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May 20th, 2014
03:24 PM ET

U.S. to Sudan: release Christian woman

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - International pressure is mounting on Sudan to release a pregnant Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy, with members of the U.S. Congress asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene on her behalf.

On Wednesday, a bi-partisan group of four senators introduced a resolution condemning the sentencing of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim by a court in Khartoum on May 15.

The proposed resolution encourages Sudan to respect religious rights if it wants the United States to normalize relations or lift economic sanctions on the African nation.

“I am disgusted and appalled by the inhumane verdict Ms. Ibrahim has received, simply for refusing to recant her Christian faith," said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I also commend Ms. Ibrahim’s courage in refusing to renounce her Christianity, and I encourage her to remain steadfast. The world condemns her verdict and will stand by her in her moment of need," said Rubio.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma; Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware; and Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

The proposed Senate resolution adds more voices to the international outcry over the situation of Ibrahim, a Christian wife and mother who is pregnant with her second child while shackled in a Sudanese jail. Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, is a U.S. citizen.

In a public letter to Kerry last Friday, Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Roy Blunt of Missouri, both Republicans, called the sentencing of Ibrahim "outrageous."

"We request your immediate action and full diplomatic engagement to offer Meriam political asylum and to secure her and her son's safe release," the senators told Kerry.

After State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the Department of Homeland Security would have to oversee any asylum application filed by Ibrahim or her family, Ayotte and Blunt followed up with a letter asking the two departments to coordinate on the matter.

"Due to the nature of this case, it is critical that there is clarity between your departments regarding the status of the family and their previous requests for assistance from the United States," the senators wrote on Wednesday.  "Any gaps in communication between the departments during this time are simply unacceptable."

The worst places in the world to be religious

Ibrahim, 27, faces a long and unpredictable legal journey, according to her lawyer and international experts.

On May 15, a court in Khartoum convicted Ibrahim of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith, and sentenced her to death.

But variety of factors Sudan's legal system, differences between its constitution and Sharia law imposed by the sentencing judge, her pregnancy ensure there will be no execution any time soon.

Ibrahim's lawyer argues the sentence should not stand, and an international outcry could pressure Sudan's government to intervene.

Sudan has not carried out an execution for apostasy for almost two decades, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In 1985, a man was executed for apostasy and sedition, according to the commission, for criticizing Sudan's implementation of Shariah, or Islamic law.

Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona and chair of the House's International Religious Freedom Caucus, echoed the U.S. senators' calls to free Ibrahim.

"Such blatant disregard for the value of human life and religious freedom is an indescribable disgrace," Franks said in a statement. The congressman also encouraged the State Department to get involved in Ibrahim's case.

Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, has said the department is "deeply concerned" about the death sentence and called on Sudan to respect religious freedom and "approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people."

Government officials in Canada, England the Netherlands have also condemned Ibrahim's sentencing. Andrew Bennett, Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom, said his country is "shocked and appalled" that Sudan would impose the death penalty on a pregnant woman merely for practicing her religion.

Ibrahim was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left when she was 6, and she was raised by her mother as a Christian.

Her lawyer, Mohamed Jar Elnabi, said the case started after Ibrahim's brother filed a complaint against her.

The brother alleged Ibrahim had gone missing for several years and that her family was shocked to find she had married a Christian man.

Because her father was Muslim, the Sharia law court considered her to be the same. It refused to recognize her marriage to a Christian and also convicted her of adultery, with an additional sentence of 100 lashes.

Before imposing the sentence, the court gave her an opportunity to recant her Christian faith, but Elnabi said Ibrahim refused to do so, declaring: "I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian."

Attempts by CNN to contact Sudan's justice minister and foreign affairs minister about the case have been unsuccessful.

(CNN's Tom Cohen and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

Why marrying for love should never mean death

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Christianity • Discrimination • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Islam • Islamic law • Prejudice • Religious liberty • Religious violence • Sharia

soundoff (1,194 Responses)
  1. kermit4jc

    prove that Hitler was Christian at the time of the mass murdering of the Jews

    May 25, 2014 at 2:01 am |
    • Reality

      And we are still waiting for your perusal of the references concerning the historic Jesus.

      May 25, 2014 at 7:22 am |
      • ragansteve1

        I'll give you two examples, which I am sure you will deny and attempt to discredit. Even so, most people understand that these references are legitimate, with the exceptions of Jesus deniers. They are first, Josephus Flavius, a Roman with no good reason to support a fiction. The second is the reference to the Prophet Jesus, in the Quran, a book you would not expect to support a rival "prophet." Obviously, they would also not admit that He is the Son of God.

        May 26, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • otoh2

          1. Josephus wrote about Hercules and Ulysses also.

          2. The Quran was written in the 600s - when the Jesus legend was well-established, of course it needed to be addressed.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          ragansteve1, as historical evidence for Jesus' existence you mentioned Josephus Flavius. I presume you are referencing the Testimonium Flavianum, which is a purported reference to Jesus by the first century Jewish historian Ti_tus Flavius Josephus (37 – c. 100 CE) in book 18 of his "Antiquities of the Jews", but which is actually a much later Christian interpolation, i.e., it is known to be a later Christian forgery written in a attempt to support Christian claims for Jesus. You state "Even so, most people understand that these references are legitimate"; I'd point out that most scholars, instead, recognize that the Testimonium Flavianum was not written by Josephus, but is a forged insertion into his writings placed there long after Josephus' death.

          The first reference to the passage is by the fourth-century Christian bishop Eusebius, a well-known defender of pious fraud who felt it acceptable to lie for the Church, who many scholars suspect forged the passage himself. There is no mention of the passage by earlier Christian writers who were familiar with the writings of Josephus and cited his passages yet never reference one that, if it had existed in their time, they would have referenced as support for Christianity. Neither Pseudo-Justin nor Theophilus in the second century have any knowledge of that passage. Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Origen in the third century, all of who were familiar with Josephus writings, also make no mention of the Testimonium Flavianum. Origen who was familiar with Book 18 of Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews", written around 93–94 AD, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus Christ.

          If it had been in the original "Antiquities of the Jews", rather than being a later interpolation, Origen would have used it in his arguments against the 2nd-century Greek philosopher Celsus. What do we find in his arguments against Celsus, instead? From "The Truth about Jesus : Is He a Myth?" by Mangasar Magurditch Mangasarian (1859 – 1943), published 1909:

          *** begin quote

          The early Christians, Origin, for instance, in his reply to the rationalist Celsus who questioned the reality of Jesus, instead of producing evidence of a historical nature, appealed to the mythology of the pagans to prove that the story of Jesus was no more incredible than those of the Greek and Roman gods. This is so important that we refer our readers to Origin's own words on the subject. "Before replying to Celsus, it is necessary to admit that in the matter of history, however true it might be," writes this Christian Father, "it is often very difficult and sometimes quite impossible to establish its truth by evidence which shall be considered sufficient." [Footnote: Origin Contre Celse. 1. 58 et Suiv. Ibid.] This is a plain admission that as early as the second and third centuries the claims put forth about Jesus did not admit of positive historical demonstration. But in the absence of evidence Origin offers the following metaphysical arguments against the sceptical Celsus: 1. Such stories as are told of Jesus are admitted to be true when told of pagan divinities, why can they not also be true when told of the Christian Messiah? 2. They must be true because they are the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. In other words, the only proofs Origin can bring forth against the rationalistic criticism of Celsus is, that to deny Jesus would be equivalent to denying both the Pagan and Jewish mythologies. If Jesus is not real, says Origin, then Apollo was not real, and the Old Testament prophecies have not been fulfilled. If we are to have any mythology at all, he seems to argue, why object to adding to it the mythus of Jesus? There could not be a more damaging admission than this from one of the most conspi_cuous defenders of Jesus' story against early criticism.

          Justin Martyr, another early Father, offers the following argument against unbelievers in the Christian legend: "When we say also that the Word, which is the first birth of God, was produced without se_xual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified, died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter." [Footnote: First Apology, Chapter xxi (Anti-Nicene Library).] Which is another way of saying that the Christian mythus is very similar to the pagan, and should therefore be equally true. Pressing his argument further, this interesting Father discovers many resemblances between what he himself is preaching and what the pagans have always believed: "For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribe to Jupiter. Mercury, the interpreting word (he spells this word with a small w while in the above quotation he uses a capital w to denote the Christian incarnation) and teacher of all; Aesculapius…who ascended to heaven; one Hercules…and Perseus;…and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horses of Pegasus." [Footnote: Ibid.] If Jupiter can have, Justin Martyr seems to reason, half a dozen divine sons, why cannot Jehovah have at least one?

          Instead of producing historical evidence or appealing to creditable docu_ments, as one would to prove the existence of a Caesar or an Alexander, Justin Martyr draws upon pagan mythology in his reply to the critics of Christianity. All he seems to ask for is that Jesus be given a higher place among the divinities of the ancient world.

          ...

          Let us continue: Abraham Lincoln's associates and contemporaries are all known to history. The immediate companions of Jesus appear to be, on the other hand, as mythical as he is himself. Who was Matthew? Who was Mark? Who were John, Peter, Judas, and Mary? There is absolutely no evidence that they ever existed. They are not mentioned except in the New Testament books, which, as we shall see, are "supposed" copies of "supposed" originals. If Peter ever went to Rome with a new doctrine, how is it that no historian has taken note of him? If Paul visited Athens and preached from Mars Hill, how is it that there is no mention of him or of his strange Gospel in the Athenian chronicles? For all we know, both Peter and Paul may have really existed, but it is only a guess, as we have no means of ascertaining. The uncertainty about the apostles of Jesus is quite in keeping with the uncertainty about Jesus himself.

          *** end quote

          I list that particular reference since it is long out of copyright and thus freely available online. It is freely available in various electronic formats through Project Gutenberg at gutenberg.org/ebooks/6107 and it is also available in audio format at librivox.org/the-truth-about-jesus-is-he-a-myth-by-m-m-mangasarian/ .

          Perhaps, though, the biblical character of Jesus, rather than being entirely mythical, was based on one of many Jewish messiah claimants who had followers who euhemerized his life to a greater extent than those of other such claimants, so that in time the stories were so embellished that he became a god in them, but the Tesimonium Flavianum is hardly proof of his existence.

          In regards to the Koran referencing Jesus are you aware that the Koran was created after Muhammad's death? Muhammad lived circa 570 to circa 632 CE. Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel (Jibril) over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning in 609 CE when Muhammad was 40 and continuing until 632 CE when he died. His companions then produced the Quran. So you are pointing to a docu_ment constructed 6 centuries after Jesus supposedly lived as proof of his existence.

          If failure to believe that Jesus was an incarnated god will subject someone to eternal punishment, then why did the god not provide more credible evidence of his existence? Why did he not even bother to preserve the original docu_ments supposedly written by Jesus' followers, instead leaving only copies of copies of copies, etc. which don't even all contain the same material.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I’d point out that most scholars, instead, recognize that the Testimonium Flavianum was not written by Josephus, but is a forged insertion into his writings placed there long after Josephus’ death<--seems you need to update your info.....many are now saying it is nOT forged ..an insertion added later....

          May 27, 2014 at 1:35 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote in regards to the Testimonium Flavianum "seems you need to update your info.....many are now saying it is nOT forged ..an insertion added later...." No, the Testimonium Flavianum remains widely regarded as containing forged material, likely forged by Eusebius himself. The area of debate in regards to the Testimonium Flavianum is mostly in regards to how much of it was forged by a later Christian interpolator. As I pointed out, there is no reference to it before Eusebius in the 4th century even though many early Church Fathers writing centuries earlier were familiar with the works of Josephus.

          Ken Olson, "Eusebius of Caesarea Tradition and Innovations", Center for Hellenic Studies, distributed by Harvard University Press (2013), wrote “Both the language and the content have close parallels in the work of Eusebius of Caesarea, who is the first author to show any knowledge of the text. Eusebius quotes the Testimonium in three of his extant works: the Demonstration of the Gospel 3.5.106, the Ecclesiastical History 1.11.8, and the Theophany 5.44. The most likely hypothesis is that Eusebius either composed the entire text or rewrote it so thoroughly that it is now impossible to recover a Josephan original”

          Louis Harry Feldman, Abraham Wouk Family Professor of Classics and Literature at Yeshiva University, who is a a scholar of Hellenistic civilization, specifically the works of Josephus Flavius, in his 2012 review article on the Testimonium notes “In conclusion, there is reason to think that a Christian such as Eusebius would have sought to portray Josephus as more favorably disposed toward Jesus and may well have interpolated such a statement as that which is found in the Testimonium Flavianum.”

          And also from "Josephus, Judaism, and Christianity" edited by Louis Harry Feldman and Gōhei Hata at Tama Bijutsu University, (c) 1987 by Yamamoto Shoten Publishing House, page 57:

          “That the passage is, indeed, interpolated seems indicated by the fact that in the statement in the War about the deeds of Pilate, which parallels this in the Antiquities, there is no mention of Jesus, despite the fact that the length of the account is almost as great as that in the Antiquities. In addition, Justus of Tiberias (ap. Photius, Bibliotheca 33), Josephus' great contemporary and rival, apparently made no mention at all of Jesus. The fact that an ancient table of contents, already referred to in the Latin version of the fifth or sixth century, omits mention of the Testimonium (though, admittedly, it is selective, one must find it hard to believe that such a remarkable passage would be omitted by anyone, let alone by a Christian, summarizing the work) is further indication that either there was no such notice or that it was much less remarkable than it reads at present. Furthermore, it is not cited until Eusebius does so in the fourth century, despite the fact that such a passage would have been extremely effective, to say the least, since it comes from a Jew who was born only a few years after Jesus' death, in the debates between Jews and Christians, especially since we know that Justin Martyr (Dialogue with Trypho 8) attempted to answer the charge that Jesus had never lived and that he was a mere figment of Christian imagination. And yet, I have counted no fewer than eleven church fathers prior to or contemporary with Eusebius who cite various passages from Josephus (including the Antiquities) but who do not mention the Testimonium. Moreover, during the century after Eusebius there are five church fathers, including Augustine, who certainly had many occasions to find it useful and who cite passages from Josephus but not this one.”

