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Is the Internet killing religion?
A new study suggests that the Internet may play a role in the demise of organized religion.
April 9th, 2014
12:17 PM ET

Is the Internet killing religion?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) We can blame the Internet for plenty: the proliferation of porn, our obsession with cat videos, the alleged rise of teen trends like - brace yourself - eyeball licking.

But is it also a culprit in helping us lose our religion? A new study suggests it might be.

Allen Downey, a computer scientist at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, set out to understand the national uptick in those who claim no religious affiliation. These are the “nones,” which the Pew Research Center considers the fastest-growing “religious” group in America.

Since 1985, Downey says, the number of first-year college students who say they're religiously unaffiliated has grown from 8% to 25%, according to the CIRP Freshman Survey.

And, he adds, stats from the General Social Survey, which has been tracking American opinions and social change since 1972, show unaffiliated Americans in the general population ballooned from 8% to 18% between 1990 and 2010.

These trends jibe with what the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project reported in 2012. It said one in five American adults, and a third of those under 30, are unaffiliated.

Downey says he stepped into the ongoing debate about the rise of the "nones" not because he has a vested interest one way or the other, but because the topic fascinates him. He says it’s good fodder for study and appeals to students who are learning to crunch real data.

In his paper “Religious affiliation, education and Internet use,” which published in March on arXiv – an electronic collection of scientific papers – Downey analyzed data from GSS and discovered a correlation between increased Internet use and religious disaffiliation.

Internet use among adults was essentially at zero in 1990; 20 years later, it jumped to 80%, he said. In that same two-decade period, we saw a 25 million-person spike in those who are religiously unaffiliated.

People who use the Internet a few hours a week, GSS numbers showed Downey, were less likely to have a religious affiliation by about 2%. Those online more than seven hours a week were even more likely – an additional 3% more likely – to disaffiliate, he said.

Now, Downey is the first to point out that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

But he was able to control for other factors including education, religious upbringing, rural/urban environments and income, to find a link that allowed him to “conclude, tentatively, that Internet use causes disaffiliation,” he said.

“But a reasonable person could disagree.”

The Internet, he posited, opens up new ways of thinking to those living in homogeneous environments. It also allows those with doubts to find like-minded individuals around the world.

He believes decreases in religious upbringing have had the largest effect, accounting for 25% of reduced affiliation; college education covers about 5% and Internet use may account for another 20%.

That leaves 50% which he attributes to “generational replacement,” meaning those born more recently are less likely to be religiously affiliated – though he doesn’t attempt to explain why that is.

The Pew Research Center has offered its own theories.

One explanation Pew gives is that our nation is experiencing political backlash – "that young adults, in particular, have turned away from organized religion because they perceive it as deeply entangled with conservative politics and do not want to have any association with it."

More specifically, Pew explains, this brand of religion and politics is out of step with young adult views on same-sex rights and abortion.

Postponement of marriage and parenthood, broader social disengagement and general secularization of society may also play a part, according to Pew.

But to be religiously unaffiliated doesn’t require a lack of faith or spirituality, researchers say.

Yes, the "nones" group includes those who might call themselves atheists or agnostics. But it also accounts for many – 46 million people – who don't belong to a particular group but are, in some way, religious or spiritual, according to Pew.

This is all part of the changing face of society and faith, and where the Internet fits in is just part of a complicated puzzle.

The evolving landscape includes plenty of people who go online in search of spiritual and religious sustenance, said Cheryl Casey, who delved into the issue for her 2006 dissertation.

Casey, now a professor of media, society and ethics at Champlain College in Vermont, wrote about the “revirtualization of religious ritual in cyberspace” and the morphing relationship between technology and religion.

That Downey would find a correlation, that the Internet is increasing disaffiliation, makes perfect sense to her.

"The institutional control over the conversation is lifted, so it's not just a matter of more churches to choose from but more ways to have that conversation and more people to have that conversation with," she said Wednesday.

People move away from formal affiliation and toward what she calls "grass-roots religious exploration," where "the nature of the medium allows for those conversations to grow organically."

Innovations have long played a part in influencing religion, she said, and will continue to.

Something she wrote back in 2006 said it best.

“When a new technology, such as the printing press or the Internet, unleashes massive cultural change, the challenge to religion is immense. Cultural developments change how God, or the ultimate, is thought of and spoken about,” she wrote.

“The dynamics of this transformation, however, await continued investigation.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Internet • Technology

soundoff (1,632 Responses)
  1. ausphor

    About internet trolls. Dala... often rags on people for spending an inordinate amount of time on a blog. Well Dala... may have set the record for commenting for 24 hours straight, he pulled an all nighter and has been venting his spleen for most of today. I think he is on a break but the hypocrisy of Dala.. is well quite remarkable.

    April 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  2. bostontola

    I read the original paper referenced. The authors did a good job of statistical analysis, they were careful and did the proper controls.

    I disagree with their assertion that causation is a reasonable conclusion. There could be an underlying variable causing the increase in "nones" that is correlated to internet use.

    The other issue is that more "nones" will happen just due to the population asymmetry if change is in the air. In a simple model of a population with 80% religious and 20% non-religious, if a factor (internet use) shuffled the deck in a purely random manner such that uniformly 10% changed affiliation, after 1 iteration there would be 74% religious and 26% non-religious. Because the religious group is so much bigger, uniform random change will drain that group. The author did show that the change was not purely random, but the effect could explain the 50% not explained by the variables tested.

    Either way, causal or not, the trend is real. Since numbers matter (political influence), this may be troubling for some religious people. Others won't care because they like the exclusivity of being in a smaller group of people that are "right".

    April 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • new-man

      I think many would agree that in the U.S. once the term "religious" is used, what comes to mind is a 'legalistic-conservative-political-christian' who are known more for what they're against than for what they are for.
      I believe those with a genuine desire to be disciple of Jesus want to disassociate themselves from any or all of these labels that being "religious" falls under.
      While it is true that there is an increasing trend toward being "non-religious", I agree with your point that "There could be an underlying variable causing the increase in "nones" that is correlated to internet use."

      This is another point I agree with: "Since numbers matter (political influence), this may be troubling for some religious people."
      Actually, I was thinking this may be troubling for political parties that use the "religious" for their own gain, though I do concede your point that it may also prove troubling for some religious people/organizations.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • bostontola

        new-man,
        We agree again. I like the trend.
        : )

        April 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • new-man

          my Sheldon smile of agreement are being moderated. ^o^

          April 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        new-man, good points.

        April 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • new-man

          Blessings friend!
          Thanks.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
      • ausphor

        How are you newman.
        So if you were asked in a poll would you identify yourself as religious or spiritual but not religious, I would imagine the latter.

        April 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • new-man

          you would be correct in your imaginings ausphor.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • ausphor

      bostontola
      I wonder if there is a correlation on the availability of access to the internet in the bible belt as compared with the rest of the country. Can you imagine what a home schooled child in the bible belt may have learned in a redneck or a creationist household.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    the internet is killing religion dead.
    why?
    fact-checking.
    people with doubts no longer have to just take the priest's word for it.
    they can go home and look up what the minister said,
    see other perspectives on the subject aside from the blindly devout.
    i'm 44 and became an atheist at 15.
    i remember as a kid going into bookstores and not finding a single book on atheism - and that was in los angeles.
    non-belief wasn't represented.
    it's hard to choose atheism when religion seems like your only choice.
    with the internet today, religion is not the only choice.

    April 9, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • Salero21

      Boo hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo poor bootyfunk he/she has a boo-boo since he was 15!!

      April 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        save your tears for the death of religion...

        April 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Salero21

          You're the one boohooing not me!! God is going to Establish His KINGDOM and Religion have nothing to do with it.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          yawn.
          same old dribble christians have been spouting since the religion reared it's ugly head.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • new-man

          Salero,
          you're correct, the establishment of the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with religion. So all around good news!

