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The worst places in the world to be religious
Rohingya Muslim children at a refugee camp in Burma, where authorities have incited violence against them, according to the State Department.
May 15th, 2014
10:56 AM ET

The worst places in the world to be religious

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world's worst abusers of religious rights. 

As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.

Among the most worrying trends, according to the State Department, are "authoritarian governments that restrict their citizens’ ability to practice their religion."

In typically bland bureaucratic language, the State Department calls these "countries of particular concern." But the designation can come with some teeth.

Sudan, for example, where a Christian woman was sentenced to death this week for leaving Islam, is ineligible for some types of foreign aid.

In addition to Sudan, here are the State Department's "countries of particular concern." You might call them "The Worst Places in the World to Be Religious."

Burma: The Burmese government puts a stranglehold on every religion except Theravada Buddhism, says the State Department.

Some government officials even enticed non-Buddhists to convert, and Muslims in the state of Rakhine, particularly Rohingya Muslims, are subject to discrimination and lethal violence, according to the State Department.

China: "The government harassed, detained, arrested, or sentenced to prison a number of religious adherents for activities reportedly related to their religious beliefs and practice," the State Department says.

That includes jailing Uyghur Muslims, one of whom was sentenced to 10 years for "selling illegal religious material," and Catholic clergy who were arrested for not belonging to the state-run Catholic Patriotic Association.

That pales compared with the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, according to the State Department, who suffered through "an intense official crackdown at monasteries and nunneries, resulting in the loss of life, arbitrary detentions, and torture." 

Eritrea: Just four religious groups are officially allowed to openly practice their faith in this African nation; the rest are subject to jailing or worse.

So if you're not an Eritrean Orthodox Christian, a Sunni Muslim, a Roman Catholic or an Evangelical Lutheran, life could be tough for you here. Harsh detentions for religious dissenters are the norm, according to the State Department.

Iran:  This Muslim-majority country's respect for religious rights has declined in recent years, according to the State Department.

"There were increased reports that the government charged religious and ethnic minorities with moharebeh (enmity against God), 'anti-Islamic propaganda,' or vague national security crimes for their religious activities," says the department's report.

The government has imprisoned numerous members of the Baha'i faith and Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor who has been physically and psychologically abused, according to the State Department.

Iran begins trial for U.S. pastor 

North Korea: Human rights groups provided numerous reports that members of underground churches were arrested, beaten, tortured or killed because of their religious beliefs, the State Department says.

The authoritarian nation has jailed as many as 200,000 political prisoners, according to the State Department, many on religious grounds. The country discourages any religious activity not sanctioned by officially recognized groups.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American reportedly accused of spreading Christianity in North Korea, was sentenced in 2013 to 15 years of hard labor.

Kenneth Bae worried about his health in North Korean camp

Saudi Arabia: The oil-rich monarchy doesn't even pretend to respect religious rights for any faith other than Islam.

Sunni Islam is the official religion, and the country's constitution is based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

The public practice of any other religion is prohibited, according to the State Department, and Arabian authorities beheaded a man in 2012 for engaging in "sorcery."

Sudan: This country has been on the State Department's naughty list since its inception in 1999.

Sudan penalizes blasphemy and conversion from Islam, sentencing a Christian woman whom judges say converted from Islam to death this week.

The country has also arrested and deported Western Christians suspected of spreading their faith, according to the State Department.

Christian woman in Sudan sentenced to death for her faith

The country's "morality police" require strict obedience to its interpretation of Islamic law, beating and stoning women accused of acting "indecently."

Uzbekistan: Technically, this country's laws respect religious rights.

But in practice, the Central Asian nation maintains strict control of its majority-Muslim population, according to the State Department.

"The government continued to imprison individuals based on charges of extremism; raid religious and social gatherings of unregistered and registered religious communities; confiscate and destroy religious literature, including holy books; and discourage minors from practicing their faith," the department said in its 2012 report. 

People jailed on charges of "religious extremism" have been beaten, tortured and even killed, according to the State Department.

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Africa • Baha'i • China • Christianity • Church and state • Discrimination • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Iran • Islam • Islamic law • Middle East • Muslim • North Korea • Persecution • Prejudice • Religious violence • Saudi Arabia • Tibet • Tibet • Violence

soundoff (2,628 Responses)
  1. iowasundevil

    I would like to see a related list: "The worst countries to have no religion or the wrong religion" with examples of how atheists and people who practice a different religion than the majority in their country are treated.

    June 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  2. particularkev

    Reblogged this on Random Thoughts.

    June 9, 2014 at 1:40 am |
  3. sales3000

    test

    bold

    header 7

    June 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
  4. idiotusmaximus

    The worst places in the world to be religious....................

    And the worse place to be an ATHEIST is in the mid west and southern BIBLE BELT.

    June 3, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • pbsthaton

      No, you're assuming that I'm making an assertion on the existence of god. Even Stephen Hawking has admitted to the probability of the universe having a definite beginning. In doing so, he also postulated events much more feasible then the fantasy of a "multiverse." Furthermore, I will reiterate, believing in the existence of a multiverse is JUST AS absurd as a belief in god. You are making the hypothesis entirely on faith. There is not a single shred of evidence whatsoever to support the claim. You might as well be saying that "god" doesn't exist. Instead, the universe was created by the flying spagetti monster. There is no math to support the multiverse hypothesis. No support from the realm of physics. Nothing from the realm of chemistry. Nothing whatsoever. You're just frantically grasping at straws in an attempt to retrospectively provide clarity to a paradox as opposed to just saying "i don't know". Admit it! You don't know! It's that simple.

      http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html Here's the link to Hawking admitting to the "Beginning" of the universe. Carry on with your crackpot theories of a multiverse. You're just as delusional as a die-hard christian zealot at this point, and as such, any attempt to reason with you to admit that you just don't know will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears.