          May 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • dandintac

      Kermit,

      Hitler was recognized as a Christian by the Roman Catholic Church. He was baptized a Catholic, proclaimed his Christianity many times, and never repudiated his faith. He did Roman Catholic, and was never excommunicated by them. So you can deny his Christianity all you want–but the Catholic Church recognized him as such. Therefore he's Catholic–period, end of story. You have no authority to over-ride the church's view on this. Now–do you recognize the RCC as "Christian?" If not, tell the next Catholic you run across, and see how they respond to this.

      Furthermore, Hitler drew his anti-Antisemitism from RCC doctrines that go way back, and weren't discarded by the RCC until the early 60s. All his henchmen, the guards at the Concentration Camps, the SS troops–almost all Catholic or Lutheran. The RCC didn't ex-communicate any high-ranking Nazis–EXCEPT–Joseph Goebbels. For what? Marrying a Protestant!!! The RCC celebrated Hitler's birthday every year–right up to his death. Hitler's first treaty was with the RCC, and he put them in charge of German education. The belt buckle of every storm-trooper said "Gott Mitt Uns"–God With Us. Hitler hated atheists, he persecuted them and bragged about crushing atheism in Germany. Hitler widely proclaimed he was doing the work of the Lord. One can find creepy video clips of RCC priests giving the Nazi salute. Many in the church were big Nazi supporters–good Christians all.

      The best you can offer against all this is something like "But he wasn't a TRUE Christian!" This is nonsense of course–it's a notion that tries to exempt Christians from being capable of any wrong-doing–which is strange, considering that Christians are fond of reminding us all of how sinful we all are–but when it comes to pointing out that Hitler too was a Christian, they try to disown him. Of course, this is usually when they are trying to paint atheists with the Stalin/Mao brush.

      May 26, 2014 at 1:55 am |
      • kermit4jc

        LMAO..as if RCC determines what a Christian is? RCC is nOT God..RCC is nOT the BIble.....the Bible shows what a Christian is....sorry Charlie..yoru argument is extremely shallow

        May 26, 2014 at 2:29 am |
        • Reality

          And we are still waiting for your perusal of the references on the historic Jesus. Until you do, your comments remain moot.

          May 26, 2014 at 7:33 am |
  2. Doris

    Christians trying to remain calm......

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0-04VDrCbM&w=640&h=390]

    May 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Now that's funny. (not enough semi-naked women though)

      May 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
    • His Panic

      Are you feeling hysterically funny?

      May 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
  3. His Panic

    Well, I'm sure that she is under a lot of stress, fear and even anxiety, I don't think she is hysterical.

    However of one thing I'm sure and it is, that if she Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son she WILL NOT Panic. Neither go into an stampede, thought she may have to run for her life, but that is not the same as an stampede. Those who really, for real Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic ALL others WILL Panic sooner or later. That's why we see stampedes, brawls, revolts and riots all over the world, because these are people who DO NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son.

    May 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
  4. Akira

    Test

    May 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • His Panic

      For what?

      May 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Not sure, but, apparently you failed.

        May 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  5. Reality

    The koranic passages that make Islam the terror and horror religion that it is:

    o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
    o
    "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

    "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

    "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

    "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:29-)

    "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

    "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

    "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

    "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

    "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

    "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

    "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

    "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

    "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

    "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

    Quran (8:12) – "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

    Quran (9:5) – "So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them."

    May 24, 2014 at 8:14 am |
  6. joeyy1

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

    May 23, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
  7. Will

    Ok, so I’m sure all the “posters” (Christian and Athiest … even Agnostic) have heard about Heaven and the ground rules He has set to be able to spend eternity with Him there. That being said, I have a statement/question directed to the Athiest community … So, let’s suppose that YOU are right. Oky doky. That means I got nothing to do but … die, rot, end of story. BUT!! What if we Christians, living the best we can to make it home to Him are right? Are you sure you’re okay with where that’s gonna leave you? Just sayin. BTW, I believe we are all His children … ALL OF US … and I think no less of you as a brother/sister than I do of my Christian brothers and sisters. It is YOUR choice … and I’m cool with that. Amen? (hehe … weak pun intended)! God Bless! (Oop! Did it again!)

    May 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
    • observer

      WIII,

      What if you are wrong and you're one of the Christian HYPOCRITES who have used their religion to make the lives worse for gays, pro-choice supporters, atheists, etc.? How's that for your contribution to humanity?

      May 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      @Will,
      this is a common argument on the blog and it is traditionally called Pascal's wager. Some of the common responses include:
      What if you chose the wrong god and end up in the Islamic/Hindu/Shinto version of hell?
      Will you supposed God really admit someone to heaven based on him or her playing the odds?
      If atheists are correct then you have wasted a good portion of your limited life attempting to appease as non-existent being.
      Regardless of the odds, one must live according to their perception of reality.

      May 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
    • kudlak

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

      May 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
    • kudlak

      Will
      Isn't reincarnation a better system? You get multiple lives where you can continually learn from your mistakes and improve yourself. That way, everyone can ultimately achieve a great afterlife instead of just a fraction of people. God's method is plagued with failure in comparison.

      So, why don't you believe in reincarnation instead of this poor alternative?

      May 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
  8. Doris

    There sure is a lot of discussion here about the motives of certain individuals in the past century. Of course it was only several years ago that certain Christians started quite a nasty campaign in Africa.

    From the Southern Povery Law Center:

    ==============

    Scott Lively

    Date of Birth: 1957
    Most Recent Group: Abiding Truth Ministries
    Ideology: Anti-LGBT

    A veteran of the anti-gay movement, Lively has been actively propagandizing against LGBT people since the early 1990s, but he's perhaps best-known for co-writing the thoroughly discredited, Holocaust revisionist book The Pink Swastika: Hom.ose.xuality in the Nazi Party (1995), which claims that the Nazi party was full of gay men who, because of their "sava.gery," were able to carry out the Holocaust. In 2007, he co-founded the virulently anti-gay Watchmen on the Walls, an organization currently active more in Eastern Europe than the U.S. More recently, he got a new claim to fame when he presented his virulent views about hom.ose.xuality at a 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda that is widely believed to have played a role in the drafting of Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" bill. Lively is president of Abiding Truth Ministries and director of Redemption Gate Mission Society, both currently based in Springfield, Mass.

    In His Own Words
    "Because no matter what, [hom.ose.xuality] is still abnormal, wrong, harmful and perverse."
    – Eugene Register-Guard, Nov. 1, 1992

    "There is no question that hom.ose.xuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust. … The first years of terrorism against the Jews were carried out by the hom.ose.xuals of the SA."
    – The Pink Swastika, 1996

    "It is not mere coincidence that the emperors of Rome in its horrific final days were hom.ose.xual; that Adolf Hitler's inner circle were mostly hom.ose.xual; and that nearly all of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history were hom.ose.xual. It is not mere coincidence that America's cultural decline parallels the rise of 'gay rights.’"
    – "Agents of the Death Agenda," May 1996 edition of Life Advocate magazine, quoted in "Northwest Update," Coalition for Human Dignity, June 1996.

    "Hom.ose.xuality is thus biologically (and to varying degrees morally) equivalent to pedophilia, sado-masochism, bestiality and many other forms of deviant behavior."
    – “Deciphering 'Gay' Word-Speak and Language of Confusion," May 2002

    "Hom.ose.xuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous se.xual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses."
    – “Letter to the Russian People," 2007

    "The gay movement is an evil insti.tution [whose] goal is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of se.xual promiscuity in which there’s no restrictions on se.xual conduct except the principle of mutual choice."
    – Conference in Kampala, Uganda, March 2009

    “We need to bring back public discussion of AIDS as a ‘gay’ disease, pederasty as [sic] major subculture of male hom.ose.xuality, mental health problems and domestic violence as major problems associated with lesbianism, the increasing recruitment of children into a hom.ose.xual ident.ity through experimentation with ‘gay’ se.x, etc. – all the truths we stopped telling because the other side screamed so loudly about them.”
    – WorldNetDaily, September 2012

    Background

    Scott D. Lively first came to light as an anti-LGBT activist in the early 1990s in Oregon, when he was involved with the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) in a variety of capacities: executive director, finance coordinator, finance director, and communications director. The OCA had (and still has) a reputation as a vitriolic and virulently anti-LGBT organization under the leadership of ex-hippie and Vietnam veteran Lon Mabon, who left his leftist roots and became a born-again Christian.

    The OCA was supported by Oregon's branch of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition and worked constantly to put draconian and far-reaching anti-LGBT measures on the state ballot. The most notorious of those was Ballot Measure 9 (1992), which would have amended the state consti.tution to prohibit "all governments in Oregon" from using monies or properties to "promote, encourage or facilitate hom.ose.xuality, pedophilia, sadism or masochism." These behaviors, the text of the measure said, "are abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse and they are to be discouraged and avoided."

    To support its stance, the OCA and its supporters disseminated inflammatory pamphlets and videos, like "The Gay Agenda," which linked hom.ose.xuality to evil, sickness, and disease. The group took out radio and newspaper ads that often linked hom.ose.xuality to pedophilia, and claimed that LGBT people were seeking "special rights" and that hom.ose.xuality is a "public health menace."

    The tactics used by Lively, the OCA and its supporters were encouraged by the months-earlier passage of a stringent anti-LGBT ordinance in Springfield, Ore. Measure 9, however, engulfed the entire state in a bitter and brutal political battle that galvanized both sides, divided communities, unleashed anti-LGBT harassment and acts of violence, and finally ended with the measure falling to defeat, 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent.

    Lively became known as a prominent spokesman for the OCA during its bruising campaigns, and he was earning a reputation for belligerence, as well. In a 1991 incident, he allegedly threw lesbian photographer Catherine Stauffer against a wall at a screening of an OCA video and then dragged her out of the room by her hair. She sued both Lively and the OCA, and a jury ruled that Lively used unreasonable force and awarded Stauffer $30,000.

    In the wake of the Measure 9 loss, the OCA drafted yet another anti-gay ballot initiative. Measure 13 toned down the rhetoric of its predecessor, but its intent was roughly the same. It would have prohibited state and local governments from protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and it would have overturned anti-discrimination ordinances in four Oregon cities.

    Lively was active in this campaign, as well, and this as well as other OCA campaigns proved the inspiration for what would become his Holocaust revision book, The Pink Swastika. According to the Eugene Register-Guard, Lively had allegedly been making public statements that linked gay men to the Holocaust, and supporters of the OCA had included wording in a voters' guide that urged voters to "stand with the true victims of the holocaust [sic]" and vote yes on the measure.

    Amid a backlash over these claims, the OCA released a statement in which Mabon claimed that Lively had "gotten tired" of being called "Nazi" because of the OCA's opposition to LGBT rights. So, Mabon claimed, Lively began to research the history of the Nazi Party and found, according to Mabon, "that many Nazi leaders were hom.ose.xuals and that the Nazi Party was closely tied to pre-Nazi Germany's gay-rights movement." Mabon denied, however, that Lively had linked the Holocaust to gay men, though according to the Register-Guard, Lively stated in a program that had aired several months earlier on public access television that "Ho.mose.xuals created the Nazi Party, and everything that we think about when we think about Nazis actually comes from the minds and perverted ideas of hom.ose.xuals." Gay men, Lively continued in the program, "were the foundation of the Nazi Party."

    Lively eventually published these ideas in The Pink Swastika with co-author Kevin Abrams, who had published an article ti.tled "The Other Side of the Pink Triangle" in 1994 in Peter LaBarbara's Lambda Report (now defunct; LaBarbera currently heads Americans for Truth about Hom.ose.xuality). Abrams is a Canadian Orthodox Jew who was last living in Israel. The book made Lively's career as an anti-LGBT activist, and though actual historians have dismissed it and refuted it, the anti-LGBT right continues to peddle it and its ideas.

    The idea that hom.ose.xuality has been a "dark force" in history is one that Lively fervently believes and put into print in his 1997 book The Poisoned Stream. In the introduction, he states that he has "come to discover, through various leads, a dark and powerful hom.ose.xual presence in other historical periods: the Spanish Inquisition, the French “Reign of Terror,” the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery. … I have come to believe … that hom.ose.xuality has truly been a ‘poisoned stream’ in human history." This theory has fueled much of Lively's activism since his days with the OCA.

    Eventually, Lively moved on from Oregon to Sacramento, Calif., where he was active as the state director for the American Family Association (AFA). While there, Lively helped launch the "California Campaign to Take Back the Schools," which was supposed to "stop the hom.ose.xualization" of public schools. Lively launched his Abiding Truth Ministries during his California years. A side project of it was the Pro-Family Law Center, through which he involved himself in litigation on behalf of conservative Christian causes.

    From Sacramento, Lively ended up in Temecula Calif., where he continued to run Abiding Truth Ministries, but a new side project had presented itself through his connections in Sacramento, which has a large population of evangelical Christian Russian immigrants. Lively found a receptive audience for his theory about gay men and the Nazis. Russians and other immigrants from Eastern Europe remembered only too well the atrocities committed at the hands of the Nazis, and Lively's Holocaust revisionism resonated among some in the immigrant communities. In 2007, Lively launched the virulently anti-LGBT group Watchmen on the Walls along with Sacramento-based Russian radio host Vlad-Kusakin, Seattle megachurch pastor Ken Hutcherson, and Latvian megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev. Thus began the overseas dimension of Lively's anti-LGBT outreach.

    Lively promoted Watchmen on the Walls as an international network of Christian activists dedicated to fighting the "hom.ose.xual agenda." In 2007, he traveled to Riga, the capital of Latvia, and spoke at Ledyaev's church, where he railed against the gay rights movement, calling it "the most dangerous political movement in the world."

    In early March 2009, he went to Uganda to deliver what would become known as his infamous talk at the Triangle Hotel in Kampala at an anti-LGBT conference organized by Family Life Network leader Stephen Langa. The conference, ti.tled "Exposing the Truth behind Hom.ose.xuality and the Hom.ose.xual Agenda," also included Don Schmierer, a board member of the ex-gay therapy group Exodus International, and Caleb Brundidge Jr., a self-professed ex-gay man with ties to the ex-gay therapy group Healing Touch.