          April 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • igaftr

          "the establishment of the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with religion"

          It has everything to do with imagination.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • iamyourgod2014

          Bootyfunk, I like the name, anyway, this is god. I need your help. I keep trying to reach out to my believer Salero21. He keeps ignoring me. I have told him to keep spreading the word from the good book exactly the way it appears. Jesus and I were trolling around the internet (like who the h-e-double-hockey sticks came up with the internet!!!! what a fan-tab idea I can't believe it wasn't me, hardy har har) anyway like i was saying, jesus and i were trolling and saw a bunch of comments that Salero21 was making, and he keeps insisting that every non-believers intrepretation of the good book is wrong and he keeps trying to correct them. AND-he keeps ignoring me, the good lord. Can you believe that me and jesus reach out after 2000 years, and he says -nothing??? Me and Jesus and Noah, and the virgin up here, we don't like them Chrisitan apologetics. And yes sometimes we speak with Texan accents in heaven!!! love god

          April 10, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • sm5574

        Well, I guess you told him!

        April 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • sm5574

          That was directed at the ever-mature Salero21.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
      • totot57

        Salero, that was of course the dumbest response you could come up with. congratulations...

        April 9, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • Salero21

      Pooh-pooh, boo-hoo, poor bootyfunk at 44 he/she doesn't know yet that atheism been around for centuries. The Scriptures just calls them Unbelievers or Idolaters, because usually they go hand in hand. See... this is why I have no other choice but to say again that atheism is Total Stupidity.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • sm5574

        The fact that you think idolaters (those who WORSHIP idols) equals atheists (those who have no religious beliefs) shows that you aren't nearly as intelligent as you think you are.

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

          @sm5574
          talking to salero is like talking to an inanimate object that is something brain-damaged.

          @salero
          "poor bootyfunk at 44 he/she doesn't know yet that atheism been around for centuries."
          +++ salero doesn't know atheism and non-belief has been around for millennia, not just centuries. and did you know all humans are born atheists? even you, solero, before your brainwashing, were once an atheist. isn't that lovely?

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

      Fact checking on the internet? My goodness, I thought people long ago realized that finding a web page to support a position on the internet meant very little. Wait, I know that isn't true. People love confirmation bias and the internet is great for that. Have a particular viewpoint, somewhere someone on the internet agrees with you.

      Now, if you want to find books on atheism in a book store, are you seriously telling me you couldn't find you way to the philosophy section (Which I am quite sure that the better book stores in L.A. would have had, even before the internet)?

      April 9, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Akira

        He said that 29 years ago there wasn't any representation like there is today.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • MarylandBill

          Of course there was. Why is it that every generation is convinced that it is the first to question the status quo. Any decently stacked philosophy shelf in a book store is going to include writers like Russell, Sartre and Nietzsche. And that would have been true 29 years ago and even 50 years ago. And what is more, their arguments are stronger than anything you find online or that you find on popular book stores today.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          " And what is more, their arguments are stronger than anything you find online or that you find on popular book stores today."
          +++ in what way? have you read hitchens or dawkins? how can you make such a blanketing statement?

          and you're being unrealistic to think bookstores that didn't want to offend the majority of the population wouldn't have taken a pass on books about atheism. in fact, you're being ridiculous. 30 years ago ozzy was taken to court over his 'satanic' lyrics.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Salero21

          Oh there you go again Sharkira, trying to pontificate for bootyfunk yet again. Does he/she really needs you to change her/his pampers?

          April 9, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        "Fact checking on the internet? My goodness, I thought people long ago realized that finding a web page to support a position on the internet meant very little. Wait, I know that isn't true. People love confirmation bias and the internet is great for that. Have a particular viewpoint, somewhere someone on the internet agrees with you."
        +++ apparently you don't think it's possible to check facts via the internet. sure, there's lots of c.rap on the internet, but there's good stuff too. you can always find someone to agree with you, but it is also possible to thoroughly investigate subjects via the internet. you may not believe it, but "facts" do exist on the web. sure, don't believe everything you read - but your advice sounds like don't believe anything you read.

        "Now, if you want to find books on atheism in a book store, are you seriously telling me you couldn't find you way to the philosophy section (Which I am quite sure that the better book stores in L.A. would have had, even before the internet)?"
        +++ hard to believe that in 1985 bookstores wouldn't carry books on atheism? really? how old are you? (serious question) times have changed. outlooks on religion have changed. modern authors now write on religion. wasn't easy for atheist authors to even find a publisher back then.

        here's how the conversation with the bookstore employee went:
        me: "i didn't see any books on atheism in the religion or philosophy section."
        him: "yeah, i don't think we carry any."
        me: "wow, that's kind of offensive."
        him: "yeah, i think that's why we don't carry them. we don't want to offend people."

        April 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • ausphor

          Booty...
          I find it hilarious that the bible belt crowd burned their original copies of the early Beatle albums that would be worth a small fortune now. Christians, LOL.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • totot57

          Fact checking on the internet?
          Talk to some reference librarians. Easy peasy... Plenty of good sites. Try religionfacts.com

          April 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • jamesfeagin

      Do not necessarily agree with the validity of "fact checking" on the internet. The reason being is that most religious systems along with humanists/secularists have ample websites dedicated to proving each other wrong. In this war of ideas, I think those who are searching are more confused than ever.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        you don't think it possible to fact-check? really?

        and the other part is that all opinions can now be heard. before the internet, it was hard to find anything but a religiously biased opinion.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
  4. Salero21

    Because men of reason and reasonable men don't give atheists the time of the day they think they are owed. The only way left for them [atheists] is to resort to social/political ideologies/philosophies like, communism, fascism and socialism to try to impose by hook or crook their absurd.

    They have a very big problem; and it's that History IS NOT on their side!!

    The main reason atheists turn to communism/fascism and socialism is because they HATE the Fact that it is God who granted and gave man the right/privilege to have/own properties, and to transfer these properties and goods, as inheritances to their children or whoever they wish.

    In particular they [atheists] HATE God's Commandments as stated in Scriptures.
    Ex. 20:15 "You shall not steal.
    Ex. 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

    April 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Salero21

      Atheists are extremely hypocritical, compulsive pathetic and pathological Liars.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
      • bostontola

        I think you are brilliant.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Salero21

          Huh can't disprove neither refute what I said!!

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

          i did just below on this same post. gave you stats shows how wrong you are. but christians aren't big on facts, are they?

          April 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Salero21

          @bootyfunk,,

          Facts!!! Facts like Statistics can be and are extremely easy to manipulate to make them fit whatever Agenda there is. Also studies, reports, "polls" can be and are constantly made to order; Custom Made to fit whatever the Agenda of those who PAID for the Study/Report/Poll to be made. See... you're a Prime example as to why I must keep saying, (simply because there is no other choice given your arguments). That atheism is Total Stupidity!!

          April 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          christians hate facts. want proof? read anything posted by solero.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Salero21 wrote
      "Because men of reason and reasonable men don't give atheists the time of the day they think they are owed."

      now that made me laugh. really no reason to read any more of your post when you make such a ridiculous statement. you are one of 3 things: a troll, brain-washed or brain-damaged.

      "In 2009, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press polled members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on belief in a higher power. The National Academy of Science charted belief in God as low as 5.5 percent among biologists and 7.5 percent among physicist and astronomers in a 1998 study."
      http://news.discovery.com/tech/are-scientists-atheists.htm

      April 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • Salero21

        JAJAJA... oops... pardon me... I meant to say HAHAHA. Your quoting only part of the article, taking it out context, is prove once again why men of reason and reasonable men don't give atheists the time of the day they [atheists] think they deserve and are owed. Like Neil deGrasse said in one of his shows; "It takes IMAGINATION to try to demonstrate the tenets of evolutionary "science". Yet here we have atheists arguing that our Faith is imaginary. Really, really people!!

        April 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          i only quoted part of the article for the sake of brevity - which is why i also posted the website, so you could go and read the entire article yourself. could you be dumber? seriously.
          and what was taken out of context? i posted the part of the article relevant to what i was saying. i could have posted more, as all of it backs me up, not you.
          have you taken your meds today?