      June 5, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
      • dandintac

        You are totally wrong about the multiverse. Scientists HAVE discovered evidence for the existence of the Multiverse.

        This article from Columbia U: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=5907

        And here–from the Catholics!: https://www.catholic.org/news/technology/story.php?id=51025

        It's by no means conclusive, but this evidence is best explained by the multiverse theory. You cannot say that there is no evidence for the Multiverse Theory without either being ignorant or lying.

        Furthermore, the Multiverse Theory works very well with known physics as well as at the frontier of cosmological theory, and it IS mathematically sound.

        Also, please give me a reference where Dr. Hawking refers to the Multiverse Theory as a "fantasy".

        June 7, 2014 at 2:14 am |
  5. delius1967

    Interesting how it is typically RELIGION that suppresses religious rights. It's not that these places are a bad place to be religious; they are just a bad place to be the wrong KIND of religious. Secularism looks pretty good.

    May 27, 2014 at 2:55 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      ALL RELIGIONS hate each other...they use the excuse of wanting to save souls to gain POWER over the IGNORANT.

      June 3, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • kermit4jc

        thus the name idiot max....not ALL hate one another.....to make such a statement is dishionest and ignorant

        June 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
  6. lookatuniverse

    Quran says (Islamic Scripture)

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    May 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      lookat....someone else (I forgot who) once posted the following on this blog, but it bears repeating:

      I read all I needed to read about Islam on September 12, 2001.....

      May 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • cyprian2

      So...What exactly was your point, "lookatuniverse? By the way, how did Pakistan escape the list, with its vile, so-called blasphemy laws??

      May 29, 2014 at 1:30 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected.....SORRY lookatuniverse...they are right about this...do you have evidence or any kind of proof that you're going to go on after you die...LET ME HELP YOU.......THE ANSWER IS NO.

      June 3, 2014 at 10:58 am |
  7. joeyy1

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=390]
    -.

    May 22, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
    • Doris

      Letting go of superst!ition

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yceHh5khkXo&w=640&h=390]

      May 24, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  8. Anony Mouse

    Aborted babies found in garbage bags in dumpster behind abortion mill in Michigan.

    May 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      That's pretty random....what is the point you are trying to make?

      May 22, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
    • Akira

      While horrific, it's not new news; that happened in 2010.

      May 22, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
  9. SciFi

    my flight will board soon.
    !thank you!!
    !ill let you know how the pilot flies!
    and his: beliefs faith or insanity
    zzzzzooooom!

    May 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • igaftr

      Are you sure you want to fly? Aeronautics is still just a theory, like germ theory and evolution theory.

      May 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
      • SciFi

        i fly every week
        science works

        May 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • SciFi

        you think aeronautics is still just a theory?
        hu

        May 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • kudlak

          I think maybe he means aerodynamics, which includes the theory of why things can fly.

          May 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
  10. SciFi

    As agnostic – this is good news for me
    not so great for my atheist friends

    Research on secularity has noted that,
    in America, agnostics have significant levels of education,
    while atheists have relatively low levels of education.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-08/asa-lea081511.php

    Less-educated Americans turning their backs on religion

    "Our study suggests that the less educated are dropping out of the American religious sector, similarly to the way in which they have dropped out of the American labor market," said lead researcher W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia."

    May 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
    • igaftr

      Well that makes no sense unless you mean "tends to"...then perhaps. But you cannot make the claim as you have stated it.
      i"n America, agnostics have significant levels of education,
      while atheists have relatively low levels of education"
      That states it as if it is a fact, where there may only be tendancies.
      Care to rephrase so it is not such an obvious mis-statement?

      I am an atheist and an agnostic and have a vast amount of education.

      May 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • thatguy08

        Really?? Obviously that "vast education" didnt help you to understand that you cant be both atheist AND agnostic! You just went full potato...First rule of narcissism: Either actually be smart or at least good at pretending to be.

        June 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • dandintac

          Where in the world did you get the notion that a person cannot be an atheist and agnostic at the same time? Whyever not? "Gnostic" refers to whether or not you KNOW there is a god, and "Theism" refers to a BELIEF in God. Go ahead and Google "definition of agnostic" and "definition of atheist". And these definitions are also similar to the Oxford English Dictionary–the foremost authority on the meaning of words in the world.

          So–does a God exist? I don't KNOW, because there's not enough evidence to answer the question either way. But, do I BELIEVE a God exist? (depending on how you define God), no for many reasons. I am an agnostic-atheist, as are most atheists.

          June 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
    • Doris

      Where is this study published? You reference an article about a study done by a person who writes for, among other things, religious journals, and it's about an upcoming association meeting where it is supposed to be presented – and that was three years ago. Do you have anything on this after it was presented (if it was)?

      May 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Doris....what I find incredibly difficult to believe about this 'study' is that Christianity thrives in the Bible Belt, and the Bible Belt contains the most uneducated states in the country. And, that is an actual real fact

        May 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • kudlak

      You can be agnostic about the question of whether any gods are real, and still atheistic with regard to your belief about them actually being real. I don't know whether any gods are real, or not, which makes me agnostic about their existence, but I don't actually believe that any of them are real either, which makes me an atheist too. Some atheists claim to know that no gods exist, making them gnostic atheists.

      A great many believers (theists) will admit that they don't actually know whether their god actually exists (agnostic theists), and other believers claim to be dead certain that their god exists (gnostic theists).

      So, you see, it's actually a matter of two separate things: what you claim to know, and what you believe.