    Thousands of Ugandans attended the conference, including law enforcement, religious leaders, and government officials. They were treated to a litany of anti-LGBT propaganda, including the false claims that being molested as a child causes hom.ose.xuality, that LGBT people are se.xual predators trying to turn children gay by molesting them, and that gay rights activists want to replace marriage with a culture of se.xual promiscuity. Lively met with Ugandan lawmakers during the conference, and in a blog post later he likened his campaign against LGBT people to a "nuclear bomb" against the "gay agenda" that had gone off in Uganda.

    A month later, the Ugandan parliament was considering legislation that included the death penalty for LGBT people in some instances and life imprisonment for others. According to Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Episcopal priest from Zambia (now in Boston) who went to the conference under cover, Lively's talking points were included in the bill's preamble.

    In the ensuing international backlash against the bill, Lively claimed that he did not support the death penalty for hom.ose.xuality but that if the "offending sections" were modified, the proposed law criminalizing hom.ose.xuality "would be an encouraging step in the right direction." In a 2010 docu.mentary about the Uganda bill t.itled "Missionaries of Hate," broadcast journalist Mariana van Zeller asked Lively about it. He responded that the lesser of two evils would be to allow the bill to go through as is, because, he claimed, not letting it be enacted allowed "the American and the European gay activists to continue to do to that country what they've done here [in the U.S.]."

    It wasn't Lively's first visit to Uganda. In a March 2012 appearance on AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer's radio show, Lively explained that he first went to Uganda in 2002 as a keynote speaker in order to stave off a threat from what he called "the globalists who use the se.xual revolution and the Planned Parenthood Federation and the global hom.ose.xual movement" to accu.mulate power and control population. So, according to Lively, these forces started "infiltrating" Uganda. The “forces” included George Soros, who supposedly went into the country and started setting up grassroots networks and "introducing por.nography" to the country.

    Though Lively was unable to attend a January 2012 protest outside the Southern Poverty Law Center’s office in Montgomery, Ala., fellow anti-LGBT activist Peter LaBarbera read a statement from him asking God to “destroy” the SPLC.

    Lively’s work in Uganda led to a lawsuit against him under the Alien Tort Claims Act, filed March 14, 2012, by Se.xual Minorities Uganda, an LGBT rights group in that country, and the Center for Consti.tutional Rights in the U.S. The lawsuit claims that Lively conspired with political and religious leaders in Uganda beginning in 2002 to incite anti-LGBT hysteria with warnings about the dangers of LGBT people to children and hom.ose.xuality to Ugandan culture. The Liberty Counsel, based in Virginia, announced that it would defend Lively in the case, and moved to have it dismissed. However, U.S. District Judge Michael Ponser rejected the Liberty Counsel’s motion on August 15, 2013, allowing the case to proceed.

    Currently, Lively is based in Springfield, Mass., where he moved in January 2008. He started a new project, "Redemption Gate Mission Society," which is engaged in "bringing a better quality of life" to the city's residents through biblical principles. The center of the project is his Holy Grounds coffee house, which serves as a meeting place for the Mission Society. It seemed he was getting out of the anti-LGBT business, because in early 2011, Lively told the Boston Globe that his new focus was serving the needy.

    Lively's hiatus from anti-LGBT activism was short-lived. In March 2011, only two months after his interview with the Globe, Lively was in the Eastern European country of Moldova to oppose a human rights bill. In a statement that was posted on a Canadian website regarding the bill, Lively said, "What I know now, and have taught the Moldovans, is that the anti-discrimination law is the seed that contains the entire tree of the hom.ose.xual agenda, with all of its poisonous fruit." One of Lively's other theories about hom.ose.xuality can be found on a Moldovan website. According to the translation, Lively claimed, again, that lobbying for the legalization of hom.ose.xuality originates from outside the country, by agents of millionaire George Soros.

    Lively has also toured and spoken at venues in Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and the Ukraine, where he says he has spoken at a variety of universities and conference halls and has met with politicians and religious leaders. His goals, as he stated in an open letter to the Russian people that he posted in 2007 and continues to bring up on his blog, include the criminalization of the advocacy of hom.ose.xuality and training doctors, psychologists, and therapists to help LGBT people “recover.”

    Lively has continued to promote outrageous claims about LGBT people here and overseas, often referring to them with terms such as “predators” and “disordered.” After Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that outlaws “hom.ose.xual propaganda” in the country, Lively expressed pleasure and support for such a bill, and claimed in a September 2013 interview with NBC that he influenced Russian lawmakers who implemented it. On his blog, he posted an open letter to Putin, and claimed that ill send him the first Russian translation of his debunked Holocaust revisionist book, The Pink Swastika.

    Since the implementation of the anti-LGBT law in Russia, violence against LGBT people appears to have increased and includes incidents in which neo-Nazis use social media websites to lure young gay men to torture and beatings. There are allegations that one man died of injuries he sustained in one of those beatings. When questioned in the September interview about whether his rhetoric has incited anti-LGBT violence over the years, Lively called such suppositions “a leap.”

    Speaking on Sept. 18, 2013, on Pastor Rick Wiles’ TruNews, Lively claimed that the person “heading the largest superpower of the world today” (President Obama) is the Antichrist, and that hom.ose.xuality is at the heart of the apocalypse. According to Lively, Putin is the world’s last hope, and other nations should follow in his footsteps by implementing more anti-LGBT laws.

    May 23, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Doris,

      Perhaps a link would have been better?

      You know I think that what Scott Lively is doing in Uganda is awful, but no one is going to read a 2600 word screed.

      May 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
      • His Panic

        I think that she (if it is in fact a she) is getting hysterical. That can eventually lead to Panic and Panic can lead her to run like crazy (stampede). Or maybe she thinks she is lecturing or that these blogs are conferences that get people college credits or something like that. Anyways those who Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic ALL others will. Ever seen hom-mos-exuals getting all "hysterical"?

        May 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • kudlak

          I've seen plenty of straight people get hysterical just at the thought of some gay kid bringing a date to their own prom.

          May 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
        • His Panic

          I have never seen normal healthy straight people hysterical, seen several gay men becoming "hysterical". Which is an abnormality kind of WEIRD, then ho-mos-exual women get very angry, almost manly angry, also WEIRD.

          May 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
      • cyprian2

        Hey,"Gopher", how do you know it was 2600 pages? Seriously,dude??

        May 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
  9. lunchbreaker

    Logic quiz:

    Which of the following statements are logically valid:

    A. Athiests have done bad things, therefore the Christian God exists.
    B. Christians have done bad things, therefore there is no God.
    C. Both athiests and Christians are capable of doing both good and bad things, therefore we should stop repeating the same arguments over and over and feeding of trolls.

    May 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      (c) true

      May 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      D none of the above

      (although C is the most reasonable, it is a non-sequitor I think)

      May 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Without God, there is no real moral good or bad. On atheism, moral good and bad are only an illusion.

      May 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
      • alonsoquixote

        Is killing infants and children an immoral act?

        May 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Nothing is really moral or immoral on atheism.

          May 24, 2014 at 8:51 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          truthfollower01, I asked you whether the killing of infants and children is an immoral act, but you ducked the question. Do you regard it as an immoral act?

          May 24, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • truthfollower01

          It depends on who does it.

          The question is that if God is a morally good Being, how could He do this? If I took the life of an innocent person it would be murder. Therefore, I do not have the right to take an innocent life. But why think God is restricted from taking life? Can not the One who gives life take it as He pleases? I agree with William Lane Craig when he said that “God is under no obligation whatsoever to extend my life for another second. If He wanted to strike me dead right now, that’s His prerogative. What that implies is that God has the right to take the lives of the Canaanites when He sees fit. How long they live and when they die is up to Him.” If I were to go outside this afternoon and a bullet should strike me, killing me, God has certainly done me no wrong. Remember that each breath of air we take is dependent upon God allowing us to do so.

          There is another aspect that I want to touch on that is very important to this subject. On the age of accountability view, children and infants who die at a young age, before the age of accountability (which varies by each child) actually inherit eternal life, for God’s grace is imparted to them. It is important to remember that God works with eternity in view. God doesn’t wrong these children’s lives by removing them from the world. They actually inherit the great blessing of being with God where believers, including myself long to be. Even Paul himself said that he desired to depart to be with Christ, which is better by far (Philippians 1:21). Notice that last part, “better by far”.

          May 24, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          truthfollower01, it appears that you do not believe there is any absolute standard for morality, yourself, but, instead, believe actions that would otherwise be regarded as immoral can be regarded as moral based on the whims of your god. In Plato's dialogue "Euthyphro", written about 399 B.C., Socrates asks Euthyphro "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" The question is known as the Euthyphro dilemma. Put in Christian terms, the question is "Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?" It appears for you that a question regarding the morality of an act can only be judged by whether it is in accordance with the wishes of the god.

          Is killing others wrong? Believers must first ask themselves if the god commands them to kill others. In the Old Testament he command his followers to kill many others, including the following:

          Kill witches – Exodus 22:18
          Kill gays – Leviticus 20:13
          Kill those who worship other gods than Yahweh – Deuteronomy 17
          Kill people who don't obey Yahweh's priests – Deuteronomy 17:12
          Kill infants – 1Samuel 15:3
          Kill adulterers – Leviticus 20:10
          Kill stubborn and rebellious sons – Deuteronomy 21:18-21
          Kill those who work on the Sabbath – Exodus 31:15

          All are thus good, because the god commanded the killings.

          And if he chose to drown all of humanity, including infants and children, except 8 people, though he apparently didn't realize at the time that his mass slaughter would not change humanity's ways, then, in your eyes, that is a moral act. If he kills all of the first-born in Egypt after he hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he wouldn't allow the Jews to leave Egypt, that is justifiable, even though he kills the first-born of common people, including slaves, who had no influence over Pharaoh's decision.

          You justify such acts by stating that all he slaughters in such a manner get a free pass into heaven, provided they are under a certain age when he kills them. So, some individuals, such as the very young he slaughters, aren't judged by actions they have chosen to take by their free will. The parents of such children should rejoice that their children were slaughtered by the god, since they didn't get a chance to be damned to everlasting torment at death, because the god killed them at a tender age. So you don't believe that all humans are born sinful meriting eternal punishment or maybe they are, but the god will excuse their sinful nature if he kills them when they are very young?

          I've read tales of Spanish Conquistodoros in the 16th century killing Indian babies by taking them by the heels and bashing their brains out against rocks after they were baptized by priests, so that they might enter heaven, to ensure that they wouldn't grow up to become heathen adults. Though not mentioning baptism of the infants, the Spanish historian and Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas (1484 – 1566), who accompanied Spanish conquistadors to the New World wrote of such atrocities committed by the Spanish Christians against the native peoples. He sent the following report back to Spain about one expedition:

          "The Spaniards, who were mounted on fine Horses, and armed with Lances and Swords, look'd upon Enemies formally equip'd with the greatest Contempt, and committed the most horrible Slaughters with Impunity. They pass'd through the several Cities and Towns, sparing neither Age nor S_ex, but kill'd Women and Children as well as Men: They rip'd up Women with Child, that Root and Branch might be destroy'd together. They laid Wagers one with another, who should cleave a Man down with his Sword most dexterously at one blow; or who should take his Head from his Shoulders most cleverly; or who should run a Man through after the most artificial manner. They tore away Children our of their Mothers arms, and dash'd out their Brains against the Rocks; others they threw in the River, diverting themselves with this brutish Sport, and giving great shouts while they saw 'em in this misery."

          It seems that one should applaud rather than condemn such actions then, since the infants could thus go to heaven, rather than being eternally damned if they were allowed to grow up to hold the religious beliefs of their parents as children usually do when they reach adulthood.

          You mentioned William Lane Craig. I think his defense of the slaughter of infants epitomizes the evils of religion. He makes a similar argument to yours that it is ok to slaughter even infants and children, if that is what your god wants in cases where he doesn't want do do the terrible deeds himself, as he did when he supposedly wiped out almost all of humanity with a flood or sent a plague to kill 70,000 Israelites (2 Samuel 24:1-15), because David conducted a census, Yahweh caused him to conduct. William Lane Craig has no sympathy for those slaughtered in the name of Yahweh, but, instead, suggests that it is the Israelites who deserve sympathy, because it must have been upsetting to them to have to slaughter babies as commanded by Yahweh in Deuteronomy 20:16-17:

          "But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth"

          Craig has stated it must have been terribly upsetting for Israelite soldiers to burst into homes and kill infants and children in front of their mothers who they also had to slay because Yahweh wanted them to commit genocide. It is just such reasoning as Craig's that has allowed horrific acts to be committed by Christians throughout history who felt they were carrying out Yahweh's wishes. As the Christian philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal said "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

          May 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • dandintac

        This depends on how you define "good and bad". If you define these terms as mysterious objects which only your God can provide, I would agree. In that case, "good and bad" do no exist. They are illusory.

        However, if you understand "good" in terms of that which is helpful and beneficial to human well-being, and the well-being of all we are responsible for, and "bad" in terms of what which hurts or harms, then of course morality exists.

        One of the biggest lies told by the western monotheistic religions is the lie that "you need our belief system! Otherwise there's no good or evil!" It's a subtle threat too–believe us, or anything goes! Sheer utter tripe.

        May 24, 2014 at 12:25 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Dan,

          What if a person believes the opposite of what you give as "good" and "bad". Say he believes that it's "good" to harm people. On atheism, why is this person wrong?

          May 24, 2014 at 8:50 am |
      • sam stone

        atheism takes no moral stance.

        atheists do

        atheism is simply a disbelief in god

        May 24, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        • truthfollower01

          sam stone

          "atheism takes no moral stance.

          atheists do"

          On atheism, if you want ra-pe to be morally good, then for you, it is morally good. And your not wrong!

          May 24, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Akira

          Name one atheist that believes that.
          One. You cannot. You are trying to conflate rape with atheism for one thing..
          Absurd.
          You are describing a sociopath.
          Stop.

          May 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Name one atheist that believes that."
          All I'm saying is that on atheism, if anyone wanted to believe ra-pe was morally good, then for them, it would be morally good and they wouldn't be wrong. If Hitler thought what he was doing by murdering millions to be morally good, he wasn't wrong on atheism. That's horrifying!

