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Holy Week around the world
April 17th, 2014
08:00 AM ET

Did Christians really 'steal' Easter?

Opinion by Candida Moss, special to CNN

(CNN) - It’s that time of year again: the time when chocolate comes in pastels, cherry blossoms start to bloom and well-marketed religion exposés are released to the world.

In other words, it’s Easter.

Among the rash of sensationalist stories we can expect through the season, the annual “Easter was stolen from the pagans” refrain has sprouted again just in time for Holy Week.

Don’t believe the hype.

Perhaps most misinformed theory that rolls around the Internet this time of year is that Easter was originally a celebration of the ancient Near Eastern fertility goddess Ishtar.

This idea is grounded in the shared concept of new life and similar-sounding words Easter/Ishtar. There’s no linguistic connection, however. Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon.

Just because words in different languages sound the same doesn’t mean they are related. In Swedish, the word “kiss” means urine.

But the biggest issue for Christians is the claim that Jesus’ resurrection - the faith’s central tenet - might have pagan roots.

Even apart from whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead, many Christians claim that the very idea is unique.

There are other biblical examples of people being raised from the dead – think of Jesus raising Lazarus. But those people went on to die again. Only Jesus was raised from the dead to live forever.

But there’s a problem: Pre-Christian religions are replete with dying and rising gods.

Dionysius, most commonly thought of as the Greek god of wine, is one such example. He was lured to his death by the Titans, who then boiled and ate him. He was revived by his grandmother, and from his ashes humanity was formed, the Greeks believed.

Farther afield, Osiris – an Egyptian god-king who became ruler of the realm of the dead – was slaughtered before being brought back to life by Isis.

A similar story is found in the case of the Greek goddess Persephone, the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter. Persephone was carried off to the underworld by the love-struck Hades. Because she ate pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she was permitted to leave only for six months a year.

Her annual resurrection is a metaphor for the changing of the seasons, and many scholars think that stories about dying and rising deities are essentially explanations for the coming of winter.

Then there’s Mithras, an ancient Iranian deity popular among Roman soldiers.

Among the many claims made about Mithras are that he was born on December 25, that adherents to his cult practiced baptism, and that he died and was resurrected.

The connections between Christ and Mithras are further amplified by the fact that the church of St. Clement, near the Colosseum in Rome, is built on top of an ancient Mithraeum.

The list goes on, and I’ll admit it’s a bit unsettling.

That's why the accusations that Christians “stole” the Resurrection from the Pagans is so popular and rhetorically powerful.

If, as many Christians claim, Christianity’s against-the-odds success is in some way proof of its authenticity and truth, then what does it say that parts of its truth were stolen from religious movements that no longer exist?

Spiritual “Manifest Destiny” looks less persuasive when extinct religious traditions supplied the backbone for the modern-day Church.

But there are ways around some of these problems.

Lumping all of these stories of dying and rising gods into a single category obscures important differences between them. Some of those who rose as gods, for example, were mere human beings prior to their return. Jesus, in contrast, was divine before his death, according to Christian theology.

Also, some of the parallels between the traditions come from a later period (post-Christianity) or are completely unsubstantiated. The arguments about Mithras and Jesus, for example, have completely fallen apart in the past 50 years because there simply isn’t enough ancient evidence to support them.

We should also ask whether the fishermen who followed Jesus around Palestine would have known about (much less adopted) stories from ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

Greek and Roman mythology circulated widely on coins, but would the followers of Jesus who first claimed that Jesus was resurrected have known these stories in great detail?

Perhaps, perhaps not.

On the other hand, many Christians claim that Jesus’ death and resurrection is subtly different from that of other ancient deities and, thus, that the resurrection of Jesus was a wholly new idea.

The problem is, these apologists are one archeological discovery away from disaster. In the meantime, they are trying to pry Christianity apart from other late antique religions in order to protect it.

Perhaps the real problem here is with the idea of uniqueness.

As the University of Chicago scholar Jonathan Z. Smith showed, there’s a huge ideological and religious investment in the idea that Jesus was unique.

But there doesn’t have to be. Just because one idea is influenced by another idea doesn’t mean that its meaning is determined by the chronologically prior idea.

The Founding Fathers may have been influenced by Greek classical tradition, but this doesn’t mean that we should interpret the Constitution in light of Aristotle. You can recognize both the importance and innovation of the Constitution and its roots in ancient European civics.

Rather than battening down the hatches and looking for other signs of uniqueness, Christians need to think about how meaning relates to tradition.

Christians didn’t steal Easter, but it probably wasn’t a wholly new idea, either.

Candida Moss is the author of the “Myth of Persecution” and “Ancient Christian Martyrdom” and professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Easter • Easter • Holidays • Jesus • Opinion • Paganism • Traditions

soundoff (2,118 Responses)
  1. justpro86

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto are camping in the desert, set up their tent, and are asleep. Some hours later, The Lone Ranger wakes his faithful friend.
    "Tonto, look up and tell me what you see."
    Tonto replies, "Me see millions of stars."
    "What does that tell you?" asks The Lone Ranger.
    Tonto ponders for a minute.
    "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
    Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
    Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
    Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all powerful and we are small and insignificant.
    Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
    What it tell you, Kemo Sabi?"
    The Lone Ranger is silent for a moment, then speaks.
    "Tonto, you Dumb Hoss, someone has stolen our tent."

    The above joke is a good lesson in missing the obvious. Chances are that you were surprised by the Lone Ranger's response. However, the first sentence of the joke tells you that the Lone Ranger and Tonto were camping in a tent. It should have been clear at Tonto's first response that he was missing the obvious.

    Likewise, those who have already decided that God does not exist and that all processes must have a naturalistic explanation, do not see the obvious evidence that the universe was designed, rather than happened by chance. As discussed on another page, rational explanations for the creation of the universe come down to two main possibilities:

    Design by an intelligent being
    Happened by random chance

    Both creators must possess certain characteristics in common, such as being eternal and being transcendent to this universe. However, the naturalistic creator must be "stupid" and must have created our exquisitely-designed universe through some sort of random process. For some reason, the atheist chooses to believe that the universe arose randomly by the action of a stupid creator, instead of seeing the obvious – that a well-designed universe would most likely come into being through the actions of an intelligent designer. Let me give you an example. I show you a computer and ask you to make your best choice as to how it came into being:

    Designed and put together by intelligent human beings.
    Random computer parts were put into a large box and the parts soldered randomly by spraying molten lead into the box as it was rotated. This process was continued many times until the computer happened to be produced.
    Well, its your choice. Have you checked your tent lately?

    April 18, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
    • observer

      Even if intelligent design turned out to be true, that in no way PROVES that God did it.

      Think things through. Wishful thinking does not make things true.

      April 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
      • justpro86

        LOL funny but it does

        April 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • observer

          It may for you, but I wouldn't brag about it.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • justpro86

          I am happy in the fact that their is a God and that our lives have more meaning...With out a God this world would be worse off and we would not have survived so many centuries... With out a god there wont be anything here....

          April 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Actually if there were some gods, things would be FAR FAR better. No tornadoes killing hundreds, no tsunamis killing thousands, no starvation killing millions, no children with cancer killing hudreds of thousands. But be happy by all means. Stay deluded.

          April 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Justpro the thief.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • justpro86

          Akira the weak

          April 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "With out a God this world would be worse off and we would not have survived so many centuries"

          Wow, a belief in god has been the root cause of much tragedy in this world. We have people sitting in jails due to holding so tight to that belief that innocent children were harmed as a direct result. We have millennia upon millennia of history that is well documented that shows the atrocities committed in the name of the Christian god.
          How you fail to see that is beyond any rational thinking? You can remain wilfully ignorant but it doesn't change the reality of the fact that you're dead wrong. You know an education is a wonderful thing and if you can use a computer and in turn the internet there simply can't be an excuse for you to be such an ignorant dolt!!

          April 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • justpro86

          They were not any atrocities committed by TRUE Christians but the Catholic Church whom practices paganism and covering it up with Christian view... Seriously please continue to humor me... Your ignorance is funny

          April 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          justpro: Try not using the No True Scotsman fallacy and sorry, truth does prevail Catholics follow the same bible you do, thus they are Christian-just with a different interpretation of the book. It's too bad none of you can agree on the right one, otherwise it might make it easier to sway people to your side but with so many crazy interpretations there is no justification for accepting that any of you are right...no god needed in this world!

          April 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • justpro86

          Catholic church twists the words of the bible they worship idols which God teaches not too... They believe in the Trinity but there is only one true God...

          Without God there would be no world or universe without God you would not exist... Right now you may not need God but once you pass you will be begging him for mercy

          April 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Every church twists the words of the bible to suit their own agenda!
          You can make all the claims you wish about your god but until you provide solid evidence that this god exists, those claims are no more valid than any other claims about gods that people make.
          I'm not worried about happens after I die because all anyone knows for certain is that this is the only life we get, after that we return to being stardust. I place value on this life, whereas you don't-you think of this as a stepping stone, nothing more. It's truly the grand delusion sold to you by con men and you are gullible enough to believe it.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • justpro86

          Not the true christians... True christians read the bible thoroughly and look deeper to try to answer their own questions in life... No one can twist the Bible the Bible stays the same... My beliefs is not a grand delusion God is real DEAL WITH IT... You are a fool to believe there is not with plenty evidence that supports it...

          April 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Stop with this True Christian crap...if you follow the bible you are a Christian. The greatest path to disbelief is an open minded read of the bible, so I guess by your claim we were true Christians.
          I'm not a fool because there is no evidence to support it, you are a fool for being so arrogant that you fail to see that.
          Happy Jewish Zombie Day.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • justpro86

          I hate to say it again but the Bible is truth...

          April 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my, you truly need to purchase a dictionary. Very little truth in the bible. I'm very sorry you have been failed by the education system.
          Enjoy your delusions!

          April 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • justpro86

          My education system failed me and everysingle person out there... My bible is truth and NOBODY ever proved it wrong...

          April 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No you're wrong and just a watch of Cosmos proves your bible wrong...quite simple but you can remain ignorant if you wish, we have a species to save and a planet to preserve...so while you sit around awaiting the return of your Jewish Zombie, the rest will keep your lazy ass from dying off sooner than later.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • justpro86

          The cosmos proves their is a God... Once again many of you atheists forget about the Laws of Physics that many scientists agree are in existence for the certainty of the universe and the earth to support life... Who wrote these Laws? God did or as some would say a super intelligent being... These Laws cannot write themselves... thats ridiculous... Just like a computer program needs human intelligence to be written.. The universe needs a super intelligent being to create... Its common sense really.....

          April 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No it doesn't and Neil De Grasse Tyson would most definitely disagree with you.. You can claim your god wrote those laws all you wish but until you prove your god exists, they are merely claims.
          To say the universe needs an intelligent designer is dishonest because there is no way to know that is the case. If you wish to make that claim you best be able to put up the evidence of that intelligent designer or accept the fact that we are going to call you dishonest. I would rather admit to know knowing, as would Neil and many other Atheists then to sit there ignorantly and plug a god in to it.
          The late Carl Sagan stated that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...he was an atheist with a brilliant mind. You should heed his advice.
          It is obvious that you wouldn't change your mind in the slightest regardless of what was said to you...it's small minded and a sad way to live.
          I kind of enjoy life more without living in fear of your god. My life at least allows me to keep an open mind with the possibility of changing my views as evidence is presented...your belief shuts all doors-rather simplistic life. Christianity was invented by con-men to fool the gullible and the fact that you fail to see that only proves your ignorance.
          Enjoy the delusions!

          April 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • sam stone

          Again, the faithful play fast and loose with the word "fact"

          What chumps

          April 18, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          Justin
          "I hate to say it again but the Bible is truth.."
          Since enough has been disproven beyond a doubt, your statement is simply a sad delusion..

          April 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • justpro86

          Nope each and every new discovery has directed more people to intelligent design and farther away from evolution

          April 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          pro, You're just making it up but that doesn't make it convincing. Evolution is fact; creationism is myth along with the rest of your superstitions.

          April 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • justpro86

          Evolutions has been debunked... Evolution goes against the basic laws of thermodynamics... Evolution is for stupid unintelligent people who just want to cut God off... They can do that but in the end God has the last say...

          April 20, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          justin
          "Nope each and every new discovery has directed more people to intelligent design and farther away from evolution"

          Yes, that's the delusion I am referring to.

          How's those dating sites working for you, and under religion, why do you have a – instead of commiting to your beliefs?

          April 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • justpro86

          No thats knowing and understanding scientific discovery delusion and wish full thinking is evolution

          April 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
    • otoh2

      Ah, but then the Lone Ranger jumped to the conclusion that the tent was **stolen**. There are other possibilities.

      April 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Do you have any evidence of a god? Any evidence that it created the universe? Ridiculous analogies just don't cut it.

      April 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • justpro86

        Once again the proof of complexity of the things around you... The expansion of space.... The Laws of physics how everything in our body is placed in perfect proportion for us to live... Our noses in the right place our eyes... Everything... Our spirit...

        April 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          None of which is evidence of a god or that it created the universe or designed anything within the universe.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • justpro86

          Sure it is... It sure does not give evidence to the fact that God does not exist...

