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How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation
Are church teachings on homosexuality driving millennials away from faith?
March 31st, 2014
02:18 PM ET

How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.

It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.

But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”

Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”

So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal?

The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.

Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the decision pointed to “disaster,” and the Assemblies of God denomination encouraged its members to pull their financial support from the organization.

Evangelicals took to Twitter and Facebook to threaten to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless World Vision reversed course.

Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.

So World Vision reversed course.

Stearns told The New York Times that some people, satisfied with the reversal, have called World Vision headquarters to ask, “Can I have my child back?” as though needy children are expendable bargaining chips in the culture war against gay and lesbian people.

Many of us who grew up evangelical watched with horror as these events unfolded.

As a longtime supporter of World Vision, I encouraged readers of my blog to pick up some of the dropped sponsorships after the initial decision. I then felt betrayed when World Vision backtracked, though I urged my readers not to play the same game but to keep supporting their sponsored children, who are of course at no fault in any of this.

But most of all, the situation put into stark, unsettling relief just how misaligned evangelical priorities have become.

When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong.

There is a disproportionate focus on homosexuality that consistently dehumanizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes gay and lesbian people and, at least in this case, prioritizes the culture war against them over and against the important work of caring for the poor.

Evangelicals insist that they are simply fighting to preserve “biblical marriage,” but if this were actually about “biblical marriage,” then we would also be discussing the charity’s policy around divorce.

But we’re not.

Furthermore, Scripture itself teaches that when we clothe and feed those in need, we clothe and feed Christ himself, and when we withhold care from those in need, we withhold it from Christ himself (Matthew 25:31-46).

Why are the few passages about homosexuality accepted uncritically, without regard to context or culture, but the many about poverty so easily discarded?

As I grieved with my (mostly 20- and 30-something) readers over this ugly and embarrassing situation, I heard a similar refrain over and over again: “I don’t think I’m an evangelical anymore. I want to follow Jesus, but I can’t be a part of this.”

I feel the same way.

Whether it’s over the denial of evolutionary science, continued opposition to gender equality in the church, an unhealthy alliance between religion and politics or the obsession with opposing gay marriage, evangelicalism is losing a generation to the culture wars.

A recent survey from Public Religion Research Institute revealed that nearly one-third of millennials who left their childhood faith did so because of “negative teachings” or “negative treatment” of gay and lesbian people.

Christians can disagree about what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about same-sex marriage. This is not an issue of orthodoxy. But when we begin using child sponsorships as bargaining tools in our debates, we’ve lost the way of Jesus.

So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, "what if we get this wrong?"

I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.

I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism's culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”

I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (2,141 Responses)
  1. observer

    Russ,

    Have you had time to do some research so you'll know the answer this time?

    When asked what was the MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT, Jesus mentioned a few. Which ONE of the following was not talked about by Jesus as a MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT:

    (1) The Golden Rule
    (2) Prohibition of s3xual sins by heteros (adultery)
    (3) Prohibition of s3xual sins by gays?

    April 2, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
    • Russ

      @ observer: why didn't you post this at the original thread from yesterday (p.1 of these comments)?
      as i said repeatedly to you there:

      the two greatest commandments ARE about love & relationships: first with God, then each other.
      and Jesus said they SUMMED up the entire OT – not replaced or debunked.

      it's the clear statement of the text. two things are stated plainly here:
      a) God ultimately defines love, not us.
      b) Love is a *command* – meaning it's not 'up to us' whether and/or how we do it.

      April 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      • observer

        Russ,

        Jesus NEVER mentioned gays. Try again.

        This is a FACTUAL question that could be answered if you've READ a Bible.

        So is it (1), (2), or (3)?

        April 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Observer: again, this is the SAME conversation we had yesterday. why not just go back & reread the thread on p.1.
          here, i'll copy & paste a few of the relevant posts on that thread:

          ****
          @ observer:
          as i just said above to GOP...

          Jesus never explicitly spoke on pedophilia either. do you think his silence was a tacit approval?
          moreover, he did speak on marriage repeatedly. he was very troubled by anything that undermined it – including adultery. and he also said that he did not come to overthrow the OT but to fulfill it – affirming every word.

          March 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm |

          @ observer:
          i AM treating them like i'd want to be treated.

          again, you don't have to agree with me to follow the logic. choose something we BOTH agree is a problem.

          if i was addicted to heroin, would it be more LOVING to let me be or to intervene? is that judgmentalism (Mt.7:3-4) or judgment that loves (Mt.7:5)? by your read, we would NEVER actually help our friends remove the speck from their eye. everyone would be blind.

          March 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm |

          @ observer: why repeat the conversation we had just a few posts before in this same thread?

          1) an argument from silence is a logical fallacy.

          2) Jesus spoke very clearly about love – and in particular about marriage.
          again, he did not speak on many other particular topics about which we can rather definitively say he had an opinion (pedophilia, child sacrifice, etc.).

          3) your summation of the OT fails to understand what Jesus said about himself – namely, that he was the fulfillment of the OT (Lk.24:27,44; Jn.5:39-40; etc.).

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkNa6tLWrqk&w=640&h=390]

          March 31, 2014 at 9:34 pm |

          April 2, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          Yes. You had no answer yesterday. The answer is EITHER (1), (2), or (3). Take a guess if you are stumped.

          It is highly likely that Jesus never talked about child molesters because that topic is only RECENTLY out in the public. It was kept as a dark "family secret" in the past. Today, 2,000 years after Jesus, we still have the LARGEST Christian denomination still apparently trying to HIDE it.

          (1), (2), or (3)? Check your Bible if CLUELESS.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          1) you are offering a false dilemma. it's another logical fallacy (like your argument from silence). your options are not exhaustive, and the premise is flawed. if i answered your questions on your terms, i would be agreeing with your premise (which obviously i do not).

          2) your argument here regarding pedophilia is self-defeating.

          a) you are arguing that Jesus didn't talk about pedophilia because it was hidden – but that still doesn't address the real moral objection. is it wrong or not? and did Jesus consider it wrong or not? that's the parallel issue b/t these two subjects.

          b) your argument here works against your own position – unless you are affirming pedophilia as morally acceptable today.

          c) finally, your premise here is ALSO mistaken. pedophilia *was* a reality & the Golden Rule *did* condemn such evils. your argument to exclude ANYTHING Jesus didn't explicitly say really begins to fall apart when you limit the meaning of such love to explicit & known statements of Jesus. Jesus never talked about r.a.pe or child abuse or infanticide or a whole host of other topics that are CERTAINLY covered by the Golden Rule. by your reasoning, those would also be acceptable to Jesus.

          April 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          (1), (2) or (3)?

          Jesus talked about items from the Ten Commandments. What DIDN'T he mention as something he TALKED about as a possibility for THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT?

          What is "the law and the prophets all about" according to Jesus? Was it picking on gays or TREATING OTHERS as you want to be treated? Why are you an EXCEPTION to what Jesus said?

          April 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Jesus never "mentioned" anything. He never existed.

          April 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: there's really not much point in having a conversation if you're not going to read or interact with anything i say – especially when you keep asking the same question over & over despite the fact that i've answered it repeatedly.

          here's a last shot to help you understand:
          1) a false dilemma (your list of options)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

          2) an argument from silence
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_silence

          3) the two greatest commandments SUM up the Law – not debunk, reject or replace the Law.
          he fulfills it all & upholds it (Mt.5:17-18).

          4) Jesus demonstrated all of this on the cross, which says clearly:
          a) we're worse off than we want to admit (we deserve that death)
          b) we're more loved than we ever dared hope (he was willing to die for us)

          SUM: you want to use the 2nd greatest commandment to toss out the greatest commandment. Jesus held them BOTH together – and in proper order:

          He defines Love, not us.
          He commands love – not how *we* prefer it, but how *He* defines it.
          He died to save us from our broken views of life & love – that's how he loves.
          And he calls us to live in that love – including saying "repent" to one another.

          April 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          The answer is (1), (2), or (3). ANYONE reading a Bible can find the answer which is FACTUAL. No need to make up things.

          So what is the bottom line here? Are you really claiming that Jesus thinks that verses against gays are at the top of THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENTS?

          Why don't you follow the PRIORITIES of Jesus? Any answer other than HYPOCRISY?

          April 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          case in point... again.

          NO, the answer is NOT (1), (2) or (3).
          as I said before, the Golden Rule is the SECOND greatest commandment.
          you have not listed the MOST important commandment among your choices.

          again, you have given a FALSE dilemma.

          April 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • observer

        Russ,

        You are really making yourself look dense. READ the question. I SAID "Jesus mentioned a few".

        Is English a second language for you? I asked which of the THREE didn't he talk about.

        If you have never read a Bible, please do so now. The answer is there for anyone who can READ.

        April 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          AGAIN, the second commandment must be read in light of the FIRST commandment.
          God – who *is* Love – defines HOW we love... both Him (greatest command) & each other (second greatest).

          April 4, 2014 at 11:14 am |
  2. gavin1989

    She is setting up a false dichotomy here between "evangelicalism" and "those who care about people." What must be understood is that she is a disillusioned person who has been hurt by various aspects of evangelicalism. Her views concerning contemporary topics are primarily based on her feelings and the tides of the culture. She has created a fan base with her blog and these entries for CNN, but she would not be able to defend her beliefs in a room with the conservative scholars of today, people like Mohler who she mentions in this article. She is part of a group that loves to hate on the church, focusing on what it perceives to be the weaknesses, even atrocities, that the church has and is committing. However, her critiques do not have the Christ-like love that she calls for in practical living and treatment of people. It is a loathing of evangelicalism and what it represents. She doesn't love the church that Christ loves and is the head of and rather would escape into the world that fits better with her feelings. She falsely equates "the love of Christ" with full acceptance and tolerance of someone's sinful behavior, something Christ never does: He is the Savior, but He is also Judge and King. Just be wary of the fallacies and the misrepresentation of this article that comes from a biased perspective.

    April 2, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
    • observer

      gavin1989,

      Get real. WV was practicing the Golden Rule and many Christians objected. WV was following the love preached by Jesus and the others weren't.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
      • potterg89

        So non-profits don't have the right to say what their core convictions are? Also, what you just said is what she is saying, and it's just simply wrong: The Golden Rule doesn't mean that "anything goes" and "let's all just get along and accept one another's behavior, even if it goes against biblical morality." Jesus said that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. You can't love God by disregarding what He says in His Word. Also, you can love others by disagreeing with how they are living their lives; it's called speaking truth in love. I'd suggesting going and reading the blog from John Piper or the Gospel Coalition on this issue. It's true that evangelicals leaders have failed at times with their tone and language regarding this issue. However, I'm sure any movement or group has people they would say are not representative for the whole, and it would also say that we can grow in how we address this topic. But that does not mean that you just castigate all of evangelicalism and throw off historical Christian orthodoxy.

        April 2, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • magicpanties

          My invisible pink unicorn is praying that you get a clue.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • observer

          potterg89

          "You can't love God by disregarding what He says in His Word."

          Skip all the pick-and-choose HYPOCRISY. It's likely that you DISREGARD God's words in support of slavery and several discriminations.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • gavin1989

          No, rather it's interpreting the text properly: in its context. I think Evans even mentioned that! (Though, like I said, her hermeneutic would be found wanting in the midst of people who study and teach the Bible for a living.) What you are saying is just popular misconception and drivel.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • observer

          gavin1989,

          God not only allows SELLING your young daughter to a complete stranger for his USE as a slave, he tells where to BUY other humans and how much you can BEAT them with rods without punishment.

          Please read a Bible SOMEDAY.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • gavin1989

          I have. A commentary would help you understand the world of the Ancient Near East and how Israel was very much an improvement from the conditions of the surrounding nations.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • observer

          gavin1989,

          Now tell me that God STRONGLY opposed slavery, but NEVER mentioned that OWNING a person is WRONG. So he just supported it to be POLITICALLY CORRECT, right?

          Get serious. Get a Bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • gavin1989

          Again, study history. You are thinking about slavery here in America several hundred years ago, and you are also thinking about this issue from a 21st-century mindset. There were various levels of servitude; some were meant to help people get out of debt (not a bad thing, right?). Israelites were to allow those people to go free every seven years and to make sure they were properly taken care of. Slavery is not from God; it is rooted in the sinful heart of man. You can't just go after the Israelites here; if you have an issue, go after the culture of that time. As said before, the Israelites made great steps of improvement of human decency in this area. God was working in the nation of Israel as they sought (but eventually failed) to be a light to the nations. He was at work with the culture of that day, which sadly included slavery. He was not going to jump to a culture 4000 years from then–that doesn't make any sense. Plus as I said, during that time period, there were proper ways of paying back a debt, and it was not viewed as you are viewing it now. Speaking of the eradication of slavery though (which we all rejoice over, and still seek to completely eradicate–see the End It movement), check out a man named William Wilberforce–a Christian who was central to the abolishing of slavery in Britain.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
        • fabulouslystubbornoldgoat

          @ gavin1989

          It's funny, when the book says what you want it too it must be taken 100% literally and when it doesn't it needs to be "Properly interpreted". You are a Hypocrite. You don't get it both ways.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • gavin1989

          Proper interpretation involves taking the normal (literal as some may say) meaning of the text. This involves taking into account grammatical and historical issues, as well as the context. Figures of speech and various genres (history, poetry, letters, etc.) are taken into account with this. So the dichotomy you just asserted is false. Once again most of these comments are just the popular, erroneous perspective.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • Akira

          Is slavery a sin? WAS slavery a sin 4000 years ago, Gavin?