      May 22, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
    • tallulah131

      The linked study said nothing about atheists or agnostics at all. I think Sally/Finny/Chuckie has a new name and a new schtick.

      May 22, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You repeated this same crap at least 6 times on another article sally/thefinisher1...could you possibly get your multiple personalities together and stop acting intelligent when obviously you're not? Agnostic means without knowledge and all honest people are agnostic regardless of what they believe are (not that you're honest)...the question is do you believe a god exists-yes or no? (rather simple although it may hurt that petite mind of yours to answer, give it a shot)

      May 23, 2014 at 7:14 am |
  11. Science Works

    Hey fred here is the address for your site ?believerfred
    Science Works
    If you look at the picture on the left from your link you will see a man lying next to the Ti-tanasaur......... I will post that on my creationist web site as proof man coexisted with them.......I may need to Photoshop the guys cloths as they are from Walmart.

    May 20, 2014 at 6:15 pm |

    A Creation Research Science-Education foundation Project – which is now what freddie ?

    John D Morris ?

    May 22, 2014 at 10:30 am |
    • SciFi

      Less-educated Americans turning their backs on religion

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-08/asa-lea081511.php

      science works!

      May 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • Science Works

        Hey SsiFi did you fall OFF the shelve from Wharehouse 13 – - like these guys did ? (fred fell off long ago)

        he Creation Museum in northern Kentucky will exhibit a dinosaur skeleton it claims will prove the biblical account of creation.

        The museum operated by the Answers in Genesis ministry will unveil Saturday the Allosaurus fragilis skeleton, which it claims has one of the six or seven best-preserved skulls of its kind in the world.

        The skeleton “stands out for a few major reasons,” said Answers in Genesis geologist Andrew Snelling.

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/22/creation-museum-to-unveil-dinosaur-skeleton-it-claims-will-prove-biblical-account-of-flood/

        Evolution is not a lie – But ken ham says it is too FUNNY..................Doris side note see who the geologist is ?

        May 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • believerfred

          "Ken Ham, president and founder of the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis, has argued that only about 50 species of dinosaurs existed – far fewer than scientists believe – and they all were taken aboard the ark."
          =>I saw the movie and there were no dinosaurs on the ark. Who are you going to believe Ken Ham or Russell Crow.

          May 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I wouldn't believe Ken Ham if he told me the sun was going to rise in the East tomorrow morning.

          May 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred

          Ken Ham doesn't seem to be able to separate facts from science fiction. There's no reason to worry about believing either of them as any kind of experts on science.

          May 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
      • kudlak

        You don't have to be more intelligent, or more educated to become an atheist. i was still a Christian long after I got my degrees, and I certainly wasn't less intelligent back then. You just have to be willing to think outside of the God-shaped box that your worldview resides in, that's all.

        May 22, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
      • Science Works

        Hey believer fred flinstone – SciFi – Theo and the gang #Cosmos it might help ?

        Education.

        THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014 12:45 PM CDT
        Why Neil deGrasse Tyson has creationists so thoroughly petrified
        Public education is the biggest enemy of intelligent design, and "Cosmos" has made science accessible to millions
        DAN AREL, ALTERNET

        http://www.salon.com/2014/05/22/why_neil_degrasse_has_creationists_so_thoroughly_petrified_partner/

        Better than the ICR fred !!!

        May 23, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • believerfred

          I found the cosmos series very stale. Genesis is where the action is.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
        • Science Works

          Come on fred where is your url for your creationist web site ?

          But I suppose the nuts do not fall to far from the tree fred.

          The Genesis Flood by Hennry Morris – really stale fruitcke with NUTS !!!

          May 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey fred – Education really sad state to withhold it from children no ?

          States are fighting new science curriculum teaching climate change and evolution
          By Jacob Kastrenakes on May 19, 2014 09:55 am Email @jake_k

          http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/19/5730600/states-debate-ngss-science-standards-teaching-climate-change-evolution

          And we KNOW evoluion is true fred – right fred ?

          May 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
  12. kermit4jc

    humans are no different today than in the bygone days...sorry..thats a silly opinion...second....I am guessing you don't believe in much ancient history...that what we know didn't really happen....all are legends...ok

    May 22, 2014 at 9:41 am |
    • Doris

      What in the world is this idiot talking about now. Maybe if it replied one could make sense in context of someone else's post, but still – what a mess.

      May 22, 2014 at 9:46 am |
    • Reality

      Once again, some historical references for your perusal. Get back to us when you are finished.

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

       4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
      7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
      8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
      9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
      by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
      10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
      11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
      12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
      13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
      13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
      14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      15. D-iseases in the Bible:

      http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ


      16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
      17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
      18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
      n-tgat-eway.com/
      19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:

      http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory

      20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
      in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      22. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
      23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      May 22, 2014 at 10:19 am |
      • Reality

        Reference 2 by the way has a discussion about each docu-ment. Simply click on the name to read the review.

        May 22, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • fintronics

      "humans are no different today than in the bygone days"

      SOME humans... the ones that continue to cling to mythology and superst-itions, kicking and screaming "god is real god is real!!!".... . Like little children who believe in the monster in the closet.

      May 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        I find it interesting that the average height for humans around 3000 bc was 5' 3" for men and 5' for women. Current average is 5' 9" for men and 5' 4" for women.

        May 22, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          NBHA....I wonder if that pesky evolution thing had something to do with that height difference?

          May 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • mazarpirateradio

          If I'm not mistaken, religion has also evolved.