          April 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • kanneroo

        Despite what anyone may believe, you clearly misrepresent that article (thanks for giving the link, by the way), which clearly says that 51% of those polled believe in a "higher power". Yes, you gave the OTHER numbers, the ones which more clearly support your position, but this number says the American Association for the Advancement of Science has a number of members who are not atheists, which, if my math is correct, is still a very slim majority.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          ummm...
          "polled members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on belief in a higher power. The study found that 51 percent of members polled expressed such a faith, compared to 95 percent of the American public"
          +++ how do those numbers also not back me up? i could have posted this too, as it shows that scientists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science are non-believers at a MUCH higher rate than the general public: 51% belief vs. 95% belief. that confirms exactly what i said. scientists believe at a much lower rate, certain scientists more than others.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And God decreed that pagans, apostates, heathen and other assorted heretic are property to be owned and inherited.

      "However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way."

      (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      April 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • sm5574

        Just proves that the USA allied with Satan when it outlawed slavery.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • Salero21

          JAJAJA... oops... pardon me... I meant to say... HAHAHA. The US of A made a Pact with Satan way at the beginning, NOT by abolishing the type of Slavery being practiced back then in some parts of the Country then. Your Complete ignorance and extreme hypocrisy about the matter is one more piece of Evidence of the Absolute, Complete and Total Stupidity of atheism/evolutionism and Idolatry.

          And of course in your extreme hypocrisy, complete Ignorance and pathological lying. You choose to ignore that worst or same is still going on here and in the rest of the world.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • sm5574

          Salero21, you do not seem to know the definition of hypocrisy. Before you retort that you do, you need to provide evidence of what you call my hypocrisy.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Salero21

        Oh here we go with one of the most extreme hypocrites that atheism could have ever bring to the table, Doc Vestibule. Really, really!! Can you read beyond the 6th grade level? Because if you could you would notice that the Law was given to Israel NOT to the US of A or any other nation.

        You also ignore out of mere convenience that WE ARE NOT under that Law. Neither is the US, any other Country much less the church. And of course you try to cover the Sun with your hand, like if that is going to obscure the whole earth to the Facts that more and worst is still going on in the world and in the US.

        In your extreme hypocrisy and pathological lying you supinely ignore that it was much worst in other civilizations/cultures back then. As well as it was in certain parts of Europe during the Feudal period and of course in the US of A. I probably could bet and win, that you are completely clueless about the Fact, that the current Military service of the US is really and Indentured Servitude.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          You said:
          "it is God who granted and gave man the right/privilege to have/own properties, and to transfer these properties and goods, as inheritances to their children or whoever they wish."

          I merely pointed out that God considered human being to be properties to be transferred as inheritances to people's children or whoever they wish.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • sm5574

          The issue isn't whether we are still under the Law; the issue is that God declared it to be the Law in the first place. Should humans EVER be treated as slaves? Is it EVER acceptable for a child to be stoned to death simply for disobeying his parents? Is it EVER acceptable for an army to kill children and livestock just because they happen to live in a captured land? Not only did God command that those things be done, but he declared King Saul his enemy when he refused to do so. The issue isn't the Law; the issue is the God who made the Law.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      Sombrero 6 &1/2, your 'god" never did anything. It simply doesn't exist, except in your warped mind. You have shown us the face of your christianity, and it is lacking in compassion, truthfulness, understanding and intelligence. Loosen up that sombrero on your head, it's squeezing out what brain cells you have left, if you had any to begin with. Oh, did I insult you? Good, it was deliberate. But you have to be a good christian and turn the other cheek so I can smack it as well.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • Salero21

        More Evidence on top of more Evidence that atheism is Total Stupidity forevermore.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • totot57

      Look folks, this salero guy has had a very bad day. Probably a fatty diet on top. He might be a smoker. He's definitely a self appointed mouth piece for the glory of his-self [sic, hahaha].

      Just leave him be. He's really not up to a discussion and instead just tries to insult people and make them feel his anger over his own misery.

      I know, I know, it's terrible when facts and reality close in on someone who is not equipped to handle it.

      April 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  5. Salero21

    Whaaat!!! More Evidence on top of more Evidence that atheism/evolutionism and idolatry are Absolutely, Completely and Totally out of whack!!! Who would've ever thought? Even in Hollywood of all places on earth, atheists have lost. Only the hom.ose.xuals and idolaters appear to be having any say in Hollywood these days. If that is not a clear indication that men of reason and reasonable men do not give atheists the time of the day, then; What else?

    April 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • fintronics

      Oh saltshaker! you're back to spread more of your comedy through ignorance and bigotry! ....yea! more more!!

      April 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        just out for a troll?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Salero21

        Can't disprove or refute what I said huh?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          asking others to disprove something you haven't yet proven?

          April 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Join with me Salero21! Hasa Diga Eebowai!

      April 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
      • Akira

        Kinda liked you better as Servant of the Slave, CS.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Hasa Diga Eebowai

          I know I am just bored. I thought it was funny name. Do you get the name?

          April 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  6. joey3467

    They had bronze-age materialists that subscribe to the same philosophy you share with others today. It is nothing new or amazing. I don't think they were quite as arrogant, rude or egotistical as the modern spin

    That is because someone would have killed them.

    April 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  7. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    "We can blame the Internet for plenty: the proliferation of po-rn, ..." Unquote.

    Indeed, there is a high temptation to watch po-rns on the Internet. But, I guess, Americans yet abused TV for watching certain movies, when the Germans still had got no TV. Actually, every technical medium can be abused, even print media (po-rn magazine).

    How to escape "watching po-rns on the Internet"? Don't have it at home where you are alone, and no human observes you, but use it at the internet cafe or any library. Few of us will be so clinical that they would dare to watch po-rns at a public place. Internet is only dangerous, if we use it at a lonely place.

    It is just a matter of handling. The Internet can be of great benefit for the one who uses it with wisdom. There are also sites about faith, Jesus, etc.

    Monday I have published an article about the drought in Bavaria and God, and immediately got a very high ranking on "google". If a Bavarian enters "Trockenheit, Bayern", he or she will certainly find my article including some statements about our current society worldwide and God's judgement. Ain't that positive?

    April 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Chancey

      We can also blame the internet for the proliferation of bigoted folks like you.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        But then you could blame all media ever existed.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Akira

          Doubtful as many people would have read your thoughts on herding gay people into concentration camps without the net.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Alias

          The germans knew what they were doing was wrong, and they hid the facts from the public. It wasn't until the allies liberated the concentration camps that the truth finally came out.
          The more people read the stuff RHB posts, the sooner it will go away.

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

          Rainman
          You know that you can practice your blackjack strategies on the net, for free.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • Doris

      "po-rns on the Internet."

      you mean like "here a po-rn, there a po-rn, everywhere a po-rn po-rn"?

      April 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • Alias

        I have found some really good po.rn without even looking for it.
        Isn't the internet a wonderful thing!

        April 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • mk

      The fact that humans try so hard to seek out a means of viewing a naked body just goes to show how repressed our society is about shame, thanks in most part to religion.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Akira

        In the US, the states that view the most porn are the most religious ones.

        Don't know what that says....

        April 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • joey3467

          It means that a lot of them don't actually believe what they claim to. If you thought the ruler of the universe was watching you and would punish you for eternity for breaking one of its rules would you ever break one of them? I wouldn't even break my parents rules when I thought they might find out and they couldn't punish me nearly as much as believers claim god can.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      Rabid Rainey spwews his christian love of humasnkind once again. Feel the love, folks? Hypocraiy at it's worst, christian compassion at it's best...just like the inquisition times. Rainey is a complete buffon, slightly more intelligent than his partner in christianity, Sombrero21, the 21 his IQ.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        opps, humankind. I'm not a typist, sorry.