          April 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
        • gavin1989

          I would say that owning someone against their will (slavery) is sin. However, as I've said, we need to distinguish slavery 4000 years ago, slavery in the 1st century, and slavery here in America a few hundred years ago. "Slavery" in the Ancient Near East had various levels, including "indentured servants" (I think we'd say that that is a better option than just going to jail, right? I would rather be able to work for someone to pay off a debt rather than go and sit and jail and be unable to pay the debt, how about you? But then again, people are allowed to accrue all kinds of debt today with very little penalty so it's hard for us to conceive of such a "harsh world"...). The Israelites had a higher moral standard than the surrounding nations in this area.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • Shane Destivelle

          gavy, chill the pleading for context and study, hey. You come off sounding like you are talking down, to some folks who seem to know more than you about the subject at yap.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • potterg89

          They sound like they know more about this? By putting things in all caps? Okay....My main thoughts were at the beginning: Just that Evans is not representative of the majority of Christians; it doesn't make sense for her to critique the same religion she is a part of in front of an audience who doesn't share her same beliefs about God, Jesus, the Bible etc. I only said to actually do some studying because there seems to be lack of understanding of these issues in centuries gone by.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • Akira

          Why can't you compare gay people in the 1st century with gay people now, Gavin?

          Same thing.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • potterg89

          I'm not really sure what you mean, but I do think sin yesterday is sin today. Do you believe you are a sinner? That you have committed wrong before a holy God? That is the main issue. Once we can come to that realization, we can then look to Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world. But I know that we probably have some different views about these things, and we can keep talking about this issue.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • observer

          gavin1989,

          Tell us you agree with God that a 6-year-old girl can be SOLD to a complete stranger for his USE of her as a slave.

          You IGNORE that part of the Bible, but apparently have no problems ACCEPTING its HYPOCRITICAL discrimination of gays. Pick and choose.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • potterg89

          What passage are you talking about?

          April 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • potterg89

          I don't have time to reply to every objection. I do ask why you feel like you have to capitalize several words every time. That's a sign of a troll so I'm done here. Check this out if you want some explanation of some passages: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/02/02/feedback-bible-slavery

          April 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • Madtown

          we can then look to Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world
          ---
          How can we look to Christ if we've never heard of him? Don't make the common fundamental error of believing christianity is only way to think about God. There are many humans, alive at this very moment, who don't even have a concept of christianity. They won't look to Christ, they've never heard of him. Yet, these humans are creations of God, an omnipotent God as we're told. An omnipotent God is capable of making a single message available to all his equal creations, if he desired they have it.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • potterg89

          Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Him. Christians believe that God has made Himself known through general revelation (Romans 1). We hold that God is fully good, powerful, just, and loving. He has also given free will to each person. The balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility surely is a mystery, though the Bible has much to say about both of those–they must be held in tension. I'm glad you've heard of Jesus! It's the church's mission to spread the good news about Him to the ends of the earth. If you are to take serious who Jesus was and what He said, (as C. S. Lewis argued) you can't believe He was just another good prophet of moral teaching; you must decide whether He is a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • observer

          porrterg89

          (Ex. 21:7-8) “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do” [God]

          April 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • Akira

          Potter, are you also Gavin?

          Because I asked Gavin if slavery was a sin; and Gavin answered me...

          April 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • potterg89

          Yeah, sorry–same person. Username issues

          April 2, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • Madtown

          Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Him
          --–
          Yes, I'm aware of that passage. I think the problem with accepting this, is it leaves many of our human brothers and sisters out of the party. Why are you willing to do that? I'm not. I believe we're all equal. Any man-made system that separates and divides us will not move humanity forward, as a whole.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
        • potterg89

          I definitely think it is one of the most difficult problems for orthodox Christianity. I wouldn't phrase it that "I'M willing to do that." I am just siding with the Bible seems to teach. Again there are a lot of different views on this. Some are pluralists–all roads lead to heaven/God. Some are inclusivists–if you are sincere in whatever beliefs you have, God will count that. And then some are exclusivists–Jesus is the only way. But even in that last group, there are different views on hell. Some like the Roman Catholics argue for purgatory. Some Christians (like John Stott) are annihilationists–those who don't believe will cease to exist. it's not an easy issue. But I trust in God: that He in the end will do the right thing. He is fully omnipotent: but He will not act in opposition to His nature (i.e. He can't and won't sin, would never be evil, etc.). However, it's pretty silly of me to think that from my limited perspective that I understand all of this. God has the final say, and His perspective is something we can only hope to come into better understanding of someday.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • Akira

          Potter,
          Thanks for clearing up that you are also Gavin.

          If slavery is a sin, why wasn't there a condemnation of it by God? Indeed, it looks as if He tacitly approved.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • potterg89

          It's definitely an interesting question. There are many out there who could answer that better than I can, but my shot at it would be to say that God does not uproot a culture but rather works within it. He could but decided not to (of course!) bring the Israelites into the understanding we have now, but that would have been 1) very confusing to them; 2) caused them to not be able to function within the ANE culture; 3) left some people in worse situations. I think "slavery is a sin" has to be qualified, though that kind of statement is not PC–I am of course against slavery! But back then, like I've said, slavery was better than death or jail. It's hard for us who live in such a different place and day to think about that time and culture. There are some good Christian commentaries and theologies out there that would answer that question in a better way I'm sure! In the end, I don't determine what sin is (I can certainly be wrong): God does. He determines right and wrong, and goodness is aligned with His nature and character. He has the right to provide a moral standard as our Creator. Those who object to slavery or other sin but yet deny God, we ask: where does your moral standard come from? Ultimately their answers are found wanting. Ravi Zacharias has some great stuff on that and related topics–check him out!

          April 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • observer

          potterg89

          "my shot at it would be to say that God does not uproot a culture but rather works within it"

          It's pretty pathetic that God would try to be politically correct rather than just label the OWNING of another person as a SIN or even an abomination. So much for God as a source for morality.

          April 2, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Hahahaha.
          "No, rather it's interpreting the text properly: in its context."
          - euphemism, for agree with ME, or you're wrong.
          Though, like I said, her hermeneutic would be found wanting in the midst of people who study and teach the Bible for a living.) What you are saying is just popular misconception and drivel.
          - except you didn't say how, AND it assumes there even is "agreement" among those who teach for a living.
          What a joke.

          April 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • joey3467

          I find the fact that god didn't take the .2 seconds it would have to say something along the lines of "don't own other humans" If he had said that then you could argue that he doesn't support slavery however the fact that he laid out the rules for where and how to buy slaves instead of just saying don't own slaves does not put god in a very good light.

          April 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • kev2672

        When you say the "Golden rule;" what are you referring to? What verse?

        April 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
        • observer

          kev2672,

          (Matt. 7:12) “Treat others as you want them to treat you. THIS IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT.” [Jesus]

          Obviously, those Christian HYPOCRITES don't care about or follow what Jesus said.

          April 2, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
        • kev2672

          I guess you do?

          April 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • observer

          kev2672,

          I'm an agnostic, partly because of the incredible HYPOCRISY of many Christians.

          Doesn't look like you follow Jesus recommendations on the Golden Rule. Keep picking on gays and IGNORING the MUCH MUCH GREATER problem of Christian ADULTERERS from divorce and remarriage. It's all pick and choose.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      What sinful behavior? Just because you deny reality and updated facts, doesn't mean all people do. Sin pertains only to those foolish enough to believe the bible and the stories it sells the weak. If your imaginary friend god is so tolerant than it would not judge someone for being born a certain way.

      April 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
      • gavin1989

        That is not scientifically proven. But either way, it doesn't really matter to Christian belief because the Bible teaches that people are born sinful. If you don't believe in God or the Bible, though, then this discussion really doesn't even pertain to you. Evans is taking an in-house issue and appealing to the world, one in which many do not share in her Christian beliefs. Now who's not making sense?

        April 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • doobzz

          "But either way, it doesn't really matter to Christian belief because the Bible teaches that people are born sinful."

          If everyone is born sinful, why do you pick and choose some sinful people as worse than others?

          April 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          potter: Numerous studies have been done since your bible was written that have proven it is not a lifestyle and that there is no choice involved.
          What I do not comprehend is why anyone would follow a belief system that teaches divide based strictly on who one loves. That isn't beneficial to our species survival and it is one of many reasons so many people are walking away from christianity.
          Given your statement is very clear that if your bible told you to kill every Atheist, you'd set out to do that also.
          The ones making sense are the ones who support equal rights regardless of belief/disbelief, not the ones using their belief to deny equal rights.
          I'm sorry that you find bigotry so appealing, to me and most it is a disgusting immoral trait to carry.
          Now given that you hold that book so dear, please enlighten us with how many slaves you own and how often you beat your children??
          Given that your god is the least likely of all, if any, to eexist it is safe to say that LGBT have no worry...you might wish to join this century though before you and your ilk are left behind. Eventually your voice will no longer be listened to on this matter or any matter...what a wonderful day for humanity that will be.

          April 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
        • potterg89

          1. Check out some other studies that say that it is still inconclusive. For some, it seems that it has been a life-long orientation, but even there is no clear-cut reason for why that is or where that comes from. For others, how they were raised played a part. For others, it seems that it was a choice. In fact, they insist that it was, for they want to actualize their experience in this world, and not be told who they are. They want to decide who they are. 2. Think for a moment about specie survival...okay, that's what I thought. 3. Your hypothetical comment about killing atheists is a non-situation and thus irrelevant. Jesus clearly commands us to love our enemies, even to pray for them. But again, love does not mean condoning sinful behavior. Jesus never did; neither should we. 4. The slave comment has been addressed. 5. The church will never fade completely away. Jesus promised to build it, and He does not fail on His promises. The wish to rid yourself of Christians is illogical and impossible.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          potter: Sorry but if jesus existed, he is very much dead and not returning-that simply isn't possible.
          As for other studies, cite your sources and stop the bigotry-these people work, pay taxes, raise children and do no harm-outside of your book of myths they are doing nothing wrong-time to grow up and reside in this century or be left behind.

          April 3, 2014 at 6:01 am |
        • Akira

          Potter, when did you chose to be hetero? When did you consciously make the decision, "I'm choosing to be hetero, over gay, over bi?"

          April 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • potterg89

          These are part of the classic arguments for that position, and that's fine. I'm just saying: look at the research from the APA and other organizations, and you'll see that it's all over the place. Hey, if that's your experience, that's fine. Either way does not affect my beliefs as a Christian (unlike some who like to be dogmatic on the opposite side from you). I do think it's interesting that there is a certain narrative that comes out from a lot of sources (media, Hollywood, LGBT community, etc.) that talks about this as fact. It's still being debated by the scientists. Those who side with you don't really know where it originates either.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • observer

          potterg89,

          Apparently millions of gays say they were born that way.

          Please tell us how you "know" they are lying.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • potterg89

          Never said that. Check out my other comment about how it is an undecided issue. Also, again, doesn't affect my beliefs either way.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
        • observer

          potterg89,

          If you believed them you would have said so instead of questioning those who support that.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • potterg89

          I don't believe them. I'm saying that the issue of causation is still left unresolved.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • observer

          potterg89

          "I don't believe them"

          Please tell us why you think you can read the minds of MILLIONS of people, look into their experiences and confidently say they are lying? Please list your professional experience in psychology or abilities as a mind reader to prevent yourself looking DELUSIONAL.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
        • potterg89

          I admit that I am not a professional. But I am listening to what they are saying–and what they are saying is: we don't know. But again, I don't have an issue if it is proven people are born a certain way. I don't think I can read the minds of millions, and I don't deny them their experiences. I also know that many people are lost, and they do not have a relationship with God. And I mourn over that, and I hope they can find Christ. Goodnight!

          April 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          I admit that I am not a professional. But I am listening to what they are saying–and what they are saying is: we don't know.

          Then clearly, you aren't listening very well. The truth is at least 90% of the LGBT population is born to their orientation. There is a small number that "turn" due to some childhood trauma or molestation, but that percentage is very small. As to those who say they "choose" their orientation? The truth is no, they don't. They were born bi and choose to ignore one attraction or the other.

          April 3, 2014 at 11:45 am |
      • realbuckyball

        Actually the Bible teaches no such thing. Original sin was cooked up by Augustine. It's not a Hebrew concept at all.

        April 2, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      " Biased perspective"

      Come on man, this is CNN !!! You don't honestly think they would flood a Belief Forum with liberal theology do you ???

      ( In the interest of fairness, FOX is guilty of the same crimes on the other end of the continuum)

      April 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
      • gavin1989

        haha I know and agree with you! Just pointing that out though because I feel like that fact can get lost in all of this...she doesn't represent our whole generation of Christians (though I do get it and understand that her voice resonates with many–but again, like I said, hurt/disillusioned). She wants to throw away historical Christian orthodoxy, which is a sign of someone who has lost her way.

        April 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          This is the new modus operandi of the left, cloaking moral issues under the guise of " you are not displaying the love of Jesus" in order to justify sinful behavior.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • observer

          gavin1989

          "She wants to throw away historical Christian orthodoxy". What's wrong with that since so much of that is HYPOCRISY, which she pointed out?

          April 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • gavin1989

          Properly practiced it is not. I'm more talking about beliefs than behavior, though.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • observer

          gavin1989

          "Properly practiced it is not"

          Properly practiced, Christians follow the love message of Jesus rather than pick on gays who Jesus NEVER MENTIONED.

          Just pick-and-choose HYPOCRISY. WV followed the Golden Rule. The HYPOCRITES didn't.

