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June 3rd, 2014
01:02 PM ET

Inside Manhattan's most hipster-y megachurch

(CNN) - While some churches are struggling to attract younger members,  20 and 30-something-year-olds are waiting in long lines to get into Hillsong's services.

Pastor Carl Lentz is the main attraction. He spoke to CNN's Poppy Harlow about the church's success and where he stands on several major issues.

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Leaders • Protestant • Sacred Spaces • Trends • TV-Anderson Cooper 360

soundoff (1,057 Responses)
  1. jbhollen

    The world is flat and I know it to be true. Why inquire further? The sun revolves around the Earth. Everyone knows that. Why would I enquire otherwise? Why look beyond what I know is true? Once I have these truths in hand further investigation is futile. Don't bother me with evidence and facts. It just interferes with what I decided the truth is in advance. I know what is true – just leave it alone.

    June 25, 2014 at 2:52 am |
  2. Doris

    You don't have to go far in any part of the U.S. before you discover radically different kinds of Christians. From NYC, we only have to go to Harlem before we come across ATLAH Worldwide Missionary, led by Pastor James David Manning. Back in March, someone snapped a picture of the church's outdoor sign which included: "Jesus Would Stone H.omos" and "Stoning is Still the Law", along with references from Matthew, John, Deuteronomy and of course Leviticus. Pastor Manning has also been known to be very outspoken against the President and the First Lady – even making derogatory statements about the First Lady's physical appearance. Evidently, Manning also posted a YouTube video about stoning in which he said Christians who refuse to stone gay people are "advocating lawlessness." YouTube has since removed ATLAH's video for violating the site's hate speech policy.

    I'm sure if you were in Westboro, Kansas, you would find some friendly Baptist churches, but then, well – there is that one who likes to demonstrate at the funerals of fallen soldiers claiming that they died because America is too kind to homosexuals.

    Likewise, I'm sure there are moderate Christian churches in Temecula, California, the base of the Abiding Truth Ministries, headed by Scott Lively. Several years ago Lively led a team of evangelicals from the U.S. to Africa with intent to incite the killing and jailing of gays there. Their efforts gained more traction with the blessing of the previous Pope and Anglican hierarchy who silenced or demoted the few members of their ranks who were trying to quell the violence. Of course now that the anti-gay legislation in Uganda has become law, the Christians who could influence issues there have now turned to their love and compassion "face". Lively has been charged in the U.S. by some Ugandans for crimes against humanity under an Alien Torte statute. Meanwhile, Lively continues his anti-homosexual campaigns in Latvia and Moldova according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Of course, they are just a few of the over 41,000 sects of Christianity.

    "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." –Thomas Jefferson

    June 9, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • Alias

      You must be mistaken.
      Jesus spoke of loving your friends and enemies. Turn the other cheek and that sort of thing. The bible tells us that god is love, after all.

      June 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        jesus also spoke on being a socialist.
        god loved humans so much, he tried to drowned all of them...............but saved one incestial family to continue for his amusement.

        the bible is more ate up than a soup sandwich.

        June 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • Doris

        I "must be mistaken"? I don't think I mentioned my beliefs or lack thereof. I also didn't mention Jesus. I did give some examples of others and what the Bible "tells" them.

        June 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
  3. joeyy1

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

    June 9, 2014 at 3:16 am |
  4. notalone1

    WOW! These posts are very sad to me. When the day comes, you may be sorry you are not a Believer. Just saying.....

    June 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
    • hotairace

      When what day comes? You should check out Pascal's Wager.

      June 9, 2014 at 12:06 am |
    • gulliblenomore

      Notalone....I won't be sorry at all. If there truly is a god, I will demand to know why he made himself so ambiguous that only a third of the world believes in him. I will want to know why he revealed himself to only a select few and allowed so many discrepancies in the world that to believe is tantamount to admitting complete ignorance. Regardless of what the nuts here think....god owes me, as well as all the intelligent, free thinking people in the world, an explanation. The signs are just not clear enough for intelligent people. Sorry to say that, but it is true.