          April 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • observer

          justpro86

          The Laws of physics is absolute according to scientist and just OPTIONAL according to the Bible.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • justpro86

          The Laws of physics was DISCOVERED by a scientist.... God also prophesied through the Bible that our knowledge will greatly increase so yes scientists will make very amazing discoveries as time progress... Also the Bible predicted Israels return as a nation...

          April 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • otoh2

          justpro,
          "everything in our body is placed in perfect proportion for us to live"

          Are you serious? Do you want a (very long) list of all the things that are wrong with the design of the human body? For starters:
          - inferior vision and sense of smell as compared to many animals.
          - a spine barely adapted to walking upright, but yet not good on all fours either
          - the trachea and esophagus precariously separated so as to allow choking and aspirating foreign objects into the lungs
          - could sure use an eye or a set on them on the back of the body
          - ahem, an area of recreation adjacent to the sewer

          This "designer" would barely get a passing grade!

          April 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • justpro86

          Everything in our body is place and portioned to aid us in living... what you listed is not good examples what we have advantage over other animals and species is a complex brain... Also we have a special intelligence that can strategize in almost any situation... We have souls that are like Gods... God did say he created us in his own image... So really your list does not make the cake...

          April 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • observer

          justpro86

          "The Laws of physics was DISCOVERED by a scientist...."

          What was his name?

          lol.

          April 18, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Clearly you have no clue how Evolution works. No wonder you needs the gods as a place-holder explanation. Since time immemorial the gods have served that purpose, and continue to do so ... with one teensy weensy exception. Science keeps painting them into a corner. Also your statement proves you have no relationship with your deity. If you REALLY did, you wouldn't need "intelligent design" as your faith-crutch. Faith is a "gift" (said St. Paul). Jesus said "No one shall come to me UNLESS the Father draw him". So I guess that refutes, from the horse's mouth, your contention that intelligent design can bring people to the gods, now doesn't it ?

          April 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Are these your own thoughts, justpro? Can you think for yourself?

          April 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
        • justpro86

          My own thoughts

          April 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          That is merely your ignorance speaking. No matter how you may spin it, you still have not proven a god. You're using the easy way out-I don't comprehend, therefore god. It's better known as the God of the Gaps argument, except you take it slightly further and try to twist science in to the mix when there is no comparison. Even if you see snippits in the bible that really do pertain to history it still doesn't prove a damn thing...we'd expect snippits of the information from the time the book was written to be included-most books offer that, Stephen King mentions real things in his books and then he spins a tale around it-that's how good catchy stories are told-your bible is no different really.
          This is the 21st century, feel free to join it any time now.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • justpro86

          Sorry sir but the Truth does not prevail here LOL Seriously

          April 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          "It sure does not give evidence to the FACT that God does not exist... "

          capitalization added

          so, you believe that god's non-existence is a FACT?

          April 19, 2014 at 7:50 am |
        • justpro86

          No

          April 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Nope. Take a course in Chaos Theory. No "design" needed. Super-computer simulations have proven how what we observe can happen when they get started. Highly unlikely individual events happ all the time. You just don't know about Probability Theory. Too bad. It's all a god of the gaps argument. It's also just a "proximate cause" argument. An omnipotent deity could have made robot universe creators. You deity IS omnipotent, isn't she ?

      April 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      @justpro86,
      Computers don't reproduce. If you don't understand why that refutes your example, try the following:

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

      April 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
      • justpro86

        Nothing in Evolution proves the Bible wrong... Evolution is stupid... LOL

        April 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Actually, that wasn't my intent. I was just pointing out an error in your analogy.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @justapro86,
        If you take most of the OT as metaphorical or allegory, then you may be correct. However, if you want to read it literally, especially Genesis, then there is evidence that disproves the Biblical version.

        April 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Sorry, that was @justpro86

        April 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Isn't that how BrokeBack Mountain started? Just 2 guys in a tent ...

      April 18, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Wasn't jeebus the first gay man? Makes sense..12 men, no women and plenty of testosterone...it would have gotten rather lonely at times.

        April 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • Jeremy

      I am not impressed by the obvious theft of someone else's work, justpro. Why are you such a thief? Do you think breaking God's law, even if done in His defense, is any less theft?

      Dishonest thief.

      April 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
      • justpro86

        Cry me a river

        April 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • igaftr

      justp
      Another post you stole from someone else. I found it in it's entirety posted as leo on christian chefs.
      Just another time you are busted.

      Do you have anything intelligent to say that is original justp the proven liar and theif?

      April 21, 2014 at 8:40 am |
  2. Peaceadvocate2014

    I encourage every one to watch Jesus story of the prodigal son at http://youtu.be/pgODzUMscZ8

    April 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Only takes 7 minutes of your time. Simply amazing! Let me know any other belief or non-belief that have this teachings. Enjoy!

      April 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
      • observer

        Radical Islam seems to have almost the same list of reasons to kill people that Jesus's father advocated.

        April 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Peter stop! Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Jesus.

          Peace be with you my brother.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • observer

          Peaceadvocate2014,

          Yes. Not the first time he thought God was wrong.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Our God may be the same forgiving God for those who show sincerity and remorse.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Father said, Peter, try to understand.....

          April 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • sam stone

          you have no idea what jesus said or didn't say.

          stop playing "let's pretend"

          April 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • believerfred

        Thanks, it pays to listen to what Jesus says.

        April 18, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Well, since you asked. It's found in a number of religions.

        http://www.comparativereligion.com/prodigal.html

        April 19, 2014 at 12:28 am |
    • believerfred

      Is that the correct link?

      April 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgODzUMscZ8&w=640&h=390]

        Think so. Search prodigal son jesus at utube.

        Just watched jesus of nazareth.

        April 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
  3. bostontola

    Science does not know the details of how the observable universe was started nor how life was started, so how can I be an atheist?

    1. Science has discovered a great deal about how the observable universe developed after it started.
    2. Science has discovered a great deal about how life developed after it started.
    3. What science has discovered is not compatible with the parts of the bibles that describe the universe and life.

    That rules out the denominations of Christianity that believe the bible literally, and the denominations that believe literally the sections purported to be factual. The same is true for other religions with sacred texts.

    That only leaves sects/denominations that regard sacred texts as allegory. Once these texts are regarded as allegory, I regard them as any other philosophy text. In addition, the bibles describe a God with morals that I regard as very imperfect. Who am I to judge God? No one, but it is my choice.

    That leaves Diesm. If science had no plausible hypotheses for how the observable universe started and how life started, then Deism would be a strong choice. But science has plausible hypotheses, the problem is, there are too many fully natural hypotheses that can't all be right. Future scientists may develop clever experiments to weed out the wrong hypotheses, but either way, no God is needed as yet.

    That leaves atheism.

    April 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
    • believerfred

      "no God is needed as yet"
      =>I am glad you have elevated yourself above Stephen Hawking in your scientific achievements. Hawking says we have not shown there is no god needed but someday we will. That day has not yet arrived.

      April 18, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
      • bostontola

        fred,
        My scientific acheivements are not relevent at all. What is relevent is you misrepresenting Hawking. Unless you can show me where he says science will one day show a God is needed, then you are lying. I hope that's not true.

        Even if that were Hawking's opinion, the fact remains that science has not as yet shown the need of a God. That is all I asserted.

        April 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • believerfred

          I did say "no god needed".......looks like I never was a liar....

          April 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          " Hawking says we have not shown there is no god needed but someday we will". I take it you are now asserting that the "someday we will" is not part of what Hawking said, but you added as your opinion? In that case I am happy you weren't lying.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
      • believerfred

        bostonola

        "Science does not know the details of how the observable universe was started nor how life was started, so how can I be an atheist?"
        =>"science" cannot address atheism it can only deal with subject matter that avails itself to the scientific method.

        "What science has discovered is not compatible with the parts of the bibles that describe the universe and life."
        =>Biblical accounts of the universe and life address purpose and plan of creation as an expression of the glory of God. I am not aware of any scientific discoveries that address the glory of God, purpose of creation and plan of creation. Science and the Bible are not contradictory but complementary.

        =>your house of cards falls on the issue of science alone.
        =>Just for fun exactly what point do you contend science has proven wrong in the Bible.
        1) not the flood story because you need to add a bunch of assumptions that are non scientific such as: assume the Bible gives a time certain which it does not, assume the Bible gives a complete genealogy before and after Noah rather than only important paternal lines, assume whole earth means something other than the known world, assume the flood was not part of the total destruction before the earth was void and formless and the biggest assumption is that God is limited by mans thoughts and ways. In short you must believe there is no God then create your own flood story.
        2)In the beginning God ........sorry, can't get around that one.
        3)created ...........

        April 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
    • believerfred

      I need God. Science does not need God as science deals with that which man is capable of understanding and measuring.

      April 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I need God.

        Every scientific discovery reveals more about God and His creation.

        April 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
      • bostontola

        fred,
        I believe you when you say you need God. I also believe you think you have one. I also belive that perceived God directly affects your life. That doesn't mean that your God exists outside your imagination.

        April 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          What about actual scientists who possess evidence that they have a greater understanding of science (ie, prestigious degrees/awards from their peers) and what science does/doesn't do who disagree with your philosophy about science?

          I generally agree with what you say, except your 'no god needed' theory. But that is getting into philosophy, not science.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
        • believerfred

          The effect or affect of God is observable and forms volumes of objective observational data. The substance of God (real or imagined) is what you do not understand and what science cannot grasp. If you want a better idea concerning the substance of God Spinoza would be a good starting point. The Bible uses a lot of anthropomorphism because no one has a clue as to what this substance is.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Actual scientists can choose to accept personal perceptions as evidence, that is their choice. When they do, they are acting as lay people not scientists. All professionals act as lay people at different times, that is their choice. It becomes their opinion.

          Newton, a greater scientist than anyone alive today, believed a lot of mystical things most would regard as nonsense today.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          Everything you said is completely consistent with a God that exists in your imagination and not in any objective reality.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola,

          You just gave a lay person's description of someone attempting to use science to disprove God.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          So where is your evidence of a god?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          But everything you said is completely consistent with a science that exists in your imagination and not in any objective reality.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Santa,

          Jesus is my evidence of God. And, no, not just because a book says so.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          When did I say my post wasn't from a lay person? That is not the point at all. Both you and fred avoid the argument in the OP and try to attack the credentials of the author.

          To your other point, that science is only in my imagination; only if you are promoting solipsism. Science measures, tests, and verifies using multiple different people with different motives (peer review by competi.tors). Individuals with subjective experience can't do that.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't think most scientists or lay persons would agree with your OP. But that is probably why most scientists and most lay persons are not atheists.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Then where is the verifiable evidence that Jesus existed, was the son of a god, performed miracles, and outlined a path for you to follow. Most "evidence" claimed is in the bible.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Once again, what most scientists believe or agree with is irrelevent (not to mention pure speculation).

          April 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm attempting to verify the evidence in my life, Santa.

          I'm committed to carrying out what Jesus asks – love my enemies, pray for those who harm me, help those in need, seek God's will not my human will, turn the other cheek.

          I've witnessed people carrying out some amazing things in my community that are helping people in this nation and nation's abroad. They testify about Jesus Christ. I believe them and want what they have.

          Santa, if you can demonstrate a better way of life, please demonstrate it. The only things I know about you is that you really don't like Christians and like to spend a lot of time asking people for evidence of God. I pray God gives you that evidence you seek.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola,

          Ok. And what you believe or agree with is irrelevent, too.

          For most of us, what God believes or agrees with is the only relevant aspect of life.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • bostontola

          What I think is not irrelevant to the OP. There is an argument there. You didn't spend one reply refuting the argument. Every post was going after irrelevant items like what supposed scientists would think of it.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The OP is your opinion.

          April 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Of course it is my opinion. I presented an argument for my opinion. Just like if there was a formal debate on whether the US should intervene in Ukraine. Each side would present an argument. If one side's only argument was that the opposing debater isn't a professional diplomat and totally ignored the argument presented, that side would lose, the debate judges would be offended.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          "But everything you said is completely consistent with a science that exists in your imagination and not in any objective reality"
          =>imagination is not science as far as I know. If you want to discuss cognitive neuroscience and how beliefs are formed we could do that. You cannot escape our reality with includes the impact of God real or imagined.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. You shared a personal testimony on why you choose to be an atheist. It is personal to you. It is not my experience. Most people probably have a differing testimony and experience.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
        • bostontola

          Fred,
          I would love to hear why you think science is not part of objective reality.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • bostontola

          Testimony? Points 1 and 2 are assertion of fact. The rest are conclusions drawn based on those asserted facts. You could argue the facts, and you could argue the conclusions. You did neither, you and Fred brought up questions about my scientific bona fides, you speculated about what actual scientists would think about it, etc. all those things are irrelevant to the argument in the OP.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          I put into "quotes" what you said then replied after my =>
          In short it is your quote not mine.
          However, reality is what it is regardless of what you or I or anyone else may perceive it to be. You and I will unlikely perceive reality in the same way. The scientific method and rules of acceptable evidence may vary depending upon the field and consensus of those within that field. An example would be acceptance of the existence of subatomic particles by inference rather than evidence of mass or energy. We would like to believe that science is objective however the direction of inquiry remains subjective. What appears to be objective is in fact relative or as objective as possible.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostonola
          following is my reply to your OP (cut and paste from above): remember "inside the quote mark is what you claim"

          "Science does not know the details of how the observable universe was started nor how life was started, so how can I be an atheist?"
          =>"science" cannot address atheism it can only deal with subject matter that avails itself to the scientific method.