        April 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
  8. Hasa Diga Eebowai

    God has been busy overseeing the stabbing of 20 people at a school in Pittsburgh today. Good work god. Hasa Diga Eebowai.

    April 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • Alias

      It doesn't matter how often you post this crap, or how many names you troll under.
      Suffering does not disprove the christian god.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  9. moderatedx

    While the internet is full of lies it does a great job of spreading information. Yes, we have to educate ourselves as to what to believe, but this speaks to religion also, The internet simply makes the questions around each religion more accessible, more debatable to a wider audience and, therefore, more relevant.

    If you have questioned and still believe, good for you. If you questioned and no longer believe, good for you. But if you simply believe and have not questioned, you are not truly devout and are simply a sheep for the fleecing.

    April 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  10. colin31714

    I would love to get a group of children, expose them to no supersti.tion (such as Jesus rising from the dead and hearing prayers in heaven today) and with until they have a firm grounding in science and natural history.

    Then, throw a Bible (or Torah or Koran, if you prefer) in front of them at age 19 and see how far you get in trying to convince them that some Bronze Age Jewish sky-deity, or its Christian or Islamic derivative, is behind the whole thing .lol.

    April 9, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • Alias

      Are you suggesting a month long retreat to a Buddhist monastery would not change the way Theo Phileo sees the world?

      April 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • joey3467

        The only thing that is going to change how Theo views the world is if he goes blind.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • colin31714

        lol. Theo, I expect you would see it as proof that the end times were upon us. Some poor Buddhist monk would end up in a hastily constructed lake of fire.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • mk

      As the mother of a 19 year old, I can assure you the phrase WTH? would be used in good context.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      They had bronze-age materialists that subscribe to the same philosophy you share with others today. It is nothing new or amazing. I don't think they were quite as arrogant, rude or egotistical as the modern spin you personally choose to apply to it. There is nothing new or earth shattering with what you share.

      The fact that you still continue to be the living example of what Einstein called the "fanatical atheist" is interesting:

      "I was barked at by numerous dogs who are earning their food guarding ignorance and superst.ition for the benefit of those who profit from it. Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims."

      You basically act like the religious people you claim to be superior to. Come on, ol man!

      April 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
      • Chancey

        OMG. Shut up.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • colin31714

        Dalahast:

        To use an analogy I have posted before (which is based on something I heard Sam Harris say in an interview). Imagine if you lived in the Dark Ages when most people believed in witches. A good deal of daily life was spent engaged in rituals to fend off withes and every Sunday morning most of the town gathered together in a ceremony related to witchcraft. Further, all diseases were believed to be caused by witches and their spells, storms and other natural events were attributed to witches and mental illness was explained by possession by witches.

        Now imagine if you were part of a small group (about 10%) of the population that did not believe in witches. Instead, you believed that disease was caused by an unknown, but entirely natural cause and that the rituals performed every day or week by your community did not have any effect to alter natural events (such as bringing the rains or preventing violent storms) nor did they ward off witches.

        Now imagine if the 90% of the population also believed it was immoral or at least highly suspect not to believe in witches, that "In Wizards We Trust" was printed on your money, that community leaders made regular allusions to witches in their speeches and that you were regarded as “angry,” or “bitter” or "arrogant" for being skeptical of the whole witchcraft thing.

        Now, I don't believe in miracles, ghosts, devils, saints, gods, angels, prayers being heard, Jesus still existing, or any of the other supernatural material that comprises Christianity. As a Christian, and based on your posts, you seem to believe in some or all of this. I regard such beliefs as childish and weak. I am sorry, but they are. They are no more sophisticated than beliefs in witches, goblins and pixies. They just happen to be more popular.

        Now before you respond and say "you think you know what I believe but you don't," I am basing this on what you yourself post. You tend to be very fluid in what you say you believe when challenged.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is a cute analogy.

          I live in 2014. And most religious people don't believe in a "sky fairy" or "bronze age beliefs" like you insist.

          In fact, as Neil deGrasse Tyson most religious people fully embrace science.

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k&w=640&h=390]

          So, I see evidence that you are a bigot. I think others have tried to distance themselves from you and your dying new atheist proselytizing. People like you certainly demonstrated to me that atheists can be just as as the religious people I used to stereotype like you do.

          How are you not a bigot? Because you write tests with loaded questions that prove your biases? That you imagine you are saving young people from belief systems different from yours?

          I don't think most young people want to be like you: a man that holds on to his old ideas and copy/pastes them over and over.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • fintronics

        Dala, our resident hypocrite .... ranting in one post complaining about anti-theists, and posting his anti-atheist rant in another.... but no surprise, religion is all about hypocrisy...

        April 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Akira

          He is doing tit for tat. That's all...

          April 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          And apparently atheism is capable of being filled with hypocrites, too. The evidence don't lie!

          April 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm really not anti-athiest.

          I just stand up and point out the hypocrisy of bigots who happen to be atheists. Many of them cling to their atheism like a religious person clings to religion, so they get defensive of atheism. Oh well.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Akira

          I rest my case.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • fintronics

          @dala "There is a lot of religion that run contrary to the will of God"

          And allow me to point out the arrogant believers who claim to know the mind of god.

          April 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  11. Theo Phileo

    The increase in the "nones" is prophetic fulfillment.

    1 Timothy 4:1-2 – But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron

    2 Thessalonians 2:3 – (speaking of the Day of the Lord) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first...

    April 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • igaftr

      How is that prophetic. It claims demons and deceitful spirits, which you cannot show to exist, so does not fullfil any prophecy at all.

      It is not surprising to see self affirming stuff in your book. After all it was meant to be progpoganda.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • joey3467

      Yo didn't need to be very smart to realize that there would be people who don't believe the nonsense in the Bible, the fact that you consider that a prophecy is highly amusing.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Jude 4-5 – For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

      2 Peter 2:1-2 – But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • igaftr

        How is quoting from your man-made, possibly satan inspired book helping?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • Doris

        Of course most NT scholars agree that Peter did not author Peter 2.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        ' The age of evil has come to the world . Everyone steals and hoards great wealth, and sensual sin rules the day. The end of the world is at hand – yet men are hard and cruel, and listen not to the doom that is coming . No one heeds the cries of his neighbour, or lifts a hand to save. '

        – The Ragnarok ( Ancient Norse prophecy, C 1000 CE )

        April 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      2 Timothy 3:1,13 – But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come… But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • igaftr

        It has been the "last days" for millenia now.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          As intelligent as you are, surely you can recognize a Hebraism.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Akira

          How does that apply to Christians?

          April 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          I don't see what that has to do with Hebrew, and don't call me surely.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          OK, great "Airplane" reference!
          The term "last days" is a Hebraism. In context, it references the teaching that since we are waiting for no other prophecy to be fulfilled before the "catching away" of Christ's church. This is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and in 2 Corinthians 12:2.

          It is the "last days" in that it could happen at any moment. There are indicators as we see the season drawing closer (the apostasy), but no other prophecy is to be fulfilled. We are not looking for a sign of the event, we are looking for the event.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Akira

          In other words, the last days have been imminent since the beginning days.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
          —1 John 2:18

          Yep – it's been "the last hour" for somewhere around 17.5 million hours.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "In other words, the last days have been imminent since the beginning days."
          -----------
          No, just since the Church Age.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • moderatedx

        Harold Camping, is that you?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
  12. colin31714

    Judeo-Christians can no longer exercise a monopoly on what kids are taught. I recall growing up that I had never met an atheist until well into high school. Now kids are exposed to enlightened views much earlier and much more often.

    The penetrating force of reason will continue to pierce deep into the heart of entrenched religious supersti.tions until children view Jesus and his alleged superhuman acts as simple mythology, no more sophisticated than the magic in a Harry Potter novel.

    April 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "Now kids are exposed to enlightened views"
      -------------
      Sounds like the gnosticism that plagued Colosse in the 1st century. (Acts 8:9-24)
      The idea being that people learn to free themselves via “the revelation" or "enlightenment." Gnostic movements subject all morality to the caprice of the individual, and make any fixed rules of faith impossible...