          April 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          "properly practiced" is "agree with MY way, or hit the highway".

          April 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
    • antchevy

      Well said!

      April 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
    • kev2672

      awesome comment...very accurate.

      April 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
  3. SeaVik

    I have a question for those of you who object to the government recognizing gay marriage because it doesn’t jibe with your Christian views:

    Do you think the government should recognize hetero atheist marriages?

    Surely, two hetero atheists are bigger sinners in the Christian view than two h.omo Christians who want to get married, right? If so, why haven’t I seen any Christians trying to make laws preventing atheists from getting married? All atheists reject Christianity, but not all h.omos do.

    Can someone please explain the logic?

    April 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
    • magicpanties

      They would if they could.
      Evangelicals are just a Christian Taliban.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Anyone could do whatever they want. Keep in mind, too much freedom to do what we want may have consequences. Live and learn.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • observer

        Peaceadvocate2014,

        We have lived and learned. That's why more and more of the mindless discriminations of the Bible are being thrown out.

        April 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Observe,

          The discrimination has been with us from the beginning of time. The bible recorded and shows our faults, however, jesus who was sent by god teaches us how to be tolerant and compassionate. As a result, we went even further and have minorities or different or or less fortunate have equal rights. Rightfully so. We just have to be mindful that we dont abuse those rights.

          April 2, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • observer

          Peaceadvocate2014

          "jesus who was sent by god teaches us how to be tolerant and compassionate."

          Amen. WV was doing that and the Christian hypocrites who opposed them were not.

          WWJD?

          April 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
    • one24scale

      No problem here except the gay marriage being used to slant public perception that h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y is somehow clean and wholesome.

      And the ticket through that gate is marriage. Once through those gates the field of slant becomes wide open. Everything from the schools to the the churches.
      The slant in the churches doesn't concern me as much. The lie that will be used in the schools will be all about diversity and acceptance when it's nothing more but than gay agenda to get the public to accept their life style choice a s a normal behavior.

      The church doesn't concern me because going to church is by choice as well.

      Mankind evolved from the pe-nis and buttock to the pe-nis and va-gina and evolution cannot be reversed.
      Or should we say no attempt should be made to tamper with the primal forces of nature.

      Let's stop with all phony PC jive of 'equality, diversity acceptance and real great lie of love'.
      When we can simply rap this whole argument up under a deviant personality disorder.
      For you druggies out there your disposition would be a 'addictive personality'.
      And finally for you Reddit/infowars 20-30 something atheist your personality disorder would be the sincere belief had Steve Jobs live he would have found a cure for Aids.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
      • SeaVik

        But the law allows for atheists to get married and you don't object to that, do you? Atheism is clearly not wholesome either in the Christian view. Why do you actively attack gay rights, but not atheist rights? This is what I don't understand.

        April 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        Ah, another person obsessed with TehGayS#x(tm). Tell you what, scalie, why don't just stop whingeing about it and try it like you obviously want but are too chicken?...

        April 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
      • rosieroon60

        It may not be "normal" to you, but to the millions in the worldwide LGBT community it's very normal.

        Used to be a time when left-handedness was considered unnatural and a sin.

        Frankly, I think Jesus would feel a kinship to those you call deviant over you.

        April 3, 2014 at 2:05 am |
      • observer

        one24scale,

        "When we can simply rap this whole argument up under a deviant personality disorder."

        When heteros do not engage in sodomy anymore, then you will BEGIN to have credibility for your concerns. When heteros do not engage in any "deviant" behaviors, then come back and tell us. Until then, it's just hypocrisy.

        April 3, 2014 at 2:12 am |
      • myweightinwords

        Mankind evolved from the pe-nis and buttock to the pe-nis and va-gina and evolution cannot be reversed.
        Or should we say no attempt should be made to tamper with the primal forces of nature.

        There was no evolution from homosexuality to heterosexuality. I don't know where you got that impression. Homosexuality is a natural part of being human. There have been homosexuals all the way back to the beginning.

        I do agree that we shouldn't mess with it though. It's just a natural state of being.

        Let's stop with all phony PC jive of 'equality, diversity acceptance and real great lie of love'.

        I sense some bitterness here. Equality isn't about being politically correct. Diversity is a fact of life. And Love? It's the only way to find peace.

        When we can simply rap this whole argument up under a deviant personality disorder.

        Talk about stepping backwards. The medical establishment has already established that being gay isn't a disorder.

        April 3, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • antchevy

      Just to answer briefly. One main season for marriage is to be fruitful and to multiply. God ordained marriage to be between man and woman. God's will was for everyone to follow after him, but because Adam and Eve and their actions, sinned entered the world. An atheist getting married is still following Gods prescribed order, whether they want to believe it or not. And there is no such thing as a "Gay-Christian!" Either you follow God's command completely or you don't follow them at all. We, as Christians, aren't allowed to pick and choose what we want to abide to. In doing that, picking and choosing, we aren't following the God of the Bible. According to Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." One way to do this is to "completely" follow after God by abiding by His ways. A gay christian is an oxymoron, meaning God calls us to walk in the light and not in darkness. Darkness represents sin. Being gay is a sin. The term walk refers to countinuously doing something. 1 John 1:5-6, This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:. 1 John 2:3-4, And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. I hope this was a help to you.

      April 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
      • observer

        antchevy

        "One main season for marriage is to be fruitful and to multiply."

        Skip all the HYPOCRISY. So no marriage for infertile couples or the elderly? lol.

        There is virtually ZERO chance that you support ALL of God's warped view of marriage including FORCING it on people who may actually hate each other.

        Get real. Read a Bible.

        April 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • antchevy

          Notice, I said main reason not the "only" reason!

          April 2, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
      • SeaVik

        And there is no such thing as a "Gay-Christian!"

        Are you really that clueless? There are many Christian priests who are gay, obviously. There are millions of gay Christians. Don't be such an idiot.

        If you want to fight for Christianity, you should be fighting against atheists. We are the ones who expose how idiotic and delusional religion is. We get married and raise children who won't be brain-washed to believe in your fantasies. Gays aren't your concern – reality is! You're wasting your time focusing on gays. It's good for the rest of us, but not fair to gays.

        April 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
        • antchevy

          I guess I'm an idiot for Christ. You don't have a gripe with me, you have one against God. I didn't state my feelings. I stated the Word of God. Hopefully you can answer this question for an idiot such as myself. Are you a race car driver? If you wear a helmet and have a driver suit, does that make you a driver? If you attend weekly classes, does that make you a driver? The answers to these questions are no! A peson can believe that they are something, but that doesn't make them what they believe they are. Hint, every person that says that they are a Christian aren't. James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: devils also believe, and tremble. A persons actions will ultimately tell what they truely are.

          April 2, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You clearly don't understand what atheist means. I don't have a gripe against god – I don't believe in your god so it's impossible for me to have a gripe against it. I have a gripe against people like you, who use your fantasies to justify your immoral behavior and discriminate against those who don't share your delusions.

          You don't get to define what a Christian is. I have never met two Christians who share exactly the same veiw of Christianity, so either there is only one "real" Christian out there, or they're all Christians.

          April 3, 2014 at 10:38 am |
      • LinCA

        @antchevy

        You said, "God ordained marriage to be between man and woman."
        Bullshit. For that claim to carry any weight, please start by laying out your case for the existence of your god. Without any evidence for it, it is just as likely to be real as the Easter Bunny.

        You said, "And there is no such thing as a "Gay-Christian!" Either you follow God's command completely or you don't follow them at all. We, as Christians, aren't allowed to pick and choose what we want to abide to."
        So that then means that there are no christians, as it is completely impossible to "follow them all". Every christian picks and chooses.

        You said, "A gay christian is an oxymoron"
        Per your own argument christian is an oxymoron. The emphasis on moron, of course.

        April 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
      • rosieroon60

        Adam and Eve were not real people. And believe me, I know many gay Christians. Just because they don't ascribe to your version of what a Christian should be doesn't mean they don't exist. They do. The problem lies with what you think God considers a "sin." Is the act of gay s*x a sin? Or is just being gay a sin? The former is none of your business; the latter is not a sin.

        April 3, 2014 at 2:14 am |
    • SeaVik

      Not surprisingly, no Christian has been able to explain why they don't oppose hetero atheists getting married. If this had anything to do with sin, surely they would oppose two sinful atheists getting married and creating sinful atheist children (actually, all children are born atheists, but I digress). Clearly, this isn't about sin, it's about Christians being afraid of people who are different and doing what they do best – discriminating against them.

      April 3, 2014 at 10:43 am |
  4. magicpanties

    Yes, the hypocrisy of organized on full display.

    Take the next step, Rachel.
    You don't need religion at all.

    April 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
    • magicpanties

      ... organized religion that is ...

      April 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        You make it sound like it is ok to do evil things because everybody else is doing it.

        I hope not.

        April 2, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
        • observer

          Peaceadvocate2014,

          If those complaining about WV ACTUALLY cared about sins and sinners, they'd be busy patrolling the adulterers and other sinners in their own church.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • magicpanties

          You make it sound like it's ok to discriminate because some old fairy tale tells you so.

          I hope not.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          And yet you have no problems with remarried divorcees, against the Christ's own proscription. Yeah, you're a Cafeteria Christian(tm) just like all the rest; your only difference is that you choose to pick out different items on the buffet than others...

          April 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
      • kevinite

        Of course, because religion is only meant for those who are perfect who don't need any religion. Oh wait...no, religion is actually for those who really are not perfect.

        April 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
  5. gnc123

    Is it worth it?

    Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

    It is no victory for the donors of a Christian organization to discover the leadership will not uphold the Gospel, which includes repenting of sin and not endorsing it. RHE has traveled with WV and knows that WV sponsors whole village/communities. So it is intellectually dishonest to claim these kids lost their support. WV doesn't just drop kids when a donor stops. They budget their billions to ensure this doesn't happen.

    Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

    If young people go to a sin-approving church, they won't hear about true repentance and will be lost anyway.

    Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

    Divisive people will spin with war metaphors and the like – that cannot be helped. LGBT people are pressing for that they think is best. Evangelicals are defending what they think is best. It's called democracy.

    And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, "what if we get this wrong?"

    Jesus said to judge yourself first before judging others. Are you getting this wrong?

    April 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
    • observer

      gnc123,

      Did Jesus preach treating everyone as they want to be treated or to pick on gays?

      Oooops.

      April 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
    • bekkers29

      "It is no victory for the donors of a Christian organization to discover the leadership will not uphold the Gospel, which includes repenting of sin and not endorsing it. RHE has traveled with WV and knows that WV sponsors whole village/communities. So it is intellectually dishonest to claim these kids lost their support. WV doesn't just drop kids when a donor stops. They budget their billions to ensure this doesn't happen."

      Fascinating. Care to explain how NOT discriminating against the LGBT community is in violation of the Gospel? Personally, I don't recall Jesus ever saying that only those people who are exactly like you and believe exactly the same things you do deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
      • gnc123

        By "not discriminating" I guess you mean "approve of." If you approve of someone's sin, whether LGBT or straight, you're encouraging them not to repent, and if they do not repent they will perish (Luke 13:3). Regarding beliefs Jesus taught, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36)"

        April 3, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • observer

          gnc123,

          Jesus said the Golden Rule was more important. Why are you rejecting Jesus's priorities?

          April 3, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
    • one24scale

      Are you getting this wrong you ask.
      Who's asking ? Do you really believe they are donating to any charitable organization much less one with Christian values.

      The odds of that are slim to none. Their money has gone into buying the votes for the wedded bliss.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
  6. His Panic

    Now we know for sure, finally!! Rachel is a nun from the roman-catholic religion. Really, really!! No wonder she is in a State of Panic.

    April 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • igaftr

      You're the onlu one who seems panicky.
      Don't you have any other puns?

      April 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
  7. Katelyn

    Thank you for your perspective, Rachel! It was truly a joy to read this well-written article. I struggle with this in my own Catholic faith and appreciate the way Pope Francis seems to be encouraging a more well-rounded, real view of what being a Christian looks like. Prayers for you from another faithful, yet sometimes floundering, follower!

    April 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  8. jillib

    The evangelicals beliefs may cause them to deny reality, but it won't change it. We will all continue to progress, leaving them and their archaic beliefs in the dust. They made their bed...

    April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    1543... It is beautiful today in VA, and I need some motivation to close out my day and maybe go home and maybe ride 15-20 miles on my bike.

    Up in the morning before day
    I don't like it-no way
    I eat my breakfast to damn soon
    Hungry as hell by noon

    I went to the mess SGT on my knees.
    Mess SGT mess SGT feed me please.
    Mess SGT said with a big old grin.
    If you wanna be Infantry
    You've got to be thin

    April 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
  10. Reality

    Considering Rachel's limited educational background, why has she replaced Professor Stevie P. as the guest columnist?

    April 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Probably because she sparks more conversations in the blog and gets CNN more advertising hits...

      April 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Akira

      Yeah, where has Prothero been, anyhow?
      And of course, RHE is "No True Scotsman" according to the "True Scotsmen" here. Or Scotswoman. Whatever.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • Russ

        @ Akira: does the "no True Scotsman" fallacy apply when the person in question says he/she is not Scottish?