          "What science has discovered is not compatible with the parts of the bibles that describe the universe and life."
          =>Biblical accounts of the universe and life address purpose and plan of creation as an expression of the glory of God. I am not aware of any scientific discoveries that address the glory of God, purpose of creation and plan of creation. Science and the Bible are not contradictory but complementary.

          =>your house of cards falls on the issue of science alone.
          =>Just for fun exactly what point do you contend science has proven wrong in the Bible.
          1) not the flood story because you need to add a bunch of assumptions that are non scientific such as: assume the Bible gives a time certain which it does not, assume the Bible gives a complete genealogy before and after Noah rather than only important paternal lines, assume whole earth means something other than the known world, assume the flood was not part of the total destruction before the earth was void and formless and the biggest assumption is that God is limited by mans thoughts and ways. In short you must believe there is no God then create your own flood story.
          2)In the beginning God ........sorry, can't get around that one (see Spinoza for detail argument of first cause)
          3)created ...........This is everything science can see and measure

          April 18, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
        • bostontola

          Fred,
          I will assume this is an honest mistake on your part, that quote is from Dalahast not me.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Science has done nothing that you claim it does.

          People using science and other factors have drawn conclusions that generally agree with points 1, 2, 3.

          The rest of the conclusions you draw are not based on facts or science. It is your personal opinion. Many people who agree with 1, 2, and 3 do not end up with the conclusion of atheism.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • bostontola

          "Science does not know the details of how the observable universe was started nor how life was started, so how can I be an atheist?"
          =>"science" cannot address atheism it can only deal with subject matter that avails itself to the scientific method.
          ==>I didn't suggest science addresses atheism! I stated a premise and asked how I could be an atheist given that.

          "What science has discovered is not compatible with the parts of the bibles that describe the universe and life."
          =>Biblical accounts of the universe and life address purpose and plan of creation as an expression of the glory of God. I am not aware of any scientific discoveries that address the glory of God, purpose of creation and plan of creation. Science and the Bible are not contradictory but complementary.
          ==> I wasn't commenting on purpose! only scientific fact versus assertion of fact in the bible.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • bostontola

          "Many people who agree with 1, 2, and 3 do not end up with the conclusion of atheism."

          Again (5th time), what difference does it make what many people conclude? The OP has my conclusions. You are free to argue the facts, and/or the logic to the conclusions. You only seem to be able to talk about what other speculative people conclude.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Take each point of the OP and refute it. Point by point, Dala. Go.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't agree with your conclusion. It is not a fact. It is an opinion.

          I respect your beliefs. Thanks for sharing them. It is nothing new or not anything I hadn't considered. It appears you've only proven something to yourself.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          I need to run but here is a good link that helps the science vs Bible debate:

          http://biologos.org/questions/scientific-and-scriptural-truth

          April 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I respect your right to your beliefs as well. I proved nothing, to me or anyone else. I formed an argument based on what is known. There are many unknowns that when discovered could overturn my argument. I thought I presented it in that light. We can only form opinions based on what is known and what we believe. I tend to weigh what is known more, religious belief relies on subjective experience. I'm not judging, just observing.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • bostontola

          Take care fred.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          1. Science has discovered a great deal about how the observable universe developed after it started.

          Yes. People have used science to learn more about our universe.

          2. Science has discovered a great deal about how life developed after it started.

          Yes. People have used science to discover a great deal about how life developed after it started.

          3. What science has discovered is not compatible with the parts of the bibles that describe the universe and life.

          The Bible is not a science manual. It is not meant to explain science. Most people who believe in the Bible, fully embrace science.

          + That rules out the denominations of Christianity that believe the bible literally, and the denominations that believe literally the sections purported to be factual. The same is true for other religions with sacred texts.

          Rules out from what?

          Science is incapable of explaining why we are here and what our purpose is. That is what many religions attempt to answer.

          That is philosophy.

          + That only leaves sects/denominations that regard sacred texts as allegory. Once these texts are regarded as allegory, I regard them as any other philosophy text. In addition, the bibles describe a God with morals that I regard as very imperfect. Who am I to judge God? No one, but it is my choice.

          That is philosophy.

          + That leaves Diesm. If science had no plausible hypotheses for how the observable universe started and how life started, then Deism would be a strong choice. But science has plausible hypotheses, the problem is, there are too many fully natural hypotheses that can't all be right. Future scientists may develop clever experiments to weed out the wrong hypotheses, but either way, no God is needed as yet.

          That is philosophy.

          + That leaves atheism.

          No it doesn't. You haven't proved there is no God to anyone except to yourself.

          There is nothing in science that disagrees with God.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • observer

          Dalahäst,

          "There is nothing in science that disagrees with God."

          Please get serious. Please read the science fiction story of Noah's Ark in the Bible.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The Bible is not God. Noah is part of an origin story. It speaks to our hearts about the relationship between us creatures and our Creator.

          I fully embrace science and believe in God. Like many others. Like some who happen to believe in God who are more qualified to talk about science than the anonymous message board posters who claim to know science.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • observer

          Dalahäst

          "The Bible is not God. Noah is part of an origin story"

          What are you saying? Are you claiming that God didn't wipe out civilization and CHOOSE Noah to survive?

          April 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • bostontola

          The Bible is not a science manual. It is not meant to explain science. Most people who believe in the Bible, fully embrace science.
          => I didn't say the bible was a science manual or intended to be.

          + That rules out the denominations of Christianity that believe the bible literally, and the denominations that believe literally the sections purported to be factual. The same is true for other religions with sacred texts.

          Rules out from what?
          => just what I said, since a literal reading of the bible is in conflict with science, it rules out denominations that claim the bible is literally true.

          Science is incapable of explaining why we are here and what our purpose is. That is what many religions attempt to answer.

          That is philosophy.
          => I made no statement about purpose.

          + That only leaves sects/denominations that regard sacred texts as allegory. Once these texts are regarded as allegory, I regard them as any other philosophy text. In addition, the bibles describe a God with morals that I regard as very imperfect. Who am I to judge God? No one, but it is my choice.

          That is philosophy.
          => I stated that right in the OP.

          + That leaves Diesm. If science had no plausible hypotheses for how the observable universe started and how life started, then Deism would be a strong choice. But science has plausible hypotheses, the problem is, there are too many fully natural hypotheses that can't all be right. Future scientists may develop clever experiments to weed out the wrong hypotheses, but either way, no God is needed as yet.

          That is philosophy.
          => I stated that was my opinion. Deism is just as valid as atheism, I simply explained why I chose atheism between them.

          + That leaves atheism.

          No it doesn't. You haven't proved there is no God to anyone except to yourself.
          => in my last post I said I proved nothing.

          There is nothing in science that disagrees with God.
          => I agree! I didn't say that. I said science and some religions conflict. Deism has belief in God, it is just as valid as atheism.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Observer

          I really don't know. I didn't see it with my own eyes. I can draw conclusions knowing the nature of God and of us people. I've certainly had some interesting conversations with people about it. I'm glad nobody in my religion demands I have to believe it in a certain way.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          bostontola

          Thanks for clarifying your views.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • Doris

          Dala: "I'm glad nobody in my religion demands I have to believe it in a certain way."

          I'm assuming you mean no one in your religion that you know personally or with whom you have discussed your common religion......

          For instance, if you were a gay Christian in Uganda right now, you might be in a jail cell. I think I would count that as being the subject of a demand that you "believe it in a certain way".

          April 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • Doris

          Dala: "There is nothing in science that disagrees with God."

          Okee dokee. All hail Zeus!

          April 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not in that religion, Doris.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Science knows how life most likely got started.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqPGOhXoprU&w=640&h=390]

      April 19, 2014 at 12:31 am |
  4. MadeFromDirt

    Aside from the susceptibility of Christian beliefs to be accused of copycatting when too much importance is attached to a specific day or other rituals devised by men, it is a serious hazard to believers to get so focused on a holiday or ceremony that during every other day or activity of their lives their relationship with God is taken for granted and their attention to serving Him is neglected. There is nothing wrong with believers coming together at a set time for fellowship and worship of a certain aspect of all God has done for us, but we also must remember that we walk in God's light 24/7, and we should delight always in that joy, peace, knowledge, and assurance that comes from Him.

    Anyway, these supposed similarities between Christianity and ancient pagan religions are based on the writings of various enemies of Christianity through the centuries that are unreliable and unsupported by any earlier evidence other than the authors' imaginations. The motivations of those early false historians were the same motivations as the deniers of today, seeking to discredit the Bible in an effort to ease their guilty conscience, boost their pride and self-righteousness, create a man-centered relativism, and ignore the unpleasant reality of the heavy indictment of our Creator's Holy justice. Even if there were similarities, they along with all of man's religions across all cultures actually serve to confirm that God's existence and perfection, and man's awareness of moral judgment, are written on the hearts of all men, and that the purpose of our lives is to explore, discover, and enjoy the glory of God. That purpose is derailed by sin, but is made possible again by God's grace through faith in His Son Jesus Christ as revealed in history and Scripture. No other worldview permanently and eternally solves the problems of evil and man's alienation from God's pure love and Holiness.

    April 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      @ made: You're making some pretty substantial claims. Are you claiming that all of this happened, and it's true, or are you merely stating that you believe this is how things are?

      Big difference between the two positions.

      April 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
      • Jeremy

        He's stating it as if it's truth. Which is how we know it's bunk. Not one piece of evidence to back it up.

        April 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Try that in a court of law.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Courts of law require evidence, I thought you may have remembered that since your last appearance there.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • Jeremy

          If an attorney stood up and have that as an opening statement and then rested without presenting one bit of collaborating evidence, it would be thrown out. It was one long opinion. That you predictably agree with tells me you are unqualified to ever sit on a jury. Unless yours from Florida where stupid juries ignore evidence all the time.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Meant for noahsdadtopher.

          April 18, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Whippstippler7, the Gospel is not opinion, and neither is your existence.

        April 19, 2014 at 5:33 am |
    • commonsensed01

      "Anyway, these supposed similarities between Christianity and ancient pagan religions are based on the writings of various enemies of Christianity through the centuries that are unreliable and unsupported by any earlier evidence other than the authors' imaginations."

      Hah, so anyone who raises questions about the true history of your religion is an "enemy of Christianity"? Whether or not their is any logic or reason to the claim, no doubt. The church certainly has you hook, line and sinkler!

      April 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • bryonmorrigan

        I guess that Martin Luther King, Jr. was an "enemy" of Christianity, by the OP's logic, since he wrote that the idea that Christianity stole from Mithraism "cannot be denied".

        http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/volume_i_13_september_to_23_november_1949/

        April 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • Vic

          Mithraism is post-Christianity!

          April 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • bryonmorrigan

          My Gods... It's like talking to 12 year olds here... You'd think these people never read books. :::SMH:::

          April 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        MLK said true Christians did not really borrow from Mithraism, but the Greco-Roman faiths did.

        April 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • bryonmorrigan

          Did you even READ what MLK wrote?

          "That Christianity did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied, but it was generally a natural and unconscious process rather than a deliberate plan of action. It was subject to the same influences from the environment as were the other cults, and it sometimes produced the same reaction. The people were conditioned by the contact with the older religions and the background and general trend of the time. Many of the views, while passing out of Paganism into Christianity were given a more profound and spiritual meaning by Christians, yet we must be indebted to the source. To discuss Christianity without mentioning other religions would be like discussing the greatness of the Atlantic Ocean without the slightest mention of the many tributaries that keep it flowing." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea.

          MLK Jr was a Christian. He embraced what Jesus preached. But not the practices that some religious people borrowed from Mithraism.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • kudlak

          A Christian, except for all the adultery, right?

          April 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          He was a Christian that allegedly was guilty of adultery.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • Jeremy

          ALLEDGEDLY?

          April 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It appears he did. I didn't actually see it happen, though.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.#Allegations_of_adultery

          April 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          There are probably lots of Christians who haven't been as outspoken in a particular cause like MLK was, but still never did anything as bad as cheat on their spouses, right? Don't get me wrong: I think that MLK was a great figure who did a lot of good, and I love listening to his speeches, but his faith doesn't seem to have actually made him an example of a better person. You'd think that, if his faith was what propelled him to champion civil rights, it would have also kept him from sleeping around, but it didn't.

          April 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Deniers are fooling only themselves, using the gift of their minds to think of reasons to shake their fist at the God who gave it to them, becoming tragic victims of their own half-logic. In a similar way, people proud of their "common sense" let their self-centered pride interfere with their comprehension skills. When did I write "anyone who raises questions"? God welcomes the seeking of His truth. My warning is against those who manufacture and perpetuate falsehoods for the purpose of dishonoring our Creator, and for those who eagerly gobble it up for the same reason.

