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Good news about the ‘spiritual but not religious’
The rapid rise of the "spiritual but not religious" crowd may not be such a bad thing.
February 22nd, 2014
09:06 PM ET

Good news about the ‘spiritual but not religious’

Opinion by Linda Mercadante, special to CNN

(CNN) -
Despite the ongoing decline in American religious institutions, the meteoric rise in people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious” should be seen positively - especially by religious people.

To accept this as good news, however, we need to listen to what they are saying, rather than ridicule them as “salad bar spiritualists” or eclectic dabblers.

After spending more than five years speaking with hundreds of “spiritual but not religious” folk across North America, I’ve come to see a certain set of core ideas among them. Because of their common themes, I think it’s fair to refer to them by the acronym: SBNR.

But before we explore what the SBNRs believe, we first need to learn what they protest.

First, they protest “scientism.” 

They’ve become wary about reducing everything that has value to what can only be discovered in the tangible world, restricting our intellectual confidence to that which can be observed and studied.

Their turn towards alternative health practices is just one sign of this. Of course, most do avail themselves of science’s benefits, and they often use scientific-sounding arguments (talking about “energy” or “quantum physics”) to justify their spiritual views.

But, in general, they don’t think all truth and value can be confined to our material reality.

Second, SBNRs protest “secularism.” 

They are tired of being confined by systems and structures. They are tired of having their unique identities reduced to bureaucratic codes. They are tired of having their spiritual natures squelched or denied.

They play by society’s rules: hold down jobs, take care of friends and family and try to do some good in the world. But they implicitly protest being rendered invisible and unheard.

Third, yes, they protest religion – at least, two types of it.

But the SBNR rejection of religion is sometimes more about style than substance.

On one hand, they protest “rigid religion,” objecting to a certain brand of conservatism that insists there is only one way to express spirituality, faith, and the search for transcendence.

But they also protest what I call “comatose religion.”

After the shocks of the previous decades, and the declines in religious structures and funding, many religious people are dazed and confused.

They are puzzled and hurt that so many – including their own children - are deserting what was once a vibrant, engaging, and thriving part of American society.

So why, then, is it “good news” that there is a huge rise in the “spiritual but not religious”? Because their protests are the very same things that deeply concern – or should concern – all of us.

The rise in SBNRs is the archetypal “wake up call,” and I sense that, at last, religious leaders are beginning to hear it.

The history of religion in Western society shows that, sooner or later, people grasp the situation and find new ways of expressing their faith that speak to their contemporaries.

In the meantime, there are plenty of vital congregations in our society. In the vast mall of American religious options, it is misguided to dismiss all of our spiritual choices as moribund, corrupt, or old-fashioned – even though so many do.

What has prompted SBNRs, and others, to make this dismissal?

For one thing, many religious groups are not reaching out to the SBNRs. They need to understand them and speak their language, rather than being fearful or dismissive.

Second, the media often highlights the extremes and bad behavior of a few religious people and groups.  But we don’t automatically give up on other collections of fallible human beings, like our jobs, our families, or our own selves.  Some attitude adjustment is needed by both religious people and SBNRs.

Finally, SBNRs need to give up the easy ideology that says religion is unnecessary, all the same, or outmoded. And all of us should discard the unworkable idea that you must find a spiritual or religious group with which you totally agree.  Even if such a group could be found, chances are it would soon become quite boring.

There’s no getting around this fact: It is hard work to nurture the life of faith. The road is narrow and sometimes bumpy. It is essential to have others along with us on the journey.

All of us, not just religious people, are in danger of becoming rigid or comatose, inflexible or numb.  All of us need to find ways to develop and live our faith in the company of others, which is, in fact, what religion is all about.

Linda Mercadante, is professor of theology at The Methodist Theological School and the founder of Healthy Beliefs – Healthy Spirit.  She is the author of “Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious.

The views expressed in this column belong to Mercadante.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Lost faith • Nones • Opinion • Spirituality • Trends

soundoff (1,265 Responses)
  1. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    So, nothing in the comments on cafeteria-style religion?

    Just the usual believe-or-burn postings by the anti-atheists?

    February 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
    • Austin

      You arent condemned by God . You are justified through His love. He redeemed you.

      Jesus loves you!

      February 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
      • Reality

        No he didn't. Details are available.

        February 24, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Mark 16:14-16 – "Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

        February 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
      • sam stone

        not condemned by god, austin?

        omniscient god knew "original sin" before it happened

        omniscient god and free will are incompatible

        so, "he" sets up for the fall, for which we have no free will

        then he punishes us?

        gosh, austin, your god sure is a vengeful pr1ck

        now, tell us more about your delusions

        February 25, 2014 at 3:04 am |
      • kudlak

        I've heard it said that it's like we're all caught up in a river and God saves us from going over the waterfall.

        Of course, you have to flatter God by worshipping him before he saves you, ... and he did create the river and the waterfall, and placed us in it in the first place but, boy, we all really should appreciate his efforts to save a few from his trap, shouldn't we?

        February 25, 2014 at 8:15 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Close, but you can't worship God until you are saved.

          February 25, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        • SeaVik

          You can't worship god either. For that, a god would have to exist. You worship a figment of your imagination, whcih is an incredibly strange concept.

          February 25, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • alwaysamuzed

          Rob – "Saved" from WHAT, exactly?
          Living a wonderful life of free will?

          February 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          And, here I thought that asking to get "saved" in the first place was a form of worship? You have to believe that God can save you before asking him to, right?

          February 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • sealchan

          The metaphor you state regarding the river and the waterfall...to me that expresses the same problem as the Garden of Eden where God drops Adam and Eve off, plants the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and then punishes them for eating from it. Who's at fault here? Seems like God should take the blame.

          February 25, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • sealchan

          And what about Job? God wagered with the Devil! Job won't abandon me no matter how hard I make his life. Is God not morally responsible for what follows?

          February 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • sealchan

          The Bible actually calls out this scenario, the Creator who sets a trap and then wants us to thank Him for our rescue from it. The whole book of Job shows God making life miserable for Job. Who could possibly empathize with a God this cruel? And this book is right there in the Bible! To me, without any apologetic effort on my part, I have to wonder why? What were the Jews who originally compiled this story in to what Christian now call the Old Testament thinking?

          I am actually not going to provide my own answer here as I am still in the course of studying this book. But I challenge anyone to provide an answer to this riddle. Don't just dismiss it. Consider the problem as one for any organization which goes so far as to tell a tale of its "founder" showing Him to have such dubious merit...why would those believers/members do that? Why would they make it so hard on themselves? Or did they come up with an answer? And would this answer apply to this very discussion?

          February 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
  2. Austin

    I wish i could personally meet all of you and share my scientific data from the past. I have a definate experience with a supernatural person.

    I know who it is . He loves you.

    Austin

    February 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
    • observernow

      Austin,

      You've been asked MANY TIMES to demonstrate how you can predict the future.

      In EVERY CASE you've REFUSED. So much for any credibility.

      February 24, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
      • Austin

        The last one that seems signficant came in two parts. There were tornadoes. Then i was up on a tall warch tower and a buffet lid fell off .

        Now go read isaiah ch 21

        That is the passage being conveyed.

        February 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
        • Doris

          I once had a dream that I was by a beautiful brook on a nice day and I could feel a lovely breeze and hear the water trickling down the brook. Then I woke up and sure enough, the cat box needed changing. I just know it was God. 🙄

          February 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
      • Austin

        Why did that get erased?

        February 24, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      come on, austin....you got the proof, show us

      otherwise, you are just blathering more and more about your delusions

      you have replaced booze with another drug, jeebus

      February 25, 2014 at 3:08 am |
    • alwaysamuzed

      I simply cannot take anyone seriously who actually includes the phrases "scientific data" and "supernatural person" in the same paragraph and thinks it makes any sort of sense at all!