      April 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • joey3467

        So?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          So? Gnosticism is one of a vast number of ideas that essentially attempts to elevate man to the level of God... It is a version of the very first lie. "You shall be like God..." It is what destroyed Satan, and it is what cast this world into sin.

          It redefines conversion by promising enlightenment – "your eyes shall be opened" – through a transformation of consciousness – an “awakening” by using things like transcendental meditation which is content-less meditation or by using a trance-like state of mind, or by using drugs...

          It also redefines morality by telling you that "you shall be like God, knowing good and evil." ideas of "good" and "evil" are determined without any reference to God. Many modern spiritual teaching says that evil doesn’t actually exist so that they can get rid of the issue of sin.

          In essence, it damns the follower by substi.tuting themselves for God, and elevates their own whims while attempting to remove a moral standard outside of their own desires.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • joey3467

          Once again So? Can you prove them wrong without using the Bible to make your case?

          April 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Sure. Moral relativism doesn't exist in reality. If it did, how do you reconcile contradicting claims to truth? Is one right and one wrong? Are both right? Or are both wrong? How do you know?

          April 9, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
      • G to the T

        To be fair "gnostics" covers a HUGE diverse population of early christian faiths, not just one "school" as it were.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • G to the T

          Oh! And it could be argued that Paul's brand of christianity wasn't that far off the "gnostic" reservation. After all, it's possessing the "special knowledge" that Jesus was god and died for your sins that brings salvation in this view. Not much different in that light, but very, very different in other ways certainly.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Oh! And it could be argued that Paul's brand of christianity wasn't that far off the "gnostic" reservation. After all, it's possessing the "special knowledge" that Jesus was god and died for your sins that brings salvation in this view. Not much different in that light, but very, very different in other ways certainly."
          -------------
          Actually, no, it cannot be argued that way at all. Gnostics didn't believe that Jesus was God, because they felt that divinity was present in many eminations... In Colossians, Paul delivers a slap in the face to gnosticism by saying that "...it was the Father's good pleasure for ALL THE FULLNESS TO DWELL IN HIM..." (emphasis added) By those words, Paul dispells any notion that divinity was anywhere other than in Christ ALONE...

          April 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          True their theology/cosmology was very different from what Paul believed, but the core idea that "special knowledge" (i.e. faith) is necessary for salvation, not good intentions/deeds, etc.

          I'm not saying modern christians are gnostics, except perhaps in the VERY technical sense, in that they claim to have knowledge (gnosis) of the existence of god, etc.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • Akira

        Aren't Christians always claiming "spiritual" revelation?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • guidedans

      "enlightened views"

      It's ironic because the views that you are suggesting are "enlightened" are actually farthest from the light.

      You can be the master of your own destiny, and you can reap exactly what you sow. Or, you can let God take the reins and start bearing fruit for the Lord.

      Do you realize that, do to the 1st law of thermodynamics says that you cannot add or remove mass or energy from a closed system? You cannot add anything to this world that was not already here long before you got here. What good do you expect to do on the Earth if you can even add or remove from it?

      April 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Closed system" being the critical point in that first law. What "closed system" are you refering to when you say "the world"? I'm not aware of any down here...

        April 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • guidedans

          I was talking about the closed system of the universe.

          All you can do is move stuff around in this universe.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • G to the T

          Universe is closed system – that's probably true. But not really what you said was it?

          "What good do you expect to do on the Earth if you can even add or remove from it"

          April 9, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • guidedans

          GttT,

          For all intents and purposes, the Earth and our solar system is as closed a system as it gets for us. We get energy from the sun, tons of rocks fall onto the Earth form space daily, etc. None of it really matters though because people themselves cannot add or subtract things from this system even if it were not closed.

          What I am saying is that, if you really cannot add or subtract anything from the world, and morality is relative, i.e., no absolute good or bad, then does it really matter what you do? Really not a lot of purpose in that scenario.

          April 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans

          Morality of any group is relative to them, but that's not to say there might not be absolute good or bad.

          We just can't pinpoint where those absolute morals come from. It's certainly not the Bible with its slavery and discrimination. It seems to depend more on intelligence and compassion.

          April 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • joey3467

        I expect to do as much good as I can while I am alive.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • guidedans

          What "good" can you do here? All you can do is move atoms around. Change some oxygen to CO2. Move some wood to make a house. Move some air to make noise.

          You can't add or remove from this world. What do you hope to do here?

          April 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • G to the T

          "You can't add or remove from this world. What do you hope to do here?"

          There you go again. Yes the universe may be a closed system but the Earth isn't.

          So what exactly is your point?

          April 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • joey3467

          Whatever I can to help make the world a better place to live in.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
  13. thefinisher1

    Atheism will always lose so....😊

    April 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • Doris

      As I said before, I'm not an expert on butthurtedness, but you might give Prep-H a try...

      April 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • fintronics

      It's not a contest...

      April 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Doc Vestibule

    Ubiquitous, instant global communication has allowed us to conquer the Curse of Babel.
    For the first time in history, average people are able to explore foreign cultures by interacting with members of those societies instead of relying on second hand accounts.
    Sociological evolution is leading us away from insular, sectarian and thus divisive worldviews (like most religions).
    Slowly but surely, the "us vs. heathens" mentality is eroding, opening up avenues for cooperation that previously were blocked by short-sighted and judgemental atti/tudes.
    In a world of unfettered access to information, the realities of moral relativism are apparent – and with that comes the realization that those who believe differently than you aren't inherently immoral or in need of spiritual "saving".

    April 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • colin31714

      I watched a doc.umentary on integrated schools in Northern Ireland. After a few months, the kids hardly even thought about who was a Catholic and who was a Protestant, as friendships and puppy love reached across the religious divide.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I live in a townhouse complex in Toronto..
        The families are Hindu, Christian, Nordic pagan and irreligous (the latter being my family).
        All the kids from the complex play together in the back field and are in and out of each other's houses all the time – and none of them care a whit about race or religion.
        And neither do us parents.
        As a middle class, causasian, 2nd generation Canadian I am the minority in my neighbourhood – and in 5 years, I'll be the minority in this city.
        That's a good thing, imho.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • igaftr

          I love Toronto Doc, I'm your neighbor, In Rochester.
          Fun town you have there.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • Alias

      If only those foreigners would hurry up and learn English!
      Then we could educate them on how the world is supposed to work.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • guidedans

      Doc,

      Have you really thought through "the realities of moral relativism"?

      Moral relativism is basically saying that anything could be moral so long as the society agrees on it. I can think of numerous societies that agreed on certain things being moral (e.g., child sa.crifice, female circu.mcision, rap.e of young boys, genocide of a minority, etc.) that I am pretty sure are not actually moral.

      Moral relativism has the potential to create a world of tremendous strife. I am sure you realize that large groups of people can agree to do very bad things. I do not think you should put morality in the hands of any group of people.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • joey3467

        So is it bad when god commands the armies of Israel to commit genocide in the Old Testament, or is it good. Please note that if it was good when god did it, it also has to be good when Hitler did it, or you are arguing for relative morality.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • guidedans

          Scenario 1:
          You make a building. You own this building. One day, you want to tear it down to build a new building.

          Scenario 2:
          Someone else makes a building. They own that building. One day, you feel like you don't like this building so you blow it up.

          Are those the same actions taking place? Yes, in both situations, the building got torn down, but in one of them, the owner had the right to tear down the building and in the other, the bomber did not have that right.

          God has the right to do with creation whatever He pleases. His creations do not have the right to act like God does.

          There is no moral relativism here.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • mk

          Are you really comparing the destruction of a building to slaughtering masses of people?? Ouch.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • guidedans

          Are you really comparing the actions of God, the creator of the universe, the end and the beginning, the omnipotent ruler of life to those of man?

          Ouch!