          May 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • His Panic

          Then atheists are AMORALS by being such they actually become accomplices of the Immoral. Jesus said that if you are not siding with Him your are against Him, in other words and antichrist.

          May 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • His Panic

          Should read instead: Then atheists are AMORALS! By being such they actually become accomplices of the Immoral

          May 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Akira

          There is no "on atheism", as if there was some sort of doctrine that every atheist follows.
          This is your opinion on what atheism means to you,, which is why you cannot name one atheist who thinks that way.

          May 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
  10. thefinisher1

    Atheists have killed millions of people (over 100 million) in the past century alone. They also invented communism which has racked up the biggest number of deaths. Seems like atheists love ignoring the brutal and murderous past that atheism has!! Atheist leaders ordered babies and children to be killed!! Atheism is indeed unloving and a disease to mankind. Accept the facts now atheists and live a happy life!

    May 23, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      okay scifi/sally...you have atheist mixed with Christian but we understand you've never been to school to learn the difference or how to use a dictionary.

      May 23, 2014 at 9:50 am |
      • kermit4jc

        and YOu need to be educated inhistory.....you tell me to get past 5th grade....

        May 23, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: How am I wrong? The Inquisition; the Salem Witch Hunt; The Crusades; the Holocaust-all Christian killings and if Christians could kill today without being thrown in jail, they more than likely would. I know about history, too bad you have failed that.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • kermit4jc

          STALIN..ATHEIST...killed millions
          POL POT ATHEIST, killed millions
          MAOTSE TUNG TATHEIST killed millions...all told..between these three men in only the last century killed over 100 million...that's what the other blogger was referring to....

          May 23, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Communist leaders like Pol Pot and Stalin would not have been charismatic enough to gain converts had they not learned the discourse of dogmatic persuasion from religious inst/itutions.
          Pol Pot spent 8 years at a Catholic school in Phnom Penh and Stalin 5 years at a Russian orthodox seminary. Historians have noted their speaking and writing styles ape those of the Church in being 'declamatory and repet.itive, with liturgical overtones”.
          While they both sought to eliminate traditional religions from their kingdoms, they did so in order to divert the common man’s fervour to their own cults of personality.
          As Karl Marx himself noted “Atheism as a denial of this unreality; has no longer any meaning, for atheism is a denial of God and tries to assert through this negation the existence of man; but socialism as such no longer needs this mediation...”
          Atheism is not the prime cause for these tragic regimes – the misdirection of faith is.
          All of those despots demanded blind obedience and obsequious submission from their followers. They tolerated no free-thinkers and enforced dogmatism – tricks they learned during their religious educations.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • kermit4jc

          yes...and yet none of those doctrines were Biblical.....the Bible does not go for blind following with no choices..the Bible does not condone abuse of role (power)

          May 23, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Akira

          And here I thought that those totalitarian dictators did it in the name of power and control; who knew they did it specifically because people believed in God, and they didn't?

          Huh.

          (Yes, that is sarcasm.)

          May 23, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • kermit4jc

          hmm..did Stalin and pol pot kill atheist as well alongside religious people?

          May 23, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Every single military leader in the last 6000 years disbelieved in leprechauns, shall we find a correlation between that fact and all the violence they have committed? Shall we demand people believe in leprechauns just in case?

          But then again, I don't expect morons like kermie & fini to understand basic logic.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • kermit4jc

          and I pretty much expected a so called "free thinker" like you to assume that's what I was saying.......so much for free thinking....

          May 23, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Are you saying you believe some did believe in leprechauns? If not, then my point stands and your argument falls apart.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          my post wa snot in regards to the leprechauns

          May 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "hmm..did Stalin and pol pot kill atheist as well alongside religious people?"
          ---------------
          Ummm, yes!

          And lets remember, the majority of all those people whose lives were cut short under communist despots, died of famine. The leaders did nothing material to stop it so they are culpable but they did not execute anywhere near 100 million.

          The majority of deaths in China were due to famines, and not torture and murder. The biggest of these was during the Great Leap Forward (famine of 1958 – 1961) where an excess of somewhere between 20M – 45M people died, depending on sources.

          Estimates for Stalin's purges and Gulag (not counting the Ukraine Famine of 1932 – 1933, 2.4M – 7.5M) vary anywhere from 6M – 20M.

          You might find this page interesting:
          http://necrometrics.com/tyrants.htm

          'Excess' fatalities for the 20th century:

          Deaths* by communism: 87M
          Deaths** by non-communism: 116M

          * including famine and democide
          ** including war, famine and democide

          May 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Akira

          GOPer:
          Thanks for answering in a much more substantive manner.

          Kermit;
          What GOPer said.

          May 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          the atehists were still responsible..nice try in getting out of it

          May 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • transframer

          GOPer: good list. None of the victims are made by Chrsitianity except if you consider that the killer(s) were from a Christian country

          May 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The point of the Hitler v. Stalin v. Mao page is that the causes of excess deaths need to be understood before people go making claims like "atheists killed 100M people in the 20th century".

          Famine killed far more people than concentration camps or execution squads.

          May 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          What it comes down to is this: No religion has ever fed the poor, it was the people within it that fed the poor. No religion has ever pulled a trigger or swung a sword, it was the people within that used religion as an excuse to pull a trigger or swing a sword. People invent all sorts of reasons to do others harm, they have to because if just left with basic empathy and compassion no one would think it right to kill another human if they can put themselves in that other humans shoes. Religion has long been used as an excuse to overlook our empathy and declare other humans "inhuman" and thusworthy of death. In the last century we saw several human despots use religion as a sword and others use the lack of religion as a gun to garner control over vast amounts of wealth and assets. Much like Hitler used Christianity as his motivating force printing "Gott Mit Uns" on their military garb, but in reality was only using it to control the masses, Stalin and others used the lack of religion or anti-religious sentiment to control. It had nothing to do with atheism or humanism but was very anti-human.

          May 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • transframer

          Correct. I would just add: and anti Christian

          May 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – "hmm..did Stalin and pol pot kill atheist as well alongside religious people?"

          I know this question has already been answered, but seriously, did you honestly think the answer was "no"?

          May 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Never heard an argument saying he did when we present the countless religious people he had killed.....what else would you think? and so far..no one has answered it sufficiently

          May 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – He had those who opposed his political agenda killed, whether they were religious, atheist, doctor, farmer, whatever. To consider it possible that he spared people just because they were atheist is ludicrous.

          May 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          that's not sufficient evidence...you have to show it....sounds more like you don't want to hear of it that he would spare other atheists...besides..most atheists would have shared in his ideology anyways....how would they be in danger of being executed?

          May 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • James XCIX

          He happened to be atheist, but that's not the reason he was killing people, it was about political ideology Why isn't that clear to you?

          May 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          READ MY WORds...I ALREADY GOT that and I said that other atheists would probably share in his ideologies as they would pretty much be loosely based on atheistic ideology? sorry..but you said that why would he spare some atheists and said it would be ludicrous...that's not giving any info at all...back it up

          May 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – "atheists would probably share in his ideologies as they would pretty much be loosely based on atheistic ideology"

          How in the world do you figure that? Communism is far closer to the teachings of Jesus than to the simple, non-political idea that there are no gods.

          "but you said that why would he spare some atheists and said it would be ludicrous"

          No, I said it because his killing was based on political ideology and not religion it was ludicrous to propose he would spare someone simply because they were atheist.

          "back it up"

          And how exactly are you backing up your assertions? At least mine make common sense.

          May 24, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • kermit4jc

          how would you say communism is closer to teachings of Jesus?

          May 25, 2014 at 2:08 am |
        • James XCIX

          For instance, the part about giving away everything you have to others (Luke 12:33 comes to mind–have you done that yet?).

          I'm not saying Christianity is communist, just that if you're going to compare Christianity and atheism, Christianity is far closer to to communism.

          May 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ james For instance, the part about giving away everything you have to others (Luke 12:33 comes to mind–have you done that yet?). That does not work in this argument...Jesus was making a point with the rich young man....the rich young man was trying to justify himself...and when Jesus presented him this..the rich young man walked away..and jesus then tells his disciples...no man can be perfect ...only God can do this with man....sorry..but that is totally out of context with what jesus was trying to tell the rich man and his disciples

          May 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • James XCIX

          It's just one example. (of course Christians would have to say that this particular command only applied to the man he was talking and not to everyone–somehow they know which ones should be followed by all and which shouldn't).

          I'm sure you'll agree that Christians are told they should share what they have so it can be used to help those who have less? Sounds similar to communist ideas. Again, not saying Christianity is communist, but you were the one saying atheists would somehow find communism appealing.

          May 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          we are encouraged to SHARE...youre example was not a good one since that wasn't even Jesus point...communism is far worse though...it takes the "sharing" to the extreme...not anything like the BIble

          May 26, 2014 at 2:22 am |
        • James XCIX

          "…not anything like the BIble"

          I don't agree it's not anything like it, but I do agree it's more extreme.

          Incidentally, you never did say why you thought most atheists would have been inclined toward communist ideology.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • James XCIX

          "besides..most atheists would have shared in his ideology anyways....how would they be in danger of being executed"

          So then, you do agree it was about ideology?

          May 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • hotairace

          transframer, why is a precise count important? If it turns out that your cults killed fewer people than totalitarian regimes, so what? Would that be some sort of victory for your cults? Something to crow about? Something you would be proud to claim on your way to your alleged but never proven heaven?

          Seems to me the real question is "why are christian cults engaged in murder at all?"

          May 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • Doris

          kermit: "you tell me to get past 5th grade"

          You really should at least try, dear. Then you might not jump to such illogical conclusions all the time.

          May 23, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Doris

          You know, while you're at it, kermit, maybe you can talk awanderingscot into finishing 5th grade with you. There must be some summer or evening program you both can get into where you live.

          May 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so instead of you taking the advice and learn some history..you still insist we need to get past the 5th grade..nice going there

          May 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • transframer

          hotairace
          It's not important, yes any life is important. However when millions of victims are invented out of thin air people start to ask, like you, "why are christian cults engaged in murder at all?" which is totally false

          May 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Gop: Thank you for attempting to clear that up and for that link. Sadly, I'm not certain that kermi cares about facts outside of what he deems his own.

          May 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • Akira

          "the atehists were still responsible..nice try in getting out of it

          No. Not any more that Christians are responsible for the Holocaust.

          May 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          How were Christians responsible for the Holocaust?

          May 23, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          ".sounds more like you don't want to hear of it that he would spare other atheists...besides..most atheists would have shared in his ideology anyways....how would they be in danger of being executed?"
          ------------------–
          Boy you are deliberately ignorant here.

          Stalin indiscriminately caused (or allowed) people to be killed. The biggest example of this is the Ukraine famine of 1932-1933 where after siphoning off Ukrainian wheat to feed other Republics he let the Ukraine starve. 3.3 million people died of starvation in the Ukraine at this time. They weren't being persecuted for being religious. They died because they were in the way.

          Why do you think the Ukrainians don't like Russia so much?

          One of Stalin's big targets were the "kulaks" or 'prosperous peasants. This had nothing to do with religion.

          If you want to read something that is fact-based, start here:
          http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

          "All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million."

          So under Stalin – 6M deliberate deaths, 9M "foreseeable" deaths, mostly from famine. It's horrific, but is nothing like what you assert to be the case, where everyone was executed for being religious.

          This is also an interesting perspective:

          "It turns out that, with the exception of the war years, a very large majority of people who entered the Gulag left alive. Judging from the Soviet records we now have, the number of people who died in the Gulag between 1933 and 1945, while both Stalin and Hitler were in power, was on the order of a million, perhaps a bit more. The total figure for the entire Stalinist period is likely between two million and three million. The Great Terror and other shooting actions killed no more than a million people, probably a bit fewer. The largest human catastrophe of Stalinism was the famine of 1930–1933, in which more than five million people died."

          May 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ALl that doe s NOT mater as Stalin was an atheist..period..and atheists have lkilled over 100 million in the last century alone..period..doesn't matter if the victims were other atheists or religious.....the fact is..Stalin is Atheist

          May 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @truthprevails1

          Check this out:
          http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

          It is really well written and consistent with other reliable sources that include data that became available after the fall of the USSR.

          May 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "How were Christians responsible for the Holocaust?"
          ---------------
          The good Lutherans and Catholics of the Third Reich either did Hitler's bidding directly or looked the other way and allowed it to happen.

          "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
          Because I was not a Socialist.
          Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
          Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
          Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
          Because I was not a Jew.
          Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

          Martin Niemöller (an evangelical protestant pastor)

          May 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ok...that's more clear and specific than your general blanket statement from before..sure..SOME Christians were involved...but they were not the leaders who called for the exterminations..and anything they did was not Biblical as well....

          May 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "atheists have lkilled over 100 million in the last century alone..period..doesn't matter if the victims were other atheists or religious
          --------------------
          I'll quote it again because you are willfully ignorant:

          'Excess' fatalities for the 20th century:

          Deaths* by communism: 87M
          Deaths** by non-communism: 116M

          * including famine and democide
          ** including war, famine and democide

          So who was worse? The Godless Commies, or everyone else???

          May 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          LMAO.....who cares..I was NOT referring to COMMUNISTS..IM referring to ATHEISTS.....stop changing the topic

          May 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • Akira

          “the atehists were still responsible..nice try in getting out of it"

          No. Not any more that Christians are responsible for the Holocaust.

          "How are Christians responsible for the Holocaust?"

          The precise same way atheists are.

          May 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NO Christian called for the mass deaths of the Jews in the Holocaust......comparing apples to oranges....whereas ATHEIsts (like Stalin) Called for the executions of others

          May 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I was NOT referring to COMMUNISTS..IM referring to ATHEISTS."
          ----------------
          The ONLY atheists you can construe to being culpable for the deaths of ~100M people in the 20th century are despotic Communist autocrats, like Stalin and Mao and Pol-Pot.

          The Khmer Rouge were responsible for about 1.65M so as heinous as Pol-Pot's regime was, it doesn't do much for the numbers.

          I'm not changing the topic in any way.

          May 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • Akira

          How is saying neither atheists as a group and Christians as a group are not responsible for the Holocaust "comparing and oranges?"