      February 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
  3. sealchan

    The proof of faith is in the story. You must "testify" convincingly. Atheists, just like everyone else, love to get lost in a good book or movie...

    February 24, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
    • hotairace

      But when the book is finished or when the movie ends, we know what we just experienced was just a story and we get on with reality. Others are not able to distinguish fiction and reality and persist in believing their delusions.

      February 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
      • sealchan

        True, but unfortunately religion has ended the story prematurely by insisting that the story has not continued. When the Bible becomes a solid as a rock, it becomes as dead as a rock. Churches have undermined their foundation by solidifying it. My view is obviously not one most of the religious Christians would feel comfortable with. But I am allowing for an honest dialog within myself between my faith and my deep appreciation of science and the evolution of human culture since Biblical times.

        February 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
    • eudaimonia2013

      Personal testimony is not proof of anything.

      February 25, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • sealchan

        Sure it is. It may not be scientific proof of anything, but it is proof of something of meaning, of psychologicaly use, to that individual. And if that individual through their intelligence and moral character moves you to empathy, you may find meaning for yourself as well.

        Of course there are many who profess to know truth but have little or no skill at communicating it. Perhaps, their truth isn't as much as they would make of it. People who are preachy often are only trying to comfort themselves. They do not listen and they do not learn.

        I believe in God and I believe in science. I know how deep and complex the world is through both traditions. I am self-aware enough not to naively make statements within either tradition without considering how I will be heard. I am here to explore this intense middle ground and make sense of the interesting split within myself. The split between faith and proof is as much a symptom of divergent traditions that need to communicate more as it is of my own ignorance.

        February 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
      • eudaimonia2013

        You mean some people only require a passionate story as "proof" that a supernatural being exists. I agree that many religious and superst.itious people have such low standards for what is evidence and proof. It is also why big churches that focus on money grubbing are proliferate- because they know this too. Apparently, if a supernatural ent.ity exists, its answer to such deception is to kill everyone who couldn't somehow feel in their heart that they are being lied to. Again, proof and evidence guided by the scientific method or a preponderance of evidence weighed objectively seems to work better than taking as "proof" anecdotal testimony. The most successful societies are not run by just taking a good story as proof of anything. That's the real world though in the religious community for some reason this is the height of "truth." I suspect because it is required to keep the belief going otherwise you would have to call in to question everything you believed in and that is a very deeply painful road – so most interpret it as a "test" rather than your brain working rationally because it is scary to go against tradition. Especially a mafia like tradition that says unless you take these anecdotal stories as "proof" that these stories are true then you will die a horrible death and everyone you love will think you're evil.

        I understand the reluctance to be rational and reasonable -religion has done a number on society.

        February 26, 2014 at 5:28 am |
        • dandintac

          "Especially a mafia like tradition that says unless you take these anecdotal stories as “proof” that these stories are true then you will die a horrible death"

          I've also noticed this Mafia-like tendency in Christianity. I'm reminded of the line "...make him an offer he CAN'T refuse!" No wonder he was called "the Godfather". How fitting. How similar.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
  4. sealchan

    We all live only so many years...there is no way each of us can study all of the science we need...scientists (Complexity-Chaos-Systems) tell us that computers cannot even predict the future given the known laws of physics, etc...so who on Earth can possibly live, make decisions, and find meaning to their life without taking some things on faith? If one cannot accomplish one's spiritual needs through organized religion, so be it. The goal is personal meaning, satisfaction and peace, not membership. In marriage faith is no barrier if both partners practice their faith with this in mind. Absolutism and mono-modal truth whether from literalists or atheists is symptomatic of spiritual pain and suffering in the individual who upholds it.

    February 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Austin

      I dont agree with everytging.

      February 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I love it when people like you try to present the idea that faith is a wash between spiritual believers and those without a belief in the supernatural. Despite how limited someone's expertise or knowledge might be in science may be getting the gist of the basics is usually sufficient to make an educated guess. How much I accept or reject a scientific hypothesis is based upon how it aligns with my own reasonable expectations. If it doesn't align then I can always do further research into the facts to see if I can resolve any disparity. If no resolution is forthcoming then I withhold my belief.
      But religious faith has no parallel. No way to check facts. No way to ascertain the validity of anything that isn't part of the natural world.

      February 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
      • Austin

        Atheist steve.

        February 24, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
        • Austin

          That is all wise judgment steve. Just dont make decions based on a false hope.

          I have scientific evidence on my dreams that Gods presence is detectable.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • hotairace

          Austin, you have extended your claim to now having scientific evidence. If you do, you really should publish a scholarly article in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal where you will get a fair evaluation under the scientific method. But I suspect you won't do that, so at the very least, being an honest christian, you should stop claiming to have *scientific* evidence.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          "Just dont make decions based on a false hope."

          The irony is palpable

          February 25, 2014 at 3:11 am |
        • sam stone

          hotairace: why would you think that austin is honest? he seems like a pathological liar to me

          February 25, 2014 at 3:12 am |
      • sealchan

        What kind of scientific research or modest reading in non-fiction would you do to help you determine the following (hypothetically):

        Should I marry ____?
        Is it worth more to me to ____ or to _____ if doing either means I am doing wrong?
        Why do I continue to fail at _____ when others whom I look up to succeed?
        How do I cope with _____ when it makes me feel as if the world is utterly cruel?

        And any number of hypotheticals...and remember that most of these kinds of scenarios are highly subjective. How could they be otherwise?

        February 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Not sure what you're driving at here but all I can say this. All experience is subjective but it is framed within an objective external reality. To resolve issues like the ones you posted I look inward, not outward. My decisions will be guided by my emotions, my ethics and my reason. All of which have been forged by my upbringing, my education and my previous life experiences. However I decide one thing remains true. The consequences of my choices have real world objective results. To myself, those around me and the environment I inhabit. I favor pragmatism over spirituality to guide my way.

          February 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Well stated Steve..

          February 25, 2014 at 9:45 am |
      • sealchan

        Granted that faith is meant to help an individual with their subjective meaning, there is overwhelming "evidence" in the stories that people tell that explain why they have faith in what they do. If it does work in its context then it is a kind of truth. All truth exists in a context. Scientific truth is poorly applied to countless personal situations where someone must believe that their decision, before knowing its full outcome, is one that they can live with.

        February 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        That's a reasonable statement and very scientific. Science is of the measurable and observable. But if you limit yourself to only those things, you may miss the opportunity to discover unmeasurable, unseen things. Scientists believe in multible dimensions . They can't see them but calculations point to them. It's intangible and abstract to us. If we were all only material people who rejected everything we couldn't see or touch or smell, we wouldn't advance as a civilization.

        February 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          this reply was to atheist steeve'

          February 24, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          I'm not sure what you're talking about when you say "multiple dimensions".
          Dimensions are abstract concepts of geometry. They don't exist as real world objects any more than numbers do.

          A point, line or ray is a one dimensional geometric concept. There are no real world one dimensional objects.

          A circle or a rectangle is a two dimensional geometric concept. There are no real world two dimensional objects. Can you touch a circle or a rectangle? No. You can only point to real world objects that are circular or rectangular.

          A cube or sphere is a three dimensional geometric concept. This is where most people veer off into making a category error. Since we routinely use the framework of abstract three dimensional geometry to describe, measure, predict and position real world objects the distinction between the conceptual and the actual gets lost. Muddy language also aids in the confusion. You are not holding on to a sphere when you have a baseball in your hand but rather something that is spherical.

          Going even further a tesseract is a four dimensional geometric concept. A tesseract relates to a cube in the same way that a cube relates to a square. The geometry is fairly simple but we can't really envision a real world object that occupies four dimensions because we can't draw a line that is at right angles to x,y and z at the same time.