      June 9, 2014 at 8:59 am |
      • notalone1

        I always try to respect what others views, but what bothers me most about the posts here is that it sounds like you can not be a believer and intelligent at the same time. Yes, there are many things that don't make sense, but science can not explain them either. Great examples are writing by CS Lewis and Lee Strobel.
        And the person that made the comment about Beibliever, what are 11 yrs old? Or just an immature blogger?

        June 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          notalone...you can be a believer and be intelligent about other things, but not about believing. You have to put logic and reason aside in order to be a believer. Because if you truly applied logic, you would find that it would be virtually impossible to believe in something that has no proof. That doesn't mean you cant be smart in other areas, however. I should point out that the heaviest concentration of believers are located in the most uneducated States in our country.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
        • notalone1

          I do want you to know I do respect and are listening to you what you are saying. And I appreciate your kindness in your reply. And it is up to each of us to figure what works for us. I am no expert to disagree on what you are saying. Again, thanks for being nice with your reply, unlike others are.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • kudlak

          notalone1
          You actually buy Lee Strobel's "I'm a fair journalist who use to be an atheist and sought out the truth" act?

          I use to be impressed by CS Lewis too, until I realized that all he had to offer was word salad apologetics. Attempts to define a God into existence with clever wordplay in leu of actual evidence isn't very compelling.

          June 11, 2014 at 8:19 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kudlak....I personally know 2 atheists that 'found' god. Both of them were at the end of their ropes. One was a addict heading for jail, and the other is in a loveless marriage and has chronic pain. I am guessing it might be easy to 'find' god under those conditions, which seem to be the norm for which most atheists turn.

          I have no need for any such god, and unless I were to receive a personal visit from him at a Starbucks, I do think it will continue to disbelieve. If god truly does exist, it seems incredibly unfair that you need to be downtrodden in order for him to avail himself to you. Us content and well adjusted people are getting the shaft here!

          June 11, 2014 at 8:28 am |
        • notalone1

          I want you to know that I am listening to what you are saying and respect what you and others believe. I know that I am no expert to argue with anyone and will leave it at that. But I do respect your kind replies. People are getting nasty and it is really up to the individual to believe what they want to. And many have valid reasons to back up what they are saying. But I don't like people running off the mouth and really putting down others. No need for that. So, thanks again for being nice.

          June 11, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Notalone...there are some very passionate people on this site, myself included. It's nothing personal with most people. If you don't take it to heart, you should be fine here.

          June 11, 2014 at 9:41 am |
        • notalone1

          Wow, this is such great advice!! Not only applying to this site but to so much in my life!! Thanks for the words of wisdom. I feel like I can live a little easy applying that kind of thinking to everything. Thank you! And have a great week.

          June 11, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • kudlak

          gulliblenomore
          Yes, I often wonder what sense it makes to take something that you resort to at a time when you are most desperate and vulnerable, and choose to live the rest of your normal life by it. I mean, if I got lost in the forrest and had to eat a dead animal raw in order to survive, that would be one thing, but choosing to eat roadkill after being rescued just doesn't seem right.

          Besides, the very point that many people find Christianity attractive only when they're desperate and vulnerable should be telling in itself. You can hardly say that you were operating in a completely rational way when you accepted Jesus, can you? You're going through emotional turmoil. Once you do, however, and end up loving Jesus as your personal saviour, that somewhat limits your rational judgment of him too. Who amongst us can say that we don't overlook the flaws of our loved ones? You might as well ask the mother of the accused in a trial to honestly say whether their child could commit murder. How honestly can a Christian judge Jesus for flaws if they love him more than their own parents, children and spouses?

          June 11, 2014 at 10:16 am |
      • praisebetothemosthigh

        18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

        “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
        the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
        1st Corinthans 2,14

        July 14, 2014 at 12:33 am |
    • kudlak

      notalone1
      Oh, Believer!