          May 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I explained it in my last post! Christians did not call for the deaths..they did NOT order the deaths in the Holocaust...whereas the atheist like Stalin DID call for the deaths of others.....

          May 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "STALIN..ATHEIST...killed millions
          POL POT ATHEIST, killed millions
          MAOTSE TUNG TATHEIST killed millions

          -----------------
          And here's me thinking those guys were all communists.

          Here's equally credible, more studied estimates on the low-end:

          Stalinist USSR: 6M deliberate, 9M 'foreseeable' including famine, perhaps as high as 20M.
          Khmer Rouge: 1.65M
          Mao-Tse Tung PRC: 10M deliberate, 30M famine

          Total: About 60M. It's truly horrific.

          May 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Christians did not call for the deaths..they did NOT order the deaths in the Holocaust..."
          ---------------------
          If you truly believe that Christians (from the overwhelmingly Lutheran and Catholic Third Reich) were not involved in the Holocaust, either directly or indirectly, you are fooling yourself.

          There is no way that Christians were not soldiers in the SS or did not run the trains to camps or build the camps or install the plumbing for the gas chambers or build the ovens, or serve what little food people in the camps were given, or dig mass graves, you are kidding yourself. In all probability the people who performed the executions in the camps directly were Christians.

          Hitler was raised Christian. He used Christianity to motivate the German people. They were complicit irrespective of whatever Hitler might have believed.

          May 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          how ignorant you are..Hitler WAS Chritian and later he said Christians were a pestilence....he was NOT a Christian at the time of the holocaust..by that time he was worshipping Aryan gods and such.

          May 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • Akira

          To paraphrase:
          ALl that doe s NOT mater as Hitler was a Christian..period..and Chrisrians have lkilled millions in the last century alone..period..doesn’t matter if the victims were other atheists or religious…..the fact is..Hitler is Christian..

          If it counts for atheists, it counts for Christians.

          May 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "he was NOT a Christian at the time of the holocaust..by that time he was worshipping Aryan gods and such."
          ---------------
          So you have an insight into Hitler's brain that historians do not then?

          We can all agree that he did not live up to the standards of a follower of Jesus, but as you people are so fond of telling us, "we're all sinners, all the time" anyway.

          No one knows what Hitler truly believed. Who would want to get inside that messed up head?

          May 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "To paraphrase:" etc
          -------------–
          Too funny!

          May 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, You wrote "How were Christians responsible for the Holocaust?" and "ok...that's more clear and specific than your general blanket statement from before..sure..SOME Christians were involved...but they were not the leaders who called for the exterminations..and anything they did was not Biblical as well..... You also wrote "NO Christian called for the mass deaths of the Jews in the Holocaust......comparing apples to oranges....whereas ATHEIsts (like Stalin) Called for the executions of others" as well as "how ignorant you are..Hitler WAS Chritian and later he said Christians were a pestilence....he was NOT a Christian at the time of the holocaust..by that time he was worshipping Aryan gods and such."

          As for worshiping Aryan gods, the Nazis merged their notions of Aryan superiority with Christianity to create "Positive Christianity". The official Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg helped develop it as an alternative to what he dubbed "negative Christianity." They claimed Jesus was Aryan rather than Jewish. Even before the Nazis came to power, Jesus was redefined as an Aryan hero who struggled against Jews and Judaism in the writings of Emile Burnouf, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and the German biblical scholar Paul de Lagarde.

          Perhaps you meant pagan gods. There were some influential neo-paganists in the Nazi Party, such as Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg, but they were a minority and their views had little influence on Nazi ideology and Hitler denounced Germanic paganism in his autobiographical "Mein Kampf" and condemned Rosenberg's and Himmler's paganism as "nonsense".

          Hitler publicly proclaimed himself to be a Christian and capitalized on the antisemitism rampant among Protestant and Catholic Christians in Germany to enlist German Christians to carry out his pogrom against the Jews by justifying it with Christian rhetoric. For many Christians, Jews were deicides, "Christ-killers". That widespread antisemitism was many centuries old. Martin Luther, the German theologian who sparked the Protestant Reformation when he posted his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 was very antisemitic later in life. He advocated violence against the Jews including setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews' property and money, and destroying their homes, so that these "poisonous envenomed worms", as he called them, would be forced into labor or expelled "for all time". Luther said "We are at fault in not slaying them", which amounted to a sanction for murdering Jews.

          During the reign of the Nazis in Germany, one leading German churchman, Bishop Martin Sasse, published a compendium of Martin Luther's antisemitic vitriol shortly after Kristallnacht, which was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938. In the foreword to the volume, he applauded the burning of the synagogues and the coincidence of the day: "On November 10, 1938, on Luther's birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany." He urged Germans to heed the words "of the greatest antisemite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews."

          There were many other prominent churchmen who helped incite the German populace against the Jews during that period. I've included some excerpts from "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust" by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, First Vintage Books Edition, February 1997 below:

          *** page 109

          "Before and during the Nazi period, Catholic publications, whether written for the laity, clerics, or theologians, disseminated the contemporary antisemitic litany in ways that were often indistinguishable from the Nazis', and justified the desire to eliminate the Jewish "alien bodies" (Fremdkörper) from Germany. Taking action against the Jews, according to the body of these publications was "justifiable self-defense to prevent the harmful characteristics and influences of the Jewish race." In March 1941, by which time Germans had already inflicted enormous harm on the Jews of Germany and Europe, Archbishop Konrad Gröber published a pastoral letter replete with antisemitism. He placed the blame upon the Jews for the death of Jesus, which he implied justified what the Germans were doing to the Jews: "The self-imposed curse of the Jews, 'His blood be upon us and upon our children,' has come true terribly until the present time, until today."

          *** page 112

          That same month, on December 17, 1941, Protestant Evangelical Church leaders of Mecklenburg, Thuringia, Saxony, Nassau-Hesse, Schleswig-Holstein, Anhalt, and Lübeck collectively issued an official proclamation which declared the Jews to be incapable of being saved by baptism, owing to their racial consti_tution, to be responsible for the war, and to be "born enemies of the world and Germany" (geborene Welt- und Reichsfeinde). They therefore urged that the "severest measures against the Jews be adopted and that they be banished from German lands." The superlative, the "severest measures," logically implies that any penalty, however extreme, could be applied to the Jews, including the death penalty. And with the context of the apocalyptic war with the Soviet Union and of the Germans' already ongoing extermination of Soviet Jewry, it could have meant only one thing. With those words, the Protestant Church leadership of a good part of Germany–collectively, as a corporate group, and with the authority of their offices–on their own initiative implicitly endorsed the mass slaughter of Jews.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • hotairace

          transframer, are you really claiming christians have not been involved in mass murder, genocide?

          May 23, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote in regards to Stalin, "besides..most atheists would have shared in his ideology anyways....how would they be in danger of being executed?" Stalin executed any he thought could pose a threat to his power. During the Great Purge from 1934 to 1940, hundreds of thousands were executed, including major figures in the Communist Party, such as the old Bolsheviks and several Red Army leaders. They were convicted of plotting to overthrow the government and Stalin. The purge was primarily an effort by Stalin to eliminate any challenge from past or potential opposition groups, including the left and right wings headed by Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin, respectively. The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) shot Communist heroes, including Mikhail Tukhachevsky, a Marshal of the Soviet Union and commander in chief of the Red Army (1925–1928) and Béla Kun, a Hungarian revolutionary who led the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919, as well as the majority of Lenin's Politburo. Leon Trotsky, a Marxist theorist and the founder and first leader of the Red Army, had fled to Mexico, but was killed there by the NKVD.

          And though Stalin executed priests and other clergy that he perceived as a threat to his power, later when he, like many political leaders, saw benefit to be gained by using religious beliefs to enhance his own power, he made an alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church, just as Putin has done today. E.g., see "1943: Orthodox Patriarch Appointed" at soviethistory.macalester.edu/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1943patriarch&Year=1943

          May 24, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • sam stone

          STALIN..SHORT WITH DARK HAIR...killed millions
          POL POT SHORT WITH DARK HAIR, killed millions
          MAOTSE TUNG, SHORT WITH DARK HAIR killed millions...all told..between these three men in only the last century killed over 100 million...

          There we go, Kermy, it is the short with dark hair people who are responsible

          You're welcome

          May 24, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • James XCIX

          alonsoquixote – Thanks for finding a source that supports the common sense we've been trying to explain to kermit. Perhaps he'll be satisfied with that, but somehow I doubt anything can overcome his apparently narrow indoctrination.

          May 24, 2014 at 10:23 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Nothing is done in the name of disbelief you idiot! Those fools you listed used their political power and it had nothing to do with not believing. Christians used their belief and killed far too many. Stop trying to twist things when you're wrong and have been proven to be on numerous occasions. Christians to this day attempt to impose their belief system on to people and are being pushed back at every step...it will be a wonderful day when the churches crumble and people like you are no longer regarded as anything more than the blemish on society that you are.

        May 23, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • kermit4jc

          WHO is the idiot here?? YOU! NEITHER of us said it was done in the NAME of atheism..we said ATHEISTS themselves did it.....get out of your mommas basement and go to school to learn to read

          May 23, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "truth"
          we understand your hysteria and outrage that people can believe in their creator. however, God loves you too and is patiently waiting for you to come to your senses. but His patience will not be here forever and therefore before you kneel before Him in judgment begging for your life, please be reconciled to Him, repent and He will also accept you. and please don't kill His ambassadors.

          Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20, NKJV

          May 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          AMEN wandering scot...btw are you Scottish? I have Scottish background on mommas side clan Davidson

          May 23, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi and your boy-toy awanderingtot: There is no outrage at you...just pure pity that grown adults use scripture and deny evidence that proves scripture wrong to try to make their case for their non-existent, non-proven god. You both act like you never made it past grade 5 when you spew 2000 year old out-dated, already debunked crap.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • transframer

          TruthPrevails1:
          Do you have a proven source of the number of victims in the name of Christianity?

          May 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          transframer: Are you denying that many have been killed in the name of Christianity?
          The following lists a great many atrocities that are directly the result of a belief in Christianity. http://articles.exchristian.net/2002/10/how-many-people-have-been-killed-by.php

          May 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • transframer

          Yes please. First of all, any crime made in majority Christian country, any war between Christian countries or one Christian country and other non-Christian can counts towards total number, according to you and that article. But anyway I stopped reading that list when I got to the number of Inquisition victims, estimated at several millions. The main source: a book that is in german and out of print (how convenient). This was proven to be a lie

          May 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          trans: http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm
          The fact remains that a great many atrocities have been directly correlated to the Christian belief system. Christians are just more subtle today but they still use their belief system or at least attempt to use it for power and control.

          May 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Do you have a proven source of the number of victims in the name of Christianity?"
          -------------------
          There are no authoritative sources for excess deaths. The totals are always a guessing game. All people die. Despotism accelerates that process unjustly.

          You might find this source interesting, the author appears to make an attempt not to 'game' the outcome.
          http://necrometrics.com/index.htm

          In the spirit of this thread let's remember the 8,000,000 people who died in the Belgian Congo / Congo Free State at the turn of the 20th century under their good Catholic King Leopold II of Belgium.

          May 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • transframer

          This is exactly the same list/article

          May 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • transframer

          GOPer:
          Yes, but if no solid data, why come such big numbers magically appear?

          May 23, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • transframer

          GOPer:
          We do have co-ncrete data for atheism vict-ims so com-paring with those unknown/va-gue/mys-tic data about Christianity victims is unfair

          May 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Yes, but if no solid data, why come such big numbers magically appear?

          We do have concrete data for atheism victims so comparing with those unknown/va-gue/mystic data about Christianity victims is unfair
          ---------------
          What do you mean magically appear?

          There is *no* concrete data for the excess deaths under Communism. The OP's 100,000,000 is on the high end of the estimates. It is not factual. Less biased estimates put excess deaths by Communism in the range of 90,000,000. It's still pretty horrific.

          There were no records kept (deliberately). Several tens of millions of people had their lives cut short under Communist rule in the 20th century. This is a fact and there is no debate about.

          Most of them were not executed. Most of them died of famine in mismanaged Communist regimes. While some certainly did, the deaths of most of these people had nothing to do with belief or disbelief, just shocking incompetence.

          The necrometics site appears to have some reasonably scholarly approach to the process. It looks nothing like the other sites. The author has compared many printed sources and attempted to synthesize reasonable estimates.

          There is no question that over the centuries, many millions of people were killed in the name of Christianity, either by war (like the Crusades) or by disease (like Spanish Colonialism) or by despotic Christian autocrats (like King Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo – 8M) or by internecine Christian war (like the Thirty Years War – 8M).

          May 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          or by disease (like Spanish Colonialism) <--silly to add this..they did not purposefully spread disease..even explorers who were NOT exploring in the name of Christianity or religion would spread diseases.....

          May 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • transframer

          GOper: if it's 100 or 90 millions is less important, as you said, it's still a horrific number. But you spotted the problem: we have big difficulties for coming up with right numbers for 20th century, how can we ever come close to any decent number for much older times?

          May 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Numbers should also be put in context.

          Based on population estimates from 1650 (500M), about 1 in 62 people worldwide were killed in the Christian on Christian violence in the Thirty Years War, in the name of "true Christian religion".

          Based on population estimates from 1950 (2.5B) about 1 in 38 people worldwide were killed in the Second World War, which was most would agree is the worst bloodshed in world history.

          Relatively speaking, the Thirty Years was about 60% as bloody as WW2 on a GLOBAL scale.

          May 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "how can we ever come close to any decent number for much older times?
          -----------------
          It all depends on your definition of "decent" and the level of scholarship involved.

          Our OP (thefinisher1) under a previous handle (and I'm pretty sure it's him) used to claim here on the Belief Blog that "atheists killed 800 million in the 20th century", which is in the order of 1 in every 3 people in 1950. It was an absurd assertion. The human race would have been almost extinguished. (I presumed that somewhere along the line his preacher put an extra zero after 80M and he just accepted it on faith.)

          None of the numbers that people throw around here can be accepted without looking at alternative sources and double checking, but enough scholarly research can put us in the ballpark, at least for post-medieval periods.

          May 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "truth?"