        April 19, 2014 at 5:40 am |
        • kudlak

          Someone might suspect you of a certain pride in discovering some gnostic truth about the existence of God that isn't apparent to everyone.

          Can you prove that the atheist position relies on manufacturing any falsehoods?

          April 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I don't believe in any gods because there is no evidence that any gods exist. There is, however, a great deal of human history to show that humans have always created gods to explain and to attempt to bargain with the unknown. The more we learn, the fewer gods we have.

          April 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • kudlak

          Yes. What we do know for certain is that humans have a lot of imagination. That, and we like to feel comforted. It's not surprising than that people make up things to comfort themselves and others, right?

          April 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Kudlak, I have no pride in knowing the truth of God, because I did nothing to discover it, and I did nothing to deserve discovering it. I found it by God's grace alone, and He reveals to me the depth of His nature at His chosen pace for His purposes for me.

          Our existence is the only proof we need that there is a self-existing Creator. The only other option is that the universe itself is self-existing, even though we already know it had a beginning and is destined to have an end, and that all energy and matter was able to assemble itself via random laws of physics into multiple components that eventually resulted in a planet that was capable of initiating, developing, and sustaining us, a life form with an innate sense of awareness of ourselves and death and of consequences of our choices and actions. Will you remain blind in sin, preferring to believe that you are a mere temporary speck in the inconsequential passage of a purposeless, mindless, guideless, ultimately loveless universe? Is that really logical?

          April 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • kudlak

          MadeFromDirt
          Yet, you came to this secret "knowledge" from being one of the select elite. That's pretty gnostic.

          You need to study the actual science. The universe we are experiencing now had a beginning in the Big Bang, but what came "before" the expansion may literally have been eternal.

          Why are the laws "random" when Christians are referring to them as natural, but "designed" when they argue that some creator set them? They're the same laws, right?

          The universe isn't mindless or loveless as long as other people are in it but it is way too vast to put ourselves up on some pedestal in ever saying that it must have been made just for us, and that we are it's centre.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:43 am |
        • igaftr

          Made
          "Our existence is the only proof we need that there is a self-existing Creator."

          Exactly why your knowledge will never progress. You are allowing belief to stand in the way of knowledge. Things existing is not evidence of any "creator" at al;l, and there are MANY other possibilities than what you stated.

          there is no evidence anywhere of any "creator" and if there was, who created your creator, and then who created the creation that created your creator., etc.etc.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:50 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Kudlak, perhaps I should have repeated my earlier comment for clarification, but my knowledge comes entirely from studying Scripture and observing Creation, not any secret individual gnostic subjective experience. The same knowledge and certainty are available to you through prayerful study and observation.

          I use the word random to contrast with intent and design. If you believe the universe just happened to happen without an intent and design, then it is random. You can't have it both ways. If you believe the universe is not created, but is not random, then what is the more powerful cause that made the effect of the universe and put it in order? If you prefer to believe that the universe is what is self-existing, not a Creator, then the universe will ultimately lead you back to where it came from and where it is going: nothingness.

          God did not make the universe for us directly, but we are the indirect beneficiaries of it. God created the universe and us for His purposes and glory, not ours.

          Igaftr, the above is also a reply for you. Only an eternal infinite God can be the cause of all the effect we see and experience. God is not created. That's what God is, and that's why we need to be cleansed through Him and only through Him before we can dwell in His perfect place. It is your knowledge that is stalled in your belief, stalled in your rebellion against the one Creator who is the original source of all matter and energy and order and knowledge and wisdom.

          April 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • Jeremy

      "Aside from the susceptibility of Christian beliefs to be accused of copycatting...."

      Not accusation. Truth. You can rationalize it by calling it 'incorporating' or some such nonsense, but the similarities are plain to see for anyone who isn't in complete denial.
      Heck, you guys even stole the Torah to 'incorporate' into your Bible.

      "Anyway, these supposed similarities between Christianity and ancient pagan religions are based on the writings of various enemies of Christianity through the centuries that are unreliable and unsupported by any earlier evidence other than the authors’ imaginations."

      Why dont you just go one silly step further and say Satan wrote them? What bunk.

      "The motivations of those early false historians were the same motivations as the deniers of today, seeking to discredit the Bible in an effort to ease their guilty conscience..."

      Sure. And you can prove that, right?

      You may not be literally made from dirt, but you are full of sh!t.

      This is the biggest non-factual opinion that I've seen in a while. Thank God it IS only an opinion or some moron may actually believe what you wrote.

      April 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Jeremy, you parcelled out my comments and miss the important points of both my paragraphs. I agree that rituals followed by some professing Christians have origins from man not God. One result of them following those rituals is that false accusations are made against God, because the people who follow the rituals claim to do it in His name. But in truth Christ freed His people from rituals, and instead fills us with desire to serve Him productively, not with mindless outward behaviors.

        The Torah is the written beginning of God's progressive revelation of His nature and plan.

        Satan has many powers in this time, as permitted by God, but he does not write books. Satan works much more subtly, often without the victim even realizing it.

        The proof of what I wrote is your reaction to it. Of course it disturbs you, of course it threatens your pride, of course it generates hatred within you for the message and messenger, and of course it's your conscience telling you that you are estranged from your Creator. That's why you need the Gospel.

        April 19, 2014 at 5:56 am |
    • kudlak

      "Anyway, these supposed similarities between Christianity and ancient pagan religions are based on the writings of various enemies of Christianity"

      "Enemies" like this?

      I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical. C.S. Lewis

      April 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Kudlak, that quote from C.S. Lewis is about the Creation portion of Genesis, not the practices of pagan religions. But anyway, regarding the Creation account some very gifted Christian scholars and leaders alive today who I otherwise respect for faithfully and humbly serving God are still clinging to incorrect interpretations of Genesis in misplaced faith, instead of taking in all the clues elsewhere in Scripture and as God has chosen to reveal by giving man a mind to discover through observation, science, and development of technology through generations, but that issue is entirely separate from the saving knowledge of God's grace to us through faith in Christ. That is, on some issues it's possible for Christians to disagree and still be brothers in Christ.

        The similarities in creation accounts exist because some nations with pagan religions developed their written language before the Hebrews. Before writing, Creation was explained by God to Adam, and it was passed down verbally through the ancient generations and thus the basic outline was commonly understood among all developing societies, and it was inevitably adopted by those societies when they began to write on such matters as part of their religion. Then Hebrew writing came, and at the time of Moses the correct account was written down, which was still in outline form, covering only the portions that God chose to tell His chosen people at the time.

        April 19, 2014 at 6:14 am |
        • kudlak

          Why would "God's word" need to be solved through deciphering clues seeded throughout the text? What is God: The Riddler?

          April 21, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kudlak.....no, not the Riddler....just non-existent.

          April 21, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • kudlak

          Lewis did indeed recognize that the Resurrection was exactly like all other myth of a dying and rising god. He just argued that this myth happened to be true?!

          The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens — at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle. C.S. Lewis

          Of course, it's Lewis and tossing word salad is what he did best. You really have to think about what he's saying to realize that this argument simply depends on one accepting his opinion uncritically. The Gospels aren't nearly as reliable historical accounts as he would argue.

          April 21, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          God created man in His image, meaning (among other things) with the capacity to reason. Contrary to the expectations of disingenuous deniers who demand that God show them writing in the sky or something similar, for this time God chose to reveal His Gospel via His written history, and to reveal His creative power through the discoveries we make by our advancing technology. So God invites us to use our curious minds that He gave us to study His Word and Creation and gradually grow in our appreciation of Him, as part of our gradual path out of sin and toward sanctification.

          There were plenty of hypernatural objective proofs from God before and during the time of Jesus, and still most people never believed. If the same signs were given by God today, these deniers would still reject Him, because their problem is not with seeing the obvious evidence all around us, their problem is the sin and pride in their heart that follows the footsteps of Satan and refuses to submit to God's authority.

          I made the point in my original comment that man has an innate sense of death and judgment, and so it is inevitable that some cultures would eventually explain their existence and destiny by including death and new life in their religious traditions. But none of the answers devised by those other cultures permanently solve the problems of evil and how to repair man's alienation from a perfect God.

          April 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
  5. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." — George Carlin

    April 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  6. noahsdadtopher

    "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

    It's a very Good Friday, indeed!

    April 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • ausphor

      Topher
      Getting off (even spiritually) for someone else suffering for the sins you committed and deserve punishment for shows a rather sadistic streak in you. Cowardly behaviour to be sure.

      April 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
      • noahsdadtopher

        Nothing cowardly about it. This is God's offer. He paid our ransom because we can't. Because He loves us. Amen!

        April 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          George Carlin
          "Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible man ... living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money." — George Carlin

          April 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          There's very little about this quote that is correct. And beside that, it makes Carlin look like he was anti-justice.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • ausphor

          If god, is a trinity, father, son and spirit, three, three, three things in one? Why is he often chatting himself up? He even gets pi$$ed at himself "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", when he is also God? "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." now why would he say that when he is already all three, doesn't make sense? Of course the whole story doesn't make sense.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @topher; so how and why exactly did god pay this "ransom"/ and why did it have to be in his form – a blood sacrifice? And didn't god know all of this beforehand – everything – the garden, Adam and Eve's fall, Noah's flood. Fo r a god that knows everything and can do anything, he seems – ummm – not very bright, or imaginative, or efficient.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          whippstippler7

          "so how and why exactly did god pay this "ransom"

          He was fully God and fully man, thus He was a descendant/representative of Adam/mankind and yet perfect and sinless, making Him the perfect sacrifice. If you read the OT, you see a lot of the sacrifices that were made to cover the sins of man. Then in the NT, remember what John the Baptist said about Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." Jesus was the final and perfect sacrifice, in that He did more than just cover our sins, He casts them away. So that on Judgment Day, we won't just be covered, we'll be completely clean. Christ took the punishment you and I deserve when He voluntarily went to His death on the cross (Good Friday.) And three days later, defeated death so that we can live forever (Easter.)

          "and why did it have to be in his form – a blood sacrifice?"

          I don't know WHY, though we're told that there shall be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood.

          "And didn't god know all of this beforehand – everything – the garden, Adam and Eve's fall, Noah's flood."

          Yes. All a part of His divine plan.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • G to the T

          "I don't know WHY, though we're told that there shall be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood."

          I think this is a pretty foundational question to not have a clear answer for. I know faith comes into it at some point, but for me at least, this seems an odd requirement for an all-powerful being.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Can you at least admit that JC was suffering from dissociative ident!ty disorder having at least three personalities, father, son and ghosty guy? He also seemed spaced out much of the time, couldn't tell a straight story had to make up silly parables that even had the disciples saying, "What the hell is he talking about?"

          April 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • rgalinato

          You can't relate with anything JC went through? Most people can.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          G to the T

          (reposting without the smiley)

          "I think this is a pretty foundational question to not have a clear answer for. I know faith comes into it at some point, but for me at least, this seems an odd requirement for an all-powerful being."

          True, faith will always be a part of it. And I'm sure the answer to this is much deeper than I'll ever wrap my mind around. But I image in has something to do with this. God knew before the Creation about the fall and how He'd redeem mankind. And that redemption required justice. Just "waiving it all away" wouldn't be just. A sinner must pay for the laws he breaks. So in order for justice to be satisfied, either the sinner pays by getting what he deserves, or God pays for the sinner. If Christ didn't take on what He did, justice wouldn't be satisfied.

          Hope that helps.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ topher – a perfect sacrifice/ A sacrifice occurs when something is "sacrificed" – lost, given up, etc. How can it be sacrifice if god sends a piece of himself – Jesus, sinless, descendent, whatever – to Earth, knowing in advance that Jesus will live, be killed, rise from the dead in 3 days and rejoin himself in Heaven. There's no sacrifice. There would be nothing stopping god from making an infinite number of Jesuses – after all, god is all-powerful. It simply makes no sense.

          Now, if your god wasn't all-powerful, only had one son – for whatever reason – and that son stayed dead, then you have a bit more of a sacrifice. But not the way it's presented now.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ topher – responding to your post to G to the T about "justice"

          – Ok, if someone sins, then they have to pay OR god takes on the sin? How is the second part "just"? Think about it: I do something terrible, but someone else pays the price/ that's not just, for either me, or the person paying the price. And that of course pre-supposes the doctrine of original sin is valid.

          But how is it just if a sinner does't have to pay?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Do you not see the whole idea of sin, sacrifice and repentance were all part of the clergy wanting to keep bums in the pews and cash in the church, still is now.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          whippstippler7

          "But how is it just if a sinner does't have to pay?"

          Justice is satisfied if the debt is paid.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          "Do you not see the whole idea of sin, sacrifice and repentance were all part of the clergy wanting to keep bums in the pews and cash in the church, still is now."

          No, because attending a church or giving money DOES NOT save you. Yes, you should go to church and you should ti.the, but those things have nothing to do with a person's salvation.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ topher: "justice is satisfied if the debt is paid"

          That's not MY idea of justice, and I would anticipate that a lot of other people would agree. Say I kill someone – it's murder, premeditated, not self defence. A terrible thing. Say someone else goes to prison, or is sentenced to death, for that murder that I committed. Someone has paid with their life for my crime, but I – the one responsible – has paid nothing.