          February 25, 2014 at 6:31 am |
        • sealchan

          Alas! This conversation has become too interesting to fit in a blog comment section...

          February 25, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • sealchan

          @AtheistSteve...read any good modern physics lately? Do you see how much particle physics is done in the mathematics and how much money is spent on getting that one little expression of energy in that sea of particle interactions? Sure this still shows the objective, experiential heart of science but that is not all that science is. The greater scientific community accepted Einstein's equations of relativity long before they managed to find experimental evidence for them. They had faith in the metaphor of non-Euclidean mathematics as space-time.

          February 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  5. Austin

    Type it up, scan it and put everything on a public website. If you have real evidence, your presence will not be required. In fact, it would be better for you if someone could review and test your story *and* confirm your conclusions without your involvement.

    @ hot air ace.
    In every court room and labratory intelligence is collected all through human involvement , testing observation collection reason and publishing to public.

    Christian testimony is set aside as bias. So was the savior. He was killed by evil.

    We all come helpless.

    February 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • hotairace

      Are you saying that you will not present your evidence because you are afraid it will be set aside because you are christian? I would have thought you would have welcomed many independent reviews, by atheists and by believers. If you have factual evidence, it should be able to speak for itself.

      February 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Hotairace, I have responded to you regarding our moral argument conversation in the previous article. Please take a look and let me know what you think. I had started a new thread so it should be near the top.

        February 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • hotairace

          Please reply with the name of the article and page number.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Hotairace, I apologize but I don't know the page number. I posted it from my cell phone and used the mobile app. Should be where the most recents are.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
      • Austin

        Publish it where ? In the mean time you should accept that someone elses testimony unless they are a liar or clinically ill or on induced chemically, you ahould at least listen and proceed with caution.
        There are a couple fundamental issues as to why that route is innappripruate.

        For one salvation is available to you and evudence is not part of that. Jesus did miracles and they killed him. And publishing dreams is not the point of the gift.

        February 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • hotairace

          There are a number of ways to publish material on the web, some for free, including here, Facebook, DropBox, thousands of believer blogs, or you could even create your own, for free, via WordPress. Pick one and let us know where we can see your "evidence."

          February 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Do you accept the testimony of people who claim they were abducted by aliens from outer space? And if not then WHY not?

          February 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Austin
          Do you accept the testimony of people who claim they were abducted by aliens from outer space? And if not then WHY not?

          February 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • Austin

          In the mean time release your will to God knowing that if He is who He says He is , that He can be trusted to sustain His ministry and save you by giving you what you need or want.

          Be honest. Thats all bro. I want you to do this for yourself.

          None of us did it . He seals the deal upon request.

          I will persue what you are talking about.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • Austin

          AtheistSteve.

          I dont reject the notion. Enoch touches on an explanation and i have never seen a ufo. I have a friend who says he has seen multiple ufo. Not sure about it.

          Nephilim and watchers may be alien demons. Thats what ive heard.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Well that's an interesting admission Austin.
          And I wasn't talking about UFO's. I was talking about people who are convinced that they were physically taken away by aliens, for some period of time, and later released. Most report being inside a relatively small craft, on the order of jumbo jet scale. They are not lying. They truly believe this happened to them.
          I don't believe them. Despite numerous worldwide claims of UFO sightings over many decades not one piece of solid evidence, no crashed UFO, no dead alien bodies, nothing. And how could such a small craft have fuel enough to traverse interstellar distances, sustain even a single crewmember during the decades of travel time required(and that's just for the closest star), merely to abduct some farmer in Louisiana or mutilate some cattle. It's utter hogwash but even so it's still wayyyy more plausible than the malarkey that's written in the Bible.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
  6. joeyy1

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

    February 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
  7. averagejoe7six

    The Bible is faulty at it's core. God supposedly hates sin. God created everything. God made sin.

    .......and it begins to unravel from there, ladies and gents. We don't have to make complicated arguments. The simpliest points of the story are unimaginative and faulty. Smells like ancient humans to me.

    February 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      God created intelligent beings capable of anything. Would you prefer to be a robot? Of course not. Would you prefer to be an angel in heaven? He created some of them with free will too.

      February 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        First you'd need to provide objective evidence of a god, then we could discuss what it might be capable of.

        February 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          The existence of objective morality is evidence of God.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • hotairace

          Just after you prove objective morality exists you can show us how that is evidence for your alleged god(s).

          February 24, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Do you believe that the Holocaust was objectively morally evil (morally evil independent of anyone's opinion)? In other words, to say that the Holocaust is objectively morally evil is to say that even if the Nazis had taken over the world and brainwashed everyone into believing that the Holocaust was morally good, it would still be morally evil. Do you believe this type of morality exists?

          Also, I have responded to you regarding our moral argument conversation in the previous article. Please take a look and let me know what you think. I had started a new thread so it should be near the top.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • observernow

          truthfollower01,

          When are you EVER going to answer questions?

          Where did the morals come from that tell so many Christians that the Bible is WRONG to support slavery and discrimination against women and the handicapped?

          February 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • sealchan

          A person of faith can prove their faith as soon as an atheist defines in a non-tautological way and proves in a scientifically creditable way what existence is.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Even if we cannot what existence is, it doesn't necessarily change the basic atheist position that there is no evidence for a divine cause for existence.
          What tautology were you referring to?

          February 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • sealchan

          Just the tautology that arises when certain very abstract and generally philosophical concepts like existence, meaning, free will, love, etc are considered as definable realities.

          Granted I don't think that the burden is on the atheist to prove the existence of something for which no evidence is supplied. My angle is that it is a little disingenuous to assume that we can live without faith of some sort.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • kudlak

          truthfollower01
          Yet, if something like the Holocaust is objectively immoral why does it have to be connected to God? Couldn't it just be objectively immoral in relation to the fact that it was humans trying to wipe out another set of humans? Along evolutionary lines such an act would be bad for the species, any way you cut it.

          The God of the Bible, however, does order genocide and is said to have once nearly made humanity extinct. He seems to find little problem with finding the good side of killing enormous numbers of people, and will again, at the Second Coming, correct? Tell me, what's the difference between Hitler killing millions of Jews just because they were Jews and God/Jesus killing all non-converting Jews just because they're Jews?

          February 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          truthfollower01,

          You are a one trick pony. It's always objective morality and the Holocaust with you. There are systems of objective morality that do not derive from the bible, much less any religion. To say that objective morality is evidence of god is silly. Your god committed multiple genocides. So obviously genocide is a moral act, yes? And so the Holocaust must've been too, yes?

          February 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @truthfollower01,
          Morality is a judgement, not an objective measure. Even if every person ever born agrees that they think something is immoral, there is nothing identifying it as absolutely "immoral". In other words, the universe doesn't really care about us or our judgments, there is nothing external to the human mind that judges our behavior, as far as we know.

          It's basically the same category as which is better coke or pepsi. While we can try to determine which behavior better achieves certain goals, e.g. more happiness, greater good, etc., we cannot objectively define a morality that best achieves all goals.

          February 24, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Kudlak, on the evolutionary model, we are all just evolved animals and killing goes on all of the time in the animal kingdom. On atheism, why is killing morally wrong.

          Concerning what you call genocide, would you please answer a few questions for me.
          1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life?
          2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
          3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy)
          4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.)
          If you’re like me, you are a self professed lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterer at heart or some form thereof. We stand guilty before a holy and righteous God and a holy God must punish wickedness, otherwise He wouldn’t be just. God is justified in His carrying out just punishment on the wicked, I.e. Noah's flood.

          Given your confession, will you be guilty or innocent? If you’re like me and everyone else on this board, you are guilty. However, God provided a way for salvation through the blood of His innocent Son who took the punishment on the cross, that we might be declared innocent. Think of it like this. You’re in a court room. you’re guilty as you’ve professed. Someone walks in and pays your fine for you. Now the judge can legally dismiss your case and let you go. This is the gospel message. What you must do is repent (turn from your sins) and follow Jesus as Lord. This following is enabled by God when He gives you new desires and a heart that wants to please God instead of the flesh.