          August 19, 2014 at 1:38 am |
  13. lunchbreaker

    @truthfollower, To say that an athiest believes that, "the universe popped out of nothing" is a strawman argument. You are making a false assumption as to what someone else believes and using childlike language to attempt to dumb it down and make your opposition look stupid. The argument is constatnly rebutted by saying that no one yet knows what was beyond the boundary of the big bang. Sure an expanding universe had to have a beginning, but not necessarily what ever "thing" was before it. You think that "thing" is God, for me the jury is still out.

    May 22, 2014 at 9:10 am |
    • truthfollower01

      "@truthfollower, To say that an athiest believes that, “the universe popped out of nothing” is a strawman argument."

      So you at least concede that this is impossible, that there had to be a cause?

      May 22, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/borde-guth-vilenkin/

        May 22, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Santa,

          So you believe that something can just pop into being uncaused out of nothing?

          Also,

          According to Vilenkin,
          "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)."

          In a debate between William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll, "In 2003 Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin were able to show that any universe which is, on average, in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a beginning.[9] In 2012 Vilenkin showed that cosmogonic models which do not fall under this condition, including Professor Carroll’s own model, fail on other grounds to avert the beginning of the universe. Vilenkin concluded, “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal.”[10] “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”[11]

          May 22, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • Doris

          And Vilenkin has gone on to say that BVG pertains to THIS universe and that beyond that there are other possibilities for what would be beyond that boundary. Multi-verse is one such possibility. I should also point out again that THIS universe having a beginning is not the same thing as saying something came from nothing. There is still much unknown.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Multi-verse is one such possibility"

          Absolutely no shred of evidence for this at all. In fact, it seems that the imaginative multiverse scenario is pushed to try and avoid the fine tuning of our universe.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "Absolutely no shred of evidence for this at all. In fact, it seems that the imaginative multiverse scenario is pushed to try and avoid the fine tuning of our universe."

          Vilenkin seems to find merit in the idea. Regarding fine tuning and design, prove that we are not merely the side-effect of such fine tuning.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Vilenkin seems to find merit in the idea."

          Again, there is no evidence at all for the existence of the multiverse. It's merely an idea.

          "Regarding fine tuning and design, prove that we are not merely the side-effect of such fine tuning."

          What do you mean by this? I'm talking about being fine-tuned for life.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "I'm talking about being fine-tuned for life."

          Exactly what I thought you were talking about. The operative word there for me is "for". I don't see any evidence that the requirements necessary for life were planned just because they are fragile. Necessary in very precise ways for life as we know it – yes. Planned? I don't see evidence of this. It is just as easy to see our existence simply as the result of such delicate conditions.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ahh yes....with all that is....it was just random coincidence that we arrive to where we are...thru evolution and such.....sheesh....takes more faith to believe that than a tooth fairy

          May 23, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • hotairace

          When will the dopes understand that life originated where it could, not because the environment is fine tuned for life? They consistently get it backazzwards, just like "we don't know" doesn't mean "some god did it."

          May 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • otoh2

          tf,
          "fine-tuned for life."

          The oldest and most successful life forms on Earth are micro-organisms.

          Bacteria thrive virtually everywhere on Earth – from sub-zero temperatures to over 750 degrees F (in hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean), and in widely varying oxygen, pressure and nutrient conditions. Many of them are lethal to humans and other life forms. The Bacteria God rules!

          May 23, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • sam stone

          sure thing, kermy

          and jeebus died for your sins, too

          May 23, 2014 at 6:35 am |
        • jorudinz

          "So you believe that something can just pop into being uncaused out of nothing?"

          Gotta love how fundamentalists who are also hypocrites chose to ask a question they have no intention of responding to if posed back to them....or at best, give the standard "I don't have to explain who created god or where he came from, but YOU gotta explain where the universe came from and what was before it". Is it really that difficult for a fundamental theist to see the pure, undiluted hypocrisy being actually demonstrated for all to see....well, all except who it would best serve to see it?

          May 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          there is no hypocricy..just ignorance on your part....God is not created....the Creator of all things cannot create himself..simple logic......the argument does not workk..nor the silly accusations

          May 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • hotairace

          Kermy if, and that's a very big if, you delusional believers have a winning argument it is only because your are making up the definitions and characteristics for your alleged but never proven gods. There is not a single bit of actual evidence to even remotely suggest your definitions or characteristics are valid, or that any god exists. You are pretending to know things you not. Some might say you are a liar while others might say you are simply mentally ill. Me, I think you are both.

          May 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          s what you want hotairace...my value does not depend on your view of me....I know truth..if you cant handle truth...your problem..not mine...

          May 26, 2014 at 1:58 am |
    • truthfollower01

      The Being would be spaceless, timeless, immaterial and One of immense power.

      May 22, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
      • Doris

        Conjecture.

        May 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Prove it wrong.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          You made the claim that something exists. It's up to you to prove it.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • sam stone

          prove it wrong?

          gosh, tf, you are funny

          May 23, 2014 at 6:43 am |
      • delius1967

        "spaceless, timeless, etc." Do you have any idea how silly this sounds? It's meaningless gibberish. What would it even mean to exist outside of time?

        May 27, 2014 at 3:01 am |
  14. Dalahäst

    The Prayer of St. Francis
    - author unknown

    Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is discord, harmony;
    Where there is error, truth;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    And where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
    To be consoled as to console;
    To be understood as to understand;
    To be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

    -
    I need to read that prayer more, and post less on message boards. Peace, see you next month friends.

    May 22, 2014 at 1:32 am |
    • Reality

      You forgot to add," where there is brainwashing, education. "

      May 22, 2014 at 10:17 am |
  15. Dalahäst

    Ken
    + All that might be convincing to you, I understand, but does is it sufficient to truly “know”?...

    Yes, I have knowledge of God. I know He exists.