        RHE doesn't seem to be claiming to BE an evangelical as much as simply *criticizing* 'that other group over there'. she does say "Many of us who grew up evangelical..." but considering the tenor of the rest of her comments, it sounds almost more like a confession of the PAST, not an affirmation of her current disposition.

        just look at her language: "the Evangelical Machine" (of which she clearly doesn't believe she is a part), "misaligned evangelical priorities" (obviously not hers), "Evangelicals insist..." (not a group in which she's including herself?), and then the fulfilling statement (quoting/affirming another's statement): " 'I don’t think I’m an evangelical anymore. I want to follow Jesus, but I can’t be a part of this.' I feel the same way."

        there seems to be little to no love for evangelicals here – as with MOST of her articles on CNN.
        does it sound to *you* like she is leveling these criticisms from INSIDE or OUTSIDE the group in question?

        the "no true Scotsman" fallacy doesn't apply to those who willingly state they fail the qualifications (i.e., "I'm a Russian", etc.). isn't that what she's said rather explicitly here?

        April 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Akira

          I see that sarcasm escapes you.

          I think RHE is more Christian, as in exemplifies the way Jesus would act, than many of the people posting here, yes. If you have a problem with her, fine. I don't.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira: sarcasm literally means 'to tear the flesh.'
          it uses humor incisively to get at a (supposed) 'truth'.
          you may have been joking, but your intent was clear.

          no, i didn't miss the sarcasm.
          i simply pointed out the bone it exposed was opposite from the claim you were making.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Akira

          No, it didn't, although I can see you believe it does. And that's fine.
          I think you read way too much into things. Sometimes a cigar is really just a cigar.
          Anyhow, my point was clear , even though you sought to dissect it for no apparent reason.

          And thanks for the etymology lesson. Knowing that now, I still will use sarcasm to root out humorless people. So, thanks for your answer.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Russ,

          yes Akira's intent was clear. She was pointing out the absurdity of claims by posters here that Ms. Held Evans is not a "true Christian".

          It was you that rose to the bait and proved her point.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira: in sarcasm, a cigar is never merely a cigar – *by definition.*

          and yes, your intent was clear – and you removed all doubt when you stated it was in fact sarcasm you were using.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP:
          i did not take the bait – you moved the goalposts.

          the discussion was not "true Christian," but rather: is (or is not) RHE an evangelical?
          while you may infer that evangelicals think they are the only Christians, most of us do not think that.

          again, at no point did RHE imply or say she had abandoned Christianity – but the entire article was a shot at evangelicals, and she herself basically conceded that she would no longer apply the label. and that's why i pressed Akira on his original point here.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • Akira

          What a purely dumb thing to be picking an argument about...Russ, you turned the discussion into one of the evangelical nature...I merely made a comment that apparently you took umbrage at.

          I was commenting on the comments themselves., which I made abundantly clear.

          Talk about moving goalposts.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "the discussion was not "true Christian," but rather: is (or is not) RHE an evangelical?"

          As far as I can tell, only you thought that Russ.

          April 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira & GOP: so neither of you read the article?
          or do you really believe the article's primary focus was Christianity on the whole?

          April 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • Akira

          Russ, do you know what a thread is?
          My comments were in answer to Reality, and about what I have observed within the comment section.
          I read the article, yes.
          If you want to start a new thread about it, do so.
          As it is, you pounced on something I said and tore it apart, then said we were not sticking to the topic that wasn't even introduced within that thread....

          Want to have the last word? I'll let you. It seems to be important to you that you have it.

          April 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira: so we missed each other's point. fine.
          but you are re-narrating if you think you were clear.

          there's nothing in the comments prior to mine that dictate a topic of Christianity in general.
          and everything about the context points to evangelicals as the focus (e.g., the comment section of an article about evangelicalism... wherein RHE is blasting *evangelicals* in particular... and even claiming she might no longer BE an evangelical – which almost explicitly invites the "no True Scotsman" discussion).

          April 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      If you have noticed, Prof Prothero is no longer formally listed as an occastional contributor in the "About this Blog" section near the top of the page.

      One must presume that they have had a parting of the ways, for whatever reason.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
      • Akira

        Huh. Never noticed that.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • Reality

        Why not have a columnist(s) with some educational/publication zing???? Very strange for a blog with a large audience. A good source?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_studies_scholars

        As expected Rachel is not on the referenced list. And neither is Stevie P. making one wonder what the Belief moderators do all day?

        April 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com

    April 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • guidedans

      Some dudes posted on an internet forum the other day. This is how it went down:

      Them: Hey, don't believe in God because He is not proven.

      Me: But I believe in God because of my experiences with Him and my life experiences.

      Them: Yeah, those could be some other things occurring that aren't God, so you should just not believe in God.

      Me: But I believe in God and if I am right, I will get to be with Him for eternity in pure joy. What do you get if you don't believe in God?

      Them: Nothing, you just live a fulfilling life.

      Me: But I already live a fulfilling life. How is it more fulfilling?

      Them: Well you don't have to go to church or read the Bible or hang out with Christians.

      Me: But I like doing those things, Those things make my life fulfilling.

      Them: Yeah, but they shouldn't. So you should just stop believing in God because it is better.

      Me: So let me get this straight, If I stop believing in God, I get to live a supposedly more fulfilling life, but then, when I die, its over? Nothing else. You are just dead?

      Them: Yep, that's what all the science says.

      Me: Wait, how does science show that?

      Them: It just does, When you die, you are gone, we can't see you anymore, so that means you are just gone. Nothing more.

      Me: But I have heard about people dying, but coming back to life and saying that they experienced Heaven or Hell.

      Them: Yeah, those guys are lying. They were hallucinating.

      Me: I really don't think your guys' beliefs have much to offer here, why don't you believe my beliefs instead?

      Them: YOU LITTLE JACK HOLE, HOW DARE YOU TALK TO US THAT WAY!!!! YOU THINK YOU ARE SO SMART!!! YOU DESERVE TO BE PUT IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL! WHY DON'T YOU JUST DIE ALREADY!

      Source: This forum.

      April 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • guidedans

        Oh, and both of these posts (mine and DDs) are extremely good examples of a strawman argument.

        April 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
  12. guidedans

    I am just going to throw this out there because I really want you all to go to Heaven.

    If, one day, all the Christians disappear, will you please all accept Christ as your savior?

    I know that this is just opening the door to a litany of snide remarks like:

    "If all the Christians disappear, I am going to celebrate!"

    or

    "I can't wait for all the Christians to disappear, I would call that paradise"

    Seriously though, if we do all disappear, please just take that definitive proof that we were correct and that you should accept Christ as your Savior, read a Bible, and commit to its teachings.

    Again, just want to through that out there

    April 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • hotairace

      No, not unless clear cause and effect is shown according to the scientific method.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        But even the objective nature of empiricism the final authority on truth, for even empiricism must be filtered through the subjectivity of reason.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          *is not* the final authority...

          April 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • hotairace

          Please explain clearly what you mean by "the subjectivity of reason."

          April 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Reason is subjective.
          It isn't objective in the sense that it isn't observable, testable, and so on, such as would be the case with the use of the scientific method. The objectivity of empiricism is applied through subjecitivity, since reason ordains and applies its use (or misuse). Furthermore, the results obtained through empiricle means must be interpreted, and that occurs through reason, logic, and so on, which are all subjective.

          So objectivity AND subjectivity carry authority for determining truth.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "But facts are sterile
          Not vulgar nor sublime
          And they're not religion, they're for everyone
          And signify the times"

          – Dr. Greg Graffin

          April 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • hotairace

          In the little reading I have done, it appears that it is not universally accepted that reason is entirely or always subjective and that the "subjectivity of reason" argument is (most?) often used by those trying to rationalize religion, in part by diminishing the scientific method. In others words, subjectivity of reason appears to be a smoke screen to devalue empiricism.

          In any case, I think that the more rigorously the scientific method is applied, the more subjectivity will be diminished, to be only used by those with no actual evidence.

          In summary, you can prattle on all you like about the subjectivity of reason but if you have no actual evidence, you have no actual evidence.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "In summary, you can prattle on all you like about the subjectivity of reason but if you have no actual evidence, you have no actual evidence."
          ----------
          To get from evidence to proof, you need reason and logic. Regardless of what you say, these are subjective ideas. How else could two scientists look at the same rocks, the same stars, the same bones, and come up with two conflicting ideas of origins?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Vic

          God ----vs.---- Creature
          Perfect -------- Imperfect
          Objective ------- Subjective

          April 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Theo, the fact that you think logic is subjective says a lot about your attempts at logic. We can make objective, logical conclusions without using subjective analysis. I can objectively, logically conclude that the earth is not flat without ever having directly observed it myself.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • hotairace

          I did not rule out subjectivity. I believe the scientific method minimizes subjectivity and resolves conflicts. You appear to want to maximize the effect of subjectivity so that your alleged but unproven, and without any actual evidence, god can slip in with the same authority as empirical evidence. I think you are wrong and ignoring reason, subjective or otherwise.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • hotairace

          Vic, do you have any evidence for those characterizations or are you offering a purely subjective opinion without applying reason?

          April 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Vic

          I am applying evidence in God's creation, hence "Natural Revelation."

          We are part of this creation and "Natural Revelation." We detect perfection as well as objectivity, and yet, we are imperfect and subjective. That's telling that perfection and objectivity are outside of us & our caliber while we measure up and scale to them. Hence, perfection and objectivity are from God.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • hotairace

          No, you are offering your personal subjective opinion. You are pretending to know things you do not.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
      • empiricalinvestments

        scientific method might not apply to logic.... I mean besides the fact that to prove there is a relation between all the suddenly missing and religion, you'd have to account for other variables and then ask god to do it again.

        Similarly, understanding actions taken by sentient beings is a soft science and not applicable to the scientific method. In that view, logic is quite subjective.

        Proving definitively that some rapture was the direct result of divine intervention as predicted in the bible thousands of years ago would be as hard as,

        proving Putin's military buildup around Ukraine is threatening
        proving that the color blue is perceived by all in the same manner
        proving your cheating girlfriend no longer loves you
        proving that a person who makes racist remarks is racist

        etc etc. If there was a heaven and hell, would you choose to go to heaven or choose to go to hell? Do things happen to us because some higher power decided so, or because random chance just happened to result that way? Are the laws of physics even constant? Or simply haven't changed in the past 50 years? Science is just the name you give to describe a god you can control.

        April 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • hotairace

          You make some good points but given a choice between the scientific method and a book of voodoo, I'm going with scientific method and the best available actual evidence.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
    • Akira

      Like the Rapture? Wouldn't it be too late for those left behind?
      And that, of course, is assuming that all Christians are good and deserving of being 'chosen'. That, we know, is patently not true.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • guidedans

        Even after the Rapture, there is time to come to Christ. Just don't take the mark of the beast. Also, you will need to be a witness for Christ and will most likely suffer tremendous persecution. However, if you do that, you will be much better off than those who are deceived by the AntiChrist.

        April 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Akira

          What's the mark of the beast? A UPC symbol, as one Christian posited?

          I'm not easily led, guidans. I won't be deceived by the Anti-Christ.

          April 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • guidedans

          Good. He's going to be very charismatic. Think Obama before he got exhausted by being the president, but like two Obamas.

          The mark of the beast is supposedly a number, 666, but it is on the hard or the forehead and you have to have it to buy or sell things.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          Are you actually DELUSIONAL enough to link President Obama and the anti-Christ? REALLY?

          April 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
        • bekkers29

          guidedans,

          The so-called AntiChrist, which so many people like to spew warnings about, is not an individual person. Biblically speaking, antichrist is a concept in the book Revelations, referring to any person or group of people in the end times, who are... wait for it... anti-Christ. Just my 2 cents.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          RWNJs like you ALWAYS come out in the wash, danny boy. Your Obama comment shows you up as just another RWNJ with a visceral hatred of the SecretKenyanMuslimAtheistRadicalCommunistFasicstSocialst(tm). Do the Kochs pay you well?...

          April 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • rosieroon60

          The rapture philosophy didn't come to be until the early 1900s. I think it's odd that it was never an issue before that.

          April 3, 2014 at 2:21 am |
    • snuffleupagus

      After the jungles of hell in SVN, this life is 'heaven" to me. No god needed. BTW, you babbling book of BS is just that, BS.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      why doesn't your god just show himself and then everyone would be a Christian. Should be pretty effortless for your god to do that eh?

      April 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • Vic

        God tests man by "Faith," if He were to show Himself directly, there would be no test of faith anymore; therefore, He reveals Himself indirectly through His Creation, hence "Natural Revelation," as well as Scripture, hence "Special Revelation," for us to believe and pass the test of faith.

        April 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
          "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
          "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

          – Douglas Adams

          April 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Vic

          The Creator and the creature are NEVER equals, conceptually and practically.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • G to the T

          "The Creator and the creature are NEVER equals, conceptually and practically."

          By what criteria are you determining that and who gets to decide the relative value? In the story of Frankenstein I would definitely say the "monster" was the better "man" of the two.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • igaftr

      Just throwing it out there because I want you all to make it to Valhalla.
      You can only get there if you die in glorious battle, so please, join your local military or police force.

      OR.
      Go to your local pumpkin patch on Halloween and get your blessing from the great pumpkin.

      Or any of thousands of baseless beliefs.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • guidedans

        igaftr,

        Your statements are of a different nature than mine. Yours are: You should do A in order to get B.

        Mine is: If we are all saying "if A, then B" and A is extremely unlikely, but it occurs, will you believe in B?

        Basically, if what we said would happen happens, even though it is extremely out of the norm for it to happen, will you please jump on the band wagon?