          February 24, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Sungrazer,

          I use the moral argument often because it is a powerful argument for God's existence that most everyone can relate to. Without a Moral Law Giver, there is no morality. I get answers all over board claiming morality comes from this or that but they don't stand up to scrutinization. The true worldview of atheism is that there is no good or evil. Atheist Richard Dawkins has even said, "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference." I'm assuming you disagree with him? Please provide one of the systems of objective morality that you refer to.

          "Your god committed multiple genocides. So obviously genocide is a moral act, yes? And so the Holocaust must’ve been too, yes"

          Comparing the judgment of guilty sinners by a holy God to the murder of Jews by Hitler is a gross comparison by far.

          February 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Midwestken,

          Isn't there something within you that says that the Holocaust was morally evil, regardless of anyone's opinion? We need not take a poll to see if more voted the Holocaust morally evil than good before we can make a decision on this. Do you not believe this? Isn't there something that screams out within you that the senseless kidnapping, torturing and murder of a child is objectively morally wrong, regardless of anyone's opinion?

          February 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Kant's Categorical Imperative for one. Objective system that is not based on biblical morality. Your "powerful" argument destroyed in a single stroke.

          And you've dodged yet another question. Is genocide objectively moral or is it not?

          February 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @truthfollower1,
          Wrong, yes.

          Objectively morally wrong, no.

          February 24, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Also, I make my own moral decisions. Not sure what scrutinization you expect it to stand up to. It's a simple fact that I have my own moral judgments. Again, at a stroke I've shown that it's not true that without a moral law giver there is no morality. How you can claim there is with a straight face is beyond me.

          Besides, if god is the ultimate moral law giver, it's a fact that morality is completely arbitrary. God could say killing your neighbor without justification is moral and you'd be stuck with it.

          February 24, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Sealchan- "My angle is that it is a little disingenuous to assume that we can live without faith of some sort."

          While the term may be used by many, it is important to know that the term's meaning is of a starkly different origin.

          The colloquial use of the term "faith" is oft synonymous with faith in a deity. Whereas, the term used by atheists, rationalists, pragmatists etc. infers hope or trust in probability/odds/or analysis of past history. In some cases, it is used to comfort others who they feel need to believe in an external source that controls their destiny.

          February 25, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • kudlak

          truthfollower01
          Killing within a species isn't as common as killing beings of another species. Social animals like us tend to develop rules of behaviour that limit this kind of violence.

          Atheism itself has no moral code, just as theism itself doesn't. Specific kinds of theism, like Christianity, may have a moral code, but it doesn't teach morality. Christianity tends to just have a set of moral pronouncements. Even asking yourself "What would Jesus do?" isn't any morality, because you're following the example of a character developed in a set of books, and those authors (like all authors) are essentially free to make their character say and do anything, even things unrealistic to actual human behaviour. You might as well follow the credo "What would Superman do?"

          What gives a genocidal being the right to judge any of us?

          Was Jesus human? If he was, then he would have needed a redeemer just as much as the rest of us. He did show anger in overturning the tables of the money changers, correct? So, who saved him?

          I feel regret when I do something wrong. Usually, I try to correct that wrong, and I do that without any thought of being rewarded for it.

          February 25, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Well stated Kudlak...

          February 25, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Kant's Categorical Imperative for one. Objective system that is not based on biblical morality. Your "powerful" argument destroyed in a single stroke. You really think that this destroyed the moral argument I've presented in a single stroke? Please tell me why, say, the Holocaust, is OBJECTIVELY morally evil using Kant's view and we will see if it stands up to what you claim.

          And you've dodged yet another question. Is genocide objectively moral or is it not?

          I first want to say that the term genocide can connote the deliberate killing of a large group of people based on ethnicity, race, nationality, etc. and that is certainly not what we have in the actions of God in the Bible. You would have to give me the definition of what you are using for your understanding of the term genocide. I believe we have had this conversation in the past and you didn't like what I had to say. I would certainly say that the flood of Noah was morally right and good. In my view, this was God judging the wicked of the earth. You shouldn't be surprised that a Christian would hold this view.

          February 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • observernow

          truthfollower01,

          I know you don't answer questions, but I'll go ahead ask this for the benefit of others:

          Can you become apparently the FIRST person ever to explain what the sins were that were COMMITTED by EVERY child, baby and fetus on the FACE OF THE EARTH that justified torturously drowning them by God?

          February 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          truthfollower01,

          Kant's categorical imperative: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." Your entire argument is that objective morality is evidence of god. Not that the biblical god provides an objective system, or that it is the best objective system, but that somehow objective morality in an of itself is evidence for god's existence. The categorical imperative is an absolute, objective system with no basis in religion. So no, objective morality itself is not evidence for god.

          God certainly has committed genocides of that type. Have you read the Bible? Or were they all just guilty sinners? Is that how you explain the genocide in Numbers 31, verses 7-19? Here's verse 7:

          "They did battle against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male."

          There you go, all the males of Midian wiped out. Moses later gets angry with the army officers and commands them to kill all the male babies, as well as all the young girls who aren't virgins; the young girls who ARE virgins, well, the officers can keep them for themselves to do with as they please. This is the morality you speak so highly of.

          But you're just going to say they were guilty sinners, so

          They did battle against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Sungrazer, I'm starting a new post at the top in response to your post.

          February 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observernow, I'm starting a new post at the top in response.

          February 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • observernow

          truthfollower01,

          Don't bother. I know you won't answer my question, but just avoid it to try to change the topic.

          It was a very straightforward question that could be answered in ONE SENTENCE. Anything more is just an attempt to evade answering. Save blog space.

          February 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
      • kudlak

        Robert Brown
        Yet, aren't Christians supposed to follow the set morality without question? Maybe you're not robots, but you are willing little soldiers eager to follow orders unquestioningly where I prefer to think for myself.

        February 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          We try to please him because we love him. We often fail, but we try. We love him because he loved us first.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          "We try to please him because we love him. We often fail, but we try. We love him because he loved us first."

          That could also describe a dog. Loyal, obedient, clearly subservient, and ultimately discardable, unless you're one of those new "pet parents" out there. Sorry, but begging for scraps from the table just isn't my style.

          "Stalkers" also love first, don't they?

          February 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Stalkers may tell you they love you. Actions speak louder than words.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Just not your style. Let's suppose there is a God who created the universe and all life, you wouldn't be willing to humble yourself before such a God?

          February 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • Bob

          Robert Brown, why would such a powerful, capable being require humility, or anything else for that matter, from what it created? Furthermore, how do you know that such a creature, since it can't possibly be the god of the crazy, self-inconsistent Christian fables of the bible, doesn't want you to act quite differently from what you are supposing?

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          February 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          Actions? Like torturing people who reject you?

          Yup, no stalker would ever do something that nasty to the object of their affections, right?

          I feel humble every time I look out at the vastness of the universe through my telescope but, then again, the universe isn't plotting to make me suffer if I'm indifferent towards it either. Sorry, but I just can't respect a God that could save everyone, but chooses to only save his adoring fans.

          February 25, 2014 at 10:05 am |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Last century, L Ron Hubbard wrote a book, as foolish as it is, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and he has millions of followers.

    200 years ago, Joseph Smith wrote a book, as foolish as it is, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and he has tens of millions of followers.

    A few thousand years ago, unnamed desert dwelling goat herders wrote a book, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and they have hundreds of millions of followers.

    Do you see that the only thing that makes your christian religion more popular than any other of these obvious scams is the amount of time it has had for your deluded cult members to breed and indoctrinate their children.