          April 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • joey3467

          It is a yes or no question. If morals are not relative then genocide is either always wrong or always right. If you have to come up with reasons why it is o.k. in one instance and not another then you are arguing that morals are relative.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • mk

          Are you implying that it's okay for your god to destroy people but not for men to do the same? Isn't your god all-loving and perfect? Why would he kill his own creation? Did he make a mistake with that batch? And shouldn't he be setting a better example for his minions as leader of the universe? (Even the POTUS doesn't get a pass for smoking pot in college.)

          April 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • joey3467

          God does seem to be more of a do as I say and not as I do type of thing. God wants us to love our enemies while he gets to torture his for eternity in hell.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • guidedans

          Joey, your view of morality is too simple.

          Killing is always bad. Lying is always bad. Never steal anything. etc.

          You are not taking into consideration the context of the situation and who is doing the acting.

          God understands the full context of every situation and the full morality of a situation.

          Here's an example. I have a morality that says that I should never hurt another person. Then I become a doctor, and I have to administer vaccines, which will hurt the patient in the short term, but help them in the long run. Am I just stuck there? Can't do my job, so I have to quit and find a new one I guess.

          Morality is not as simple as "Never do X" or "Always do Y."

          Your expectation of understanding God's motives and rationality for doing what He does are misguided.

          Isaiah 55:8
          "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • guidedans

          Here's another analogy, you have a plant. A part of the plant gets a parasite. If you don't cut of the infected part of the plant, the entire plant will die. What do you do?

          Here's another, you have a flock of sheep. 3 sheep get rabies. You love these sheep, but they are sick and are going to die. Their death will be exceptionally painful as the sickness takes over. Also, if you don't kill them immediately, they may spread their sickness to other sheep and kill the whole flock. What do you do?

          Morality is not as simple as never prune plants or never kill parts of your flock. Sometimes you have to make decisions based on the full context of the situation.

          God know the contexts of all situations. It is not a "do as I say, not as I do." It is a "do as I command, because I know what is best."

          April 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • joey3467

          I can agree that if god exists he is certainly powerful enough to do whatever god wants to do, but that doesn't mean I have to agree that it was moral. If god ordered genocide then I think god acted immorally. You seem to be posting that might makes right, and that is not the least bit moral.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • guidedans

          I am not saying that might makes right. I am saying that God's eternal wisdom allows Him to see the best course of action in any situation. Thus, what may look to be immoral to you, may in fact be the most moral course of action.

          It is in God's character to only do good.

          April 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • joey3467

        Also if morals aren't relative then who decided that the rules for how to treat your slaves in the Old Testament were immoral?

        April 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Morality is a covenant by and for people that enables us to live together.
        A prime example of the reality of moral relativism is cannibalism.
        Our culture has a very strong cannibalism taboo, but it cannot be "human nature" or something "written on our hearts by God" to feel repulsed by it as virtually every branch of the human species has praticed it at some point in their development.
        The Aztecs believed in transubstantiation. They consumed their human sacrifices in the belief that the dead literally became a part of the God to whom they were given.
        Binerwurs in India ate the sick amongst them to please Kali.
        The Karankawa, an indigenous Texan tribe, ritualistically consumed their enemies to gain their strength.
        The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
        Indeed, Christians from the 1st Crusade consumed the fallen Arabs at Maarat.

        We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
        These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
        Religion binds communities by giving a common frame of reference.
        Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
        Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this. Christianity reveals this truth about ourselves most poignantly in the character of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace, charity, modesty and forgiveness – the traits most important to develop when living in a society.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • guidedans

          Doc,

          You bring up good points, but I think they fall short of proving the strength or truth moral relativism.

          I understand that there have been numerous cultures throughout the Earth's lifespan, and each one had varying views on different subjects.

          However, the number of different cultures does not mean that all are incorrect or that there is no one correct morality.

          You could say the same thing about astronomy. There have been thousands of different views on astronomy throughout the lifespan of the Earth. Some thought the world was in the center of the universe and some thought that the sky was just black paper that little birds flew through to make the stars.

          Just because there were multiple interpretations of the stars does not mean that there is no objective truth regarding the stars.

          Just because we don't agree on which set or morals is correct does not mean that there is no correct morality.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level.
          The simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival.
          The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family.
          The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger than the unit family — an extended family, a herd, a tribe...
          The next level in moral behavior is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
  15. G to the T

    I would acknowlege it easier to hold uninformed beliefs without the wealth of information/perspectives provided by the internet, but, in my experience, people create/decide on beliefs for emotional reasons and THEN find information/arguments to rationalize what they've already decided to believe.

    Perhaps this is why we are seeing more "nones" than full blow atheist/agnostics – the information is helping to challenge the specific rationalizations (i.e. specific religious beliefs) but not the basis of those beliefs (in "god" or whatever) themselves.

    April 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  16. mk

    If people become enlightened and evolved enough to think for themselves and are no longer interested in being bullied by fear, religion cannot exist.

    April 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  17. Dalahäst

    There is a lot of religion that run contrary to the will of God. The internet helps expose those aspects, than good. The way to God for me is through Jesus. Not religion.

    It is not just like I'm simply following some Bronze Age nonsense of Judeo-Christianity like certain anti-theists like to simply imagine.

    God is real, exists and is available. Seek and you will find. Follow Jesus and it will turn your world upside down. A self-described intellectual who ironically uses his own Bronze Age ideology and infantile belief system can hurl insults and claim he is superior til he turns red in his lily white face all he wants.

    April 9, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • igaftr

      Baseless belief Dala.
      You have no idea if there are any gods, or what those gods "will" is.
      You have belief, and I'm sure you have seduced yourself into belief that your belief is real, but it is baseless. You have no evidence of any gods, and anything you claim that is, would need to exclude all other possibilities, which you cannot do.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Eh, no. You have no idea of what I believe.

        You have faith in your opinions or the philosophies of some atheist website you obviously have been reading. You just feel that you are right. But really you don't know.

        April 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          Dala
          I do not read atheist sites. I simply know there is no logical basis for belief in any gods, let alone YOUR god.

          April 9, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm glad you know that.

          I think you just have faith in that, and don't really know that.

          I don't think you are nearly as logical as you imagine you are. Most people are not. Especially ones that are certain others have no logical basis for THEIR beliefs, but YOURS are sound. Sure.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Alias

          I have several good reasons to not believe in your bible.
          Once you understand that, te rest of the major religions will fail too.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • igaftr

          dala
          I believe that all possibilities exist until excluded, but considering any belief in any deities has no evidence at all, anywhere, it is illogical to simply choose ONE possibility and claim you know it is right.
          I know from your posts, you do not understand what logic truly is.

          Tell me, how did you exclude all other possibilities? If you did not, you do not know, so claiming you do when you cleraly do not, is illogical.
          You do not know what I believe in this regard, since I really do not have a defined belief. I am reserving leaping to an unjustified conclusion, since there is insuffiecient evidence of any possibility to make any conclusion. You have drawn a conclusion, where no conclusion can be logically made.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Ugh. I did the exact same thing you did, but drew a different conclusion.

          Just like millions do everyday.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • igaftr

          ugh. I did not draw a conclusion, you did, and that is where you failed.
          Once again, and I'll type slowly so you can understand, There is insufficient evidence to draw a conclusion.
          That is my point.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Good one.

          Not. Everyone. Draws. The. Same. Conclusion. As. You.

          The fact that there are people who demonstrate higher levels of understanding of logic than you (ie, people pay them big bucks for their logic skills) and conclude God is real, suggests to me you might be wrong.

          And your certainty that your way is the right way is troubling. But that is your problem. Not mine.

          I'm not the one insisting I know better than you. I only know what works best for me, so I share that. If I want to hear someone preach their way is the right way I'll listen to you or go to a right-wing fundamentalist religious convention.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          " and conclude God is real, suggests to me you might be wrong."