          Do you consider that to be justice?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Of all the stupid comments you have made, geesh. So if an innocent man is executed for the crime of the guilty man the debt has been paid, but that is not Justice. It has happened often enough "It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done before." Justice in your terribly ugly book of BS is very hard to find, vengeance and do as you are told or else is the basis of the whole belief system.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          whippstippler7

          My question ... would the person going to jail for the murder you committed ... are they willingly doing it and is it known you're the guilty party?

          You see, the problem is that whatever your sin is that you've committed ... you can't make up for it. You're already "blemished" with the sin. Christ is not. He's the only one who can pay for you. He said, "No one comes to the Father but by me." So you can reject Him and get what you deserve. Or you can accept His gift and walk away a free man or woman. The choice is yours.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          "Justice in your terribly ugly book of BS is very hard to find, vengeance and do as you are told or else is the basis of the whole belief system."

          The problem with that is that you haven't and won't do what you're told. And neither have I. I'm guilty, maybe even more so than you. I deserve punishment. But thanks be to God He loves me anyway. And paid my fine. Remember ... we love Him because He first loved us. And while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ topher: the problem with your viewpoint is that ignores the moral culpability of the person who committed the murder. And it is equally immoral to have someone innocent pay for someone else's crime.

          That's not justice.

          And again, your example ignores the issue that it's NOT a sacrifice for Jesus to die, because he came back to life, then ascended to heaven. So, under your faith, there is a failure of justice on both sides of the equation: the person who committed the crime is not held accountable, and is not required to pay any price or penalty, but on the other side there is no one who has had to pay for the crime.

          That's like saying Hitler is absolved of all of his crimes because Bill Gates has paid a penalty of one cent. To Bill Gates, it's no sacrifice because of his almost infinite wealth; for god, it's even less of a sacrifice because god can make an infinite supply of Jesus.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Well obviously you are not going to put on your big guy pants and take responsibility for your actions. You need to have the crutch of a Jesus figure to keep your head straight, I guess it is better than having running amuck.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • ausphor

          having you run amuck.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          whippstippler7

          "And again, your example ignores the issue that it's NOT a sacrifice for Jesus to die, because he came back to life, then ascended to heaven."

          Yes, He came back, defeating death. In that way, what He did was SO MUCH MORE than a sacrifice. You're argument doesn't hold water.

          And not a sacrifice? Have you not read what happened to Him going to the cross. And what they do to you to get you up there? And how one dies once there? It's not what you think. Remember, this wasn't just some guy. This was GOD. Who stepped down from His throne to walk among us, knowing full well what His own Creation would do to Him. But He did it anyway. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

          April 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • otoh2

          ausphor

          "having you run amuck."

          Even more precisely it's "run amok".

          April 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • ausphor

          otoh2
          Thanks, but my spell check got me confused, I knew it didn't look right.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible man ... living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money." — George Carlin

          That is what some religion teaches.

          That is why I follow Jesus. Not religion or George Carlin.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          I guess where you differ from people that have a higher moral standard is this. If a friend or loved one is found guilty and is about to be punished for a crime that I committed, I could not let that happen, I would think that would be the cowards way out. Judge yourself accordingly.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          Do you believe you have a high moral standard?

          April 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Absolutely, I obey the laws under which we all live and do not b!tch about laws I may personally may not agree with but which the democratic majority has enacted. I am so happy to not live in a theocracy.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          In your entire life, how many lies do you think you've told?

          April 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Maybe thousands, of course lying is only a crime if you are under oath. In fact telling white lies to protect a persons feelings can be more moral than telling someone the ugly truth. Your Christian values of sin do not apply to others in a secular society but I am afraid that concept is above your pay grade.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          "Maybe thousands ..."

          And what do you call someone who has told thousands of lies?

          April 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " And what do you call someone who has told thousands of lies? "
          An evangelical discussing science ?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Let me ask you do you agree with the LAWS of the land regarding abortion? Do you agree with the LAWS of the land regarding prayer in schools? Do you agree with the teaching of evolution in all schools? In a democratic nation why would you, if you do, disagree with the democratically enacted LAWS of your country?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Nice deflection, only answer the part you want. What do I call a person that has told thousands of lies, a normal human being, what would you call them?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          "What do I call a person that has told thousands of lies, a normal human being, what would you call them?"

          True, but more specifically, I'd call them a liar.

          Have you ever stolen anything? (Regardless of how long ago it was or of how little value)

          April 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Why are you so obtuse? Most of the people in the world do not believe in your Christian god, so why can you possibly think they should toe the line on his version of morality? Your God is a vindictive petty idiot, there I just broke a whole pile of your ridiculous god's commandments, so what? Am I supposed to tremble in fear like you would, please?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          So how much have you stolen?

          And in the interest of time, have you ever looked at another person with lust?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          No, no, no, I am not into the game answering your questions when you do not answer mine. I asked you about whether yo are willing to follow the LAWS as stated above, you are purposely avoiding that answer. I am not going to play your one sided game.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          "I am not going to play your one sided game."

          Answer those last two and I'll happily answer your questions.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • observer

          noahsdadtopher

          "have you ever looked at another person with lust?'

          If not, they didn't ever marry.

          What nonsense. Have you ever coughed? Have you ever yawned?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Besides I have already told you that your moral system does not apply to those that not believe in it. I have never been charged with theft of anything, that is the standard of secular LAW that I live by, screw your standards, they are untenable in the real world.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Don't be afraid of answering the questions. I've not mentioned God in those questions.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Dala
          "That is why I follow Jesus. Not religion ..."

          But you only know about Jesus as the invention of a religion. There is nothing verifiable in the bible about Jesus, so how would you know what Jesus wants?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          And if I postulate, that I looked at another person with lust, not necessarily of which s&x, would that get your bigotry meter up high? There I answered both your questions, put up or shut up.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          topher

          Theft is a crime, lust is not. Show some evidence of a god and some verifiable evidence of what it wants and then we can discuss sin.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          You didn't answer the theft question, but let's go with the other three. You've admitted to being a liar, blasphemer and adulterer at heart. Dude, you're not morally good. You're just like the rest of us.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Dude, in your crazy belief system maybe not. I addressed the question that I have never been charged with theft. Now you must address the question of whether you are willing to obey the LAWS of your country, answer please?

          April 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          " I addressed the question that I have never been charged with theft."

          Just because you haven't been charged doesn't mean you didn't commit the crime.

          "Now you must address the question of whether you are willing to obey the LAWS of your country, answer please?"

          I obey the laws until by obeying them I sin. But I have broken some.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Another non-answer answer. You continue to JUDGE people that do not adhere to your belief system as if you have all the answers, you do not. I am neither going to your mythical heaven or hell as most of the 7 billion people are, as you have said so yourself, so why do you continue to try and force your values on others. God told you to, right? Well on behalf of 6.9 billion people, if I can be so bold, bug.ger off.

          April 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          ausphor

          "You continue to JUDGE people that do not adhere to your belief system as if you have all the answers, you do not."

          Where did I judge anyone? You admitted to being guilty of those things. And no, I don't have all the answers. But to the important things like salvation I do.

          "I am neither going to your mythical heaven or hell as most of the 7 billion people are, as you have said so yourself, so why do you continue to try and force your values on others."

          I'm not trying to force anything on you. I can't force you to be a Christian. And even if I could, that won't save you, which is the most important part. I'm just trying to warn you about the wrath to come.

          "God told you to, right? Well on behalf of 6.9 billion people, if I can be so bold, bug.ger off."

          Need I remind you that you're on a BELIEF blog?

          April 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          I am guilty of nothing other than being a human being. It takes a belief in some god that makes one feel guilty about what is the normal progress of the human condition. What is so lacking in your life here on earth that you need some sort of eternal life that you can only believe exists, no proof? We are all star stuff we will return to being star stuff when our sun runs out of fuel and fries the earth. That is what will be the end of the earth, maybe humanity will be long gone before that, who knows. What are you so afraid of, we are just an amalgamation of particles in an amazing universe, it is such a pity ignorance has such a grip on the human mind.

          April 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          Need I remind you that you are on a belief blog. No, no, you don't, I am a Deist, do you wish to deny me my belief on this blog, why?

          April 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
        • ausphor

          Topher
          I fear you have outed yourself, would you also tell Morons, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, etc. that they are on a BELIEF blog, do you deny others, the right to express themselves because you do not think it is appropriate, are only you particular type of Christians allowed to express themselves? Only true Christians get into heaven according to you, a Baptist bigot it seems!!!!!

          April 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • ausphor

          Freudian slip, Mormons not Morons...but...

          April 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • sam stone

          Topher: Posting "amen" after your drivel doesn't make it any less drivel

          If god is omniscient, there is no free will

          if god punishes people who lack free will, he is not just, he is a vindictive pr1ck

          April 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          So someone HAS to "pay" ? Really " So your god is not in charge of Reality, but subject to it ? He could have said "I forgive you". But no. He NEEDED someone to die, to feel better. How pathetic your cult is.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • kermit4jc

          @ realbucky.....well said from someone who has absolutely no understanding of the God of the bIble..he is a JUST God..which means Justice has to be paid...He is NOT Just because he feels like it..it is his very nature..he cannot change.....

          April 19, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • observer

          kermit4jc

          "he cannot change....."

          Of course he changed. He changed lifespans from hundreds of years to 120 or less. He changed from demanding that people be punished for sins of their ancestors. He changed from demanding the killing of people for a long list of reasons down to none. He changed from being willing to drown virtually everyone to promising not to do that again.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:07 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I guess reading comprehension got by you...I said GOD cannot change..HE Himself cannot change.....He cannot change who He is.....He is a JUST God..and HE cannot change that......

          April 19, 2014 at 2:35 am |
        • kevinite

          @observer,

          Does the farmer change when it is time to spread seeds as opposed to when it is time to water as opposed to when it is time to weed as opposed when it is time to harvest?

          1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

          2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

          3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

          4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

          5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

          6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

          7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

          8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
          (Ecclesiastics 3:1-8 KJV)

          April 19, 2014 at 2:34 am |
        • observer

          kermit4jc

          Speaking of reading comprehension, a human cannot change from being a human, a tiger can't change from being a tiger, a turtle can't change from being a turtle. lol. What a pathetic reply you made. Absolutely MEANINGLESS.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:42 am |
        • kermit4jc

          wow what super logic...we are not talking of humans or animals you dolt.....talking about GOD....sheesh..talk about reading comprehension

          April 19, 2014 at 2:46 am |
        • observer

          kevinite

          "Does the farmer change when it is time to spread seeds as opposed to when it is time to water as opposed to when it is time to weed as opposed when it is time to harvest?"

          lol. Do you change when you get out of bed and go from horizontal to vertical?

          April 19, 2014 at 2:46 am |
        • observer

          kermit4jc,

          It's always easy to see when someone is without any FACTS to present. They attack the person. Well done.

          Still waiting for a rebuttal, but you're stuck with arguing with what the Bible says.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:49 am |
        • kermit4jc

          excuse me..then why you talk of God for arguments sake then? make up your mind..YOU brought up the issue that why couldn't god merely forgive? I answered to that...

          April 19, 2014 at 2:50 am |
        • kevinite

          @ observer,

          I don't change myself just change in what I do just like Gods changes what he does regarding us from time to time, but that doesn't mean that God himself changes.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:50 am |
        • observer

          kevinite

          "I don't change myself just change in what I do just like Gods changes what he does regarding us from time to time, but that doesn't mean that God himself changes."

          Yep. NO one ever changes, they just do things differently from time to time. In other words, the word is MEANINGLESS since it applies to everyone. Great argument.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:54 am |
        • kevinite

          Observer,

          That does show how the word of God applies and adjusts when needed to everyone at any time. "To every thing there is a season..."

          April 19, 2014 at 3:04 am |
        • observer

          kevinite

          Yep. NO ONE EVER CHANGES. They just "adjust when needed".

          It's a riot listening to Christians make excuses for the Bible by turning themselves inside out trying to PRETEND that words don't mean what EVERYONE knows them to mean.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:08 am |
        • observer

          kevinite

          "I don't change myself"

          So when things don't go right for you, you still lay on the floor kicking, screaming and wait for Mama to bring you a baby bottle?

          April 19, 2014 at 3:14 am |
        • kevinite

          @observer,

          I'll tell you what. If I change my personality when I get up in the morning from the horizontal to the vertical I'll let you know. After all, that was the example you gave in which I answered to. If you want to apply that answer to everything in a person's life go right ahead.

          But the point is that my personality did not change from lying to standing, just like Gods's personality does not change just because his policies to certain people at certain times may differ, and just like a farmer's personality does not change just because a farmer changes what is done throughout a season as well as what is done to different crops.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          So, you don't agree with any of Carlin's assessment of Christianity?

          God doesn't watch everything you do every minute of every day? God doesn't have a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do. Carlin's description of Hell is somehow inaccurate? God doesn't "love" you despite you're ending up in Hell?