        April 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • Alias

      Sorry to be blunt, but this is a stupid question and you do not deserve a sincere answer.
      Of course people would convert if god offered proof that he existed.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Vic

        God tests man by "Faith," if He were to show Himself directly, there would be no test of faith anymore; therefore, He reveals Himself indirectly through His Creation, hence "Natural Revelation," as well as Scripture, hence "Special revelation," for us to believe and pass the test of faith.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          What is the exact purpose of this test of faith? God apparently revealed himself to Satan but the beautiful angel still disobeyed him so it's not as if you can't show loyalty to God just because you are given proof of his existence. So why wouldn't he reveal himself to all of his creation so they all have the same proofs? Moses had a burning bush and a pillar of fire and divinely written tablets to believe in, what do the rest of us get? An oral story that was eventually written down long after the events transpired about those proofs that we are just supposed to accept even though nothing like those proofs has ever appeared to mankind since? Really?

          April 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, that's a good inquiry.

          Satan challenged God that man would believe in Him at "Free Will." See Book of Job in the Bible.

          Regarding the chosen, God chose Abraham, Moses, David, etc., and gave them His Favor because of their Faith in Him, and they were sinners.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • kudlak

          Vic
          Does it bother you that every con game also requires believers to suppress their better judgment and just accept their claims on "faith"?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • kudlak

          Vic
          Are you saying that Satan was the one that got God to give people free will?

          Job doesn't seem to be about free will at all. What do you mean?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Satan challenged God that man would believe in Him at "Free Will." See Book of Job in the Bible."

          That's a bit late in the game though isn't it Vic? I believe he was discussing initial conditions, what you are referencing is a single event, and an event where the final act was god undeniably revealing himself to Job. So I feel the question still stands, if the Devil can have certainty about god's existence and yet still disobeys, there doesn't seem to be much weight to the argument that god cannot reveal himself without comprimising our free will. So we are back to where we started...

          April 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Vic

          It is about "Faith," which can only be at "Free Will."

          April 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • G to the T

          "It is about "Faith," which can only be at "Free Will."

          Sorry Vic but I feel we are talking past each other. Why is faith necessary? Why can't god reveal himself and allow people to make an informed decision? It cannot be because it would violate "free will" because we already have an example of someone who had free will, knew god existed as a certainty, and didn't follow god anyways.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Yes, as G is pointing out Vic you still have not explained this basic reasoning as to why some of Gods creations get absolute proof of his existence and the rest of his creations just have to have faith. The angels seem to have been given absolute proof of God and yet supposedly many fell along with Satan. And if they had the freedom to choose even after having absolute proof isn't that what true freedom really is? The freedom to make an educated decision with as many facts as possible, right?

          Also, what religion was Abraham and how did he learn about God and how did he go about worshiping him in the right way as to become Gods friend? Would that not be the true religion?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Vic

          [
          It is about "Faith," which can only be at "Free Will."
          ]

          Actually, that was a response to the reply above your last.

          Meanwhile, I am trying to recollect how it all started with Satan challenging God regarding man. I can recollect that Adam & Eve were the reason Satan was kicked out of Heaven for swaying them, and Satan set out to hurt them and their propensity ever since. That's mentioned in the Book of Genesis.

          Satan became the challenge for man to believe in God early on.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Vic

          I asked a pastor a similar question before: Since Satan rebelled against God and Adam & Eve disobeyed God with first knowledge of Him, let alone His Presence, doesn't that mean that we all were originally created with iniquity?

          I didn't get a clear answer at the time.

          I believe this is one of the things that I myself don't know, and I haven't found the answer to that question yet.

          However, that is absolutely not detrimental to my belief in God and His Existence for that is evident to me.

          Regarding Abraham and so, man new about God by through Adam & Eve through the "oral tradition." So, the knowledge of God was passed down to people from one generation to the next starting with Adam & Eve.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • kudlak

          Vic
          Sorry, but my lack of faith, or disbelief in God isn't some free will choice. Your "Faith" is asking me to accept something as true despite my not being convinced that it's true, correct? If I force myself to believe in something that I know doesn't make logical sense, aren't I just deluding myself, especially when it's something that's such an attractive idea like eternal life?

          How on earth is such blind faith a good decision-making strategy?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • Vic

          Please note that ever since the fall, when Satan was kicked out of Heaven, challenged God regarding man, and set out to hurt mankind, God's plan for our Salvation started ending with the "Ultimate Provision," the Passion of Jesus Christ. That's all mentioned in the Old Testament through the New testament, starting with the Book of Genesis.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Vic

          It's not blind at all.

          Start from the beginning, just like I did.

          When I looked/look around, I was/am compelled, and it was/is evident to me there is a Creator behind all of this AND IS NOT by chance. Long story short, I started seeing to the Truth Jesus Christ by hearing, when I wasn't even seeking.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • kudlak

          Vic
          If it all starts with the Book of Genesis, why was God mucking around with Judaism for so long? Surely he would have known that it wasn't working, and that nobody was getting any salvation out of it, right? Why let so many generations head off towards hell without a chance of redemption only to send his son to start saving people, what, 4000 years after Adam? If it's all about saving souls, why not send Jesus much earlier?

          April 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, that's what is called Dispensation of Time, in Biblical Terms.

          Time Dispensations are according to God's Sovereign Divine Will, Wisdom, Just and Command, and we don't know "everything" about them and how they totally work.

          Regarding past generations, the Lord Jesus Christ will call all who died in faith before Him into His Salvation, along with the new. That is mentioned in the Bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Can we really assume that all men would be converted though?

        The book of Revaltion speaks of the time of the Tribulation where men see the wrath of God on a daily basis, and know full well that it is tha workings of God, but instead of repenting of their sins, they curse Him all the stronger.

        We also have this passage in Acts 17:30-31 – Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

        And yet men all over the world deny the existence of God, and suppress any knowledge they may have of Him.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          "And yet men all over the world deny the existence of God, and suppress any knowledge they may have of Him."

          Wrong. Many deny the existence of God BECAUSE of their knowledge of him and his Bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Akira

          And many do not believe in the same God you do. That's not rejection or denial. You're convinced your God is the true one. Because your Bible told you that. They believe their God is the true one. Because whatever scripture they follow told THEM that.

          You've studied you book carefully. They've studied theirs carefully. You came to your escapade conclusion. They came to theirs.

          Potato, potahto.
          Tomato, tomahto.

          But religion isn't divisive.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • alamantra

          In what age does God not show His wrath? From the beginning of the Bible to the end is one long festival of murder and annihilation. In His age of "promise" to His chosen people He has them slaughter their neighbors and even their neighbor's animals. He wants Job to "prove" he's loyal (even though God is already "all knowing") and heaps torment on his "loyal servant." Even though He is "perfect," His creations don't seem to be ...The all knowing God gives his first creations a temptation by placing the tree within their grasp (and then blames the serpent.) Then, of course, there was the flood where He decided on a do-over. I can't think of a story where the biblical "God" showed "His" cruelty to someone or something over another.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Akira,
          True, I do believe what I believe because of my bias towards my God. But this was not a belief that came just from the study of my own belief.

          The truth is, I have studied many, many religions of the world, and through my theological studies, I applied a systemmatic approach to find truth – beginning with the law of non-contradiction, that although all faiths claim to be the only truth, all of them can't be true, because many beliefs contradict. Therefore IF truth does exist, it exists as an exclusive truth.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Can we really assume that all men would be converted though?"

          Not the point. The point is that at least they would be able to make an informed choice either way (no faith necessary).

          April 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Akira

          And you came up with the one that made most sense to you, Theo...your own truth.

          Millions have studied and came up with their own conclusions. I think it would be a mistake to think that there are millions out there who have done the same type of study and have come to the wrong conclusion...that only uneducated people would come up with a conclusion differing from yours. If I misinterpreted you to be implying that, I apologize.

          Your studies proved that your religion holds the most truth for you. And that's wonderful. For you.

          When people stop thinking that their truth is the only correct one, perhaps religion won't be so divisive.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Akira,
          There's no such thing as a "personal truth" just "truth" or "non-truth." For example, if you and I are sitting on a park bench, and I tell you that I sincerely believe that we are actually sitting on a giant worm, am I wrong? The point is, a belief doesn't create truth. Neither does a lack of belief destroy truth. Truth just "is," regardless of anyone's beliefs.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Akira

          Theo,
          Millions do not agree with your version of truth and beliefs, no matter how fervently you believe it, Theo, or how long it took you to arrive there; millions have done the same. And arrived at different conclusions and truths and beliefs.

          Thus, same as it ever was.
          Potatoe, potahto.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • otoh2

      guidedans,
      "If, one day, all the Christians disappear, will you please all accept Christ as your savior?"

      How would we know that they all weren't taken away by "Satan" or something?

      IF Christ were to exist and were to be a just and merciful "savior" and also all-knowing and all-powerful, he would know *precisely* what it would take to convince *everyone* - with no nonsense games.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • kudlak

        It would be a great way for an alien race to abduct a sizeable population of humans who, because they're expecting to be "saved" and transported to a blissful heaven, would make the perfect specimens for some zoo.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "To serve mankind"

          April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • kudlak

          There's that too. If God is so incomprehensible and beyond the ability of our puny minds to understand, how can believers be so confident that God is "good", as we commonly understand the term? If he's like a shepherd, wouldn't the imagery also include the slaughterhouse ending of every domestic sheep's life? Maybe God is feeding off of people's souls, using them as fuel?

          April 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • doobzz

      You'd do better at convincing people of your good intentions if you weren't insulting in the same post.

      "I want you to go to heaven, but I know you'll just be jerks."

      This is nearly as bad as your previous attempt to conflate atheism with evolution, social ills and Hitler.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • guidedans

        Doobz, snide remarks abound on this site. I was right wasn't I? Just get a bunch of "cult addled mind" remarks?

        What happened to you that made you so angry at Christians. You have said that you spent 50 years of your life with Christ, What happened at that 50-year mark that made you change your mind about your beliefs of the past 49 years?

        April 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • doobzz

          Oh, goodness, guidedans, Jesus would be so proud of your example. "You did it first!" LOL, how old are you?

          You add to your lack of credibility with yet another assumption about me (and other non believers). I'm not angry with Christians, or with God, or with the bible. That's just something that preachers like to say. I didn't "quit" Christianity because my prayers weren't answered or because of anything that a person did to me. I didn't do it to make my spouse happy, either.

          Likewise, nothing happened at the 50 year mark. I didn't wake up one day and decide to "become" an atheist. How silly. Rather, it was the 50 years of bible study that chinked away at my childhood indoctrination very gradually. As I said in the post you've referenced, the best way to become an atheist is to really study the bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • guidedans

          Doobz. I have been praying you come back to Christ. I hope you do.

          April 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
        • doobzz

          While I appreciate your concern, guidedans, there is nothing that will unring that bell.

          April 2, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
      • doobzz

        And I continue to hope that you will someday return to reality.

        April 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • anonymoussociopath

      So long as you're aware that the rapture described in the Bible only claims virgin men and otherwise bears no resemblance whatsoever to what you've read in Left Behind.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • kudlak

      guidedans
      We could, also, wake up tomorrow to CNN reporting that the Greek gods have returned to Mt. Olympus, or that some great voice that could be heard across the globe declared that Muhammad was God's prophet.

      What would you do then?

      April 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • guidedans

        I am not 100% sure on pre, post, or mid tribulation rapturing, but I know that during the Tribulation, a lot of weird stuff is going to happen. Knowing how CNN reports stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if they claimed the Greek gods came back.

        Just a note, Muslims also believe in Jesus's return (they use his Arabic name, Isa) Look up Islamic Eschatology for what they believe the end times will look like.

        In the end, I want to do what God wants me to do. If God tells me to do something differently than He has told me, I will hopefully do it.

        April 2, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • crackpipecardozo

          "I am not 100% sure on pre, post, or mid tribulation rapturing, but I know that during the Tribulation, a lot of weird stuff is going to happen."

          You can't KNOW a lot of weird stuff is going to happen; you have faith that it will. The Book of Revelations is subject to some of the most wildly varying interpretations found in biblical scholarship, and a lot of the "end times" dogma floating around today is relatively new in the grand scheme of things.

          April 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
      • sam stone

        "but I know that during the Tribulation, a lot of weird stuff is going to happen."

        another one who cannot tell the difference between knowledge and belief

        how can someone rationalize with them?

        April 3, 2014 at 6:06 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "I am just going to throw this out there because I really want you all to go to Heaven."

      I can only hope that you are not in any hurry for this to eventuate.

      April 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • guidedans

        I can assure you that God will do whatever He thinks is best regardless of what I want or don't want to happen.

        April 2, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • hotairace

          Why should we put any credibility in your assurance? Are you guaranteeing that your alleged but not proven god actually exists?

          April 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • sam stone

          you can assure us? what is this assurance based on?

          April 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • nonyabizz

      "Seriously though, if we do all disappear, please just take that definitive proof that we were correct and that you should accept Christ as your Savior, read a Bible, and commit to its teachings."

      you first...

      April 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • guidedans

        I can only say that I try my best to.

        April 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      guide: This is just one more thing from your ilk that will always get under my skin. Questions like this show exactly how divisive your belief is. How very sad! I have many a loved one and many a good friend who are christian...the thought of losing them is bothersome but I am not so foolish to believe that I will or will not be with them in some afterlife...to think that way devalues the true time I have with them. I live a good life and the one thing that will always divide you and I is belief, so for not believing on simple faith I somehow deserve to be punished? Does that actually make sense to you?
      My Mom was a devout believer and she believed she would join my Grandparents in heaven when she lost her battle...but she was a believer and I'm not, so for that very reason I don't deserve that time with the most beautiful person I knew...I'm sure she'd disagree??
      This is what your belief system does, it divides and it keeps attempting to do so at every step. I would rather live in a commune of hippies who smoked pot all day then spend one second with your god!