      For a second there I thought you said Beibliever.

      June 10, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      • tallulah131

        That would be hell for certain.

        June 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • notalone1

        Really? What are you an 11 yr old?? Or an immature blogger?

        June 10, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
        • kudlak

          Actually, I was sorta asking you that question.

          Pascal's Wager is one of the most immature apologetics still in use. It's the theological equivalent of using "My Dad is gonna beat you up" to prove you're right.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • notalone1

          Yep, I knew it, you are an 11 yr old immature blogger. Because you don't know the meaning of respects for others. Bye bye, go outside and play now.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • kudlak

          Why should I show respect to someone who threatens me blithely with his God's wrath?

          June 11, 2014 at 8:05 am |
  5. lala1966

    I think the Agnostic is the smartest and less delusional person. The Christian, of course, believes in whatever they read from a book that can mean anything they want it to mean. They have a closed mind about anything that has been realized since that book was written by a slew of mere men. An Atheist is certain of something that no one can be certain of. No one, not even scientist can know for certain whether or not a higher power exists. No one has traveled to the ends of existence to know what is out there. The fact that Evolution has become more certain doesn't prove anything about the Existence of god. The fact that An Agnostic is at least willing to admit that they do not have all the answers is the smartest view in my opinion.

    June 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Most atheists are agnostic atheists meaning that they don't know if a god exists but do not believe in a god because of the lack of evidence. Certainly we can say with certainty that the personal gods of religions do not exist. Pre-origin of the universe, who knows but personally I think it unlikely.

      June 8, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • lala1966

        I don't know, I have come across some Atheist who were to the point of being evangelical in knowing with absolute certainty that no higher power exists.

        June 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          You are likely misinterpreting their surety. I am sure YOUR God doesn't exist because of the lack of evidence combined with the descriptive nature of YOUR God that does not make any sense when investigated logically and reasonably. Any deity that is said to have invented an eternal dimension of torment to place disobedient souls makes no sense and has no chance of existing. That does not however mean that I think there is no chance of anything we might define as God from existing.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • lala1966

          why are some atheists so angry? I was merely giving an opinion. No need to use caps. Relax.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I have come across some Atheist who were to the point of being evangelical"
          ---------------–
          No doubt an accurate statement – the key word being "some". There certainly are "some" evangelical atheists whose belief in the non-existence of God is indistinguishable from faith.

          You cannot conflate these people with *all* atheists.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • lala1966

          I'm not talking about all, believe me. I am not an "all or none" kind of person. I know some people are.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @neverbeenhappier
          "You are likely misinterpreting their surety."
          -----------------
          No, I don't think he is.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • lala1966

          btw, I am a woman lol

          June 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          My humble apologies!

          June 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • lala1966

          It's ok lol

          June 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I'm not talking about all, believe me. I am not an "all or none" kind of person."
          --------------------–
          I'm delighted to hear that. But you did say this:

          " An Atheist is certain of something that no one can be certain of.

          In context that implied an all or nothing stance that is not representative of all atheists. (I will concur that it is accurate for some, and many here behave that way.)

          All that is required to be an atheist is disbelief in God(s). Not certainty.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • lala1966

          ok you got me there. But I guess I was misunderstanding the terms. I thought that Atheists were certain of the believe that there was no higher power and Agnostics were not.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • doobzz

          "why are some atheists so angry? I was merely giving an opinion. No need to use caps. Relax."