          "the deaths of most of these people had nothing to do with belief or disbelief, just shocking incompetence."

          right, tell this to the relatives of the millions of Jews who were murdered in the pogroms of those "good decent Communist" brothers of yours. this is prime, an apologist for Godless Communists reveals himself. and you've got the nerve to call others hypocrites.

          May 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • James XCIX

          scot – "right, tell this to the relatives of the millions of Jews who were murdered in the pogroms"

          Sheesh, with Christianity's history you've got a lot of nerve bringing up pogroms.

          May 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          If concerning the 6 million Jews in WW2 that was not done by Christians....Hitler and his people were polytheists..and mostly worshipped Odin and other gods of the Arayn cult

          May 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
        • James XCIX

          No, that's not what scot was talking about. Anyway, Hitler was a professed Christian; I don't know which of his "people" you're talking about.

          May 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          note the operative word..WAS a Christian...he later in life called Christians a PESTILENCE! and worshipped other gods..sorry...maybe youdidnt get that part in your history lesson..the "others" were those who were of his army...

          May 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – ".the “others” were those who were of his army…"

          Seriously? You know that his army were polytheists? Kermit, you're really becoming absurd.

          May 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          yes! for the most part they all shared in his Aryan ideology..which consisted of polytheism...why would it be anything else..nothing in the bIble supported their agenda anyways (Love your neighbors as well as yourself-yep..Hitler and his army sure showed love to them Jews!)

          May 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I am not apologizing for Stalin.

          Of the OP's estimate of 100 million, (which I believe is high and can only be reached by including at least 40 million Chinese excess deaths) the largest single bloc of excess deaths were caused by famine in China (at least 30 million).

          The Jewish pogroms began with the good Orthodox Christians in the 19th century Russian Empire. They continued in the chaos of the Russian Civil War and yes, Stalin killed even more.

          I stand behind facts. "Truth" belongs in the Philosophy department.

          May 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Akira

          Why does it seem that some people forget there were an additional 6 million people who died during Hitler's tenure?

          May 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Akira,

          did someone forget that?

          May 23, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "by disease (like Spanish Colonialism) <–silly to add this..they did not purposefully spread disease"
          ----------------
          Oh yes, so silly of me, it was Christians in America who purposefully spread disease by giving smallpox ridden blankets to the natives.

          May 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • Akira

          GOPer:
          No, not you.

          May 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Transframer, when you commented in regards to TruthPrevails1's reference, "But anyway I stopped reading that list when I got to the number of Inquisition victims, estimated at several millions. The main source: a book that is in german and out of print (how convenient). This was proven to be a lie", I presume you are referring to "1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands" in the section of the article under "Religious Wars". The entry doesn't state that 3 million rebels were killed only that the tribunal ordered the extermination of 3 million rebels, but I am doubtful of that number as well. Though perhaps it is a matter of how the original was translated into English. I.e., the original could have indicated a suppression of 3 million rebels or extermination of their movement, rather than the execution of 3 million individuals.

          The tribunal noted in the entry in the referenced article is the Tribunal de los Tumultos (Council of Troubles), which also became known as the "Council of Blood". The tribunal was insti_tuted on September 9, 1567 by Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, governor-general of the Habsburg Netherlands on the orders of King Philip II of Spain to punish the leaders of the political and religious "troubles" in the Netherlands. Those "troubles" are also known as the Dutch Revolt (1566 or 1568–1648), a revolt of the northern, largely Protestant Seven Provinces of the Low Countries against the rule of the Roman Catholic King Philip II of Spain, who was a self-proclaimed protector of the Counter-Reformation who attempted to suppress Protestantism. The southern Catholic provinces initially joined in the revolt, but later submitted to Spain. The revolt, which began with Protestant vandalization of Catholic churches and monasteries and ransacking of the homes of Catholic clergy, led to one of the first European republics of the modern era, the Dutch Republic. The attacks on Catholic imagery and churches during the 16th century occurred not just in the Netherlands, but elsewhere in Europe as well where Protestantism was becoming more prominent. Such attacks were known as Beeldenstorm or "Iconoclastic Fury". An important factor in the Dutch revolt was the desire of the Protestant rebels for religious freedom. Philip II was a fervent enemy of the Protestant movements of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the Anabaptists. His father Charles V had outlawed heresy making it a capital offense.

          I don't know the total number killed in the Netherlands during the revolt, but I know at least a thousand people were executed by the council after they had the counts of Egmont and Horne decapitated; they were Catholic nobles loyal to the King of Spain, but were executed under the premise that their tolerance for Protestantism was treasonous behavior. A note in "Simon Epi_scopius' Doctrine of Original Sin" by Mark A. Ellis states:

          *** begin quote

          Although the number of martyrs in the Netherlands is debated, there were 3,000 confirmed deaths in the first three months of the reign of terror insti_tuted by the Spanish general Alva, which eventually claimed 18,000 lives over three years. Scholarly estimates of the total number of deaths before 1609 range as high as 100,000 (Arthur C. Cochrane, Reformed Confessions of the 16th Century (Philadelpha: Westminster Press, 1966), 185; De Jong, "Rise of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands," 20). For a brief but thorough summary of the inquisition in the Netherlands, consult Duke, "Salvation by Coercion," passim.

          *** end quote

          In 1568, the Catholic king of Spain, Philip II, also had troubles with Muslims in Grenada, which was also under his control. E.g., from "Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Volume 6" by John McClintock and James Strong:

          *** begin quote

          After trying other means, Philip II was finally brought to issue a proclamation (November 13, 1556), in which the use of Arabic either in speaking or writing, that of Arab names, and of the national costume of the Moors, even that of their usual baths, was forbidden them; three years were given them to learn Spanish, and those who after that time should contravene these commands were to be punished, according to circu_mstances, by imprisonment or banishment. This proclamation, against which the Spanish governor of Granada and many Spanish statesmen (among them the duke of Alba) emphatically protested, was nevertheless enforced by the advice of a cardinal and an archbishop. The first result was an insurrection, organized in secret, with the aid of the Moors of Africa, which broke out in the spring of 1568, and at once assumed the character of a war of extermination.

          May 24, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          "nothing in the bIble supported their agenda anyways"

          Martin Luther sure thought there was plenty in the Bible to support Hitler's actions, or haven't you read his On the Jews and Their Lies? It's almost a guidebook for the Final Solution.

          May 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          AS IF Luther was perfect? soryr.Luther did not write the Bible..your agument does not follow

          May 25, 2014 at 2:10 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Why would Odin care about killing Jews? Did the Jews kill Thor in their sagas?

          May 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          who said Odin would care or not? the point was Hitler was polytheist

          May 25, 2014 at 2:11 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote " who said Odin would care or not? the point was Hitler was polytheist". Though there were a very few individuals, e.g., Himmler, among the Nazi leadership that espoused neo-pagan ideas, they were a small minority and Hitler was not a polytheist nor a neo-pagan.

          E.g., from: "Jung on War, Politics and Nazi Germany: Exploring the Theory of Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious" (Karnac Books Ltd, 2009) by Nicholas Lewin, pages 244-245:

          *** begin quote

          In all this activity, the personal influence of neo-pagan ideas on Hitler is difficult to determine. While he was willing to draw on early role models, like Eckart's religious views, Hitler's hostility to the pagans in the Nazi state was unequivocal. ... Hitler's disdain for neo-paganism is again demonstrated by his dismissal of Himmler's efforts. According to Albert Speer, Hitler was withering in his derision of Himmler's eclectic military mysticism: 'What nonsense! Here we have at least reached an age that has left all mysticism behind, and now he wants to start that all over again... To think that I may some day be turned into an SS saint!'... Hitler had no time for Wotan, as one can see from his discussion about one of the few Party leaders who took an active Neo-pagan stance—the appropriately named Baldur von Schirach, head of the Hitler Youth movement. However, many of the party leaders, like Hans Schemm, and Otto Wagner, were far from happy about the use of Hitler Youth events to stage Pagan rituals so they complained to Hitler who ridiculed the youthful paganism by saying: 'All that rubbish about the Thing places, the solstice festivals, the Midgard snake.' He assured them that it would not develop into a religion, to which one of his audience responded: 'I'm very glad to hear you say this... There is such a lot of nonsense talked about the cult of Wotan and the spirit of the Edda... These idiotic windbags have no idea what their spouting causes'

          *** end quote

          The Eckhart reference is to Dietrich Eckhart who suggested that Christ was pre-figured by early pagan gods.

          Heinrich Heim transcribed and co-published with Werner Jochmann transcripts of Adolf Hitler's informal talks, known colloquially as Hitler's Table Talk. His version of the table talk was published in 1980 under the ti_tle "Adolf Hitler Monologe im Führerhauptquartier 1941-1944". In it Hitler is quoted as having said on October 14 1941: "It seems to be inexpressibly stupid to allow a revival of the cult of Odin/Wotan. Our old mythology of the gods was defunct, and incapable of revival, when Christianity came...the whole world of antiquity either followed philosophical systems on the one hand, or worshipped the gods. But in modern times it is undesirable that all humanity should make such a fool of itself."

          So why do some today try to link Nazism to neo-Paganism despite the fact that Hitler rejected it and despite the fact that there were few within the Nazi leadership that embraced it and despite the fact that the German populace was almost exclusively Christian. The historian Richard J Evans wrote that, by 1939, 95% of Germans still called themselves Protestant or Catholic, while 3.5% identified as "gottgläubig", i.e., someone who still believes in God, although without having any religious affiliation, and 1.5% atheist. The historian Richard Steigmann-Gall wrote:

          "What we suppose Nazism must surely have been about usually tells us as much about contemporary societies as about the past purportedly under review. The insistence that Nazism was an anti-Christian movement has been one of the most enduring truisms of the past fifty years.... Exploring the possibility that many Nazis regarded themselves as Christian would have decisively undermined the myths of the Cold War and the regeneration of the German nation ... Nearly all Western societies retain a sense of Christian identi_ty to this day.... That Nazism as the world-historical metaphor for human evil and wickedness should in some way have been related to Christianity can therefore be regarded by many only as unthinkable."

          May 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote " AS IF Luther was perfect? soryr.Luther did not write the Bible.." in regards to the antisemitism of Martin Luther, whose posting of his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 catalyzed the Protestant Reformation. Indeed, Luther was not perfect; his ideas were a reflection of the society in which he lived just as were those of the unknown Gospel writers who merged Judaism and Hellenism in the creation of Christianity. He certainly didn't originate antisemitism among Christians. It was widespread within the Roman Catholic Church whose practices, such as the sale of indulgences, caused him to break with the Church.

          Christian antisemitism was prominently displayed by the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Ferdinand II and Isabella I, during the 15th century in their intolerance towards Jews and their persecution of conversos. On March 31, 1492 they issued the Alhambra Edict, aka the Edict of Expulsion, which expelled Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. Before them, King Edward I of England issued the 1290 Edict of Expulsion expelling all Jews from England.

          Christian antisemitism also led to many massacres of Jews in Europe. E.g, during the First Crusade, many European Jews were killed by eleventh century Crusaders in the "Rhineland massacres" as they were setting off for the "Holy Land." Others were given the choice of converting from Judaism to Christianity or being killed if they refused to convert. Over subsequent centuries there were many other incidents in which Christian mobs murdered Jews, e.g., the 1506 Easter Slaughter of Jews in Lisbon, Portugal, the 1613-1614 Fettmilch Uprising in Frankfurt, Germany, the Hep-Hep riots in Germany in 1819, etc.

          Why was antisemitism so widespread and persistent within Christianity for so many centuries? From "Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England" by Anthony Julius pages 563-564:

          *** begin quote

          It is in Christianity that for the first time in the world's history Jew-hatred becomes sanctified. As against the pagan confrontation with the Jews, which was mostly voluntary and occasional, the Christian Church was compelled to confront the Jews. Though Jews were a significant presence in the pagan world, they were objectionable but not important to the pagan anti-Semite; to the Christian Church, by contrast, Jews were immensely objectionable and immensely important, even though numerically insignificant. When anti-Semitism began again in Christian culture, then, it was thus more attention-seeking than in pagan times. Its claims regarding the Jews were more importunate, more extreme. It consti_tuted the Jews and Judaism, collectively, as the enemy of the good, the true, and the beautiful. This new, Christian anti-Semitism was always endemic, and sometimes epidemic. The Church Father John Chrysostum (347-407), a principal contributor to the patristic enterprise of vilification of the Jews, wrote, 'If the Jewish rites are holy and venerable, our way of life must be false. But if our way is true, as indeed it is, theirs is fraudulent.' Here, and in the perplexity and anger at Jewish rejection of the apostolic mission, is the germinating seed of Christian anti-Semitism.

          A systematized, hostile conception of Judaism, the Jews, and Jewish history, thus became part of Christianity. Anti-Semitism is consistent with normative Christian perspectives—indeed, it was assumed for a very long time to be a necessary consequence of them. (Christian slave-owners had to work somewhat harder to find scriptural justifications for holding Africans in servitude.) Anti-Semitism is not a repudiation of Christianity; it is not un-Christian. But Christianity is not consti_tutively anti-Semitic. It is not credal—neither the Apostles' Creed nor the Nicene Creed, which appear in the Anglican Books of Common Prayer, refer to Jews.

          *** end quote

          The Early Church Father John Chrysostum (c. 347 – 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, developed a doctrine regarding the Jews that became known as the Adversus Judaeos ("Against the Jews"). Steven Katz, the director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University in Massachusetts, USA, in "Ideology, State Power, and Mass Murder/Genocide", Lessons and Legacies: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World, Northwestern University Press (1999), cites Chrysostom's homilies as a significant factor in “the decisive turn in the history of Christian anti-Judaism, a turn whose ultimate disfiguring consequence was enacted in the political antisemitism of Adolf Hitler. That is, anti-Jewish prejudice becomes deadly only when supported by the police apparatus of the state. And this unfortunate tradition, this employment of the state machinery to enact and supervise anti-Jewish legislation, begins in the christianizing politics of the fourth century and does not cease until the modern era."