    So have a good think about how preposterous scientology and mormonism sound to you, and know that christianity is just the same thing with a bigger head start.

    February 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  9. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    "I don't accept here-say as undeniable evidence."

    Sure you do. Anything written about what Jesus said in the bible is hearsay. Not one person who wrote anything about Jesus can be shown to have actually met him.

    "I speak not just from knowledge but from experience. There is power in the name of Jesus. I know this for a fact!"

    How do you know that?

    I can tell you another thing... obedience to God is key to the power of God working and being demonstrated in your life.

    It's funny how you all ridicule the Bible and the Words of Jesus, yet no one who has lived as Jesus lived walked away disbelieving in the Power of the Almighty.

    "There is power in the gospel of Jesus friend. Try it for yourself... prove it wrong for yourself – this one I guarantee impossible to do."

    I have. It didn't work, so you accept that as proof you are wrong...correct?

    February 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Blessed,

      "Anything written about what Jesus said in the bible is hearsay. Not one person who wrote anything about Jesus can be shown to have actually met him."

      What evidence do you give to support this claim?

      February 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        No one knows who wrote the gospels. Regardless they are reporting on what Jesus said, Jesus didn't write or record anything himself. When somone says that someone else said something....it is called "hearsay".

        February 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Hearsay: "Evidence based on the reports of others rather than the personal knowledge of a witness and therefore generally not admissible as testimony." We have eyewitness testimony. See John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

          "Not one person who wrote anything about Jesus can be shown to have actually met him."

          What evidence do you give to support this claim?

          February 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
      • sealchan

        I believe it is the general concensus of scholars who do serious work at determining when the gospels and other New Testament books were written were written many decades after Jesus died. Even letters confidently assigned to Paul which are believed to be some of the earliest do not count because Paul never claims to have met Jesus.

        February 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Sealchan,

          "Even letters confidently assigned to Paul which are believed to be some of the earliest do not count because Paul never claims to have met Jesus." This is not true. See 1 Corinthians 15:7,8 "Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."

          February 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
  10. thefinisher1

    Nothing is proof to atheists so they waste their own time demanding proof from believers. If you don't want to believe, why demand believers give you evidence? Anyways, any experience you would have you would shrug off as a "delusion" so there's literally no point except you like to play childish mind games. God can't be proven using human science something atheists have been denying for thousands of years. With all the "logic" and "reason" they claim to have, they still haven't had the logic to admit it😜

    February 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Atheists have no reason to believe in God. There is no evidence of, or for God. The Bible is full of impossibility, improbabilities, and inconsistencies. It was obviously a product of human imagination. Organized religions are full of hate, corruption, and greed. If there were such a thing as a loving God, the world would not contain evil.
      Believers, on the other hand, have reasons to believe. The most convincing of reasons is a supernatural salvation experience. Their belief is affirmed and reaffirmed throughout their journey with God by answered prayer and intense spiritual blessings.

      February 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Atheism is also filled with hate and ignorance. Just look at this blog. YOU find there's no evidence based on YOUR view of the world. It's your belief system. Stop fooling yourself.

        February 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • Akira

          Do stop lying. It's on of the Lord's top ten.

          And if you would get over your self live of lies and read other people's posts, you would know RB is a Christian.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
      • ausphor

        RB
        Except you can get people to believe almost anything including the ridiculous, can you not understand this? How many dooms day prophecies has there been that the gullible will believe in? A judgement day for all 7 billion people on earth that believe in your judgemental god or not, you and your religion are as believable as the Theogony or the Gospel of the FSM.

        February 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • eudaimonia2013

        A supernatural experience is rare.. and very hard to authenticate given that it is an experience dependent upon the sanity and objectivity of the individual within a highly subjective state. This also means that proselytizing should be unnecessary given that the best evidence is dependent upon the whim of an invisible deity.

        February 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Rare, not hardly, unless you consider the millions of believers who have experienced God to be rare.

          We are dependent on him for the experiences, but this doesn't mean we are to do nothing.

          Seek.

          February 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
        • Austin

          If you come get me and my papers, i will testify truthfully about what God has done supernaturally through HIs word.repeatedly and obvious building block like step by step supernatural organized spiritual revelations conccerning good and evil.

          My experience left no room for doubt as to the information and powers manifesting what was wanted by God to be known. One by one spiritual truths through the bible were revealed. Its not a hobby. I cant control the seasons or the spirit and what He can do with them. I can tell the truth.

          February 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          RB,
          What objective evidence do you have for a "supernatural salvation experience"?
          Millions also "experience" Vishnu but somehow you don't find that credible – that's how non-christians view the christian "experience".

          February 24, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Austin, If you want anyone to believe these revelations and prophesies, you need to publish them in detail before the event. That way they can be verified.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Santa,

          I can't comment on Vishnu because I have no idea what it is. If you are interested perhaps you can talk to someone about Vishnu experiences.

          I can comment a little on Christianity from an average everyday Christian point of view. We've exchanged thoughts before so I'll be brief. I can't give you a reason to believe, but I am confident God can. He even tells you to try him. It is an open invitation.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          To paraphrase your comment – you said that because millions had an experience with your god then that shows it is real. My point was that believers in all faiths claim that same experience; I used Vishnu as it pertains to a large, active religion. They say their god is real and you say your god is real and, in this case, for the same reasons. You can't all be right so it is more likely that you are all wrong and interpret certain emotions and experiences as a divine sign.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Santa,

          I guess it is reasonable to look at it that way. Or, one is correct and the rest are wrong. Or, the same God revealed himself to different people in different ways. Or, it is aliens. Etc and so on.

          Personally, I'll go with Jesus because to my limited knowledge every other religious salvation is based on works. They rely on what they can do, Christians rely on God to do the work.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • Bob

          Robert Brown, your whole Jesus-salvation story is far-fetched and ridiculous from the get-go, so it's shocking to me that you put so much stock in it over the many thousands of other religious myths.

          You should really give it some critical questioning. How is it that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

          Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          February 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        What evidence do you have for a "supernatural salvation experience"?

        February 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
      • kudlak

        Robert Brown
        "Their belief is affirmed and reaffirmed throughout their journey with God by answered prayer and intense spiritual blessings."

        How can you tell that this isn't just a delusion, like the ways that other religions appear to be tapping into the supernatural? You might argue that a Buddhist's journey towards inner peace is all just in his head too, right?

        February 24, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          How can you know if disbelief isn't a delusion ?

          If I'm dreaming don't wake me just let me dream on.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          Some of us, however, are interested in what's actually real, and not at all interested in living a fantasy.

          February 25, 2014 at 9:57 am |
      • James XCIX

        "The most convincing of reasons is a supernatural salvation experience"

        If this is what you believe, then surely it is not hard for you to understand why those who haven't had such an experience would be unconvinced.

        February 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • igaftr

      "Nothing is proof to atheists "
      False. If there was a god, he/she/it would know what I would accept as evidence.
      Nothing has been OFFERED as proof is far more correct.

      February 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        So you admit you're picky about what is considered evidence? No wonder you find it hard to believe. You're still a child.

        February 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • observernow

          thefinisher1,

          Grow up.

          February 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Any objective evidence would suffice. Got any?

          February 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Santa, yes, the existence of objective morality.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • new-man

          thefinisher1:
          The hearts of the godless are being exposed.
          as you've seen we all have the same evidence of God – it is there for all to observe all throughout His creation. Ro 1:18-32
          The god-haters and the godless choose to ignore all evidence of God, seeking only to put their trust in their ego and in other men.
          "These people have spent their lives ridiculing Christ, standing over the Bible and judging it instead of bowing under it allowing it to judge them."

          The Bible gives a record of man's past, present, and future on this earth.
          "man cannot, through intelligence, human reasoning or scientific discovery know or discern events to come."
          "Unbelief based on man's pride cannot see God because said man cannot see the pride in their words and thoughts."