          That is because you have no grasp of logic. If you pay me big bucks, I will tell you whatever you want to hear, as anyone who has concluded any gods exist. They are simply not employing logic to get to that conclusion. There is no logic that can be applied to come to any conclusion.

          Considering I am employed quite nicely where they pay me for my logic, mathematical, and scince knowledge, I am quite well versed in identifying flawed logic, or non-logic, which is what you employ. NON-logic is where you jump to an unjustifyable conclusion and claim you did it logically.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm actually paid well for my logic and science skills, too. If I couldn't handle logic, I would have to work in a different field.

          I also have to know other disciplines, like art and music.

          Not all knowledge is obtained via logic, though.

          That is why people like Sam Harris and Colin often use analogies to try and get their point across. Jesus did that. As did many authors in the Bible.

          God is the author of science and logic. He transcends logic. He is not impressed with our small attempts at logic. And we are human beings, not logical beings. We fail at logic everyday. Even great logic masters like yourself.

          God is seeking your heart, not your mind. He can use your mind. But your heart and motives are more important. A computer can be programmed to be logical. But not to love like we can love.

          That is why so many stories in the Bible use the analogical form of understanding and reasoning.

          God transcends logic, science and mathematics. That is why logic, science and mathematics point to God for so many intelligent human beings.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • igaftr

          dala
          Again, no logic, nor science point to any "gods" at all. That is belief.
          There are simply too many other possibilities.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There is a possibility you are right. But not a good possibility.

          Logic and science are not exclusively on your side.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • G to the T

      I'm not sure if you are aware, but many of us were christians before becoming non-believers (of whatever stripe). So I can see where you are coming from, I just don't agree with your conclusions anymore.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        And it goes the other way, too.

        And many of us know and love many atheists. And are thankful most aren't as arrogant or egotistical as the Colin's of this internet atheist world.

        There were some actual atheists on this blog, ones that post the same kind of rants as Colin, who honestly thought this Onion article lampo.oned Christians, not irrational atheists.

        http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-church-full-of-brainwashed-idiots-feeds-town,34860/

        Holy cr/ap, that was scary they honestly thought it was Christians that were the target.

        April 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • G to the T

          "It goes both ways" – True and I oppose any beliefs that I don't believe are founded in reality. Certainty (in my opinion) is not a good thing to posses. Unfortunately, this is a quality held by the majority of believers and a significant number of non-believers.

          Certainty is the end of knowledge, not the beginning of wisdom.

          April 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Certainty often leads to arrogance.

          I see that from both sides, too.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • G to the T

          Then you can understand why I cringe when read statements like this:
          "God is real, exists and is available. Seek and you will find." For me, this is arrogance.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Sorry if that hurts your feelings. Our Const.itution guarantees me the right to have a relationship with God and share about such experiences.

          If I didn't think God was real I would be an atheist. But I don't. So I'm not.

          It is quite logical to hear people express belief in God on a blog dedicated to faith, belief and religion.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • G to the T

          "If I didn't think God was real I would be an atheist. But I don't. So I'm not."

          Correct. You are stating you are certain about the existence of something (i.e. Yahweh). I wouldn't be cringing if this was a declaration of faith, I'm cringing because you already have the answers (you are certain of the existence) and so further dialog will always be inhibited by that bias.

          It's the difference between "I believe god exists" and "God exists". Granted our language isn't the best as we (as a species) don't seem to like uncertainties, but I think it's an imporant distinction in these types of discussions.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm cringing because you seem so certain your opinion and knowledge is spot on.

          I believe God exists. In my experience, God exists. I don't care if some anti-theist cringes. Ones like you love to talk about God and flock to religion blogs like flies to light – so you should be smiling and happy to have somebody to engage in God talk with.

          Anyway, thanks for sharing your philosophy. And telling me how logical you imagine you are.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Ones like you love to talk about God and flock to religion blogs like flies to light – so you should be smiling and happy to have somebody to engage in God talk with."

          I'm not sure how I should take "ones like you", but I admit I enjoy my converstations with many of the theists and atheists and whatever around here.

          "Anyway, thanks for sharing your philosophy. And telling me how logical you imagine you are."
          I'm honestly not sure why you are resorting to back handed compliments and lumping me in with all of the other "ones like me" in a derrogatory manner. What have I done to you to deserve such treatment?

          April 10, 2014 at 9:19 am |
      • revrickm

        Well said, G to the T. Although I am not an atheist, the doors of inquiry opened wide via the Web and the Internet has provided a free (although not always civil) exchange of ideas for both sides of the discussion. I was once an evangelical Christian. Now I refer to myself as a "Christian by tradition", but I am no longer a "traditional Christian". Biblical scripture was not FAX'd down to us from heaven, it was written by culturally and socially biased humans who had their own agendas and their own primitive beliefs and understanding of who Christ was. While Biblical writers may have been "divinely inspired" they were not inerrant.

        April 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          They may also have been inspired by satan, which seems more likely considering the violent and destructive history of christianity, and how much is wrong in the bible.God would not have gotten so much wrong, and satan is loving the conflict, even with just trying to agree how to interpret it.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • revrickm

          Well, not being an evangelical, I do not believe in satan. There is enough evil in the world created by man, that satan is unnecessary.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          rev
          I see Satan as simply a metaphoric character, the living embodiment of all the potential within every man to do "evil" , played opposite the metaphoric Jesus, who is the living embodiment of the potential "good".
          Then throw in a generous portion of eastern philosophies, especially Buddha, then tie the whole thing back to the god of the OT, and BAM, you have the NT.

          In that regard, satan is working whenever one is working towrd "evil", such as the writers of the bible, writing a rule book for everyone else, which in itself a selfserving act, so "evil", So , from a metaphoric standpoint, Some of the bible was written by satan ( men acting in their own best interest) and also by Jesus ( men acting in an altruistic manner).

          The same applies in interpretation. Interpret for your own slef interest, such as those who try to claim being gay is bad...that interpretation comes from the satan side of man, while doing for others is coming from the Jesus side of man.

          It makes much more sense when you realize that satan and jesus are simply metaphors for all men, with both jesus and satan in each man.
          A fascinating belief system.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • revrickm

          igaftr – I can fully see your metaphorical concept. But I tend to see satan as simply a metaphor for the evil side of man. However, I do believe Jesus actually existed. Was he God, or did he become God as a part of the manufactured concept of the Holy Trinity? Not so much. I believe we are all children of God, but again only in a metaphorical sense that we come from a single Universal Source. By the way, this is not an endorsement of any supernatural, sky fairy. If God exists, He, She or It would be bound by the laws of physics and nature. There is no need to make God into a angry, vengeful deity. God simply is and He, She or If could care less if we "worship" Him, Her or It.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • G to the T

          Thanks you – I'm starting to lean away from the term "atheist" myself. Not because I'm not one, but because it only defines a very small part of my belief system. "Skeptic" is probably the best approximation for my overall beliefs these days.

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

          I understand what you are saying about Jesus, but I see the man as a base for the character, but like the legends around George Washington, the stories got embelished beyond reality, so left the man behind, and really do not truly represent the man.
          Those metaphors are very common in literature, the archtype antagonist/protagonist.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      " Seek and you will find."
      The sales pitch for spiritualists of all stripes at all times.

      Open your heart and mind to The Truth of (*INSERT RELIGION*) and your life will change for the better.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        The sales pitch of the internet atheist: "You simply believe in Bronze Age superst.itions, follow us, and spend your whole day railing against people who don't believe like us! You know, basically be an atheist that treats atheism like a religion. "

        And 14 year old boys and 50 year old shut in males rush in to support your cause.

        April 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • joey3467

          That is not what atheists believe, is that what you imagine they believe?

          April 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Unfortunately some do believe that.

          We (atheists included) call them "internet atheists". Some atheists call them "new atheists" and hope for that internet phenomenon to come to an end.

          It embarrasses them. So some atheists have expressed.

