJV)
Hey atheists, why doesn't your non-belief god show itself? All that logic and nothing? Stop claiming atheism is more logical when it's clearly the opposite.
Amen, thefinisher1. If the non-belief god showed itself and said it was greater than all other gods, all the logic would stop. Amen.
I'm honestly not sure if you two are joking or actually flat-out idiots.
i am believing they are trolls. no one could be that dumb
I think you're right. They have to be feigning that level of ignorance and stupidity just to get rises out of people.
Is Salero21 related to you? You come across like you're from the same inbred hicks he is.
Nope. I'm not a hick..I fight against atheist fundies.
Yep, you are a hick!
Why fight against disbelief? That's like shadow boxing-no real value to it and it only makes you look foolish.
As for Atheist fundies...no such thing, that would be implying we are preaching Atheism and that is not what we do. We merely express the importance of thinking rationally and being skeptical...atheism is the result of doing both.
What exactly would an atheist fundamentalist even be? How can you be a fundamentalist about not believing in fairy tales?
hey god fanatic believer! why don't you accept the truth that when you cannot find comfort you seek imaginary solace thru fairy tale god.
"We merely express the importance of thinking rationally and being skeptical...atheism is the result of doing both." Actually you insult and degrade people to make yourselves feel better. I can explain climate change as a result of a natural cycle caused by the masses and orbits of the planets, but I don't go around calling believers in humans causing climate change idiots simply because I know what actually causes it. Instead, if one is willing to listen, I will try to explain to him insofar as his knowledge of celestial mechanics and geometry permits. I and try to be as patient and polite as possible. Atheists, on the other hand are arrogant and self-important and not worth arguing with on the subject of faith.
You wrote: "Atheists, on the other hand are arrogant and self-important and not worth arguing with on the subject of faith."
No, we are not "arrogant." We are just, on average, more intelligent, educated, and rational than those who worship deities. Imagine how you would feel if confronted by an ancient Chinese person who told you had to join him in beating drums to make a dragon cough up the moon in order to end a lunar eclipse. That's how many of us atheists feel when talking to you about your beliefs.
"I can explain climate change as a result of a natural cycle caused by the masses and orbits of the planets, but I don't go around calling believers in humans causing climate change idiots simply because I know what actually causes it."
All the evidence for the current climate change points to human action.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster has shown himself to be present throughout the world, not just to some insignificant goat herders in a minor part of the world, go ahead and whip up a plate of pasta and meat balls and quaff numerous pints of beer and you to can be saved. RAmen
says the so called know it all who is angry with our Lord and Savior and can only challenge His divine goodness and mercy with unproven threats from Chef Boyardee. you will meet your maker soon enough ausphor.
Why do you bible thumpers think that atheists are angry with your imaginary friend?
The talking snake.
Boyardee has always been a pacifist and as a pasta cook a fraud. Even The Olive Garden and East Side Mario's have little to offer. Want great Italian food go to the mats with a family in times of trouble. Mama Teresa, okay if you can find one.
There is no 'non-belief god." What a silly notion. Anyway this story just goes to show that Darwinism, per survival of the fittest is working well and doing its job-eliminating the less fit among members of a species. This guy may even win the Darwin Award for this year. Who better to get the top prize for failing to be equipped for basic survival. I mean knowingly playing with poisonous snakes to prove your faith in an imaginary sky fairy is way beyond sanity. Of course letting letting you child die of a disease that is curable with one shot of an antibiotic is right up there.
Why call yourself the finisher when you obviously haven't finished high school yet?
The talking snake.
Atheism is a bunch of bull. Humans invented atheism thus since it's a man concept invented thousands of years ago it's false. Reversing atheist logic 101
Humans invented atheism thus since it's a man concept invented thousands of years ago it's false."
Let me guess – this is one of the things that got you thrown out of the Evangelical Fortune Cookie Company's Writer's Bootcamp.
Humans didn't invent atheism. Atheism existed long before humans. Atheism is simply a lack of a belief in god. All rocks are atheists. All animals are atheists. All humans are born atheists. Atheism is the default position of everything, naturally.
You aren't born disbelieving in a God or gods people believe in. So it's false we're all born atheists. In order to be atheist, you must know what gods to disbelieve in. Atheism breeds stupidity😜
"You aren't born disbelieving in a God or gods people believe in."
LOL. Comedy gold as they say.
That is incorrect. Atheist simply means no belief in a god. You don't have to know anything about the god to not believe in it. I am positive there are many versions of gods out there that neither you nor I have heard of, but we are both atheists regarding those gods.