    + Is honest belief the criteria? How do you discount other’s “honest belief” in other gods?

    I honestly believe and God and have no qualms talking about that.

    I can have a discussion and choose for myself what to think of another person's honest belief in their gods.

    I'm encouraged to remain open-minded, love those who believe differently than me and to test things out for myself.

    That is how I've ended up believing in God.

    + I’m not trying to convince you. I’m simply providing an example, an analogy, to explore what is really meant. I’ve always suspected that believers use phrases like ‘I know God exists’ in order to appear more confident of their beliefs.

    That is not why I say I know God exists. Nice guess, though.

    I placed my trust and confidence in God, and He hasn't let me down. The testimony of people about me has improved since I started trusting God. The serenity in my life has increased. The way I handle difficult situations and find hope where it looks like there is none has changed.

    All evidence points to me that God is real. And His help is available to me. I don't have to beg or demand for help. I neither puff myself up or grovel. I don't have to demean myself, and I have no one to impress.

    I simply accept my place in my relationship with God. No more, no less.

    If He does, or if someone can prove GOd doesn't exist, then I will go back to my old life of being a know-it-all atheist who insists my opinions are the true gague of reality and inherently factual.

    --

    Boston

    "Most readers of my posts above would not think I was considering them fact."

    That is you posting an opinion as if it is a fact.

    And then you post a rationalize on why you imagine it is not the same thing you were criticizing me for.

    --

    Thanks for talking about God and your beliefs with me guys. It has been interesting. I love to talk about God. I learn more about him with my interactions with others. Even those with different beliefs, agnostics and atheists.

    May 22, 2014 at 1:13 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      how could your "god" create something that has always been here?

      1st law of thermal dynamics" energy can not be created nor destroyed"; thus if is can be created, nor destroy then energy is immortal/eternal......choose the word you prefer.

      E=MC2 explains energy to matter conversion....which also covers the destruction of matter which returns back to it's original state.

      2nd law of thermal dynamics covers the change in the state of energy from potential to kinetic and back to potential.

      so long story short, the universe has always been here in either one form or another.
      no gods have ever been required, nor will they ever be required seeing the universe adheres to one major law:

      all interactions happen on the atomic level; thus everything interacts according to the "push/pull" of the electromagnetic fields surrounding them.
      two positive protons won't ever get near each other to create an atom without an electron nearby.
      --------------------

      a god would violate the 1st law of thermal dynamics by inessence adding energy to the universe.
      a being that powerful would cause the destruction of the universe; thus seeing the laws of physics can't be violated, logic states no god exists.

      any attempt to violate the laws of physics (i.e. timetravel) would simply not work, which means any violation to the laws of physics simply doesn't exist.
      hint on timetravel, if you went back or forward your body being made up of energy would violate the first law of thermal dynamics (energy was just created) thus timetravel is impossible........................... however i know a way to side step that.

      May 22, 2014 at 9:53 am |
    • MidwestKen

      I wish people would let you know when they break the thread.

      @Dalahast,
      Based on your critera it seems fair for me to say "I KNOW god does not exist".

      Your personal testimony seems irrelevant, since it can all be attributed to other factors.

      Your "all evidence" doesn't appear to be evidence at all.

      Not sure what kind of atheist you supposedly were, but I don't don't think my opinions are a true gauge of reality, nor my beliefs. I think that rational thought and science are the best tools we have for investigating reality though.

      May 22, 2014 at 10:15 am |
  16. Doris

    Alex Vilenkin, Professor of Physics and Director of the Insti.tute of Cosmology at Tufts University discusses the possibility of a universe from nothing.
    (coauthor of the BVG Theorem)
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHdI4Let27I&w=640&h=390]

    May 21, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Doris,

      According to Vilenkin,
      "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)."

      In a debate between William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll, "In 2003 Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin were able to show that any universe which is, on average, in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a beginning.[9] In 2012 Vilenkin showed that cosmogonic models which do not fall under this condition, including Professor Carroll’s own model, fail on other grounds to avert the beginning of the universe. Vilenkin concluded, “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal.”[10] “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”[11]

      May 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        So if the infinite universe is no longer defended, are skeptics seriously having to resort to the unscientific possibility of a universe just popping into existence out of literally nothing? If this is your stance Doris, you have great faith.

        May 21, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
      • Doris

        Yes, tf, and Vilenkin has gone on to say in various places that it's important for now to note that he is speaking about THIS universe – that we don't know enough to say what's beyond the boundary, and that multi-verse is certainly one idea worth exploring.

        May 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Let’s take the multiverse scenario (of which there is no evidence for at all. We’ve entered into metaphysics at this point).

          Let's say hypothetically that there is an infinite number of universes and that ours is just one of the infinite. That also means that there are an infinite number of universes just like ours and an infinite number of alter egos to you in these infinite number of similar universes. Let’s say hypothetically that you had toast for breakfast today in this universe. In one of the similar universes, your altar ego had eggs instead. In another, your altar ego had bacon. I hope you’re starting to see a problem with the concept of an actual material infinite.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • Doris

          I don't really see a problem that I should worry about given all the possibilities for things we don't know. Of course you heaped a lot of presupposition on the characteristics of an infinite number of universes.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Of course you heaped a lot of presupposition on the characteristics of an infinite number of universes."

          What presuppositions?

          May 21, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
        • Doris

          Uh....like everything you said there starting with the various "Let's say"s.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          If there are an infinite number of universes, then there are an infinite number of universes just like ours, with an infinite number of altar egos to yourself. What seems to be the problem?