          Why are some believers so touchy? Emphasizing one word with caps doesn't denote anger. Relax.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • lala1966

          In typing etiquette, caps do mean anger.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • doobzz

          Writing a whole post in caps may denote anger. Using caps to emphasize one particular word is perfectly acceptable. Stop trying to play the "angry atheist" card.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • lala1966

          I am done debating over who is angry. I have commented on this already.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • doobzz

          No need to get all angry about it.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • lala1966

          There is one thing about the written word that really sucks. The reader can not accurately determine the writer's feelings. Apparently, no one was angry. I misunderstood that caps. I was just saying that I don't want to keep debating the topic. The only thing that was a bit offensive is that you assumed I had a god or was certain that there was one just because I am commenting. It is just like when people assume that I am a democrat or a republican because of one issue.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • doobzz

          Seems like there's a lot of assuming. Carry on.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Akira

          If the whole post is, sure. Some people find it easier to emphasize certain words by capitalizing rather than use HTML italics.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          And please....believer Kermit uses caps more than non-caps

          June 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I thought that Atheists were certain of the believe that there was no higher power and Agnostics were not."
          ---------------------
          Perhaps that definition was relevant in the past. It is not accurate today.

          If believe that your original interpretation is deliberately reinforced by preachers with an agenda to try marginalize all atheists as "haters".

          June 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • lala1966

          You are wrong. I had no intention of deliberately insinuating that Atheists are all angry. Best I remember, no preachers really even talked about Atheists. I have noticed that "Christians" are noticeable absent from this debate. Why are they not picking apart my comments?
          The change in definitions might be more accurate today. It looks to me as though adding terms like Agnostic Atheist and Agnostic Christian have been introduced to blur the lines which makes it to where no one is really certain of anything lol. I am just saying any open minded Agnostic is practicing smart thinking in my opinion.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          You are wrong. I had no intention of deliberately insinuating that Atheists are all angry.
          -------------------–
          I didn't think that you did nor did I mean to imply that was your intent. If you thought I meant that, then I apologize.

          Your original interpretation feeds into the idea that "atheism is a religion" and that atheists are zealous adherents of the belief that there is no God. This is a viewpoint that some religious inculcate as part of an unnecessary 'culture war' on the topic of disbelief.

          (Obviously) this is a touchy subject, given the number of responses to your post and the words are important here.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • lala1966

          I guess I get the idea that Atheists are more like a "movement" because there are some, who do almost preach it like it was a religion. It is the loud ones that you hear the most I guess. It is the same with "Christians".

          June 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I am just saying any open minded Agnostic is practicing smart thinking in my opinion."
          --------------------
          So an 'agnostic atheist' then?

          Agnostic atheist: One who does not believe in Gods(s), but can't prove their non-existence and is therefore open to the possibility, however remote.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • lala1966

          I know the definitions. yes, either kind of Agnostic is smart to know that we can not definitively prove or disprove whether any higher power exists. I don't know what more I can say on the subject lol

          June 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I guess I get the idea that Atheists are more like a "movement" because there are some, who do almost preach it like it was a religion. It is the loud ones that you hear the most I guess. It is the same with "Christians".
          ------------------
          Yes.

          Newton's third law could be used. Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. The growth in disbelief fuels the culture war with fundamentalist believers and it escalates with every action on either side.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • lala1966

          that is absolutely true.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          anti-theist: doesn't care if there are gods or not, just hates the ridiculous rules and excuses religion uses to by-pass it's horrible history of bad behaviour.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • lala1966

          sounds good to me lol

          June 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Zhilla....need to add one more part to that definition: that even if the god of the bible exists, realizes that particular god is too much of a p-rick to worship anyway.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I see you completely ignored the point I made and went with "why are atheists so angry" which isnt saying anything at all.

          If it hasn't been made clear enough to you, I was pointing out that often times atheists can seem very certain of there not being a specific God as described by theists. This does not however mean they are certain there can be nothing ever discovered in the future that we might define as a god or God. It's a pretty simple concept to understand. I am an atheist who doesn't rule out that someday we may discover something we call a god or God. However I am absolutely convinced if that day ever comes it will look nothing like the imagined gods/God of current theology.