          But one needs to look even further back in history to find the root of the antisemitism that eventually allowed the Nazis to enlist the German population in a campaign to exterminate the Jews. The causa causans was a decision by the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew to have a Jewish mob declare "His blood be on us, and on our children" to make it absolutely clear to readers that they should blame the Jews not the Romans, as represented by Pilate, for Christ's death as it would not have behooved the early Christian writers to portray a Roman leader as the villain in their story of Christ's death.

          Though the unknown writers of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of John portray Pilate as reluctant to execute Jesus, but forced to do so by a Jewish mob, the Jewish scholar and historian Ti_tus Flavius Josephus tells of a quite different type of man. He reports Pilate slaughtered multi_tudes of Samaritan Jews on a spiritual pilgrimage to the holy Mt. Gerizim led by a religious fanatic who promised to reveal sacred vessels buried by Moses. After this incident Pilate was recalled to Rome by the emperor Tiberius and charged, according to the philosopher and historian Philo, with "corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, and endless and intolerable cruelties." Both Philo and Josephus report that Pilate repeatedly caused near-insurrections among the Jews because of his insensitivity to Jewish customs. Rather than being a Roman leader who could have been cowed into acceding to the wishes of Jewish priests and a Jewish mob, they depict a man who had no compunction killing troublesome Jews and with little respect for Jewish concerns.

          Though an astute political decision for a writer who was writing in a world dominated by the Roman Empire who hoped to spread his nascent religion among Romans, the decision by the author of the Gospel of Matthew in his version of Jesus' death to have the Jews force Pilate to execute Jesus and say "His blood be on us, and on our children" was a decision that led to centuries of subsequent Christian persecution and massacres of Jews as "Christ-killers".

          May 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so what? those are PEOPLE..not the disciples of Jesus who were there with Him...and also the Bible in no way supports anit Semitism....youre looking at people..not the Bible....I go for the Bible cause people are not perfect.....

          May 26, 2014 at 2:25 am |
      • awanderingscot

        Surely you have things turned around!
        Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
        For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
        “He did not make me”?
        Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
        “He has no understanding”? – Isaiah 29:16, NKJV

        seems only a fool would argue with the Almighty.

        May 23, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • hotairace

          Why? Because a book written by unknown authors with absolutely no actual evidence for any supernatural claim, a book the Smithsonian says is not historical, says so? You need to raise your standards for assessing believability.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          LOLOLOL as if the Smithsonian is the absolute authority over such things! SO you got ONE place that says it is not historical..big deal...others say it is.....why waste time then mentioning the Smothsonian? lol

          May 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Only a fool quotes Gullibles Travels (aka the buybull) and only a fool believes there is an almighty.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Actually, the Bible is just ONE place that says lots of things are historical, but the difference is that the Smithsonian can actually match it's findings to other sources.

          May 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • kudlak

          A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superst.ition, and art into pedantry.
          George Bernard Shaw

          May 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And we have number 8 from my top ten list of the most irritatingly stupid ‘arguments’ that religionists make here.

      8. Absurd attempts to conflate atheism with despotic dictators
      eg: ”Atheists have tortured and murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries” or slightly less inaccurately: “Atheists killed more than 100,000,000 people in the 20th century”
      The syllogism:
      - Communist despots ordered or failed to prevent the deaths of millions in the 20th century
      - Not believing in God is a tenet of communism
      - Therefore, atheists killed millions in the 20th century
      deliberately misrepresents atheism. It’s a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

      May 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Sadaam Hussein, Victor Lukashenko, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Paul Kagame, Augusto Pinochet, Mouammar Gaddafi, Benito Mussolini....
      People with mustaches killed millions and millions in the 20th century.
      Accept the facts, shave off your facial hair and lead a happy life!

      May 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • kudlak

        Castro, Franco, Ho Chi Minh, and Emperor Hirohito too.

        May 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
    • dandintac

      Another lie, told over and over again by theists–especially Christians.

      There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the crimes of Mao, Pol Pot or Stalin can be traced to their non-belief in God. Furthermore, atheism has no doctrines or dogmas. So how does atheism cause anything? Atheism is just a lack of belief in gods–that's it, period. So there's a reason why they never said things like–"I do this in the name of atheism", or "atheism requires this to happen." So blaming the crimes of these Communist dictators on their lack of belief in gods is like blaming their crimes on their lack of belief in fairies. There's simply no demonstrated connection.

      Just the same, go ahead the deaths that happened under atheist leaders on their atheism, if I get to blame all the deaths that happened under religious leaders on religion. You know who number one is on my list (after God, who killed almost everyone at one point)? ADOLF HITLER.

      Yes, Hitler was not an atheist–this was another lie that Christians used to tell left and right, but they've given that up–for good reason. Hitler was born and raised Roman Catholic. He was baptized, recognized as Catholic by the church, and they never excommunicated him–even after all the atrocities were coming to light, and the Nazis were losing. In other words, even when it was safe for the craven RCC to do so, they still kept Hitler among their numbers. In fact, they even officially celebrated his birthday every year–right up to his death! Hitler himself never repudiated his Catholicism. "I am and shall always be a Catholic" he said in front of witnesses. Hitler's first treaty was with the RCC. He put the church in charge of German education. On the other hand, Hitler persecuted atheists, and bragged about crushing atheism in Germany. Catholics were big supporters of Hitler. You can actually find creepy old clips of Catholic priests giving the Nazi salute in some of their ceremonies on YouTube. "Gott Mitt Uns" was on the belt buckle of every storm-trooper. Hitler repeatedly claimed to be doing the work of the Lord, and there is no record of any contemporary Catholic source denying this. Hitler's anti-Semitic atti-tudes and beliefs are directly traceable to official RCC doctrines regarding the Jews.

      Now–can you say the equivalent of all this about any of the Communist dictators? I've looked and I cannot.

      Furthermore, there are far more atrocities committed by Christian leaders over the last 2000 years or more. Mao and Stalin had really big populations to work with. Shall we compare on a per capita basis? The Christian dictators in the middle ages for example, had much smaller populations, and populations were much more thinly spread out. Furthermore, they didn't have modern 20th century technologies.

      Also, many of the deaths that have been laid at their feet were the result of stupid and bad policies, like collectivization of agriculture, which led to ma-ss famine. These were stupid, but they weren't direct murders–just bad policy. Also I think a lot of the deaths are from civil wars and civil strife–do we hold western Christian leaders to the same standard? Blaming deaths resulting from civil strive, civil war and bad policy at their feet? Don't get me wrong–I'm not a member of the Josef Stalin fan club–the dude was a monster, but I often think the west uses unfair criteria to evaluate their wrong-doing. And attribute all deaths killed in war, or civil strife on them and their lack of belief in gods. Do we blame Abraham Lincoln for the deaths of people who starved or died during the Civil War in the US? I know some people are going to go apoplectic about "moral equivalency", but my point is to show that we are not always objective in evaluating leaders in other cultures, places and times.

      I challenge anyone to list a fair number for the people who were killed by Stalin and Mao, and Pol Pot. I get to attribute all the deaths from wars, bad policy, all the pogroms, all the inquisitions, witch burnings, persecutions of Jews, genocides, massacres, that have occurred under religions leaders to their religion. I'll bet mine is bigger than yours. Especially if we do this per capita. Then I am confident I'll win hands-down.

      May 24, 2014 at 12:59 am |
  11. kermit4jc

    so I guess your arm is vestigial too..as well as your ear lobes, tonsils, appendix, legs, hair, etc etc..come on....I know what muscles are attached to it....and such..do you ? what are their finctions besides for "tails?" the article says NOT useless...so apparently some use still..

    May 23, 2014 at 1:55 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      this link amoung others shows parts that aren't used anymore in the human species.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_vestigiality

      use your internet connection for something other than staying uneducated.

      May 23, 2014 at 7:24 am |
      • kermit4jc

        I KNOW what they are idiot..I was trying to make a point! and those are not vestigial as well...its ASSUMED...cause people want to prove evolution when they cant..starwmen really

        May 23, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote in response to zhilla1980wasp: "KNOW what they are idiot..I was trying to make a point! and those are not vestigial as well...its ASSUMED...cause people want to prove evolution when they cant..starwmen really". Prove to who? Within the scientific community evolution is an undisputed fact and the level of support for it is essentially universal. In 2009, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that “Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time.”

          A few of the scientific and academic societies that have issued public statements acknowledging evolution is proven and/or rejecting creationism/intelligent design:

          American Association for the Advancement of Science – the world's largest general scientific society representing 10 million individuals
          American Association of University Professors – an organization of professors and other academics in the United States with about 47,000 members
          American Astronomical Society – an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals with over 7,000 members
          American Chemical Society – a scientific society that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry with more than 164,000 members
          American Geophysical Union – represents over 43,000 Earth and space scientists.
          American Insti_tute of Physics – 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators
          American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
          Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology – represents 22 professional societies and 84,000 scientists
          National Association of Biology Teachers – over 5,000 members
          National Center for Science Education – as of 2012, the organization had over 4500 members
          National Science Teachers Association – over 57,000 members
          National Academy of Scientists – members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the National Academy is one of the high honors in U.S. science.

          Evolution is also accepted by many denominations of Christianity, including the Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Epi_scopal Church USA, United Methodist Church, etc.

          The theory of evolution is as widely accepted and as well supported as the germ theory of disease, cell theory, etc. Though I find many creationists think the word "theory" when used in the realm of science means "guess", confusing the meaning of "scientific theory" with a meaning they may encounter in everyday parlance. In science a hypothesis, a proposed explanation for a phenomenon, is more akin to a guess. A scientific theory, though, is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation."

          We have the fossil record and evidence for genetics, where we see evidence of organisms evolutionary history in psuedogenes, etc. Humans, as do other creatures, have a number of psuedogenes, i.e., broken genes within our genome. Psuedogenes are remnants of genes that once served a purpose in our genome that they no longer fulfil, because of mutations that have rendered the genes nonfunctional, i.e., they no longer lead to the production of proteins (long chains of amino acids) that once contributed to specific characteristics in ancient ancestors. And we have evidence of our evolutionary past in the anatomy of ourselves and other creatures. E.g., nonfunctional nostrils in gannets and other members of the family Sulidae. Gannets are diving birds which plunge from the air into the water. They lack external nostrils, since water would otherwise get shoved up their noses on impact if they possessed them. But though they lack external nostrils, they have everything else that consti_tutes nasal airways inside their beaks, i.e., the septum, choana etc., it's just that the nostrils are sealed off at the outside. If this was a product of a designer building all birds in a day rather than a product of evolution over the course of millions of years, why would they have those internal nasal structures with no external outlet for them?

          When you state that evolution can't be proven, you apparently discount the scientific community working in the fields of biology, genetics, geology, paleontology, etc. Yes, it can't be proven to some who will dismiss any evidence that they feel conflicts with their religious beliefs. But virtually all scientists have accepted the fact of evolution for many decades.

          May 25, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          first of all..this is nOT a popularity contest....truth is not always popular...second....you seem to make a HUGE blanket statement about what I believe of evolution..I believe to the extent only that for examples different dog breeds..there is NO proof of cats and dogs having common ancesotrs..NO proof that humans and paes have common ancestors....popularity does not make truth..thus your argument was a waste of time and space

          May 26, 2014 at 2:28 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          Though I find paleontology, geology, genetics, etc. fascinating and have been interested in fossils since I found fossilized ferns as a boy, I understand that not everyone has the time nor inclination to familiarize himself or herself with findings in those areas. For those who may hear creationists claim there is no evidence for evolution or who hear creationists discount the evidence, I would point out that my personal experience with creationists is that they tend to present a distorted view of the actual findings of science either through deliberate misrepresentation or a lack of understanding of the actual findings of science. So, for someone who isn't familiar with those disciplines, I would suggest the person ask himself or herself, "who is most likely more knowledgeable in these areas and who can most credibly assess the evidence in these sciences, kermit4jc and other creationists like him or the world's scientists working in those fields." It isn't a popularity contest, but, instead, a means to assess the credibility of the evidence.

          I understand that creationists who can no longer deny the evidence of evolution, because we can observe it happening in bacteria evolving resistance to antibiotics, insects evolving resistance to pesticides, etc., now suggest that "microevolution" can occur, but "macroevolution" can't. For them microevolution is the change we have observed over just the short span of a human lifetime or within a few centuries. Yet they insist that there is some magical barrier preventing more substantial changes occurring over much longer periods of time.

          For anyone interested in the evidence against creationism and for evolution in the anatomy of creatures living today, I'd suggest "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes" at oolon.awardspace.com/SMOGGM.htm . The Wikipedia "pseudogene" article provides an overview of pseduogenes and "Molecular Evidence 4: Redundant Pseudogenes" at evolution-101.blogspot.com/2006/04/molecular-evidence-4-redundant.html at the Evolution 101 website also provides an overview.

          Also for those whose who may not have the time or be able to afford a formal education in the areas I mentioned, but do have an interest in learning more and may have time for taking online courses where classes can be taken at times of one's own convenience, I recommend Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers, such as Coursera (coursera.org) or edX (edx.org). Courses taught by preeminent professors at some of the best universities in the world can be taken at no cost. Often, no specific background is required in the subject areas for the courses. There are other such MOOC providers as well.

          If you search the Coursera website on "evolution", you will see that "Evolution: A Course for Educators" taught by instructors from the American Museum of Natural History" and "Genes and the Human Condition (From Behavior to Biotechnology)" taught by professors at the University of Maryland both start in June. I'd recommend both courses; one doesn't need to be an educator to take the first course and "Genes and the Human Condition" is a good introductory course for genetics and covers pseudogenes. New courses appear frequently on Coursera and the MOOC has offered several more in-depth courses on genetics and evolution in the past, which may be re-offered again later. Some genetics courses already scheduled can be found by searching on "genetics". There's also a course starting in September provided through the American Museum of Natural History ti_tled "The Dynamic Earth: A Course for Educators". The course provides an overview of the origin and evolution of the Earth. Informed by the recently released Next Generation Science Standards, this course examines geological time scales, radiometric dating, and how scientists “read the rocks.” I'd recommend such courses, since I believe education provides the antidote to creationism and that if people are exposed to actual science rather than the distored view I find usually presented by creationists they will be far better equipped to make reasonable judgments regarding the actual evidence.