All children are born atheists. That's an indisputable fact unless you think that babies are born knowing about the concept of god.
You wrote: "Atheism breeds stupidity"
No, but education and higher IQ leads to atheism. It's been shown in multiple scientific studies that the higher your education and IQ, the greater the chance you will be atheist. Conversely, lower IQ and levels of education increase the likelihood that you will be religious.
A study by University of Rochester psychologists, published in 2013 showed that to be true. They researchers reviewed 63 scientific studies about religion and intelligence dating between 1928 and 2012. Of the 63 studies, 53 found a ‘reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity’. In other words, the higher your intelligence, the greater your chances of being atheist. The researchers concluded that that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves – so did not need the benefits that religion provides. They also have better self esteem and built more supportive relationships, the study authors said.
You realize that we're discussing a story about someone who handled poisonous snakes because of his religious beliefs and then, when bitten, refused treatment and died, right? It's not random chance that this "church" was located in Kentucky, a state that ranks 47th out of 50 for educational attainment.
That is complete nonsense. Humans cannot be born atheists because they are born without knowledge of the whole concept of a higher being or of a higher power. And until they understand that concept, they cannot decide whether or not they believe in it. And atheists can never become believers because they can never imagine living without self-importance.
If newborns are born without religious beliefs, they are, by definition, atheists. "Theists" are people with religious beliefs. "Atheists" are people without religious beliefs. One does not have to actively disbelieve in deities to be an atheist.
faith can move mountains===words of so called jesus christ. can't even assist who fanatically believe in him. why? because jesus christ and his so called father in heaven are all fairy tale.
Your so called atheism is a fairy-tale you have to tell yourself everyday.
at least atheist don't believe in god. its the believer that always mentiion the name of god everyday, not the atheist. so who believe in fairy tale? you need to read alice wonderland to educate your self about god
Please expand on your "fairy tale" remark. What tales are you talking about? Atheists don't tell tales of virgin births, people being turned into pillars of salt, the seas parting, a boat being built that is big enough to hold 2 animals of every type on Earth (and 14 each of "unclean" animals), or talking, burning bushes.
i tried before what your smoking now but its effect still says no god at all. any recommendations?
You know, taking atheist comments about gods and their believers and then "reversing" them to be about atheists generally results in nonsense.
The notion of an all-powerful, invisible sky daddy is nonsense to start with. So why are you surprised that they would engage in further nonsense when defending their beliefs?
Preacher/Pastor/Bishop/Pope didn't teach him this:
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Matthew 4:7 KJVA)
The bible is a load of horse shxx. (Me, 2.17)
Amen to that! The bible thumpers are dying out and will soon be extinct. Once they're gone the world will be a much better place.
Ugh. Atheist thumpers are worse.
If God answers prayers, then why do you need health insurance?
If you are a believer and if you have your Bible nearby, we can look at your health care policy from this angle. Turn to Matthew 6:25-34. Jesus says:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Jesus' statement is utterly clear: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow." Yet health insurance is a physical manifestation of worry. You buy health insurance because you are worried about your health tomorrow.
People are selfish. They have a very high standard for God when it comes to answering prayers the way they want. Most of the time, the miracle is standing right before them and they ignore it. God isn't a genie in a bottle like atheists and believers think. That's problem number 1.
I think that's more like problem #2. I'm pretty sure problem #1 is that he doesn't exist.
That's your opinion and belief not a fact. Atheism 0
Well, if you're talking about the Christian god from the bible, it is a fact that THAT god doesn't exist, not my opinion.
Regardless, the fact that I don't believe in any gods is not an opinion, it is my conclusion based on no evidence whatsoever that would support such a belief. It's not an opinion like my favorite color.
And yet the Bible is filled with stories of astounding displays physics defying miracles. Events on such a scale that if anything even remotely similar happened today the debate about miracles and God would be heavily in the theists favor. But that doesn't happen now does it? And why do you think that is? Because it never happened in the first place. The pitiful excuses for miracles today only highlight how pointless those old stories are.
"the miracle is standing right before them and they ignore it. God isn't a genie in a bottle"
Amen, thefinisher1. And sometimes a simple mayonnaise is sufficient when Miracle Whip is more than we should ask for. Amen.
Interesting that as mankind's ability to record events more and more faithfully has increased, the less we hear about claims of gods making their presence known. Not claiming cause and effect, of course.