          February 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          tf, As hotairace replied to this same comment above:

          Just after you prove objective morality exists you can show us how that is evidence for your alleged god(s).

          February 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • igaftr

          fin
          "So you admit you're picky about what is considered evidence?"

          Of course I am, because I use intelligence. I don't just blindly accept hearsay and other weak "evidence".
          Basically by asking that question, you are saying you AREN'T picky and will pretty much take nothing as evidence, as you have if you believe the bible.

          February 25, 2014 at 8:09 am |
  11. Austin

    If there was a court that ruled on God there would be no way to rule out His presence.

    People have valid testimony by the millions of spiritual experiences.

    Part of science community has become a satanic cult of deception .

    February 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
    • igaftr

      "People have valid testimony by the millions of spiritual experiences"

      False unless you have had it validated. What is actually true is many people have had experiences they could not explain and attributed it to god without eliminating all other possibilities because they WANTED it to be god. Could have been satan messing with them, co-incidence, alien mind control, delusion, them lying, or any of thousands of gods, etc,.etc., etc.
      That is hardly valid 'testimony"

      February 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Austin

        Aliens don't know future. However God could give a piece to Satan who goes back and forth. And then alien demons would get omens.

        All point to God .

        February 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          In truth, nothing points to god.
          And you know what aliens are capable of?
          Claining it was god is VERY different than validating it was god, which none have done, so NOT "valid "testimony as you had originally stated.
          Choose your words more carefully, and stop thinking that belief is truth.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Doris

          If you could just loosen up your style a bit, you could probably do stand-up comedy with this material Austin – you know, in a local club.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Austin

          Igaftr when the future is projected or something random f.rom tomorrow, if it happens with frequency, if it conveys a piece of information unknown , then this is evidence of supernatural personage.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Austin

          Igaftr there is no direct revelation from God however the mystery has a completely obvious medium and explanation. And it takes human intelligence to be on the receiving end and this is our field . Is spiritual a reality? Yes it has manifest reaity as promised inthe Word of God. And power.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Austin
          You claim that God has given you prophetic dreams.
          As I've said before, all you have to do is keep an online dream journal.
          If / when the visions come true, you will be vindicated.
          YOU have the power to put this debate to rest.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • igaftr

          austin
          So how did you eliminate ALL other explainations, including the ones you hadn't thought of?

          If you didn't , you are just attributing it to what you WANT it to be on no basis whatsoever.

          You do not want the truth, you want your belief to be true.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "If there was a court that ruled on God there would be no way to rule out His presence. "

      I find God not guilty of existence for lack of evidence.

      February 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        I find non-belief in the same boat. Atheism has no real solid proof except your own opinions and beliefs. You fool yourself.

        February 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Akira

          "I know you are, but what an I?"

          February 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Incorrect. It's a fact.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Atheism is nothing more than a rejection that your "god claim" is true.

          So my existence is proof that atheism is real.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • hotairace

          Then you should have no problem producing some actual, not hearsay, evidence to show it is a fact.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  12. Austin

    But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

    26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

    February 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I would like the same evidence Thomas received...is that too much to ask?

      February 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • Austin

        The Jews accepted the theory of sin. Do that and ask for supernatural faith.

        GOD bless you.!

        February 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No I want Jesus to appear to me after I spend 1-3 years learning directly from him as a human being/god, watched him die by crucifixtion, and then bodily come back to life so I can stick my fingers in his wounds.

          Why can't I have that?

          February 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • new-man

          BatC:

          Only God knows the heart of man that seeks... is it seeking or is it full of pride.
          I know if you ask in sincerity and humility, Jesus will reveal Himself to you. How He choses to do this is entirely up to Him.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          it is not pride it is common sense. I don't believe things, especially outragous claims, without emprical proof. You are willing to accept hearsay as undeniable evidence...I am not.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • new-man

          BatC:

          I don't accept here-say as undeniable evidence.
          I speak not just from knowledge but from experience. There is power in the name of Jesus. I know this for a fact!
          I can tell you another thing... obedience to God is key to the power of God working and being demonstrated in your life.

          It's funny how you all ridicule the Bible and the Words of Jesus, yet no one who has lived as Jesus lived walked away disbelieving in the Power of the Almighty.

          There is power in the gospel of Jesus friend. Try it for yourself... prove it wrong for yourself – this one I guarantee impossible to do.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I don't accept here-say as undeniable evidence."

          Sure you do. Anything written about what Jesus said in the bible is hearsay. Not one person who wrote anything about Jesus can be shown to have actually met him.

          "I speak not just from knowledge but from experience. There is power in the name of Jesus. I know this for a fact!"

          How do you know that?

          I can tell you another thing... obedience to God is key to the power of God working and being demonstrated in your life.

          It's funny how you all ridicule the Bible and the Words of Jesus, yet no one who has lived as Jesus lived walked away disbelieving in the Power of the Almighty.

          "There is power in the gospel of Jesus friend. Try it for yourself... prove it wrong for yourself – this one I guarantee impossible to do."

          I have. It didn't work, so you accept that as proof you are wrong...correct?.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  13. Austin

    There is no injustice. You can reject the savior if you hate him and refuse the healing.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • Doris

      Or you can reject certain notions regarding alleged past events simply because they are less credible than things in your spam folder. One doesn't always have to become emotional in ascertaining such value or lack thereof for such notions.

      February 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • hotairace

      I do not hate your savior. I simply believe it is not needed and does not exist. If you could definitely show that it exists, I might be able to agree it is needed. Not likely, but I would consider it.

      February 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • Austin

        If you tell me where I can find you I will personally share my testimony with you and show you my materials and what happened after these dreams.

        I am real.

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

          I love you and so does Jesus. Call at your convenience.

          402 429 0597

          In Christ

          February 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • hotairace

          Type it up, scan it and put everything on a public website. If you have real evidence, your presence will not be required. In fact, it would be better for you if someone could review and test your story *and* confirm your conclusions without your involvement.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • Akira

      I know that this has been said to you before, Austin, but I assume you don't believe in Santa Claus. Do you actively hate him?

      February 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
    • igaftr

      austin
      "You can reject the savior if you hate him and refuse the healing"

      I reject him suffering for MY transgression BECAUSE I love. If he appeared before me and told me his plan for "saving" me I would still not allow it. I may accept he is all that the christians claim him to be but I would not allow it, considering that it is my choice. I can understand the admiration for someone willing to make that sacrifice, as with our fallen veterns, but if given a choice I would not have them do it for me, and since I am a veteran, I made the very same offer of sacrifice. You don't get to choose in the case of our military sacrifices, but you DO have the choice to not allow someone you claim to love to suffer for you.
      You allow him to take your punishment would indicate to me you do NOT love him. How could you allow someone you love to be punished for YOUR transgressions?
      Odd definition of love you have there.

      February 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
      • Austin

        May you be blessed with faith from God brother.

        I agree and feel as you do , but sin is a different concept that we can not control. I would remove it frim the equation if i could

        I think you display God like compassion. Thats awesome.

        February 24, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
  14. bootyfunk

    "They’ve become wary about reducing everything that has value to what can only be discovered in the tangible world, restricting our intellectual confidence to that which can be observed and studied."

    in other words, they believe in magic. it's a slightly different kind of magic than organized religion, but at the end of the day it's just superst.ition and fairy dust.

    "Their turn towards alternative health practices is just one sign of this. Of course, most do avail themselves of science’s benefits"

    yep, they believe in magic until they get an infection. they believe in magic until they need to use their cell phone. they believe in magic, but choose to fly on an airplane.

    spiritual but not religious in this author's context is just another form of religion.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
    • doobzz

      I've thought that the SBNRs are just saying "I don't really think that there's a god or gods, but I'm not yet willing to let go of the idea that I'll live forever." or "I don't want to sound uncool and I am too lazy to really think about what I believe." Or any combination of that.