          April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Seek and you will find"

          I can understand your frustration, but this is possibly the worst quote from the bible to use in an argument. "See and you shall find' is pretty much the definition of confirmation bias.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          BS.

          It is my experience in actually seeking God that broke my preconceived notions of what God is and what it means to seek His will.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • igaftr

          dala
          You are confusing an atheist with an iconoclast.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Are you lumping me into that category?
          Never once have I referred to the Abrahamics as "bronze age superti/tion", nor do I use the term "sky fairy" or anything of the sort.
          Atheism describes only what I do not believe.
          Naturalism is the term for what I do believe.
          One man's magic is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • G to the T

          "It is my experience in actually seeking God that broke my preconceived notions of what God is and what it means to seek His will."

          I dont' doubt it. When I had my born again experience it was much the same. That's where the confirmation bias comes in. If I look through the OT looking for prophecies that point towards my understanding of Jesus, I will find them. But that doesn't mean that was the original intention.

          Certainty... again we come back to certainty. If certainty works for you, great. I don't believe it's a healthy way to live.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Why do you keep acting like you are so certain, then? Seems kind of hypocritical.

          I used to wear that 'hypocritical atheist know-it-all' shirt. Beware of those trying to sell such foolishness.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Doc Vestibule

          + Are you lumping me into that category?

          No. Sorry to confuse. That was for the Colin/doG of the internet atheist world. Not you.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Why do you keep acting like you are so certain, then?"

          Do I? I do have a high degree of confidence in many of the things I believe, but I can't recall making a lot of declairative statements.

          One area that I do have a fairly high confidence level in is around the evidence that the bible is probably not the inerrant word of Yahweh. I have have somewhat less confidence in the non-existence of Yahweh (though about on par with say "Zeus" or "Thor") specifcally and even less confidence in the possibilty of some kind of "god" somewhere.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Great for you. You sure do talk about God a lot.

          April 9, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Great for you. You sure do talk about God a lot."

          Thanks (I guess).

          I talk about beliefs alot. As religion is one of the most primary of those beliefs most people have and christianity is the majority religion of the country I live in, it often amounts to the same thing. I've spent the better part of the last 20 years studying world religions/philosophies, etc. because I think it's important to understand why people believe the things they do.

          May I ask why you visit this blog so often?

          April 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          To give sh.t to the religion-hating anti-theist bigots.

          April 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • G to the T

          "To give sh.t to the religion-hating anti-theist bigots"

          I'm sorry to hear that.

          April 10, 2014 at 9:23 am |
    • MidwestKen

      @Dalahast,
      "God is real, exists and is available."

      So you claim, but have yet to show it is true.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Right. I can't show you. You have to find it for yourself. If you honestly want to find God I can try to help.

        April 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • igaftr

          You would first have to find god yourself, which you have not done.
          I'm sure you believe you have, but since you have not excluded all other possibilities, all you would be doing is helping someone into your delusion.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • G to the T

          Again – most of us have "been there, done that, bought the t-shirt". I used to KNOW god existed and the bible was his WORD. I don't anymore. And I used the same "tools" you seem to use to do so.

          Certainty Dalahast, always beware certainty and those trying to sell it.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right, Igatr sounds certain he knows that I have no relationship with God or know of his existence.

          But that is just his faith. He can imagine he is certain.

          You sound certain "you've been there and done that" so you know what I'm experiencing. I'm extremely skeptical of that.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          no dala
          I am not questioning your experiences. I am questioning how you excluded all other possibilities to settle on a god, or your god.
          If you think your experiences were god, then how did you exclude the possibility it is actually satan...he's tricky you know.
          how did you exclude coincidence?
          How did you exclude Zeus ( or any of the thousands of other gods)?
          How did you exclude all of the possibilities you haven't even thought of yet?
          what evidence do you have that excludes ALL other possibilities?

          Since I am certain you have not excluded all possibilities ( since I know you cannot even think of all possibilities), you do not have enough information to drw a conclusion. THAT is what I am certain of.

          Do you see my point now?

          April 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • G to the T

          "You sound certain "you've been there and done that" so you know what I'm experiencing. I'm extremely skeptical of that"

          I can only go by own experiences and what you've decided to share with us here. Based on those 2 data sets, and a healthy dose of empathy, I got the feeling you had gone through a journey simliar to mine. If not, my bad, but I do think my comments stand on their own regardless.

          April 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @dalahast,
          So would it be more accurate to say that you think or believe that God is real?

          April 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • totot57

          I found a lose screw, right under my foot. Anyone want to claim ownership??

          April 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • totot57

          The other day I was looking for something very important. It wasn't physical, more like ethereal. But I know I put it somewhere.
          Thank goodness, guess what? I found it in my head. I am relieved.

          April 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
    • fintronics

      "There is a lot of religion that run contrary to the will of God"

      More arrogance to know the "will of god".... how laughable.

      April 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
  18. infanttheology

    I have a theory. Getting concrete about the effects that information technology *can* (among individuals this will wary, but I think in aggregate we can witness some pretty strong consistencies) have on us, I offer the following four things as food for thought, from part 7 of my open source paper available here: http://eprints.rclis.org/22750/ (this is a paper that I recently gave at a library technology conference, the slides for the presentation, "Big Data, Big Libraries, Big Problems?" can be found on SlideShare as well):

    1) information technology tempts us to overly simplify everything

    2) information technology tempts us to push real costs on to everyone else

    3) information technology tempts us to be more self-centered and to increasingly “commodify” the world

    4) information technology tempts us to forget how to do traditional yet valuable tasks – and tempts us to avoid attention-developing practices in general

    What connection might this have with religion? The church has always said "lex orendi, lex credendi", which basically means the law of prayer affects the law of belief, or practice impacts belief. I suggest that many of us realize that those four things above are true, and that to some degree, we feel ourselves implicated because of it. Guilt. That said, we love the benefits we feel too much too stop. As such, we subconsciously move away from God, and slowly find ourselves more estranged from him, even as the surprisingly alluring mechanical muse of information tech – which we love and hate – lures us ever closer.

    Nathan Rinne

    April 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "which basically means the law of prayer affects the law of belief, or practice impacts belief."

      Which is very similar to "a lie told often enough becomes true"...also known as self delusion.

      April 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  19. colin31714

    Here are 10 Commandments that every child should be taught – in lieu of silly Bronze Age rules about "no other gods before me".

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must. They can’t all be right.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    April 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
  20. colin31714

    I have been saying this for years. All of a sudden, children have access to different views and opinions, other than the silly Bronze Age nonsense of Judeo-Christianity. This is why I spend so much time and effort helping these kids escape the silly superst.itions of their parents.

    April 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • believerfred

      You actually have a fundamental hopelessness outside of your own emptiness. This is what you attempt to sell to children. Thor, the Easter bunny, sky daddy etc. never walked by my side trough the valley of the shadow of death. It was the presence of God which does not resemble any of your false visions or emptiness. This I know personally because I experienced it. This I know personally because I have walked with others in the same journey.

      There is a presence which is very real not emptiness which is also very real. Exactly how does a belief in emptiness add to a better existence?

      April 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
      • igaftr

        How exactly did you exclude the possibility that it is Satan you are walking with, who also inspired your bible, and that you aren't actually working for him? He's tricky you know.
        How did you test that?

        April 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • believerfred

          Satan may well disguise darkness so that it is almost impossible to recognize. Our first defense is that in all things we do we do it for the Glory of God which means our actions would be in accord with the will of God. That happens through prayer in which case it is up to God if we are to fall into some trap. What ever the outcome it would be a blessing. Now, if I am out on my own doing things that are outside what God has clearly expressed as right then I will suffer consequence.

          The Bible presents the entire story of redemption from beginning to end and as a whole presents a clear path to redemption. The difference between Satan and God is clear. Even those that use relative morality as an excuse to claim good and bad can be anything society accepts still have a clear sense as to right and wrong (generally speaking as there are always exceptions for various conditions not typical in man).

          April 9, 2014 at 5:10 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.