          May 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • hotairace

          And why would an infinite number of universes mean that there would be any "alter egos" (whatever you mean by that), never mind an infinite number of them? Stated another way, an infinite number of universes does not mean that inhabitants in one universe would be related in any way to inhabitants of one or more other universes.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Also, concerning the infinite universes, what exactly are you proposing? Do you believe that our universe came into existence as a direct result of another universe and that this cycle is infinite in the past, with universes creating other universes infinitely in the past?

          May 21, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Hotairace,

          Let's say you had toast this morning for breakfast. On the view in discussion, there would be an infinite number of universes in which your altar egos (not you exactly but your same chemical makeup and physicality) did the exact same thing.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
        • Doris

          I suppose that's a possibility. I'm sure there are more worth exploring.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
        • hotairace

          So what? They would all exist independently of each other, totally unaware of each other. Where's the problem?

          May 21, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Hotairace,

          This is the reality you support? You have great blind faith, for there is no evidence at all to support this.

          Also, if this world ensemble has existed 'forever' in the past, why hasn't our universe come into and gone out of existence 'forever' ago?

          May 22, 2014 at 12:01 am |
        • hotairace

          I didn't say I believed in multiverses or claim to be an expert in them. You are the one who proposed a multiverse scenario, not me. I'm just pointing out an error in your thinking but you don't seem to be able to even explain why you think there is a problem with multiverses. I don't know if the universe has had multiple beginnings or if multiverses are real. How about you cut to the chase and explain how "we don't know" means "some alleged but unproven god did it."

          May 22, 2014 at 12:09 am |
        • Doris

          well this is all conjecture anyway including everything in your hypothetical situation, so why discuss supporting evidence, tf?

          May 22, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Hotairace,

          It was actually Doris who introduced the multiverse into the conversation. I am just showing how crazy believing in something as that is, let alone that there is no evidence for such a thing. It's amazing the lengths some will go and the ideas put forth to try and wiggle out of the existence of God. If you haven't noticed a problem then you need to reread my posts.

          Also, if this world ensemble has existed ‘forever’ in the past, why hasn’t our universe come into and gone out of existence ‘forever’ ago?

          May 22, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • hotairace

          We're back to I don't know. But "I/We don't know" doesn't mean "some alleged but never proven god did it."

          May 22, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "I am just showing how crazy believing in something as that is,"

          I would say for anything for which you don't have really good evidence and consensus, believing in it is crazy.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:28 am |
        • truthfollower01

          I'm out of here for the night. Please consider that you don't have to abandon and fight against logic and reason. Let us take Genesis 1:1 as the truth when it says, "In the beginning God created...". Repent and put your faith in Jesus as Lord for the forgiveness of your sins and He will transform your life. I've personally experienced this and have prayed that you may to.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:30 am |
        • hotairace

          I embrace logic and reason – that's why I'm an atheist! There is no logical or rationale reason to believe in that for which there is no actual evidence. Believers are the ones who have suspended logic and reason, and fall back on faith to maintain their delusions.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:35 am |
        • kermit4jc

          that is totally false..and so what do you make of things that don't appear logical at times (love, people jumping on the grenade to save their fellow humans-a lot of times that don't seem logical or reasonable...so you seem to not believe in a lot of stuff out there in "reality" as well huh?

          May 22, 2014 at 2:31 am |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT EVERYTING in this life is logical or reasonable...sometimes we HAVE to suspend it so to say...even outside of religion...its not a bad thing....think about it..

          May 22, 2014 at 2:31 am |
        • Doris

          I did not find the hypothetical suggestions used to make your argument particularly logical, tf. More importantly, since we don't really know, why leap to the most primitive answer ever proposed as a solution, when it's logical that there are still many possibilities to discover and then explore?

          May 22, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • Doris

          I wrote: "why leap to the most primitive answer ever proposed as a solution"

          I didn't mean to say that tf' beliefs are the most primitive in attempting to answer the age old questions, but they are certainly primitive enough and lacking evidence enough for me to disregard. And they reek of a "branding" that only men in a certain part of the world at a certain time could create.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Hotair

          + I embrace logic and reason – that's why I'm an atheist!

          There are people who embrace logic and reason that are not atheist. I've seen people who can demonstrate they understand logic better than you, yet are not atheists.

          + There is no logical or rationale reason to believe in that for which there is no actual evidence.

          There is evidence of God. You just don't, can't or won't accept it.

          + Believers are the ones who have suspended logic and reason, and fall back on faith to maintain their delusions.

          That is you posting an opinion as a fact. Something you criticized me for doing, and now you turn around and do the same thing. That is hypocrisy.

          And it is silly, if you wanted to enter an university or college to learn moer about logic and reason, there is a good chance a believer will be teaching you. Because they have the credentials, education and understanding of logic and reason to do that. That is something you don't have.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Dal....there is no evidence of god. None. There are things we do not understand as yet, but there is absolutely no evidential proof of a higher being, other than some moldy words written thousands of years ago with no basis of fact. That is not evidence or proof.

          May 22, 2014 at 10:05 am |
        • hotairace

          There you go, making stuff up again. You don't have a clue what my credentials are. And the number of delusional believers there are, or the positions they are in, does not add credibility to their beliefs. And you may have your reasons for believing but you certainly don't have any actual evidence else you would trot it out, and be the first one ever to provide same.

          May 22, 2014 at 1:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know what your credentials are. Based on the evidence you have given me, I doubt you have a firm understanding of logic and reason.

          I have a strong susp.icion if you did want to master a discipline in logic or reason you could learn a lot from a believer.

          And if you do have a strong understanding of logic and reason – at some point, I'd be willing to bet, a believer helped and taught you how to learn about it.

          It is one thing to say you embrace logic and reason. Anyone can say that.