          You don't believe any of these things?

          April 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Wow. Another sadist who loves the thought that a man was tortured to death so that he doesn't have to be accountable for his own actions. Christians and blood lust. It's like peanut butter and jelly.

      April 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  7. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "Black Rabbit: Hazel... Hazel... you know me, don't you?
    Hazel: I don't know.
    [the apparition reveals himself to be the Black Rabbit, and Hazel gasps]
    Hazel: Yes, my lord. I know you.
    Black Rabbit: I've come to ask if you'd like to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you, and I know you'd like it. You've been feeling tired, haven't you? If you're ready, we might go along now.
    [Hazel looks at all the younger rabbits of Watership Down]
    Black Rabbit: You needn't worry about them. They'll be all right, and thousands like them. If you come along now, I'll show you what I mean." — Richard Adams

    April 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • G to the T

      Definitely one of the best books I've ever read. I remember the movie traumatized me as a kid (mom rented "bunny movie" – I was not ready for snare traps and General Woundwart). Later I got the chance to read the book and I'm so glad that I did.

      April 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I literally read the cover off that book when I was 12.

      April 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Me too

        April 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed."

        April 18, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
  8. bryonmorrigan

    "There’s no linguistic connection, however. Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon."

    Yeah, as in Anglo-Saxon PAGANS. I swear, it's like CNN's Belief Blog is written by high-schoolers who haven't learned how to do even the tiniest bit of research. You might start by Googling "Eostre" or "Ostara". Just because the "Ishtar" thing is bunk, doesn't mean you don't actually have to do any research for your article.

    Is there even the slightest bit of editorial fact-checking at this place?

    April 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • bostontola

      I'm not sure I would dismiss Ishtar so fast. Ishtar is also Esther, which is pretty close to Easter.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • The Answer is 42

      It's an opinion piece. Jeez. Ask the author, instead of questioning the integrity of a whole news organization in such a juvenile manner.
      Also, it's a BLOG. How did you miss that when you MENTIONED it?

      April 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • bryonmorrigan

        After the poorly-researched LAST article (associating Odinism with the Nazis, like some kind of Illuminati/Ancient Aliens conspiracy piece), it's obvious that CNN Belief is not doing the slightest bit of fact-checking.

        April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          Do you know what "opinion" means? Or blog? Because this ISN'T a religious news page.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "associating Odinism with the Nazis"

          You do comprehend that the reason they did this was completely due to the fact that the perp associated himself that way, right?? I'm not certain how one would miss that when it was all over the news and a quick google search tells you.
          No-one is forcing you to read these articles...maybe FAUX news would be more your speed.

          April 19, 2014 at 6:03 am |
        • bryonmorrigan

          Yeah, but what you fail to realize is that his ridiculous ideas were not backed up by historical fact...and YET, the author of the article presented this association as "historical fact".

          But hey, if you have no problem with articles that unfairly target minority religions with non-factual lies...maybe it is YOU who should be reading Fox News, eh?

          April 25, 2014 at 9:18 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          So what? It's an opinion piece, nothing more. It seems like you're nothing more than an arrogant ass who can't handle being shown where you're wrong...oops...FOX is more your speed.

          April 25, 2014 at 9:36 am |
    • otoh2

      One could also go with Ish Kabbible, which roughly means "I should worry?" (or "It doesn't matter to me").

      April 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
  9. believerfred

    How fitting that the week Jesus was on trial Divinity Professors from Yale and Notre Dame come forward to put the Old Testament on trial then the New Testament. Perhaps if they had just little bit of the Holy Sprit present in their soul they would if realized they were the ones on trial.
    Those blinded from the truth when they put Jesus on trial were completely unaware they themselves were on trial not Jesus. Caiaphas the high priest as well as the Sanhedrin at the trial exposed their guilt. Guilty of pride, hate, slander, assault and guilty of conducting a legal process in violation of the very rules of justice they established. On trail before Pilate it was Pilate who was exposed as guilty of sentencing the innocent, guilty of protecting his political position and guilty of appeasing religion rather than standing for truth. On trial before Herod Jesus stood silent as Herod proved his guilt revealed through mockery and ridiculing of Jesus.
    As I scanned the posts this morning on Good Friday I see the many who have revealed their guilt. Their guilt betrayed by their ridicule and mocking of Christ, pride, appeasing the godless and failure to stand for the truth. It would appear we have changed little in the past 2,000 years since Christ gave everything he could for us.

    April 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Interesting that your disdain never extends to the believers who deliberately misrepresent science. Isn't that considered lying ?

      April 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
      • believerfred

        midwest rail
        It is not necessarily a lie. Sometimes we are just out to lunch. I went through a phase where I could equate a time-symmetric thin-wall singular vacuum bub-ble to the wave form as expressed in Genesis at singularity (sound wave when God spoke the universe into existence). I could later laugh at it, but at the time I was very impressed with myself. Yes, guilty of pride but not a lie. I remain agnostic as to the relationship of a vacua where supersymmetry is broken and the substance of God. There are in science things we really just don't know and in the metaphysical as well. Einstein was agnostic as to all religious revelations of God yet he was not agnostic as to "God" as presented by Spinoza. I am impressed with the humble nature Einstein presented when approaching the wonder and awe of existence. I think he knew something and I wish I knew what it was.

        April 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " It is not necessarily a lie."
          I do believe you need to peruse the comments a bit harder, fred. Indeed they are occasionally lies.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • ausphor

          b-fred
          Watch the Cosmos series and let us know what you think.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • believerfred

          I went a great lengths to squeeze the account of creation into the known evolutionary stages. Ok, it was a lie when I began to make things up that were not written in the account of creation. It was not a lie when I was not making things up. Take the flood story for example. I never thought about the time sequence until someone flat out asked me how 6,000 to 10,000 years was even possible given what we know. Opps........lightspeed jump to non literal ......opps.....literal but, tensors not subject to known dimensions of space and time (sounds better than I don't know plus I avoid using the supernatural word)

          April 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Be as disingenuous as you wish, fred, since the original comment regarding other posts here was clearly not aimed at you. Not entirely surprised, though.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What is true does not require religious faith. Claiming people are "guilty" because they don't accept the unfounded claims of your belief is absurd.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • believerfred

        Cheesemaker
        You are sometimes guilty of hateful comments towards believers and I perhaps towards the godless. Does that not stand alone regardless of belief if there is no such thing as absolute morality?

        April 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I have never directed a hateful comment at anyone on here without provacation. I will attack your belief, the ideas and concepts of your religion that you espouse and the absudity of your claims. That does not make me "guilty" in the way your post here implies.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed
          Are you suggesting your attack on the content of a post is compartmentalized from your personal feelings about believers or Christ?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          As far as believers go...yes. I can disagree with someone's religious belief and oppose it without hating them as a person. Most people I intereact with and care about are religious believers in some form or another. I can respect them as individuals and at the same time disagree with their religious belief. Same with people I disagree with politically. I am sure you are able to do that as well. Regarding Jesus I don't see him as any different than other mythological characters such as King Arthur or Paul Bunyon, and I can't "hate" him any more than any other fictional character.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed
          Motivation is key when it came to the trial. This was the same for Peter and Judas when they betrayed Jesus. If your motivation is simply getting the facts straight then I agree with you. However, what is your motivation to attack say my belief that what Jesus went through on the cross is the best possible graphic representation of what sin does to the image of God. Can it be expressed in a more clear fashion than that? In the Old Testament the best a nomad could grasp was to physically sacrifice an animal on the alter.
          I assume you understand the representations but what is your motivation to attack my belief?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          If you espouse your belief in public on a forum I consider it fair game. I also think spreading religious belief as "truth" is highly suspect and borders on dishonesty. If you can claim your beliefs are "truth" than others can call you out on it. I have spent more years as a believer than a none believer, people making false claims about what is "true" does an incredible amount of damage. I also don't find the foundations of CHristianity (or other supersti.tions for that matter) to be moral, ethical or on the whole beneficial. I very much wish I had heard the views of the opposition when I was a believer, it would have been a lot less costly to me personally.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today." – George R.R. Martin

      April 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • bostontola

        A quote for a quote:

        “For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

        ― Charles Bukowski

        April 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • believerfred

          Today is a good day to die.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          Are you Klingon?

          April 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • believerfred

          unfortunately, I have gone to places no one has gone before......now just waiting to be beamed up. Where is that lone Scotsman when you need him? Or am I living a fallacy

          April 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "Today is a good day to die" The Klingon's stole that from the Samurai

          April 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I thought it was stolen from Crazy Horse. But of course, he probably never really said that.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • bostontola

          Not much left that isn't stolen.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          I'm sorry to hear that's all you have left to look forward to.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          Even those who do not believe understand life continues when intended purpose is fulfilled. Why be sorry about that? If there is only natural selection it is not a process to be sorry about anymore than a lion has sorrow over taking out all non biological cubs. Being beamed up is a good thing and fits the pattern we see since the big bang. My question is how can anyone believe the pattern we observe would come to sudden end when they as individuals transition to the next stage.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
    • kudlak

      believerfred
      So, "if they had just little bit of the Holy Sprit present in their soul" they would try to hush up problems with the Christian interpretation of the Bible, like most apologists do?

      April 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • believerfred

        They could wait a week to present their case. Better yet if they actually believe in God they should then give some hope to those who may have had their faith shattered by a professor they held in high esteem. How can one believe in God yet trash Moses? The article on Easter is soft and wrong in several spots so it actually could only effect those ready to leave the faith anyway and just looking for an excuse. I thought everyone knew Easter was a festival for mankind whereas the crucifixion and resurrection was the most powerful truth of all time.

        April 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • kudlak

          believerfred
          Few Christians actually think about the crucifixion apart from Easter-time, right? How many people would be interested in this article a week from now?

          "I thought everyone knew Easter was a festival for mankind whereas the crucifixion and resurrection was the most powerful truth of all time."
          Not everyone believes this. You have to know that, right?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • believerfred

          Ok on the timing and the fact CNN needs to get us aroused somehow.
          As to death and resurrection of Christ I agree most people do not believe as I do yet is it still not the most important event in history to this day?

          April 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • kudlak

          believerfred
          It's called being "topical". People generally like stories set around anniversaries. That's why you get a lot of 9/11 docu-mentaries starting after the first week of September, JFK stories in late November and MLK pieces mid-January. Around Easter you can expect stories like this just as much as you can expect to see "The Passion" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" on TV. Like it or not, Jesus is a controversial figure.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • The Answer is 42

      Because of course your interpretation is the true and correct one.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • kudlak

        Yup! Guys like this all believe they have "The Spirit" guiding their interpretation, so they all know that they're right. You can put a dozen believerfreds in a room together and get at least a dozen different interpretations of the same verse. I've never heard any of them admit that they could be wrong.

        April 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
      • believerfred

        Answer
        Seriously, even if it were simply a story do you not find the religious leaders guilty? do you not find Pilate guilty? do you not find Herod guilty and how about the soldiers that put a robe on Jesus and mocked him, beat him, crucified him...

        April 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • kudlak

          Why isn't Jesus guilty of at least having the poor judgment of stirring up crowds during the festival if liberation in Roman-occupied Jerusalem? Surely, he must have know how dangerous making a spectacle of himself would have been.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • believerfred

          kudlak
          Jesus was not guilty in the way the story is told. He was simply praying in the garden when the religious leaders stirred up a crowd of their followers. The priests out of pride, envy and desire to retain their position of power feared a treat.
          Jesus was in the right, always spoke truth, loved even his enemies and gave his life so all could be saved. Exactly where could there be any guilt or fault in Jesus?

          April 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • kudlak

          believerfred
          If you can't trust what the story is telling, then how can you trust anything that the Gospels have to say?

          Besides, didn't he enter into Jerusalem with a huge parade and then whip the moneychangers in the temple just prior to his arrest? Jerusalem during the Passover season was swelled well beyond twice it's normal population, and Passover was the celebration of Hebrew freedom from bondage. The crowds were always primed for an uprising during this time.

          A wise person knows when it's unwise to speak the truth to people who are just itching to have an excuse to kill you. The success of Rome was it's willingness to be brutal. Hundreds of people had been crucified before in a single demonstration of Roman power. If you believe Josephus, and his description of Herod, there's no way that Herod would have actually been hesitant in killing any single Jew.

          Surely, these were reasons enough for the Roman authorities to execute him. An uprising would have only resulted in a slaughter of Jews. If the Jewish leaders were at all involved in Jesus' execution, wouldn't they be justified in doing whatever they could to stop a doomed rebellion?

          April 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  10. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    I'm taking a break after this... at some point today, I think I should probably do some actual work while I'm at work...

    “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this, at a distance of roughly ninety million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has, or had, a problem, which was this. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn't the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy. And so the problem remained, and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans. And then one day, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl, sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realised what it was that had been going wrong all this time and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no-one would have to get nailed to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and so the idea was lost forever.”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    April 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  11. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    This is turning into 'favorite author' quote day

    "Men rarely if ever dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. "
    — Robert A. Heinlein

    April 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • bostontola

      It's interesting that the Yahweh character fits that description to a T, but I can't say that about his purported son Jesus.