      April 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • guidedans

        Truth,

        I am very sorry about your Mom. It is terrible to lose someone you love. But, I really want you to think about the three different options of her afterlife. She could be dead and gone forever, with God watching over you, or in some Hell because she was wrong in her belief. I don't believe that she is in the first or the last place I mentioned. I believe she is in Heaven, experiencing true joy with her creator.

        I want you to be with her to see her again some day.

        Christianity is not a simple belief. It is an acceptance of the fact that we are sinners and that we are not good enough to deserve Heaven. It is also the acceptance that God came down in the flesh to die for us so that we could get into Heaven even though we do not deserve it.

        It is not just about checking a box to say you believe something, it is accepting the truth that you need God.

        April 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide
          If there is such a thing as "afterlife" there are likley not your three options.
          You once again are forwarding belief as if it were fact and truth, even being so ignorant to use those words.
          Why is it so difficult for you to distinguish the differnece? Have you seduced yourself with your delusion to the point where you can't see the difference anymore?

          Won't you feel silly when you are hanging upside down before Questzlcoatl and he wants to know why you have worshipped the wrong god.

          You forgot a few possibilities for what happens after life.
          1: Death. There is nothing more
          2: The energy of life and the matter that makes you up simply revert back to nature to be recycled once again. ( combination of 1 and 2 seems to be correct, given all observable data)
          3: you will be one of the virgins given to an islamic suicide bomber.
          I can go on and on, and guess what, every one I come up with, has just as much chance of being reality as yours.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • guidedans

          igaftr,

          I covered all the possible options with my three options.

          You either get:
          Heaven (a favorable afterlife)
          Hell (an unfavorable afterlife): like that virgin thing
          or Nothing: you are gone, dead, recycled into the earth, no longer a conscious being, etc.

          If you can think of anything apart from that, let me know.

          And reincarnation falls into one of those three options as well because in reincarnation, you keep coming back until you either go to Heaven, Hell, or get thrown out.

          Let me know your thoughts.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          guide: While I appreciate what you are saying, I have a hard time accepting it due to what I see as a complete lack of evidence. My point is that the only thing that can possibly change my situation according to your belief is to accept your god and until I see evidence, I can't believe. I get that you don't see it from my perspective but what I'm trying to get at is the no matter what good I do in this world, without accepting that your god is real I deserve some form of punishment??? In my eyes, that's rather immoral.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • guidedans

          Truth,

          I understand your point of view, and it is one that I held for a very long time. During a phase in my life, I tried to be very very good. I stopped eating a lot of meat, I was extremely generous to everyone, I tried to conserve resources (I still try to do these things btw), but what I realized is that just the act of living is destructive to other people. You eat at a fast food place, it creates a ton of garbage. You drive your car, it pollutes the air. You get out of your car to walk ducklings across the road, they get scared by you, run into the road and get run over by a car.

          What I am saying is that we cannot help but do bad. It is a part of life. We can do our best to balance out the bad we do with good, but if you look at that logic, it really doesn't make sense. You cannot undo bad actions by performing good ones. You cannot murder someone, then make up for it by saving someone else. Things just don't balance like that.

          If you look at our own court system. If you break the law, you have to pay for it. This is the case even if you did something nice after you broke the law.

          That's how I look at our actions here. We have all broken God's laws and we are all deserving of punishment. The reason why Christians should be extremely grateful to Jesus is that God came down in the flesh as a man, supernaturally took on all of our sins, and took the punishment for us so that we did not have to.

          I hope that makes sense. I understand if it sounds weird, but it is what I believe.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      You would have to consider that some other religion's whacked them and took them to that religion's hell

      April 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
  13. truthfollower01

    Sungrazer,

    "Reasonable according to civilized people! This is not hard to understand. It is no great difficulty for society to determine that unnecessarily killing a child is immoral and that the child killer should be locked up. You seem to have this great fear that humans can make it okay on their own."

    Of course we both agree that the unnecessary killing of a child is immoral. You say society determines this. However, on atheism, I can't see how the society who says this is morally wrong carries any more authority over a society that may say it's morally good. What would you say about an ancient society who thought it good to sacrifice their children to their false god? Would you say this was a morally good act? If not, why?

    April 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
    • Vic

      I don't mean to impose but I feel compelled to say this:

      I have no doubt in my mind that "Objective Morality" is from God; in the meantime, I believe it is revealed to us, humans, through "Natural Revelation" before it is revealed through "Special revelation," aka Scripture. That's how everybody know it.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Vic,

        Anything "revealed" is subjective. Morality definitively changes – even for Christians. Therefore it is not absolute. If not absolute, (and it clearly isn't) what is the standard of "objectivity"?

        April 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
      • sam stone

        "I have no doubt in my mind...."

        Where else would you have doubt?

        In your big toe?

        In your shin?

        In your pancreas?

        April 3, 2014 at 6:10 am |
    • SeaVik

      Morals are a result of evolution. We have a naturally evolved feel for what is right and what is wrong.

      "What would you say about an ancient society who thought it good to sacrifice their children to their false god?"

      I'd say that most people who consider that to be a moral behavior are no longer around as a result of evolution. So most of us living today have a natural belief that that is not moral behavior.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Seavik,

        And if someone has a different "feel" than you concerning what is moral, which one if you is right?

        But would you say that what they did at that time was morally good?

        April 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • anonymoussociopath

          It winds up working out a lot like when two Christians have completely different ideas about what is moral and good. Which is over most things.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • SeaVik

          We won't all agree completely, which is why we decide as a society what is allowed and what is not.

          I don't know what I would have thought about that if it happened millions of years ago. If they sacrificed their children, they likely had a reason for doing so. Given the limited information they may have had available, it may have been reasonable to think that was what was best. Perhaps they thought the children would go straight to heaven.

          Luckily, today, we know that there is no such thing as heaven and therefore, we shouldn't go around killing people. Anyone who actually believed in heaven should rejoice any time a Christian is killed since they go straight to a better place.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
    • Akira

      I doubt you will ever understand what an atheist thinks like. They're individuals. They're not a group like Christians are a group...

      I think that people who have never heard of Christianity have morals. I don't know why it would be so hard to grasp that atheists have morals, also...

      April 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Akira, I'm not doubting at all that atheists can live moral lives. You and I probably recognize some of the same things as being morally evil. This is not the issue. The issue is on atheism, what is the grounds for morality. What makes something morally evil or good on atheism?

        April 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          The morals of nonbelievers are influenced by their society's morals, their own experiences, their level of empathy for others and their level of intelligence. Some turn out good. Some turn out bad. They don't just hypocritically need a 2,000-year-old book to do their thinking. Fortunately, most Christians can think for themselves and reject some of the "immorality" in the Bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Akira

          The same things that make those who had never heard of God/Jesus know the difference, tf...I believe it's innate. I think most people are born with a moral compass; those who aren't, such as sociopaths, are not going to obtain one via ANY Holy Book...

          April 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "The issue is on atheism, what is the grounds for morality?"

          Exactly the same as it is for all societies. Morality is a societal consensus of conscience.

          Here are some thoughts on the matter:

          "If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God." – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814

          "The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. To make this a living force and bring it to clear consciousness is perhaps the foremost task of education. The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action. – Albert Einstein

          Neither of these people are, strictly speaking, atheists yet they express the idea that morality does not have religious foundations well.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "The issue is on atheism, what is the grounds for morality."

          FFS, how many times do you have to have it explained to you that "atheism" is simply a response to the question "do you believe in god".....nothing else. A system of morality has to be built from other philosophical areas. Will you please quit building this dishonest argument...? It just makes you look bad that you cannot honestly engage the opposition.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          I imagine, genius, that atheists determine morality of actions by their effect on others–to wit, harm to others or lack of harm. How hard is that?...

          April 2, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      "What would you say about an ancient society who thought it good to sacrifice their children to their false god?"

      Like when Abraham intended to sacrifice Isaac to the false god Yahweh? I would call that society ancient and supersti.tious. I would say that we have made moral progress since then.

      "Would you say this was a morally good act? If not, why?"

      No. Because it inflicted unnecessary suffering on Abraham and Isaac. Do you consider god's commandment to be a morally good act?

      April 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
  14. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    What makes one a Christian:

    If you call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Belief/Faith in Him as Lord and Personal Savior, YOU ARE CHRISTIAN & YOU ARE SAVED, regardless of your state of the flesh, that is regardless of your sins, flaws, shortcomings, or what have you. This is the "Dispensation of Grace," the New Covenant, the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Romans 10:13
    "13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”" (NASB)

    Acts 2:21
    "21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’" (NASB)

    April 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      ahhhh, the workings of a cult addled mind ...

      April 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Imagine if god really existed and you really believed it? You wouldn't have to spend time on these message boards trying to convince everyone your view is sane. Instead, you could just live in a church and revel in god for your entire life.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • guidedans

        Imagine if God really existed and He commanded you to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

        Then you would feel obliged to want to save your brethren from an eternity of torment.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • joey3467

          You aren't really spreading the gospel on the belief blog, I can assure you everyone here has heard the story by now. Perhaps you should go the middle of the rainforest in Brazil and preach to the natives who have most likely never heard of the Bible or Jesus.

          April 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      Bong, coo-coo, bong, coo-coo. Vic, your clock spring is loose, tighten it up.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • G to the T

      I can appreciate where you are coming from but I don't have the faith to believe in Paul's experience or the church/writings that were the result. Indeed, whenever I see strife amongst believers and/or with non-believers it's almost always the works of Paul and his church that are the source of the disagreement.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • Vic

        I beg to differ.

        See Matthew 23.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • G to the T

          Actually – I'd say that only reinforces my point:

          "for you have one Instructor, the Messiah" – And yet many (most) christian rely on the words of Paul and his church.

          So again – from what I've learned about Paul, his life, ministry and the texts attributed to him, I don't have enough faith to believe his "road to damascus" experience was genuine.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Vic

          That's a good reason for you to study the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ and their fulfillment attested to in the New Testament to see the connection. Apostle Paul's anointment and testimony are by and of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
  15. SeaVik

    "Or, option number 4) God ordained that evil exists because He has a purpose for it."

    That's not a new option – that was Option 3. That would make him an immoral d!&ck. If he's all powerful, he wouldn't need to do that.

    April 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      No, your thinking, like that of Dyslexic Dog is anthropocentric – you believe that the ultimate good on earth is the happiness of man, but that's not the case. The ultimate good is the glory of God. And God has ordained that evil exist because He has a plan for it:

      Romans 3:5 – “…our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God…”
      You could never understand the true righteousness of God if you did not first understand you own unrighteousness so as to give you a basis for comparison

      Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
      God demonstrates His love and grace toward us, in a context of our hate toward God – for all sin is rebellion against God

      Romans 9:22-24 – What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
      God demonstrates His justice through “vessels of wrath” – those destined for hell will forever bring glory to God for His perfect justice; that all sin will ultimately be punished

      God demonstrates His mercy to us in the context of wrath
      Indirectly through the natural consequences of violating His universal moral law
      Directly through His personal intervention
      To make His power known
      To put the riches of his mercy on display
      God does not make men sinful, but by choosing only some to save, He leaves the rest to the unintended consequences of the sin that they themselves have chosen

      April 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Why are you posting translated, edited, re-edited, ancient hearsay? I saw a painting of a mammoth on a cave wall and 3 hunters were chasing it with spears. Does that prove a point?

        April 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Well if he can't make both happen, he's not all-powerful. So sorry, Christian god disproven again! How many ways do you want to do this?

        April 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You keep making statements dependant on your faulty understanding of what "all powerful" truly means. It's like asking "Can God make a rock so big that He can't lift it?" This question is based on a popular misunderstanding about the definitions of words like "almighty" or "omnipotent." These terms do not mean that God can do anything. Rather, they describe the amount of God's power. Power is the ability to effect change – to make something happen. God (being unlimited) has unlimited power, and the Bible affirms this (Job 11:7-11, 37:23; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 4:8; etc.). Therefore, God can do whatever is possible to be done. God cannot, however, do that which is actually impossible. This is because true impossibility is not based on the amount of power one has, it is based on what is really possible. The truly impossible is not made possible by adding more power. Therefore, unless context indicates otherwise (e.g. Matthew 19:26 where man's ability is being shown in contrast to God's), impossibility means the same thing whether or not God is involved.

          In fact, the Bible itself lists things God cannot do – like lie or deny Himself (Hebrews 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:13; T.itus 1:2). The reason He cannot do these things is because of His nature and the nature of reality itself. God cannot do what is not actually possible to be done, like creating a two-sided triangle, or a married bachelor.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          oh my. so you're saying that your god could create the universe from nothing, but now there are lots of things that aren't possible for him to do.

          Oh my. *face palm*

          April 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Yeah. This is evident to anyone who has studied the Bible. God cannot sin. God cannot violate His nature.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "God cannot sin."

          Yep. God's hypocritical list of sins are "do as I say, not as I do".

          April 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Yep. God's hypocritical list of sins are "do as I say, not as I do"."
          ---------------
          Name one of the 10 Commandments that God has broken.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          How about a couple? Thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not commit adultery. Who impregnated the woman who was engaged to Joseph?

          April 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          How about a couple? Thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not commit adultery. Who impregnated the woman who was engaged to Joseph?
          ----------------–
          The word for "kill" used in Exodus 20 is the Hebrew (ratzákh) for "murder." Has God murdered? No. In the same sense that a judge orders the execution of a convicted criminal has not committed murder. All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder.