      Then, I don't really have a representative sample. Most of the SBNR people I know are 20-30 something and are too busy living their lives. So maybe it's a good thing. At least they aren't actively spreading their nonsense.

      February 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • Vic

        That's another misconception.

        An SBNR—Spiritual But Not Religious—is basically someone who believes in God—Faith—but is not adherent to the Mosaic Law—Religion.

        February 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • joey3467

          Most likely the person would beleive in a god or gods, not God, which implies the Christian god, at least in this country.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • doobzz

          The ones that I know would disagree with you. I think the whole "Spiritual But Not Religious" definition is still, well, ill-defined, and this article did nothing to help clarify it.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
    • Vic

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/22/good-news-about-the-spiritual-but-not-religious/comment-page-6/#comment-2951725

      February 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  15. bostontola

    The religious, SBNR, atheist arguments frequently make the same unfair error, one side compares their best features to the other sides worst features.

    Of course, comparing features only addresses the pragmatic aspects of each side and in no way supports the likelihood of being true. There is little doubt that religion has been a pragmatic success for humans.

    There is another fallacy, equating unproven hypotheses because they are both unproven. In courts of law 2 hypotheses are proposed constantly, jurys decide which hypothesis has more evidence. In the religion, SBNR, atheism case, there is objective evidence against religions and none for them, there is no objective evidence for anything supernatural, there is objective evidence for much that was explained supernaturally in the past, and there are highly plausible explanations for purely natural universe supported by objective evidence. Not proof, but the religion, atheism cases are not of equal stature.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • Austin

      I have objective evidence of the biblical God and devil through spiritual revelation gift of prophecy and word of knowledge.

      You obsessively reject valid testimony.

      February 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
      • SeaVik

        The testimony of a delusional person is not valid objective evidence. If it were, it would make world-wide news instantly.

        February 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • bostontola

        Sorry Austin, you can't redefine subjective as objective.

        February 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • doobzz

        Your nightmares are not evidence, Austin.

        Serious question, though. Do you ever use Ambien or similar sleep aid? One of the side effects is vivid dreaming. I've had some really weird dreams while taking it, although mine tend to be more comedic or absurd. And I remember them easily the next day in great detail, unlike a "regular" dream for me. Just a thought.

        February 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • Austin

        None of can confirm your remarks. I have objective evidence as journaled

        February 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • joey3467

          Your journal would be objective evidence that you are insane, but not objective evidence of god.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Actually, it is very easy to confirm my remarks. I just checked cnn.com and there is no news story about the discovery of objective evidence that shows there is a god.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • otoh2

          Austin,

          Mohammad "journaled" for nearly 25 years. David Koresh "journaled" too; so did the Unabomber, Ted Kandinsky (although I don't think he claimed "divine revelation"), and tons of other wackos...

          February 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Austin

          Your remark is false. And offensive. That is your character and not reality.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Austin

          My evidence is not only in writing but in my memory and in my soul.

          It is a permanent seal visible to God.

          Again I have objective experience of truth. You simply can't confirm what I have or don't have.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • SeaVik

          My remark is not false. You can easily confirm it yourself by going to cnn.com, or any other news source, and confirming that there is no news of the first discovery of objective evidence that supports the idea of the existence of a god.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
    • eudaimonia2013

      "My evidence is not only in writing but in my memory and in my soul.

      It is a permanent seal visible to God."

      Why don't people who think like this apply this way of securing knowledge with other things in their life? No one uses evidence of memory and soul to write laws, create a lightbulb, provide heat, safey- etc. I think it is because god is only relevant when it comes to someone's belief.. No one can verify their "seal visible to God." Nevermind that this is akin to saying- My proof of zeus is my journal and memory.. Otherwise, humans utilize science, logic and reason to improve their lives, bring about justice and peace. It screwy when we deal with people who do things in the name of their belief (against all that is sane) or want to be like the creature they worship.

      February 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Boston , before you would search scientifically for God, would you first have to have a non biased opinion about His existence.? Or would you simply look for something that you didn't believe existed? If you did the latter, would you be able to be objective? Do scientists look for things they don't believe are there? I know that they often find things they never expected. My point is that even though you may say you are open to discovery, if you are really not, can you possibly fin it?

      February 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    "All of us, not just religious people, are in danger of becoming rigid or comatose, inflexible or numb. All of us need to find ways to develop and live our faith in the company of others, which is, in fact, what religion is all about."

    Unquote.

    Fellowship is all what religion is all about??? And that says a Christian "theologian". Bonhoeffer was right when he said that the most corrupted people on earth would be theologians.

    Of course, it plays an important or crucial role that we have the right faith and doctrine. Fellowship is also important but only beneficial if we also have the right faith or doctrine and our fellows too.

    I agree with Mrs. Mercadante that we have become too materialistic. Life is more than circulating matter.

    I also agree that nobody likes the philistinism (confined by systems and structures) of many churches – today nearly all churches.

    Mrs. Mercadante as a Christian (Methodist) theologian should advertise for the faith in Jesus but she talkes like a sociologist.

    That is a very severe failure of her. As a theologian she would be obliged to defend the Christian faith.

    Our actual problem is the general apostasy of nearly all churches. The bad article of Mrs. Mercadante confirms my statement. People calling themselves Christians, don't pronounce the Christian doctrine but tell any nonsense – that is apocalyptic.

    We must find back to the complete gospel of Jesus Christ: Repentance, accepting the gospel as true, and getting sacramentally baptized in order to experience the releasing power of the gospel.

    No rebaptism!

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com (this is no commercial advertising but the pronouncing of the gospel of Jesus Christ)

    We don't need the fellowship of any people but of people really believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who can bring about real fellowship for he is fellowship in himself. Jesus is Life, Light, Truth, etc. True fellowship is possible in Jesus Christ, in Him. True fellowship is an extraordinary good, more precious than silver and gold.

    It is not possible to enjoy the fellowship of the Church and the fellowship of the world at the same time. We have to make up our mind. Moses was an Egyptian prince but he left that state of worldly pleasure, and joined God's people Israel, and suffered together with them. Moses prefered the fellowship of God's people against the pleasure of sin because he was looking at the eternal reward (eternal dwelling in God's City).

    Fellowship is good but not without Jesus.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • Akira

      No spamming!

      February 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
  17. Austin

    My church has produced 670 and 720 salvations respectively over the past two years. Amen

    There are people who are ready. Others still are not prepared or never will seek and accept the provisions .

    February 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What were they "Salva.ged" from?

      February 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  18. Woody

    Robert, I'm a non-believer and the last thing I would do would be to look to you for pity. I, on the other hand, pity you. Apparently, you're the gullible poster child of indoctrination. You were born, as we all were, a non-believer. At some point in your life, a person that you considered to be in a position of authority, related to you the "god" legend. This story is thousand of years old, and was most likely a re-manufactured version of an earlier god story. As we've seen throughout history, gods come and go in and out of popularity. Your god will someday be put in the same category as the Greek and Roman gods. Nobody, today, takes those gods seriously, and your god, at some point in the future, will suffer the same fate.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • Woody

      Sorry. This was meant to be a reply to Robert Brown.

      February 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      “Robert, I'm a non-believer and the last thing I would do would be to look to you for pity. I, on the other hand, pity you.”
      So, as the author stated, do you instead, consider yourself superior to believers?

      February 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
  19. Doris

    Filmed at the Royal Geographical Society on 22nd May 2013.

    Daniel Dennett is one of the world's most original and provocative thinkers. A philosopher and cognitive scientist, he is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and a University Professor at Tufts University.