      April 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • Keith

        Jesus, never intended to be "god" I bet he was surprised when the Pauline Christians made him one.

        April 19, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • otoh2

          Well, he was dead by that time, Keith. There's no evidence that dead people are "surprised" (or anything else!).

          April 19, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • Keith

          Oh, I am just letting them have their resurrection story. I find resurrection stories to be interesting no matter which culture they come from.

          If there was a spiritual being that could come to earth I am quite sure they would ask all their followers, "What are you doing?"

          April 19, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • ausphor

      LET
      "Born Agains are the most dogmatic of all, because it is the dogma itself that forms their belief system. The Born Again believes that everyone needs to be told what to do - and realistically, that's the only thing keeping them out of jail."
      Bobby Henderson, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
      Saying you need a god is saying you need a crutch to live your life.

      April 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study http://www.philly.com/philly/health/132456883.html

        April 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • kudlak

      Ok, I'll share.

      "I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted. First, that the agreement of all the parts of a story does not prove that story to be true, because the parts may agree and the whole may be false; secondly, that the disagreement of the parts of a story proves the whole cannot be true."

      Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason on the many discrepancies he found in the NT, especially in the Easter story.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  12. rgalinato

    There are 7 billion people and 7 billion different religions... Keep on arguing about it.

    April 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      1 God.

      April 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • bostontola

        Why not more than 1?

        April 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There are either 7 billion gods or 1 God.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I don't know how many there are, but 1 seems very arbitrary.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ Dala; false dichotomy. That's patently obvious.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • otoh2

          Estimates have been given that the number of humans who ever lived is around 110 billion - scads of potential gods.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In my experience there is 1 God. One Creator. One Great Spirit of the Universe.

          I know people that experience multiple gods. Or no god or gods.

          To thine own self be true, I say.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • believerfred

          otoh2
          If so then it is estimated 103 billion of those worshiped something greater then themselves.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • commonsensed01

          Dalahast: You left out a very important (and scientifically) most important number: Zero. There could be zero Gods. So far science hand reason has yet to show a hint or reason for there to be even one God.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
      • kudlak

        Actually, there are more gods believed by people today, but even this one God of which you speak is claimed by three major religions who do not agree at all about who he patronizes, and a great many smaller sects, both within and outside these major religions, making it virtually impossible to say anything for certain about who or what this character is or represents. For practical purposes, "God" is almost a useless term. It can almost mean anything at all.

        April 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. The term can be used to mean anything at all.

          I use the term to describe our creator and maker of the universe.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • kudlak

          Can you prove that such a thing exists?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
  13. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    “Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says, do what you like, guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting "Gotcha". It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it.'
    'Why not?'
    'Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of mentality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end.”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    April 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • mk

      And how many times did god test and proposition people in the bible to prove that they were on his side? Abraham, Job, Noah...they all had to prove their devotion to a needy, insecure god.

      April 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." — Robert A. Heinlein

        April 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      We are all capable of giving in to temptation. And the consequences we face when we do so are often unpleasant. God can turn the unpleasant messes we make when we give into things we shouldn't pursue and create something new. Our mess can become a message that helps the next human being that follows the wrong path.

      April 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
      • bostontola

        I agree with everything you said, except the God part.

        April 18, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I know you don't.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          What's interesting to me, is how often I agree with your statements and conclusions by just taking out the God parts.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I need God's help.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Good thing you found Him then.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Psychology knows that human decisions are complex. Decisions are made before we are conscious that we have made them, (proven in the lab). How is THAT "free will" ?

        April 19, 2014 at 12:36 am |
    • The Answer is 42

      That tree was unnecessary in the first place. He put it there knowing the outcome. What, He wanted to be proven wrong? God is never wrong. So again...what was the point?

      God has a warped sense of humor. That's what I came up with.

      April 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • Vic

        From what I have studied, I believe it has something to do with Satan challenging God since he rebelled, and God honoring the challenge. Many Christians believe in the Doctrine of Ransom as well.

        April 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          And that still makes no sense. God could have destroyed Satan, or merely told Satan no, but instead gives in to what amounts as a schoolyard bully's taunts?

          "Honored" the challenge? That's not honor. God had nothing to prove.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • otoh2

          Vic,

          If "God" and "Satan" have issues and want to duke it out, mano-a-mano (or spiritu-a-spiritu, as it were) why involve hapless humans? According to the myth, it was not "Satan" who created these bystander victims of their little tiff.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, I am very content with the fact that we only know so much, let alone not allowed nor made capable of knowing everything, about the Divine Realm

          April 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • otoh2

          Vic,

          The problem is that you claim things as "known" which are actually unknown, unproved or sometimes even disproved.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          How nice it is to be complacent, Vic.

          I suppose that's where the term "blind faith" comes from.

          And the notion that the Bible is just a good collection of stories and legends.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          "let alone not allowed nor made capable of knowing everything, about the Divine Realm"

          Oh, I'm capable, which is why I asked the questions.

          Maybe God should have not fixated it thusly; or maybe Moses wrote it down wrong, or maybe something was lost in translation.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Vic

          Ah, detecting something is wrong.

          That's when you go back to the drawing board and start over. To me, that's when you look at this universe and life in it and realize there is a Creator.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • kudlak

          Vic
          Why is God, who is so easily manipulated by Satan, given a pass, but any human manipulated by Satan gets tortured forever in a lake of fire?

          April 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • sam stone

          Vic: Why do you capitalize "creator"?

          April 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
  14. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    John 19:28-30
    "28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." (NASB)

    Happy Good Friday Everyone.

    The Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ
    Matthew 26:14-27:66
    Mark 14:12-15:47
    Luke 22-23
    John 18-19

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ6kQCrPBmo&w=640&h=390]

    April 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • bostontola

      Happy Good Friday Vic.

      April 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • tallulah131

      There are few things creepier than how much christians love torture and blood. Not only do they happily read about how a man was tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions, they want to see it reenacted in glorious Technicolor. It honestly makes me sick.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  15. midwest rail

    @ justpro86

    Let's review, shall we ?
    1. I asked for a citation for a single reputable scientist who makes the claim "something came from nothing".
    2. You said evolutionists all over the world make that claim.
    3. I again asked for a citation.
    4. You claimed to have 1,000 and it would take too much space to list them all.
    5. I said pick ONE.
    6. You gave a link to a wikipedia review for a book authored by a Christian physicist who does NOT make the claim you assert.

    Still waiting.

    April 18, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • Russ

      @ midwest rail:
      Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, "Grand Design"

      April 18, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • midwest rail

        Interesting that the request was so difficult for justpro86, who claimed 1,000 references. Thanks, Russ, this one will be next on my "must read" list.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • bostontola

          My favorite "something from nothing" book is, "A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing" by Krauss.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • midwest rail

          Thanks, boston – I'll add that one as well.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Russ

          @ midwest rail:
          note well: that book has received wide criticism from a variety of disciplines.

          wikipedia has a brief overview:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Design_(book)#Critical_reactions

          April 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • bostontola

          Russ,
          That criticism is exactly why science works. A scientist puts a hypothesis out there, others criticize it, the originator addresses the criticism by either refuting and/or fixing the errors found. The end comes when criticism is exhausted on the hypothesis. Then there is consensus, one science on that issue that is used to enable technology and further more science.

          Religion has a different approach. Criticism spawns new sects and denominations. Christianity is over 42,000.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Thank you, Russ. I was taught early in my education to read skeptically and critically, but to always READ.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • ausphor

          bostontola
          Another difference between Christian apologetics and a scientist is that an apologist can never admit they were wrong and correct the record. A scientist like Hawking recently published a paper on black holes correcting a long held belief/theory of his that has been proven wrong by quantum mechanics.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Russ

          @ midwest rail: i am all for reading – including those with whom you disagree.

          @ bostontola & ausphor: it seems you have bought into a caricature that does not accurately reflect the history of biblical scholarship. the bible is not only the most read book in history, it also the most scrutinized.

          @ bostontola: for all the talk of 40,000+ denominations on this blog, it almost always seems overlooked that there in great agreement among that wide variety.

          1) 40,000 groups is not that many considering there are 2,000,000,000 members.
          moreover, the 40,000 basically fall into 3 groups: Catholic, Orthodox & Protestant.

          2) virtually ALL of those groups agree on the most foundational teachings of the text.
          case in point, the Apostles' Creed (c. AD 180) is a rather complex list of teachings – yet ALL of those denominations (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) agree that Scripture teaches those doctrines.

          SUM: the appeal to 40,000 works both ways. there is unity across a very wide diversity – which is why Christianity is not simply universalism (including radically different views of "Christ" as merely human [Islam] or one lesser god among many [Mormons, JWs, etc.]).

          April 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • bostontola

          Russ,
          If that makes you feel better...

          April 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • Russ

          @ bostontola: speaking of "unwillingness to admit they were wrong"...

          yes, much better to chalk it up to emotionalism & pat me on the head in smug superiority than to consider the nuisance that the facts did not match what you were claiming.

          all too often we are all too much alike in our disagreement. how about we both (dare i use a religious term?) "repent" of our arrogance? then we can still get back to an honest discussion.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • kudlak

          What would "nothing" look like? It wouldn't even have a single dimension, would it? Empty space has dimensions. The bigger question is whether it's even possible for a true "nothing" to exist.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Russ

          @ kudlak: now you're asking the Matrix / Descartes question...
          what is it, really? we call it 'space' for lack of a better term, but the fact that there is existence in the first place presses the question. multiverses notwithstanding, it's an infinite regress unless it was made. and that's what the Bible is claiming: namely, that existence itself leaves us all without an excuse (Rom.1).

          April 18, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Doris

          "it's an infinite regress unless it was made"

          what do you mean by "it" (second occurrence) here, Russ?

          April 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • kudlak

          Russ
          "Space" isn't nothing. Nothing wouldn't even have a single dimension, right? That's why it may be even philosophically impossible for there ever to have been nothing.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:32 am |
  16. Vic

    Test...

    A [link](http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/17/did-christians-really-steal-easter/comment-page-7/#comment-2992289 "Test")

    April 18, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • ausphor

      Vic
      Jesus Christ is Lord of the Myths
      In case you forgot.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  17. idiotusmaximus

    Did Christians really 'steal' Easter?

    Any christian holiday is one that was lifted from somewhere....the early christians were good at moving into a holiday and renaming it for what ever so as to keep the ignorant that were used to going to a certain place or believing a certain thing as their own

    April 18, 2014 at 11:13 am |
    • Russ

      @ idiotus:
      “You can’t go on “seeing through” things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.”
      -CS Lewis

      April 18, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  18. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "Good Morning," said Deep Thought at last.
    "Er..good morning, O Deep Thought" said Loonquawl nervously, "do you have...er, that is..."
    "An Answer for you?" interrupted Deep Thought majestically. "Yes, I have."
    The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.
    "There really is one?" breathed Phouchg.
    "There really is one," confirmed Deep Thought.
    "To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and everything?"
    "Yes."
    Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children.
    "And you're ready to give it to us?" urged Loonsuawl.
    "I am."
    "Now?"
    "Now," said Deep Thought.
    They both licked their dry lips.
    "Though I don't think," added Deep Thought. "that you're going to like it."
    "Doesn't matter!" said Phouchg. "We must know it! Now!"
    "Now?" inquired Deep Thought.
    "Yes! Now..."
    "All right," said the computer, and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.
    "You're really not going to like it," observed Deep Thought.
    "Tell us!"
    "All right," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question..."
    "Yes..!"
    "Of Life, the Universe and Everything..." said Deep Thought.
    "Yes...!"
    "Is..." said Deep Thought, and paused.
    "Yes...!"
    "Is..."
    "Yes...!!!...?"
    "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.”
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    April 18, 2014 at 11:05 am |
    • Russ

      @ LET:
      so... do you read that as satire or think it's pretty close to the truth?

      April 18, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • Keith

        Truth

        April 18, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Russ

          @ Keith:
          therein lies the rub.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Keith

          Yes, but that book did more to guide my young life than the bible.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          The theory that we are merely an experiment being run by mice is just as valid and has just as much evidence as the God theory.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Keith

          Yes, you are right. However I am not an Atheist, I do believe there is something other than a physical existence.

          I do not believe in any of the "gods" or religions.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Russ

          @ never:
          so... are you giving mice that much credit or you see no order in the midst of chaos?

          April 18, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I'm saying that you have as much evidence of your creator as I have of mice with divine powers.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Keith

          I don't know if I have a creator other than my parents.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • Russ

          @ never: considering the complexity & grandeur of existence, those would be some impressive mice.

          existence itself raises the question. Hawking knows that well enough to attempt to address it in his book "Grand Design" – despite the fact that a wide variety of critics panned his answer.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • Keith

          I live without religion and without needing to know whether there is a "god" or not, but I am not an Atheist because those folks don't have a place for the mysteries of life, and I am not willing to be defined as just organic and chemical reactions.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Keith:
          “Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship - be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles - is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and se.xual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”
          ― David Foster Wallace

          April 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Keith

          That seems right

          April 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Keith:
          so it's not a matter of *if* you worship, but *what* you worship.
          is there anything you can build your life around, give yourself over to, that will not in the end demand that you die for it?
          Wallace is saying: career, se.x, pleasure, affirmation, etc. will all crush you in the end.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Keith

          Yes, I understood that and have observed that it is true. If you do not accept the beliefs of other men you eventually have to find a center that is non-destructive to build your life around. Having abandoned the "god" of my fathers it took me several years of self-destructive living before I found mine.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Keith:
          as a Christian, obviously i believe there is only one God who will die for you.
          everything else will demand that you die for it. it's simply a matter of time.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • Keith

          I found Christianity too hateful. I wanted a loving god, so I worship the god of Abraham.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Keith: so what do you make of Gen.22?