          It is quite another thing to demonstrate you understand logic and reason.

          Most of your posts are filled with opinions you attempt to state as facts. Basically you just rail against believers and try to use logic and reasoning to justify your demeaning behavior. Talk about childish beliefs.

          May 22, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I've known some very logical thinkers dress up as goblins, wizards and knights and have pretend battles. They are fans of live action pole playing and do some silly things on weekends because its fun and they feel part of a community but then go back to their demanding jobs in science and engineering on Monday, just like those who are fans of religion.

          May 22, 2014 at 3:22 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Religion is live action role playing where the player thinks they have a telepathic link to an invisible wizard who will grant them superpowers after they die as long as they act as the invisible wizards visible representative and push as many people into his service as possible. Recruitment is paramount for their role playing game to work...

          May 22, 2014 at 3:26 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @truthfollower01,
          Hypothetical or theoretical does not equate to metaphysical.

          May 22, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          The things that aren't logical or reasonable in this life, like impulse buying, one night stands and falling for Ponzi schemes, are often the choices we live to regret. At least with logic and reason you can say that you thought through the consequences before making a decision, correct?

          May 23, 2014 at 8:04 am |
        • pbsthaton

          The multiverse scenario is just as absurd as what you accuse the other side of the argument of falling prey to. It's an entirely unsubstantiated view with absolutely no evidence to support it whatsoever. Furthermore, even in the multiverse scenario, where did the multiverse originate? From another multiverse? The premise of this assumption is predicated on a predicate, on a predicate, on a predicate ad nauseum but when you get to the bottom of the rabbit hole, you still have to explain where the original "multiverse" that spawned all of these other multiverses your insisting to "know" about came from.

          June 1, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • dandintac

          The multiverse–absurd? Why? Because there's no room for it in your god claim?

          How is it any more absurd than the claim that an ageless timeless being made in God's image created the universe and the Earth using his magic, and then hated his chief creation so much he had allow a blood sacrifice his favorite son (really himself) to create a loophole to allow this all-powerful being to forgive us for the way he made us, and then resurrected this son to live in paradise forever, so it really wasn't a sacrifice, although we are reminded of it constantly.

          However, I'll answer your criticism. Any possible claim or theory in cosmology is bound to seem absurd. The Big Bang sounded absurd when it was first proposed. However, the difference between the God claim and the Multi-verse theory is that there is actual hard evidence for the Multi-verse, it works well within existing cosmological theories, such as String Theory, and it works mathematically. None of this can be said of the God claim.

          As far as the bigger question–where did the Multi-verse come from–who knows? With science, it's okay to say "I don't know". It's the first step to finding the true answers. Maybe it always existed. Maybe universes go in and out of existence in an eternal multi-verse. Maybe someday we'll know. But we should not presume the answers must fit within our ancient pre-conceived ancient supersti-tions.

          June 3, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • pbsthaton

          No, you're assuming that I'm making an assertion on the existence of god. Even Stephen Hawking has admitted to the probability of the universe having a definite beginning. In doing so, he also postulated events much more feasible then the fantasy of a "multiverse." Furthermore, I will reiterate, believing in the existence of a multiverse is JUST AS absurd as a belief in god. You are making the hypothesis entirely on faith. There is not a single shred of evidence whatsoever to support the claim. You might as well be saying that "god" doesn't exist. Instead, the universe was created by the flying spagetti monster. There is no math to support the multiverse hypothesis. No support from the realm of physics. Nothing from the realm of chemistry. Nothing whatsoever. You're just frantically grasping at straws in an attempt to retrospectively provide clarity to a paradox as opposed to just saying "i don't know". Admit it! You don't know! It's that simple.

          http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html Here's the link to Hawking admitting to the "Beginning" of the universe. Carry on with your crackpot theories of a multiverse. You're just as delusional as a die-hard christian zealot at this point, and as such, any attempt to reason with you to admit that you just don't know will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears.

          On second thought, belief in a multiverse is more improbable and unsubstantiated than belief in the existence of God. At least Jews Christians and Muslims have a rag tag assembly of "god's finest" who have left "testimonial evidence" behind (lol). You are pulling your hypothesis out of thin air, or should i say "non-space". *eyeroll*

          June 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
      • redzoa

        http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/borde-guth-vilenkin/

        May 22, 2014 at 1:09 am |
      • pbsthaton

        Unlike athiests, who assume to know that God doesnt exist, and attempt to solve the origin of the universe with presumptions based upon presumptions (multiverse, Ha! Where does the multiverse originate? From another multiverse? If so, where does that one originate?)
        With that said, however, there are still grave and serious flaws with the "Christian" detailing of events, so don't expect to cosign to that nonsense either.

        At the core of Christian philosophy is the Cartesian assertion that this existence is ultimately a test to see if you denounce/shy away from God with a grand deceiver (see, Lucifer) granted with unlimited authority in attempting to deceive you away from the "truth of God's existence" throughout the time spent here, with eternal damnation being the penalty from falling prey to his deception. You can argue all the denominational crap you want, this is the core of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim believe structure.

        At it's core, if this is true, than why does God intermittently undermine the integrity of this test by giving certain people he deems "special" with "proof" of his existence while everyone else is just supposed to blindly believe in the hearsay testimony of his prophets? That doesn't seem to be a very fair test. Moses, Jesus, Abraham (and some would say even Mohammed) are gifted with a free pass into heaven, because their convictions stem from KNOWING god exists through firsthand interaction, while the rest of us are just supposed to take their word at face value?