He refused treatment for the same reason that he picked up those snakes – because he was stupid.
He may have been stupid. But there are plenty of smart people who end up being Christians anyway, as a result of childhood indoctrination. Considering his dad died the same way, I'm sure he was brain-washed from birth like most Christians. From what I observe, it seems like many have a hard time getting past that as adults and seeing how insane their beliefs are.
If non-belief crushes faith, why didn't non-belief stop this man? Why did non-belief let him die? I guess non-belief is not so logical after all!😜
Mmmm. Extra weak is the trolling in this one.
Asking questions is trolling? I guess your atheism is weak, Yoda.
finisher, the problem is your posts are silly.
This guy was a believer, remember? You're trolling because you're making incoherent posts with no point.
But belief doesn't exist to atheists. Only facts. So it's logical to ask why didn't non-belief stop him from making a mistake. Atheists ask where God is when bad things happen, reversing the question to atheists since you claim atheism is logical, is reasonable.
Because his mental illness was too far advanced and it's none of an outsider's business what goes on within a cult (provided the participants are consenting adults)?
And if an atheist does ask where your god was when bad stuff happens, it's a rhetorical question intended to show you that an opportunity for your god to show itself was missed, not to imply that any god exists.
No, that is not remotely logical. Atheists don't believe in a god. That in no way means we have the power to stop bad things from happening. We would require something god-like to do that, which we don't believe exists.
Why doesn't your non-belief god show itself? I guess logic doesn't exist with your non-belief god.
Anyone else think thefinisher is finished, as in, his head has exploded from reading too many factual reasons why his beliefs are crap, and realizing that things The Babble promises simply are not true?
gosh salero is SOOOO smart. No one will recognize him since he change names again.gosh he is so superior to everyone including himself.
Think this is the old atheist hunter and or salero21 either way best to just ignore it.
I think they're the same people or maybe simply from the same family.
It is none of our business what mentally ill delusional believers do in their cult clubhouses, providing everyone is a consenting adult. It's called freedom of religion and most arheists support it!
. . . most atheists support it.
This guy wasn't a non-believer. I can assure you that I've never picked up a rattlesnake.
I've picked up a couple of Ball Pythons, but never a rattlesnake. If I ever had to, I can assure you that there would be a supply of anti-venom and maybe even some paramedics on standby.
You see, that's the difference between me and a Christian. I'd never have the audacity to believe that something would keep a snake from biting me other than me not screwing with the snake to begin with.
Looks to me like he lost faith in the end, or God would have protected him.
No, no, no! His god merely recalled him.
This seems obvious now, but do you suppose the rapture is really a "recall"? Kind of like Toyota?
Could be. I don't see how anyone can believe The Babble is literally true without having some defect.
Do you think that god recalled our Topher? I kind of miss him in a strangely erotic way or am I turning into Douglas? I am off to therapy.
I cannot understand how these FULL GOSPAL people do not understand that they need to use the hole BIBLE to put there faith in and not just a few verses that fill there imagination of a Jesus that will do anything they ask at anytime they ask. Did he think he was better than Jesus who when confronted by satin said "THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD" math. 4:7 kjv.
This is satan indused false knowlelge of the scriptures. These churches are the Antichrists of end time propheses. There is way that the REAL JESUS or the HOLY SPIRIT could be in any of these churches. They are all santionined by the devel for the devel. He has blinded there eyes and is leading them hell and they are happilly going with him. People open your eyes if you are in any of these congregations that are preaching this kind of message, when you are told to believe any scripture that is going to put you in a dangerous situation is NOT from GOD.
If you or know of anyone who is in this type of church PLEASE GET OUT or HELP THEM GET OUT of it. It is satan driven preacher telling you this.
Thanks for making me laugh! Great imitation of a Babble Belt Babble Humper!!
Considering the negative effects that belief in the bible has brought to humanity, it seems far more likely that the bible was inspired by satan, and you have bought into his deception in its entirety.
I can't understand why some Christians think they are less crazy and delusional than the snake-worshiping variety. That guy isn't crazier than you because he interprets the bible differently, he's crazy LIKE you because he thinks the bible is a relevant book to use in any way to guide your life.
I am always amazed how readily, and with great relish, all these godly, holier-than-thou, know-it-all christians are ready to consign people to eternal flames.In Mark 16:18 where it talks about snake handling, it also says about baptized believers "and when they drink deadly poison it will not hurt them at all." Are all the believers willing to try it?
Based on the Jones Town experiment, I suggest they don't try it.
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