          Adultery? Are you kidding me? are you saying that God had s.ex with Mary? How very Greek of you to think that way.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          You will have VALIDITY when you can explain what SINS EVERY child and baby on the face of the earth committed that allowed God to claim torturously killing them was justification.

          You SKIPPED my question. Who IMPREGNATED the woman engaged to Joseph? You must know. Check a Bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Akira

          Oh, I'm sorry. And here I thought that premeditated taking of a human life was the very definition of murder.

          Huh.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You will have VALIDITY when you can explain what SINS EVERY child and baby on the face of the earth committed that allowed God to claim torturously killing them was justification.
          --------------–
          We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Even newborn babies carry a sin nature inherited through their legal representative Adam. If that were not so, then they could never die.

          You SKIPPED my question. Who IMPREGNATED the woman engaged to Joseph? You must know. Check a Bible.
          --------------–
          The Bible tells us that this was a creative act of the Holy Spirit, not the sort of divine-human cohabitation sometimes seen in pagan mythology. It could only be adultery if God cohabitated with her, but you don't get that impression anywhere in Scripture.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Oh, I'm sorry. And here I thought that premeditated taking of a human life was the very definition of murder. "
          ----------
          Only the premeditated taking of an INNOCENT human life is murder. All men have a sin nature inherited through their legal representative, Adam. Since the wages of sin is death, if someone has no sin nature, then they could never die. This is why Jesus said "no one takes my life, but I give it up." Since He had no sin nature, He could never die unless He miracled Himself to die in the flesh. Since all men are sinners from birth, and all sin is primarily against God, God has the right to exact execution on any He wills.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Akira

          So you are one of them that believe a baby taking it's first breath is sinful, Theo? And that the unborn that were drowned were guilty of something?

          God can do anything he wants because He is God, have I got that correct? That's your reasoning, pared down for brevity?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • SeaVik

          My faulty understanding? "All-powerful" is not complicated: having complete power : able to do anything.

          It means you can do anything. You can make a rock as big as you want – not so big that you can't lift it, because you can do anything. If you don't want to lift it, you don't. If you do, you do. That's what all powerful means.

          If you want to make excuses as to why your version of god isn't actually all powerful, but you still want to call him all powerful, go ahead. It has nothing to do with my faulty understanding of a simple term, it has only to do with your creative manipulation of what the term means to suit your purposes of making the god fantasy seem reasonable.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "My faulty understanding? "All-powerful" is not complicated: having complete power : able to do anything."
          -----------
          Yes, your faulty understanding. "All Powerful" or "Omnipotence" means to be able to do anything that is possible.

          April 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • Akira

          Theo:
          Are you admitting you think there are things that is isn't possible for God to do?

          April 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • hotairace

          Interesting that none of the online dictionaries I looked at limits omnipotent as Theo would like to. I wonder why that is?

          April 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "We are not sinners because we sin"

          Good one ! So sinner doesn't mean "one who commits a sin". And so much for the so-called "free will" to change things.

          Just one more case where you MAKE UP your own definitions since you don't like the REAL ones.
          SINNER: 1. a person who transgresses against divine law by committing an immoral act or acts.
          Oooops.

          Still STUMPED? Who IMPREGNATED the woman engaged to Joseph? Who put the sperm in her that fertilized her egg or wasn't the baby HUMAN? Who contributed the Y-chromosome NECESSSARY to create a BOY?

          April 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • Akira

          Yeah. So a newborn baby is a sinner because of Adam's original sin. Which Jesus died expressedly to eliminate. But babies are still born sinners.

          Anyone see anything wrong with this?

          April 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Yes, your faulty understanding. "All Powerful" or "Omnipotence" means to be able to do anything that is possible."

          Uh, anything that is possible? Everyone can do anything that is possible...that's what "possible" means. You seriously need to try reading more of the dictionary and less of the bible. You seem like you have some decent level of intelligence, although very misguided. Imagine if you could put that focus towards something real and productive, rather than delusions? You could actually make a positive impact in the world rather than making it worse!

          April 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
  16. PatiPerez

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2014/04/02/the-fault-lines-before-the-evangelical-earthquake/

    April 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    One quick look around you at all the misery and desperate struggle for existence in most of the world IS proof that there is no god who designed and created this existence,

    or if there is a god who designed it then he is utterly inept because it could hardly be more poorly designed.

    Or if this is all his design and his plan to his exact specifications, then he is an evil and nasty and vain and insecure and inept and utterly capricious creature who designed it to cause us pain and to derive his own amusement from our torture.

    You pick. Any argument you make for religion is so flimsy it collapses at the slightest examination.

    April 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Alias

      There are a lot of good arguments against the christian religion.
      However, "People suffer so god cannot exist" sounds like whining from a fragile little momma's boy, and it proves nothing.

      April 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Again you don't understand.

        Hey, your god may exist but if he does he is either inept or evil. So you keep on worshipping an inept being or an evil being. your choice. You strike me more as the inept guy than the evil guy so you should worship the inept god that has made such a mess of designing this existence and does such a pitiful job of its ongoing management.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Alias

          I think I do understand.
          What you are saying is that god is evil because he allows people to suffer.
          What most christians believe is that this life is a means to an end, not the focus and purpose of the creation of te universe. Until you stop trying to argue that everything in this life is so important you will not be able to make a convincing argumnet against the bible.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "What most christians believe is that this life is a means to an end, not the focus and purpose of the creation of te universe."

          Christians also believe in an omniscient, omnipotent and all loving God, which is where the contradiction begins.

          If you remove the part about the "loving God", then it becomes more coherent, but why would you choose to worship a capricious monster who threatens you with eternal punishment while he makes you suffer.

          This is indistinct from Greco-Roman worship.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Alias

          You do understand that I am not arguing for the validity of christian religions, right?

          April 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
  18. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    A yellow bird... with a yellow bill
    sat up upon...my windowsill
    i lured him in... with a piece of bread
    and then I smashed his... f*ing head!

    April 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  19. Alias

    Theo – "Logically, if there is good and evil, then there is a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver "
    This is not a logical conclusion based on the argument you have presented. Unless you mean that 'Good' and 'Evil' are tangible things and not just properly used as adverbs and adjectives

    April 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • Alias

      I KNOW i told it to reply below. Really, I did!

      April 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      But it begs the question of how does one determine acts to be good or evil? If morality is relative, then can someone really be condemned for anything that they do? What they do may not be beneficial to society, but it's right to them, so it's not evil – even in the act of r.ape, the person is merely dancing to their DNA if morality is relative. But if we say that r.ape is evil, then we assume there must be good against which we make a comparison to decide that the act was evil. And if there is good an evil, then there must be a moral law. And if there is a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver...

      April 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • Alias

        So you are saying that without your god to define moral, then there is no way to ever decide if anything is moral.

        April 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          What I'm saying is that if morality is relative (post modern thinking) then there is no way to condemn anyone for anything, because everyone obeys his own conscience in doing what is right to him... No one would be doing "evil." And if we say that anything is evil, then we're admitting that a standard exists outside of ourselves.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • Alias

          Apply that logic to 'beautiful' or 'small' and you will see my point.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • empiricalinvestments

          isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder? And isn't small a relative term requiring a bigger normal?

          If we could stop the spread of HIV through killing everyone with the disease, is it moral to do so? (barring them from procreation wouldn't work as they could still spread it through blood transfusions) It'd probably also cut down on world hunger and carbon emissions.

          April 2, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • sam stone

          "What I'm saying is that if morality is relative (post modern thinking) then there is no way to condemn anyone for anything"

          Really into condemning people, are you corn pone? Does it make you feel all pious (that is a rhetorical question, of course it does)?

          I suppose I would prefer to post modern thinking to iron age superst-i-t-ions

          April 3, 2014 at 6:15 am |
      • joey3467

        This just shows that morality is relative. Every time you bring up morals you destroy your own argument. The person who committed r.ape must not find it all that immoral, but the rest of society does. Hence morality is relative.

        April 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Men KNOW when they do evil. Human beings are just really good at suppressing a nagging conscience. When he does it long enough, he becomes callused to it and no longer feels the impulse that he's done something wrong.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • hotairace

          And he consistency misses the fact that in a modern western democracy, as opposed to the theocracy he seems to want, morality is not determined by a single person or even a single, alleged but never proven, god.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • joey3467

          There a plenty of places in the world who claim to get their laws straight from god, and that is why it is so hard for women in Muslims countries to do anything about being ra.ped.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • joey3467

          hotair, that was going to be my next point. Social morality is not decided by any one individual.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  20. Alias

    @Dyslexic doG
    Your continued obcession with the suffering in this world does not do anything to prove god doesn't exist. IF the bible were actually correct, and IF there is a life after this one that never ends, then all the pain and suffering and injustice that gets your panties all tied in knots is actually irrelevant. What is a few years of being cold and hungry compared to an eternity of bliss? Why get upset over an evil person being happy for a few decades here if they are facing pain and torment in the next life that will never ever end?

    April 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • doobzz

      "What is a few years of being cold and hungry compared to an eternity of bliss? "

      Considering that there is no evidence of "an eternity of bliss", I'd say you're a cruel and inhumane person. Starvation is not just "being hungry". It's a slow, excruciating death.

      That your god would allow children to slowly and painfully starve to death tells me that you learned to be cruel and inhuman from your god.

      "Your continued obcession with the suffering in this world does not do anything to prove god doesn't exist."

      No, but it says something about your "loving" god, who does nothing to intervene in the suffering of innocent children.

      April 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Alias

        Firstly, it's not my god.
        2nd, I SAID IF. Please read more carefully.

        April 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • doobzz

          I was responding to your hypothetical. Read more carefully.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Alias

          doobzz
          "Considering that there is no evidence of "an eternity of bliss", I'd say you're a cruel and inhumane person."
          I don't have to prove it in this case – I made the assumption that it was true.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          What happens when you assume? You make an ASS of U and ME...

          Baseless assumptions are just that... baseless

          April 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • Alias

          LET
          Bsseless? It was baseless to clearly define the context of the argument I was presenting?

          April 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          After reading more carefully... I retract my comment

          April 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          In my defense... I am still jet-lagging from my trip to Hawaii

          April 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • doobzz

          Again, I was simply responding to your hypothetical. Isn't that why you posted it – to get a response?

          April 2, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Alias

          doobzz
          you called me cruel and inhumane because I tried to show that the logic being used by dyslexic dog fails for the target audience. And now you are defending that opinion. Am I right?

          April 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • doobzz

          You stated a hypothetical. My response was to your hypothetical. Notice the words I used – "I'd say... ". In other words, "if that was the premise, I would say..." It was a hypothetical response to a hypothetical question.

          If you want to take my response personally and get defensive, I can't help that.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Alias

          Paraphrasing and taking your owr writing out of its original context .... are you sure you're not a christian?

          April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • SeaVik

      The point is, if there really were a god who was all powerful, he's not very nice if he has the ability to remove suffering but chooses not to. In fact, he would have to be highly immoral.

      April 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • Alias

        That would put an end to free will.

        April 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          “The ‘will’ is the faculty of choice – the immediate cause of all action. Choice necessarily implies the refusal of one thing, and the acceptance of another. The positive and the negative must both be present in the mind before there can be any choice, and in every act of the will there is preference – the desiring of one thing rather than another. Where there is no preference, but complete indifference there is no volition. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between alternatives. But there is something which influences the choice, something which determines the decision, hence the will cannot be sovereign since it is the servant of that something. The will cannot be both sovereign and servant. It cannot be both cause and effect. The will is not causative because, as we have said, something causes it to choose, therefore that something must be the causative agent. Choice itself is affected by certain considerations and is determined by various influences brought to bear upon the individual himself. Hence, volition is the effect of these considerations and influences, and if their effect, it must be their servant, and if the will is their servant, then it is not sovereign, and if the will is not sovereign, we certainly cannot predicate absolute freedom of it.”
           “The Sovereignty of God” by A.W. Pink

          April 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • joey3467

          I know that Christians claim we have free will, but the situation set out in the bible seems to make that impossible.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "That would put an end to free will."

          It wouldn't have to. If there existed an all-powerful god, he would by definition be capable of removing pain and suffering while still allowing us free will. The fact that he has not done this means either 1) he doesn't exist (by far the most likely and logical), 2) he exists but is not all-powerful and therefore not capable of doing this or 3) he exists and is capable of doing this, but chooses not to because he's ok with all the horrific suffering that takes place and therefore, a real immoral d(*ck!

          April 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Theo, I'll ask you the usual question: Do you have a coherent point or are you just playing illogical word games again?

          April 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • Alias

          I dissagree.
          The point of this life would be for us to show where we deserve to spend eternity. Key part of that determination is based on how much suffering we cause other people and how much suffering we relieve. god could not do it for us without a major rule change. Please remember, I'm assuming the bible is right on these points.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Seavik,
          Or, option number 4) God ordained that evil exists because He has a purpose for it.