          April 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Keith

          It is a teaching story teaching that the true god will not ask for what you can not give, and that man can be easily led to do things he should not do.

          April 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
      • The Anwer is 42

        I also take it to mean, "The Answer is Fortitude."

        April 18, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • The Answer is 42

          Even though I spelled my name wrong.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  19. revrickm

    From the article: "Just because words in different languages sound the same doesn’t mean they are related. In Swedish, the word “kiss” means u.rine."

    You mean that "kiss" and "p.iss" don't sound similar? Hmmmm.

    As a minister, I am well aware of not only similarities in scripture between various religions, but also in similarities in stories, traditions, and myths. It is puzzling to me that many if not most Christians feel threatened when someone points out these connections because it highlights how poorly educated Christians are with regard to other (competing) religions and faiths. If you are going to embrace Christianity as your faith of choice, it seems to me it would only enrich your faith to understand why other religions believe as they do – both in their similarities and in their differences. To approach your faith otherwise is simply to hide your head in the sand and blindly declare that you are right and all others are, by default, wrong. All you are really saying is that I choose to remain blindly ignorant out of fear, or blindly ignorant out of sheer arrogance. Neither of these impress those of a different faith, much less those who choose no faith at all.

    April 18, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "To approach your faith otherwise is simply to hide your head in the sand and blindly declare that you are right and all others are, by default, wrong."

      I am glad you are promoting a learning based belief that does not hide facts and christian history. Unfortunately the general concensious among Christian authorities is that if you can get people to believe without having to think about it too much, all the better.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:20 am |
      • Russ

        @ Cheesemaker:
        re-narrating history is itself a sacrifice of the intellect.
        the question here is: which of us is re-narrating?

        April 18, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....that of course, depends on what you are terming as 'history'. The story of Noah is not history, nor is the story of Adam and Eve in the garden with a talking snake. Neither is the parting of the Red Sea. Neither is about 80% of the bible I would hazard to guess. So....now the question really is.....who is re-narrating history, and who is just making it up?

          April 18, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Russ,

          I am not even talking about "re-narrating"....I am talking about not teaching much of anything regarding religious history.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • Russ

          @ Cheesemaker: i'm all for teaching the expansiveness of religious history, in all its bald failures & successes. if that's what you mean, i agree.

          if however, you meant the opposite... that'd be censorship, which is the definition of re-narrating history.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I am not sure how in any interpretation of what I said you could construe it to mean "censorship".

          What I was saying is that CHristianity in general ignores the history of its religion (and other religions as well) when it comes to relating it to the masses.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Russ

          @ gullible:
          1) from a purely literary standpoint, knowing the content of the most read book in history is worthwhile educationally.

          2) your definition of "history", especially in regard to religion

          a) i'm not a young earth creationist. your critique appears to aim primarily at that position.

          b) you appear to exclude the miraculous at the outset. why?

          Hume famously excluded anything 'improbable' – and that has been the criteria for many taking your position. but that has become increasingly problematic: it requires rejecting the last 30 years of science (quantum physics & chaos theory). is that the position you are taking?

          April 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • revrickm

          I'd like to point out that, when it comes to narrating or re-narrating history, or using censorship, that is exactly what the early church did. We lost many books (or potential books) that could have been part of the Bible had it due to the censorship of the early church fathers. Many of those competing books (Gospels) that did not make the cut of "orthodoxy" were either destroyed or at least suppressed by the early church. A few, and I repeat, very few, copies of those books remain. Only a few have come to light in recent history, such as the Gnostic Gospels, and there are many others that I am sure many on this forum have heard of. The "victors" get to write their own version of history and declare it as accurate.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Russ

          @ revrickm:

          "...fact: of all the gospels in early Christianity, only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are dated to the first century. Sure, there are minority attempts to put books like the Gospel of Thomas in the first century – but such attempts have not been well received by biblical scholars. Thus, if we really want to know what Jesus was like, our best bet is to rely on books that were at least written during the time period when eyewitnesses were still alive. And only four gospels meet that standard."
          -Michael J. Kruger

          http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/19/the-far-less-sensational-truth-about-jesus-wife/

          April 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • revrickm

          Thanks, Russ. Yes, I am familiar with Kruger. But who actually wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? The only thing we know is that, while the Gospels may be "dated" to the first century, 1) – the only copies of copies of copies of these Gospels appear a century or more later, we have no original Gospel in Jesus' nor the disciples native languages. and 2)- we have no idea who actually wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Those names are only used by tradition, not because we know who actually wrote them. And 3) – If you read the Gospels in parallel (side by side) comparing one Gospel to another they each tell a different story, and are full of inconsistencies. Which one is actually true?

          April 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Russ

          @ revrickm:
          have you read Richard Bauckham's "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses"? it's a good compilation of the latest scholarship here & deals directly with your concerns.

          a few examples:
          a) "copies of copies of copies"
          i) there wasn't that much time elapsed
          ii) it's been demonstrated that the content doesn't change – unlike what you are implying (i.e., as the Dead Sea Scrolls proved)
          iii) for all the variances in the oldest manuscripts, none of them strike at the vitals of the theological content (even the controversial end of Mark simply mirrors content found in other places)

          b) the authors demonstrate direct knowledge of the immediate context.
          i) higher critical scholars were *sure* John was far removed from Jerusalem anywhere near the time of Jesus. then they dug up the pool of Bethesda, exactly where & how John described it. it was destroyed in AD 70.
          ii) only recently available statistical studies of names by region and decade (most common, what needs qualifiers, etc.) show that the authors had accurate, circ.umstantial knowledge of the context – again, disproving the notion that they were far removed & the content somehow was corrupted. and that's something that would have been IMPOSSIBLE for the authors to anticipate as a critique – especially if they were fabricating the content.

          that's just a taste. read Bauckham. at least read a good review.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....the top three most widely read books in the world are the bible, quotes from Mao Tse Tung, and Harry Potter. Just because something is widely read doesn't necessarily carry any more weight than any other literary work. I don't give 2 cents for either the bible or Mao Tse Tung....or Harry Potter for that matter. However, I have read the bible and historically speaking, it is certainly not exacting. And, I am not even referring just to the creationist point of view, I'm also referring to the new testament all the way up to revelations. You either believe the bible or you don't. I believe the bible was written by men....no divine instruction, no divine intervention. There are some worthwhile sentiments, but absolutely nothing securing any belief that Jesus was the son of a god or that god even exists. Logic and reason are the tools that I use to make that determination.

          You may believe whatever you want, obviously, but to speculate on the authenticity historically of the bible is unproven, as the bible was a compilation of books put together by men that really wanted to control the masses at the time. That, to me, is neither history, nor worth my time.

          April 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
        • rgalinato

          I don't think you read the Bible then. There's not just one author and yeah they were regular guys (fishermen, thieves, etc.). So how did they write scripture then that we still read today and will be reading forever?

          April 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
    • ausphor

      revrickm
      That is the best description of Dalahast I have yet seen, may I use it? Especially "blindly ignorant out of sheer arrogance."
      Thank You

      April 18, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • revrickm

        Well, ausphor, my intention was not to call anyone out in particular. But as a former fundamentalist myself, I know that's the position I took for many years. I finally got comfortable with the idea that the Bible was not FAX'd down to us from heaven. It was written by fallible humans, translated by fallible humans, and today is interpreted by fallible humans. God wrote not a single word, nor did his son Jesus write any scripture. Odd don't you think, since the eternal fate of all humanity rests on people who were not even eye witnesses to Jesus words, deeds and miracles.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I agree, so out of curiosity how do you reconcile those issues?

          April 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • revrickm

          Cheesemakers – Why would I try to reconcile anything? That's where the trouble starts isn't it? I find the Bible a very useful book but I do not take it literally. The Bible is a very human book for all the reasons I listed above, so why not use it (as well as scripture of other faiths) to teach humanity about compassion, forgiveness and spiritual healing. The miracles, parables and stories of the Bible are useful teaching tools, but I see no need to beat people over the head with them. Doing so defeats its own purpose.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I don't disagree. The bible can be useful, it does have some good things in it, same as other religious texts. But it definately makes unfounded claims about reality (god, miracles, ect, ect). Being a minister I am wondering what (if anything) you accept of those claims? Or do you just use it strictly as philosophical?

          April 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • revrickm

          Cheesemakers – As I said previously, I do not take the Bible literally. So, yes, to some degree I do look at applying the Bible in a more philosophical context, but even that is not the whole story. I have no argument with someone who does want to take the Bible literally as long as they don't attempt to use it condemn another, or use it to justify prejudice and hatred against an individual or a group. When someone tells me I am going to hell because I don't believe as they do, their assumption is that they are qualified (by way of scripture?) to make a judgment about where I will spend eternity. Seriously? Where did the Bible give them the power or the authority to make that judgment about me – or about anyone else for that matter. Sorry, that's just another example of the blind arrogance that some Christians feel so free to hide behind as some type of false piety.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Russ

          @ revrickm: you said "i do not take the bible literally..."

          resurrection: yes or no? did it happen?

          April 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • revrickm

          Russ – which of the resurrection stories are you asking about? There is more than one described in the New Testament, and the facts are different. But to answer your question, more specifically, I doubt it. I think it is one of the stories that was embellished by Christian oral tradition and was written down years, perhaps decades, after Jesus' death. Remember, we have no eye witnesses.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          revrickm,

          I really don't have an issue with anything you said. If religious belief stayed strictly personal I would not have a complaint, but beliefs inform ones actions. I also can't see how someone who takes the Bible literally cannot condemn others...at least to some extent. The bible very specifically calls non-believers fools and other such nonsense, the writings themselves condemn others so to adhere to the bible literally is a condemnation of people that don't share the belief.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Russ

          @ revrickm:
          as Christopher Hitchens so bluntly put it when interviewed by Marilyn Sewell (who shares your convictions):

          Sewell: "Mr. Hitchens, the religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I'm a liberal Christian, and I don't take the stories from the scripture literally. I don't believe in the doctrine of atonement - that Jesus died for our sins, for example. Do you make a distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?"

          Hitchens: "Well, I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian."

          April 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • revrickm

          @ Russ - by implication, I assume you mean that I am not a "meaningful Christian" as described by Hitchens. Otherwise I'm not sure what the point of your post was. While Hitchens made some good arguments against Christianity/religion, he was a pompous a_ss. I was not a big fan. On the other hand, judgment of another's faith, motives, and heart, is not for us mortals to decide. Those who point, judge and accuse, even by implication, are no less guilty of Hitchen's own description.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • ausphor

        revrickm
        I will take that as a no, pity, it is really damn good. As a Deist I have no interest in a personal judgemental god or an eternal fate for humanity or the earth for that matter; our sun will eventually fry the whole lot. Maybe we will be able to skip over to Kepler 186f an earth like planet only 500 light years away or not. Surprising god didn't mention he also created probably millions of earth like planets in the "life" zone just in our galaxy, must have slipped his omnipotent mind.

        April 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • revrickm

          Ausphor, reel free to use what you will. I suspect that anything that anyone writes in a forum/blog such as this is probably considered to be in the public domain. Just don't quote me as having directed my comment at anyone in particular. I guess if it was directed at anyone, it could have been used to describe my own att.itude when I was a fundamentalist Christian.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
    • mk

      Agreed, Rev. If you're going to base so much of your life on one belief system, at least explore other beliefs so that you can at least understand how it all fits.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • revrickm

        Exactly.

        April 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  20. neverbeenhappieratheist

    "Christians didn’t steal Easter, but it probably wasn’t a wholly new idea, either."

    Right, Christians didn’t steal Easter, they just borrowed it from the Pagans.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Some pagans who became Christians, held on to some of their spring time celebrations.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        If you truly believe that the current celebration of Easter in America would be proudly endorsed by the carpenter described in the gospels then it is very likely you were dropped on your head as a baby, a lot.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That's dumb. Not all Americans celebrate Easter in the same way. We invite people in need into our place for meals. I don't think Jesus would be opposed to that.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Ah, so i'm dumb because there might be a handful of Christians who celebrate pass over the way Christ intended? Does that completely discard my statement? I think not. The VAST majority of Easter celebrations I see each year and the Christians supporting them are the furthest from what the Christ of the bible supported as you can get.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know what you mean by "current celebration of Easter in America". I saw an American movie about Easter called "Hop". It had nothing to do with what I'm taught about what Easter means. Is that what the current celebration of Easter in America entails?

          April 18, 2014 at 11:43 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.