        God has no right to demand that I acknowledge his existence until he reveals himself to me as plainly as he did these supposed "chosen ones" of the past. If the entire account of events in the Judeo-Christ-Muslim view is correct, than he has undermined the validity of his own "test" on numerous occasions. Subsequently, this "test" has absolutely no integrity whatsoever, and it violates the ethics of its own premises, but only for "a special few": "Faith without certainty" (*boggle*). With that said, I will remain agnostic until "God" gives me the same privilege of "faith" backed absolute certainty derived from proof. After all, does it not say in the Bible itself to be wary of charlatans? Who's to say the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim orthodoxies are not just solicitous organizations attempting to pervert, twist and distort a "truth" that can only be "known" through firsthand witness?

        June 2, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          PBS....atheists don't know that god does not exist....we only think he does not based on the complete lack of evidence to support such a being. In my opinion, anybody that purports to 'know' if god does or does not exist is a fool, which is most Christians, I'm afraid.

          And....just because all the mysteries of life have not been discovered does not mean that you get to run around proclaiming that 'some god did it'

          June 2, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • pbsthaton

          Of course not. But attempting to cloak urself in the guise of being agnostic, which I admittedly am, as a means to replace the semantics of wording is absurd. Contrary to what Athiests will attempt to say in order to dance around a 99.99999999999999999% certainty that god doesn't exist, at its core, Athiesm is denying the existence of god based the principles of probability. I prefer to say, I don't care if God exists. If he exists, which we both agree he probably does not, he owes me a damn good explanation as to why he expects me to believe and worship him on the testimony of hearsay. If "heaven" exists, I deserve the same level of certainty allegedly enjoyed by Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, or anyone else he has reportedly revealed himself to, or else his "test" is without validity and credibility. If he doesn't exist, no sweat off my back, because i didn't waste my life away adhering to dogmatic theories on the philosophy of divine command theory.

          June 5, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Doris,

      Do you believe that something can just pop into being from nothing?

      Are you concerned that a raging bengal tiger could pop into existence in the room next to you and destroy your residence?

      May 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
      • observer

        truthfollower01,

        But you apparently believe that a tiger could be "spoken" into existence in the room. Get serious.

        May 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          I do believe that God has the power to do so if He so chose to. On the skeptical view of things popping into existence out of nothing, why doesn't anything and everything just pop into being (an elephant, a car, a palm tree, the list goes on)?

          May 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • Doris

          Don't be is such a rush. Popping can take a very long time.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • pbsthaton

          You're assuming that the bible/torah's account of events is the only alternative to outright atheism, and that if you can attack the validity of their premises then the only option remaining is "there is no god". That's a straw man fallacy.

          June 2, 2014 at 12:29 am |
      • Doris

        I don't really have a belief one way or the other for that question. I think we lack knowledge to answer it as if we have discovered some physical law. Contrary to what people previously thought, we don't seem to have a good example of pure natural "nothing" that can give us quick answers as to its characteristics. Therefore, I think any wondering about any alleged activity involving "nothing" is pure conjecture.

        May 21, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "I think we lack knowledge to answer it as if we have discovered some physical law."

          Something coming from nothing (no thing / not anything) goes against everything we observe in science and in the real world.

          "Nothing" has no characteristics. It isn't anything.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • Doris

          Sure it has characteristics – if you say something can or cannot come from it, that's a characteristic.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "It's" not anything. That's the craziness of the skeptical argument. Things don't just pop in to being uncaused out of nothing. What characteristic(s) do you give "nothing"?

          May 21, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • Doris

          I'll admit it does sound funny. But so does the expression "God-breathed" to me anyway.

          tf: "Things don't just pop in to being uncaused out of nothing. "

          That's conjecture. I don't necessarily disagree, you'd have to convince me that what you said there is anything more than pure conjecture.

          tf: "What characteristic(s) do you give "nothing"?"

          I don't. But while we are in this stage where we can only postulate, and don't have examples of pure nothing, how else can it be discussed unless we attach attributes that we can agree or disagree on? Already you have used it as an object in your discussion.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "That’s conjecture. I don’t necessarily disagree, you’d have to convince me that what you said there is anything more than pure conjecture."

          To disagree is to go against all observed science and everything we observe in the world around us. It amazes me that this isn't more than conjecture to you.

          tf: “What characteristic(s) do you give “nothing”?”

          "I don’t. But while we are in this stage where we can only postulate, and don’t have examples of pure nothing"

          There is no physical example if that is what you are referring to. It isn't anything.

          "how else can it be discussed unless we attach attributes that we can agree or disagree on?"

          It can be discussed by its definition.

          "Already you have used it as an object in your discussion."

          I use it as a concept. It certainly isn't an object. It isn't anything.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "tf: "Things don't just pop in to being uncaused out of nothing. "

          I replied: "That’s conjecture. I don’t necessarily disagree, you’d have to convince me that what you said there is anything more than pure conjecture."

          tf: To disagree is to go against all observed science and everything we observe in the world around us. It amazes me that this isn't more than conjecture to you.

          Well be amazed. I'm not convinced with this last post. You're not telling me anything new here. On the other hand, demonstrating that something cannot come from nothing would be a new discovery, no? Until then, I'm afraid we are left with conjecture.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "On the other hand, demonstrating that something cannot come from nothing would be a new discovery, no? Until then, I’m afraid we are left with conjecture."

          "Nothing" isn't anything. How could something come from nothing/no thing/not anything?Why would you go against ALL logic and science? Is the cost too high?

          May 22, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • Doris

          I don't associate cost with my wonderings about that which we do not know. Also, I don't know why you're so intent on even discussing something coming from nothing. Adopting the now-common idea that THIS universe had a beginning is not the same thing as saying something came from nothing. Of course you're welcome to prove that those were the same thing.

          May 22, 2014 at 12:33 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.