    On May 22nd he came to Intelligence Squared to share the insights he has acquired over his 40-year career into the nature of how we think, decide and act. Dennett revealed his favourite thinking tools, or 'intuition pumps', that he and others have developed for addressing life's most fundamental questions. As well as taking a fresh look at familiar moves - Occam's Razor, reductio ad absurdum - he discussed new cognitive solutions designed for the most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, consciousness and free will.

    By acquiring these tools and learning to use them wisely, we can all aspire to better understand the world around us and our place in it.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJsD-3jtXz0&w=640&h=390]

    February 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Robert Brown

    In regard to the comparatively minor moralities of life, there is a wide difference among men, but the thief who rejects Christ and the honest man who rejects Christ are alike condemned at the great point of what they do with God's Son, and this is the point that the Holy Spirit presses home. The sin of unbelief is the most difficult of all sins of which to convince men. The average unbeliever does not look upon unbelief as a sin. Many an unbeliever looks upon his unbelief as a mark of intellectual superiority. Not unfrequently, he is all the more proud of it because it is the only mark of intellectual superiority that he possesses. He tosses his head and says, "I am an agnostic;" "I am a skeptic;" or, "I am an infidel," and assumes an air of superiority on that account. If he does not go so far as that, the unbeliever frequently looks upon his unbelief as, at the very worst, a misfortune. He looks for pity rather than for blame. He says, "Oh, I wish I could believe. I am so sorry I cannot believe," and then appeals to us for pity because he cannot believe, but when the Holy Spirit touches a man's heart, he no longer looks upon unbelief as a mark of intellectual superiority; he does not look upon it as a mere misfortune; he sees it as the most daring, decisive and damning of all sins and is overwhelmed with a sense of his awful guilt in that he had not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    http://biblehub.com/library/torrey/the_person_and_work_of_the_holy_spirit/chapter_vii_the_holy_spirit.htm

    February 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Your level of delusion is astounding. You think atheists say, "Oh, I wish I could believe. I am so sorry I cannot believe," and then appeals to you for pity because he cannot believe.

      When has an atheist EVER been sorry they don't believe or appealed to anyone for pity for not believing? I am pretty sure this has never happened.

      February 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        It looks like the author is lumping nonbelievers into two categories; those who are proud of their unbelief and those who are sorry.

        February 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • SeaVik

        And my question is, when have you ever met an atheist who was sorry for not believing in your god fantasy?

        February 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I have one....S.E. Cupp

          but to be fair...she is an idiot.

          February 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          SeaVik,

          Not in person. I have communicated on here with some who would like a reason to believe.

          February 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
    • igaftr

      "The sin of unbelief is the most difficult of all sins of which to convince men. The average unbeliever does not look upon unbelief as a sin"

      I don't see anywhere in your bible that indicates not believing is a sin.

      Commandment number one is to have no gods before your god. I don't. I just don't see any sign of any gods at all.

      Just another superior christian calling others sinners.

      February 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        It is the only unpardonable sin.

        February 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
    • Akira

      This sounds like a laundry list of what done preacher tells his congregation atheists are like, without ever actually having met any.
      Or a c/p from a website.
      Or, perhaps, both.

      February 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Akira

        *some preacher.

        February 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Yes, it is a copy from the website referenced. I think it makes a valid point.

        February 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • Akira

          Well, although you may find it useful, what I said still holds true: I doubt whoever wrote this actually knows any atheists.
          In my opinion, it goes out of its way to confirm what one imagines atheistic thinking is like. I know several atheists, and absolutely none of them think like this...if they bother to obsess about being an atheist at all. Which, of course, they don't. Obviously their atheism is but one part of who they are; it doesn't define them as a person. This is where I feel people get the wrong idea of atheists.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Could be... I just posted a small portion of the article. The main subject is really the sin of unbelief, not really a exploration of the thoughts or behaviors of all nonbelievers.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
    • ausphor

      Well, we certainly have company, about 5 billion people don't believe in your made up son of god. I think the shoe is on the other foot, pity should be given to those that have fallen into the belief in the Christian god. I like you Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Gandhi.

      February 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Show me a perfect christian and I'll show you a liar.

        February 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • bostontola

      The murderer that accepts Christ gets eternal reward. The honest person that rejects Christ gets eternal horror.

      Immoral religion, keep it.

      February 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • Austin

        There is no injustice. You can reject the savior if you hate him and refuse the healing.

        February 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        I think if the honest person were honest with themselves, they would see that they come short also and need a savior.

        February 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          I need someone to save me from the addiction of reading these train wreck posts.. It is like good entertainment at a certain point.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          We have a cure for that too.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          My mind is only amenable to a empirical savior. He/She would be focused on solving problems the results of which the effectiveness could be measured, evaluated, analyzed and changed if necessary; He/She would not be focused on whether or not I worshipped him/her.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          God won't fit in the box you have made for him, but if you will humble yourself and seek, he will find you.

          February 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          You mean the idea of god you created does not fit what another human being realistically needs.

          February 24, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          God will give you what you need, it may not turn out to be what you currently think you need. Why not seek him and find out?

          February 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Have you earnestly sought out any other god outside of Christianity? And if so, given it a shot for years?

          February 25, 2014 at 9:40 am |
    • new-man

      well said!

      February 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • new-man

      Robert Brown: Your quote was so on point! The sin of unbelief is due mainly to pride!

      Sin is rebellion against God. A sinner is a rebel. Rebels go beyond the limits and boundaries God has set. Rebels do wrong before right. Rebels fail to come up to the standards set by God? What are the standards? They’re revealed throughout the Bible, but they’re summarized in the Ten Commandments. Rebels go their own way in life. Rebels are self-willed not God-willed. To not be God-willed is the greatest sin of all. Why? Firstly it deeply offends holy God, secondly your unholy life doesn’t work. That too offends God. Rebels say their life works, but deep down they know it doesn’t!

      Rebels believe if they fully surrender their life to God He’ll take away all their freedom and liberty. The reality is you have no freedom and liberty until you do fully surrender your life to Him. That’s why it’s called the gospel, not a half gospel. The gospel shows us without God, we are helpless, hopeless and useless. That was never God’s plan for any human being; His plan was for us to be helpful, hopeful and useful. Sin fills us with the former but deprives us of the latter.
      That’s one reason why Jesus tells us, without Me you can do nothing John 15:5.

      February 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • SeaVik

        I hate to break it to you, but you're not "God-willed" either.

        February 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Yes

        February 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • James XCIX

      You realize, of course, that you, too, are an unbeliever of thousands of religions, since it seems you believe in only one. So why don't your ideas about the arrogance, etc., of unbelievers also apply to you?

      February 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        From a position faith, apples and oranges.

        February 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • James XCIX

          You'd like to think so, I suppose, but that's not a supportable position.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Seriously, if you have experienced God and believe the bible is true, how could you even consider another?

          February 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          RB says "Seriously, if you have experienced God and believe the bible is true, how could you even consider another?"
          It's so very easy, RB, your Babbling Book of Baloney is nothing but myth. No god, including yours sky fairy, has ever uttered a word in it, let alone wrote it. No man, for 2000 years, has EVER heard (a) god "speak" to them. If you hear voices, seek help. The Babble is all man made myth.

          February 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • James XCIX

          "Seriously, if you have experienced God and believe the bible is true, how could you even consider another?"

          You say that as though it only applies to your religion–it doesn't.

          February 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          For me, it most certainly does, but don't take my word for it. Try him for yourself, it is the only way you will ever really know.

          February 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
        • James XCIX

          "Try him for yourself"

          How many religions have you tried?

          February 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Just one really. Although I'm sure you know there are many denominations of christianity and I have tried several of them. Some of the differences matter and some don't.

          February 25, 2014 at 9:01 am |
        • eudaimonia2013

          You know, there are many people with good character, peaceful lives and dispositions who have tried your brand of belief and it did nothing for them..

          February 25, 2014 at 11:10 am |
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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.