          June 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • lala1966

          Sorry I can't remember what you point was. I know that I never "went with 'why are Atheists so angry'". Can't you see it though? I made a comment and have been trying to defend myself since then. You can see why someone might think that some Atheists are angry. I am sorry that I apparently offended a lot of Atheists with my comment. I see these thread and half are saying I know there isn't a god and it is ridiculous to believe and the other half is making ignorant remarks about the bible and how gods going to get you. I just tried to state that the smart ones are the people who know that we can't be certain either way. That was two days ago and people are still reading my comment and trying to pick me apart. I was making a general observation. I mean damn lol

          June 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          You seem reasonable from your posts and as you can see I am being neither angry nor making accusations of some sort. I am simply explaining something that often gets confused because many people want to invent definitions for things that already have a definition, like "atheist" or "agnostic".

          Many theists want to catagorize the word "atheist" to mean far more than just a lack of belief in gods/God and thus impune false motives for why someone would not believe in their God. They must be evil, they work for Satan, they have no hope, they hate everything and themselves, they think themselves God, they hate God. All sorts of attributions to atheists that would be laughable if they were not having real world effects on peoples lives thorugh discriminiation and vile personal attacks. It would be like lumping in all theists together and calling them freedom hating terrorists because the guys who flew the planes into the twin towers professed belief in a God which makes them theists just like the Christians. What we get on these boards regularly are theists who try to claim atheism killed millions of people under Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot because of their lack of faith while shirking any responsibility from Hitler even though he continually preached Cathloic values throughout his campaign of violence.

          June 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      I think you need to research the definitions.
      Agnostic refers to knowledge or lack there. (not being 100% certain)
      Gnostic means to be certain.
      Atheist only means a disbelief in a god or gods
      Theist means a belief in a god or gods.
      Most honest people are Agnostic given that there is zero possible way anyone knows everything.
      I'm an Agnostic Atheist: I can't say with 100% certainty that a god doesn't exist; however due to the lack of evidence for one I see no reason to believe.

      June 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        If we must insist on labeling this, I agree with TP. However, I think we can put this into two categories really....believer or non-believer.

        June 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • lala1966

        I do know the definition of Agnostic- a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. This is what I was saying.

        June 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • igaftr

          What about those of us who are both atheist and agnostic?
          I do not believe in any of the gods man has defined to this point, so I am an atheist.
          I am open to the possibility of something existing that might fit a definition of god, but that we have no accurate "god" definition to this point.

          June 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • lala1966

          I can understand that. I can respect that as well. But you know that there are some people who call themselves Atheist and they have a more narcissistic approach. All I was saying is that it is smart to realize that we can not know anything for certain.

          June 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          lala....I agree with you there, but I must say that there are way more Christians that insist that they know for a fact that god exists than there seem to be atheists touting that they know for sure there is no god. Both are obnoxious to listen to, but the religious are more so because they believe that their circular logic of belief in the bible is incredibly wrong.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • lala1966

          yes that is true. I was raised very strict Christian though and I guess I feel for them. Their beliefs are everything. Their very existence is based on that delusion that it is all in the bible. They have hope in it and it makes them feel peace. My parents are old now and if they had no faith, they would be crushed. I have no sympathy for the haters though on either side.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I have no sympathy for anybody that does not educate themselves outside of their own indoctrination. I was raised catholic, and when I look back, it was a complete indoctrination. We had to go to church on Sunday....we had to go to CCD. There was no discussion of why, just do it. I was able to escape that craziness when I started to question some of the silly aspects of the faith, but most of my siblings did not. I have no sympathy for them either.