          There are also many courses offered in many other areas. For instance, since you are interested in the Bible, I'll mention that "The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future" starts today. The course is a 6-week course taught by Jacob L. Wright of Emory University. The course is free like other Coursera courses. Like some Coursera courses, though, there is a nominal fee, if you wish to have a verified certificate showing you successfully completed the course. Such certificates can be useful for someone who wishes to prove to an employer or others that he/she successfully completed a course. For verification, when you register for a certificate you type a passage at the keyboard and then have a photo taken through your webcam. Then whenever you take a test, which are all optional unless you want a verified certificate, you type the same passage again and have a webcam photo snapped again. Individuals have a unique typing style, which allows a form of "signature" verification and the photo is compared to the one taken originally to verify that the same person is taking the tests as registered. If you don't need a certificate, though, there is no cost to take the course and you don't have to verify your identi_ty and can take courses anonymously or can register under your own name, whichever you prefer.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:15 am |
      • kermit4jc

        sheesh..cant detect sarcasm???

        May 23, 2014 at 9:36 am |
    • Reality

      We are still waiting for your perusal of the historical Jesus.

      May 23, 2014 at 7:25 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      kermi: A link was posted to livescience.com yesterday that would have educated you on what are actual vestigial, however I'm guessing that given that it is actually based on solid evidence and not superstitious mumbo (aka the bible) you didn't read it. The appendix is a vestigial...completely useless. The tailbone is a vestigial...completely useless now. Male nipples are vestigial....no true use.
      Once again the link is: http://www.livescience.com/21513-vestigial-organs.html

      May 23, 2014 at 8:04 am |
      • kermit4jc

        and you are an idiot too as well...cant detect sarcasm....I know what parts are considered vestigial....sheesh....get some education in sarcasm

        May 23, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          What an fool you are! The idiot here is the one who lies constantly and thinks the bible is true. Sarcasm from you is hard to see given how you wouldn't know the meaning of the word honesty if it was on a 2×4 and hit you in the face. You say you're a psychologist but you prove by your every post that you lie....you need one but the grade 5 education you received proves you're nothing more than a wishful delusional man.

          May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am |
    • awanderingscot

      brother kermit, you know by now the gnashing of teeth here on this blog by atheists. it's because the end is near and it's only going to get louder. try not to buy into the lies and evil deceit; and don't blame them, their evil father also knows his time is near and is directing them to say and do evil. he wants to mute the gospel and discourage you so you won't get thru to our Lord's other sheep. I know this myself in an experiential way. they will say things to try and bait you into saying things you may not want to say and then will accuse you just as their father does before our God. they will quote scripture out of context, lie about our God, and use our zeal for the Lord against us when we reply. But they do the evil at the bidding of their father, the evil one. so be strong brother but pray for His grace to overcome this evil.

      May 23, 2014 at 8:04 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        alostscot:

        do me this show me what exactly "the evil one" has done to humanity that your "god" hasn't done?

        genocide= god
        death of women and children by the millions= god
        instructing slaves to "just accept it"= god/jesus
        threatening eternal torture= god
        blaming children for the failures of their parents= god
        wanting humans to remain ignorant toys= god

        the only thing i see your imaginary lucifer did was encourage humans to seek knowledge. i want my children to understand what the true evils are in life so they can be well armed to defend against them; namely bigotry, hate, fear, violence, hypocrisy, injustice.

        so in comparision your god is far more vile than your imaginary devil.

        May 23, 2014 at 8:22 am |
        • awanderingscot

          for someone who doesn't believe in God you sure do get worked up about Him. i think you are in denial and do believe in Him although you are at war with Him right now. i hope you will repent of your evil unbelief and accept His offer of salvation.

          For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
          "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” – John 3:16-21, NKJV

          you see wasp, you only condemn yourself and it is due to your unbelief.

          May 23, 2014 at 8:40 am |
        • kermit4jc

          zhilla....all those things you mentioned..are for people who are already "dead" they have chosen their destinies...adults going to hell...children going to heaven..sorry you think it terrible that the children from this TEMPORAL place are going to heaven for eternity...and Bible does not blame children for fathers sins...Bible says wisdom is good..vain wisdom isn't..so it is not wanting people to be ignorant toys..and Lucifer wants company in hell...that's terrible..misery loves company....try to actually read the bible...thanks

          May 23, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "sorry you think it terrible that the children from this TEMPORAL place are going to heaven for eternity...and Bible does not blame children for fathers sins."

          Right, that's exactly what Andrea Yates thought so she drowned her kids in the tub so they wouldn't have to grow up and risk going to heII. I assume you would support that since by your reasoning killing them now guarantees their trip to heaven, right?

          May 23, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • kermit4jc

          WHAT pathetic logic..Yates is NOT God.....and God does NOT ask parents to do such things....you may say God asked Abraham....but notice Abraham did nOT kill his son..... if you chose that..then youre comparing apples to oranges....sorry..bad argument on your part

          May 23, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • kermit4jc

          BTW WE are not the ones to determine when peoples;' times are up..thats up to GOD to take them..not us

          May 23, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • otoh2

          kermit,
          ".try to actually read the bible...thanks"

          The Bible is nothing. You're welcome.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • kermit4jc

          try to read the context ok? the context is everything..my response was to an atheist who was USING the Bible for their argument....thanks

          May 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "sorry..bad argument on your part"

          I fail to see how that would be a bad argument. You claim that kids who die will immediately get to go to heaven for eternity and that is the best possible outcome for their short lives in this "TEMPORAL" place, and the worst possible would be for them to grow up and reject your version of God and thus get sent to a place of eternal torment. So please explain why Andrea Yates was wrong. Please explain why a mother might not get confused when listening to your religious poison and decide to guarantee her childrens future even though she might understand she's throwing away her own, as you say, she's not God so it would be wrong for her to take her childrens lives. Do you think her five children are burning in torment beacause of her choice? Or do you think they are lounging peacfully at Gods side?

          May 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Aooarently you did not rally read my post..I ALREADY explained it..Yates is NOT God..and she is nOT Judge to determine who lives or dies...it isNOT up to her

          May 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Akira

          Andrea Yates truly believed that God told her to drown her children.

          As a psychologist, Kermit, can you explain why she came to that conclusion and acted upon it?

          May 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          She has NO Biblical basis to do so...God would NOT have asked her to do so.....

          May 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • Akira

          Kermit, this is not what I asked.

          When God spoke to the people in the Bible, it had not yet been written, so let's put that aside for now; I asked, as a psychologist, why she would have believed that God spoke to her in the first place?

          Lo

          May 23, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          its not that easy..as a psychologist.....one would have to know the cultural aspect of the client as well...that's why I brought in the BIble....she was delusional.....also she would have showed other signs of delusions (if I remembered correctly she showed several-this case was quite a while back)

          May 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          You still haven't answered: Do you think Andrea Yates' five children are burning in torment because of her choice? Or do you think they are lounging peacefully at Gods side?

          May 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you didn't ask me that before...the children are in heaven

          May 25, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • hotairace

          So, Kermy, your alleged but never proven god has never demanded that children be killed before?

          May 23, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you need to read some more..I said God would NOT ask us to kill children today...there is nO purpose ....

          May 25, 2014 at 2:04 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        alostscot: You're sounding more delusional today than usual...should you not be getting off the nurses computer and locating her for your meds now? Be a good little christard and keep off of the Atheist invented machine or maybe register for a grade 5 science class-an education outside of the out dated 2000 year old debunked crap you believe in, would do you good....maybe watch some COSMOS-short and easy to comprehend if you have an open-mind.

        May 23, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • awanderingscot

          God loves you too Truth, even though you are at war with Him.

          May 23, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? – Romans 8:33-35, NKJV – so you see "Truth", we are not fazed by the lies told by atheists, we will continue to preach Christ no matter what. to all who would hear His voice we will proclaim His awesome glories and His love for us.

          May 23, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
          For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
          nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
          nor things present nor things to come,
          nor height nor depth,
          nor any other created thing,
          shall be able to separate us from the love of God
          which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39, NKJV

          this is a beautiful verse wouldn't you agree?

          May 23, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • observer

          awanderingscot

          "we are not fazed by the lies told by atheists"

          Skip the HYPOCRISY since you've told so many lies on here.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        And just to clarify, the devil is your ilks invention and not something that means diddly to anyone with a rational mind...it is your hell, you enjoy it-we're not the ones breaking the Golden Rule-you wretched, hypocritical ass!

        May 23, 2014 at 8:28 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Truth
          all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (glory = His moral perfections). We are justified by God and the blood of Christ and not by whether we are able at all times to keep the law. We are justified by faith. Therefore you err in your judgment, not knowing scripture.

          May 23, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          awanderingtot: Sin is merely a construct of your belief system and doesn't exist outside of it. I make mistakes and deal with them here in the real world, no need to worry about that which can't be shown to exist.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "truth"
          you've heard it said that we 'reap what we sow', now lock this tidbit away in your mind so that you can recall it later after God brings it back to you in equal measure. it will surely happen to you. i just don't want you to be ignorant when it happens to you.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        yes..very true..thanks for reminder

        May 23, 2014 at 9:39 am |
      • hotairace

        Please define what you mean by "near." Two hours, days, weeks, months, years? Are you going to be selling everything you own in anticipation of the end?

        May 23, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • kermit4jc

          near..in context of we don't know when...it could be tomorrow...could be in years......it is something that needs to be taken care of today..now...cause YOU don't know your future...Jesus says his return will be like a thief in the night....urgent..now....

          May 23, 2014 at 9:52 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          sorry kermi but nothing was written about jesus until 30-40 years after he apparently died so to claim he said anything is fallacious-stories get embellished as time goes on and the jesus stories are no different.

          May 23, 2014 at 10:11 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Kemy

      how about all those snakes with a pelvis? Intelligent design? I think not.

      May 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
  12. joeyy1

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

    May 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
  13. Anony Mouse

    70% of Americans raised by atheist parents to believe that God does not exist, eventually become a member of a religion as an adult.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2012/07/14/perhaps-atheists-should-be-hitting-the-panic-button/

    May 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
    • Anony Mouse

      60-70 percent of those who are raised atheist renounce their atheism.

      May 22, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
      • Anony Mouse

        There are some interesting figures in the book *What Americans Really Believe* by Rodney Stark (& co.). From 1960 to 2000 the membership of liberal Protestant churches, measured per 1000 Americans, had shrunk 49%, Catholics had shrunk 5%, while conservative Protestant churches had grown 158% and the LDS Church had grown 122%. Meanwhile over roughly the same period the percentage of atheists has stayed essentially the same, at 4%.

        May 22, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • Reality

          http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

          Percentages require numbers to compare properly. The global scene:

          Religion………………………… Adherents

          Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

          Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion (85% Sunni, 15% Shiite, basically two separate religions considering the hate they have for each other)

          Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion

          Hinduism 900 million
          Chinese traditional religion 394 million
          Buddhism 376 million
          Animist religions 300 million
          African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
          Sikhism 23 million
          Juche 19 million
          Spiritism 15 million

          Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

          Baha'i 7 million
          Jainism 4.2 million
          Shinto 4 million
          Cao Dai 4 million
          Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
          Tenrikyo 2 million
          Neo-Paganism 1 million
          Unitarian Universalism 800,000
          Rastafari Movement 600,000

          May 23, 2014 at 7:23 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          What I find funny about your conclusions is that the vast majority of atheist persons did not come from atheist households but came from religious households, so the retention rates don't really matter. Besides, it's not like disbelief in something means you are a member of an organization, it is in fact the exact opposite.

          May 23, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          And since 2000 (the peak of the mega church boom that fueled a lot of evangelical church growth) all protestant denominations have declined – and evangelicals by as much as 27% between 2007 and 2012 alone.

          ........................................................ Pew-07 ... Pew-12 ... PRRI-12
          Evangelical Protestant ................ 26.3% .... 19% ....... 19.9%
          Mainline Protestant ..................... 18.1% .... 15% ........ 14.9%
          Historically black Protestant ......... 6.9% ..... 8% ........... 8%
          Catholic .......................................... 23.9% ... 22% ........ 22%
          Mormon ............................................ 1.7% ..... 2% ......... n/a
          Jewish .............................................. 1.7%
          Atheist ............................................... 1.6% ..... 2.4% ....... 6.7% (with Agnostic)
          Agnostic ............................................ 2.4% ..... 3.4% ....... n/a
          Other secular unaffiliated* ............ 6.3% ..... 2.7% ....... 7.3%
          Spiritual but not religious ............... n/a ........ 7.4% ....... n/a
          Religious unaffiliated ..................... 5.8% ..... 3.6% ....... 4.3%

          * Not atheist/agnostic, but not spiritual or religious.

          May 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • Reality

      For complete disclosure: From the referenced source:

      "Also, while there are more people joining the atheist and agnostic ranks than leaving, it doesn’t bode well for atheists that 60-70 percent of those who are raised atheist renounce their atheism. If it were so compelling a solution over the long term, one would think the retention rate would be higher."

      May 23, 2014 at 7:30 am |
    • Reality

      From the Pew report of 2012:

      "As mentioned previously, the group that has exhibited the strongest growth as a result of
      changes in affiliation is the unaffiliated population. Nevertheless, the overall retention rate of the
      unaffiliated population is relatively low (46%) compared with other groups. This means that more
      than half (54%) of those who were not affiliated with any particular religion as a child now identify
      themselves as members of one religion or another."

      Two of the religious groups with the lowest retention rates are Jehovah’s Witnesses and Buddhists.
      Only slightly more than a third (37%) of adults who were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses still
      identify themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Half of all of those who were raised as Buddhists
      (50%) are still Buddhists

      May 23, 2014 at 7:42 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "70% of Americans raised by atheist parents to believe that God does not exist,"
      --------------
      Actually I suspect most Americans raised by atheist parents are raised to have an open mind, not that "God does not exist".

      May 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
      • Reality

        I agree,

        Then there is this: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, both atheists, have broken the unwritten law that only Christians and Jews can be leaders of large USA corporations. Now we have to break the glass ceiling that denies the US presidency to atheists and agnostics. Maybe a "twofer" with the candidate also being a female? Heather Mac Donald?

        May 23, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
  14. bostontola

    The Imposter is back.

    May 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.