          Think of it like this: Romans 3:5 says that our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God… God is not the author of evil, He did not create it, but He ordains it because had a plan for it. And God’s ultimate plan is His own glorification... In eternity past, God determined to put His attributes on display, and in order to do that, He had to create a people who would be sinners – in so doing, God’s attributes of love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace would be demonstrated through the salvation of the elect. And in the same way, God’s attributes of hate for evil, justice, and wrath would be demonstrated in those who refuse to love Him. Thereby, for all eternity, the elect will forever glorify God in His mercy, and the damned will forever glorify God in His justice.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • SeaVik

          If he's all-powerful, he could allow me to do evil acts without others suffering as a result. But he doesn't exist, so he can't do that. Your problem is assuming the bible is correct – you're not going to get to any logical conclusions with that as your assumption.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "If he's all-powerful, he could allow me to do evil acts without others suffering as a result."
          ---------------------
          David once said "against You and You only have I sinned..." He said this after committing adultery and murder. Even though his sins were against two people specifically, since God is the very standard for right and wrong, when he violated that standard, he violated the moral character of God. All sin, even if it is victimless on a human level, violates the moral law and character of God.

          And in making a conditional statement on the existence of God, just because He does not fulfill your expectations of what "all powerful" means does not mean that He does not exist.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Alias

          SeaVic
          If nothing you do could cause suffering in others, then we would need a new criteria for judging.
          Please keep in mind that my purpose is to refute Dyslexic dog. I'm not trying to define god, good or evil, or pass judgement on what the christian philosphy is. I'm showing that dog's continual "If I were an all powerful ...... that is the difference" postings are logically flawed.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Posted this in the wrong spot...

          "Or, option number 4) God ordained that evil exists because He has a purpose for it."

          That's not a new option – that was Option 3. That would make him an immoral d!&ck. If he's all powerful, he wouldn't need to do that.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "If nothing you do could cause suffering in others, then we would need a new criteria for judging."

          Why do we need a criteria for judging? If god is all-powerful, he certainly wouldn't need humans to suffer to determine how to judge. If he were all-powerful, he could read our minds and could judge based on our thoughts. If he were all-powerful, he wouldn't even have to do that, he'd just know. And if he were all powerful and not a real d(&ck, he wouldn't make bad people in the first place. Alas, he doesn't exist which explains why we don't see any of the results we'd expect if he did.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "just because He does not fulfill your expectations of what "all powerful" means does not mean that He does not exist."

          Well, yes, it actually does. If there is an all-powerful god who is good, he can and would eliminate suffering (otherwise, he is just as "sinful" as any human who causes suffering). The fact that he doesn't means he either doesn't exist or can't. If he can't, then that's not the Christian version of god, so we know the Christian version of god doesn't exist.

          Theo, I beg you to not post bible quotes as if they are meaningful to this conversation. Those you are debating believe the bible to be a work of fiction. Posting quotes from a book of fiction to support your position makes you seem even more delusional, as if you actually think that would be considered real evidence.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Seavik,
          Yours and others' opinions of holy Scripture is irrelevant. I will continue to quote the Bible wherever necessary as it is the only extant authority to which I appeal.

          2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is inspired by God (“Theopneustos” God breathed, literally), and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

          April 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Alias

          SeaVic
          "Alas, he doesn't exist which explains why we don't see any of the results we'd expect if he did."
          I know he doesn't exist. I Never said he did.
          I am trying to make one pooint: The fact that there is suffering in this wold fits the christian theology. It is therefore pointless to try to say that suffering disproves the christian god.
          That I why I made the assumptions I did in my original post. I am not trying to prove god exists.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Yours and others' opinions of holy Scripture is irrelevant. I will continue to quote the Bible wherever necessary as it is the only extant authority to which I appeal."

          First, it's fact that the bible is false, not opinion. Second, if you are trying to make a logical point, it should be relevant to you that the evidence you often use to support your point (the bible) is in dispute. You say x and therefore, y, but you have yet to prove x (and in fact, we know x is wrong).

          April 2, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • sam stone

          "Yours and others' opinions of holy Scripture is irrelevant."

          That's right, corn pone......only YOUR opinion is relevant

          April 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • ohcaptainmycaptain

          "Well, yes, it actually does. If there is an all-powerful god who is good, he can and would eliminate suffering (otherwise, he is just as "sinful" as any human who causes suffering). The fact that he doesn't means he either doesn't exist or can't. If he can't, then that's not the Christian version of god, so we know the Christian version of god doesn't exist."

          You're logic is fundamentally flawed. First, you are assuming that you even know what Good is. Can you define good? What's the standard you're using to measure it? Yourself? Your feelings?

          Second, it's arrogant and just plain ignorant to assume that you know how an all powerful being ought to think. You would have trouble comprehending the thoughts of a genius, much less an omniscient being.

          April 3, 2014 at 2:37 am |
        • observer

          ohcaptainmycaptain,l

          Yes. It is difficult to understand how any god could support slavery, drown every child and baby, discriminate against women, gays, and the handicapped, etc.

          April 3, 2014 at 2:42 am |
        • ohcaptainmycaptain

          "Yes. It is difficult to understand how any god could support slavery, drown every child and baby, discriminate against women, gays, and the handicapped, etc."

          Some of your allegations are questionable, but it becomes a lot easier when you realize that the God doesn't see man's happiness as the foundation for morality.

          As far as discrimination, you seem to think that God is required to condone and support the inclinations and dispositions of each and every individual. How dare an all powerful God who created everything, not support the vices of each human being.

          April 3, 2014 at 2:56 am |
        • observer

          ohcaptainmycaptain

          "As far as discrimination, you seem to think that God is required to condone and support the inclinations and dispositions of each and every individual."

          False. That's just a fantasy for you.

          God did all of those disgusting things and far more if you read a Bible.

          He had no problem watching EVERY child, baby, fetus, and embryo on the face of the earth get torturously drowned, but apparently he can't handle watching what two consenting adults of the same s3x can do in the privacy of their bedroom.

          April 3, 2014 at 3:22 am |
        • ohcaptainmycaptain

          "He had no problem watching EVERY child, baby, fetus, and embryo on the face of the earth get torturously drowned, but apparently he can't handle watching what two consenting adults of the same s3x can do in the privacy of their bedroom."

          You're argument is a fallacy. God didn't drown ALMOST all of the people on earth for pleasure. He drowned them because He looked at mankind and saw that, "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." It was a punishment for breaking his moral laws. He did what you Atheists seem to demand of him. He wiped out all the evil on earth in one fell swoop. You just disapprove of the method.

          It doesn't matter that two adults consented in an act. concession has nothing to do with morals. You can consent in murder, that doesn't make it right. Their still violating God's moral law.

          April 3, 2014 at 3:41 am |
        • observer

          ohcaptainmycaptain,

          lol. You can possibly become the FIRST PERSON ever to tell us WHAT SIN WAS COMMITTED by EVERY child, baby, fetus, and embryo on the face of the earth that justified TORTUROUSLY killing them.

          April 3, 2014 at 3:47 am |
        • observer

          ohcaptainmycaptain

          "You're argument is a fallacy. God didn't drown ALMOST all of the people on earth for pleasure."

          Again, I NEVER said that. PLEASE work on reading skills.

          April 3, 2014 at 3:49 am |
        • ohcaptainmycaptain

          I don't have to. You're making assumptions. When I read the Bible, I see no mention of children being drowned. You're using an "appeal to emotions" argument, and it's a fallacy because it's clear that God didn't drown the righteous with the unrighteous. Otherwise, Noah and his family would have never boarded the ark.

          April 3, 2014 at 3:53 am |
        • observer

          ohcaptainmycaptain,

          Your argument is just based on ignorance.

          How many children, babies, fetuses and embryos survived God's killing spree with the flood? Check a Bible so you'll KNOW better next time..

          April 3, 2014 at 3:55 am |
        • ohcaptainmycaptain

          " How many children, babies, fetuses and embryos survived God's killing spree with the flood? Check a Bible so you'll KNOW better next time"

          Sure, just kindly point me to the section where it says babies, fetuses, or embryos where drowned and I'll gladly look it over.

          April 3, 2014 at 4:41 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Alias,

      the question of suffering is related to the notion of a loving God.

      If the premise was "Jesus loves you and wants you to be happy – but only after you're dead" was Christian philosophy, then I would agree that you made your point.

      That is not how Christians behave. They assert that prayers work (begging the question why would God answer any prayers except to make people happy while they are alive) and that everything good that happens to someone is God's abundance and blessing etc (while ignoring that the same must logically be true for everything bad that happens).

      To these people God is responsible for helping atheletes score touchdowns (according to just about any football player) or win tennis matches (according to Serena).

      April 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • Alias

        Non GOPer
        I said nothing about how christians behave. That has nothing to do with my point.

        April 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          But it has everything to do with doG's point on suffering contrasted with the notion of a loving God – which is the basis of your post, no?

          April 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • Alias

          non GOPer
          Still not on board with you.
          I had my child immunized. I allowed a stranger to pust a peice of metal into her skin, knowing in advance that this would cause her pain and suffering. I did it several times over many years.
          IF IF IF there is a heaven, and suffering in this life will get you there for ever, the temporary pain is so miniscule in comparison that it does not matter.

          April 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          analogy fail!

          April 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Alias

          Dog
          I allowed somone I love to suffer now so she wouldn't have to suffer a lot more later.
          Did you understand that?

          April 2, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        @Alias,

        your argument leads not to Christianity but to Buddhism.

        Buddhism addresses suffering head on. The first noble truth is that suffering exists (essentially with a subtext of "so deal with it"). Eventually the reincarnated soul rises above the plane and pain of suffering. Which is the thrust of your argument.

        Christianity is all over the map with the concept of suffering. To some sects it is God's vengance for the individual sinfulness of the sufferer. To others it is a more general result of 'The Fall'. To others it is the work of Satan. Others simply ignore it altogether becasuse they cannot rationalize it. But all Christians seem to believe that it is God from whom all "blessings" (aka good things) flow and they have no substantive answer as to why the truly innocent suffer while simultaneously believing in an omnipotent, omniscient, and loving God.

        If you want a coherent "Jesus loves you and wants you to be happy but only after you are dead" theology then you also have to abandon all the "God blesses you" thinking because the two ideas are incongruent.

        The notion of a finite trial by suffering for an infinite reward, or penalty as the case may be, is not an appealing theology anyway.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Alias

          I am not arguing for christianity. I never have.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Fair enough, but when doG talks about God he does so from a default Christian perspective.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Alias

          If he were making an argument based on all the errors in their philosophy, I would agree. Unfortunately, he is continually focusing on the pain and suffering. There are related issues, and when he includes them in his posts I will agree with him.
          But at the risk of being redundant, the fact that people suffer does not disprove anything. It is not at all clear that a loving god would not allow some limited suffering if there was a larger purpose and a greater good to be served, i.e. getting those who deserve into a state of euphoria for ever and ever.

          April 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • empiricalinvestments

        well i believe modern evangelicals preach that prayer doesn't work in the santa claus sense. Prayer is simply a mode of communication between an individual and an open loving God. You pray not so that you get what you want, but rather to build that relationship between you and God. Like a parent's not going to give a kid a gun just because the kid asks for one, but likewise still encourages the kid to talk about his dreams and desires.

        we do things like that all the time. we say 'i miss you' without expecting them to jump on a plane and visit. we celebrate thanksgiving and share blessings, not because we expect that it will result in more good things to happen. and we try not to make a lot of noise in libraries or hospitals simply because its customary.

        So no, God doesn't obey prayers and you don't gain superpowers after taking of the blood and the body, but they are all pieces of actively participating in a relationship with God. And if for any reason you reject a relationship with God, then all the benefits and repercussions are yours to take.

        April 2, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      These questions about God reveal more about the heart of the one asking the questions than it does about the attributes of God. When someone asks: “How can a good and loving God allow evil to exist?” it reveals that the person assumes that man is “inherently good.” Because they think that man is inherently good, and generally deserving of a good life and good things, if God is good, then He can’t allow evil to exist because that would cause man to suffer – and we don’t deserve suffering. But in bringing up questions about evil, they are admitting that there must be a standard for morality – a standard of right and wrong. Logically, if there is good and evil, then there is a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver – they are revealing that deep in their minds, they agree with Romans 1:18-32 that they DO believe in God, but they have suppressed that knowledge with their sins.

      Indeed the question must be flipped around, assuming that God alone is good, not man. Ask the question this way: “How on earth can a holy and righteous God know what I did, and thought, and said on yesterday, and not kill me in my sleep last night…” Until you understand the question like this, then you are going to think that there is some individual somewhere that deserves something other than the total wrath of Almighty God.

      So why are we still here? Why has He not consumed each and every one of us, because no one can say that they have not sinned against Him?

      Romans 2:4 – Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

      April 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • Alias

        Theo – "Logically, if there is good and evil, then there is a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver "
        This is not a logical conclusion based on the argument you have presented. Unless you mean that 'Good' and 'Evil' are tangible things and not just properly used as adverbs and adjectives

        April 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • SeaVik

        "When someone asks: “How can a good and loving God allow evil to exist?” it reveals that the person assumes that man is “inherently good."

        No, the question is asked simply to prove the fact that the Christian version of god (supposely all-powerful) doesn't exist. Or if he does, he's immoral. You're reading way too far into this!

        April 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Alias. One quick look around you at all the misery and desperate struggle for existence in the world IS proof that there is no god who designed and created this existence, or if there is a god who designed it then he is utterly inept because it could hardly be more poorly designed. Or if this is all his design and his plan to his exact specifications, then he is an evil and nasty and vain and insecure and inept and utterly capricious creature who designed it to cause us pain and to derive his own amusement from our torture.

      you pick.

      April 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • Alias

        One more time – IF there is eternal bliss or eternal suffering waiting for us later, then all the suffering you are complaining about in this brief life is meaningless.

        April 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          you truly are pitiful.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Alias

          You are truely close minded.

          April 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • one24scale

        Yeah, it's always easier to put the blame on something you cannot see uh.

        April 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.