          In my experience, the religious haters are way more extreme than the atheist haters, because they feel they have both the majority and god on their side. They are generally obnoxious tools. Not so much in the atheist community.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
        • lala1966

          Yes, there are probably more haters on the religious side. I do agree.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I'm not sure I would classify them as haters. These people are not necessarily ignorant, but are so passionate about their belief that they are blinded to reality. It is one of the strangest phenomenon's that I have ever witnessed.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • lala1966

          I agree. they appear to be haters because they are so wrapped up in the believe that the world is evil and they are here to save people from that evil. They are passionate, that is certain. Their lives depend on it, or rather, their after life depends on it.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • igaftr

          lala
          I have found it is far more common to hear believers proclaim they "know" and to hear them use the word truth,when they doi not know. There are a few that frequent this blog, but I have found it is far more rare for an atheist to be that rigid, though it does happen. I know that no two peoples "gods" are quite the same, so I see "god" exists in imaginations, and we simply do not have a proper definition of what is out there. Anthropomorphising is the biggest mistake they make, imagining god in our image ( and they claim it is the other way around). People imagine gods in so many different ways, yet no indication of any gods, no evidence of any gods, and nothing indicatig the need for any gods, nor any sentience to the universe at all.

          The real problem is when people legistalate the baseless beliefs, and then claim foul when atheists try to put things back to right (The pledge of allegience and the lie printed on our money for two examples)...both examples of the christians legislating their belief on everyone, in the PoA example, they exclude all who don't believe from the pledge, and with the money, they hijacked the national motto, and made it a lie. I am one of the "we" in "we the people", I do not trust in any gods, therefore the motto is a lie, and I am the proof.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • lala1966

          I look at it like this, those people need to believe. My parents are completely immersed in the belief that the bible has all the answers. Most believers have been taught that their purpose on earth is to show the way to all of the non-believers. They are ignorant. But for a big part, their motives are innocent. Our Country at one point had a belief in god and religion was a consideration. But I understand how stupid it looks for our money to say "In God we trust". Christians have it in their heads that America is supposed to be a "Christian country" when in fact it is supposed to be a country where we are free to believe what we want or to not believe in anything at all.
          I would like to see this country be a place where we are free to believe or not to believe in whatever. I would like to see our government and our leadership to be concentrating on things like the economy, government spending and our place in the world financially instead of everything being about religion or social issues.
          But no, there is a constant fight over these things. Two opposite sides fighting like children. One side wanting to treat this country like it is based on religion and the other side trying to give everyone their rights. I think either of these should take a back burner when our country is in such debt and our economy is a wreck.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      a·the·ist
      /ˈāTHēˌist/
      noun
      noun: atheist; plural noun: atheists
      a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.
      "he is a committed atheist"
      synonyms: nonbeliever, disbeliever, unbeliever, skeptic, doubter, doubting Thomas, agnostic; More

      No atheists I know say that there absolutely is no god. They just say that there is not enough proof to believe in the existence of any of the gods of choice currently.

      June 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • igaftr

        I always disliked the term "lack of" belief. That is like saying I lack cancer.

        Just because I do not have belief, does not mean I lack anything..

        June 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I like the OED definition better:

        atheist
        1. One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

        Disbelief is all that is required. This wording avoids the poorer "lack of belief" wording.

        June 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
    • bostontola

      "I think the Agnostic is the smartest ..."

      This is a testable assertion and in fact has been measured and tested. It is false.

      June 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
      • lala1966

        In your opinion I am sure. But what "test" could determine something that intangible? The narcissism I detect in some Atheists is what I find disconcerting.

        June 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • bostontola

          Never heard of IQ test? It may not be a perfect measure, but what is perfectly measured. It is better than unsubstantiated assertions. IQ results have been sorted by religious belief, geographical origin, and just about anything else people think about. Agnostics are at the high end on average, but like everything else, there is a distribution. In other words, there are plenty of agnostics of below average intelligence.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • lala1966

          I don't think the I.Q. test can reveal everything. I mean, Ke$ha the pop singer, has a really high I.Q. lol. Emotions and indoctrination play a big part and also what people end up doing with the ability to gain knowledge. Atheist seem to depend on the narcissistic idea that they know everything. But we can not know everything. Just because something can not be proven doesn't mean it can be disproven. That is why I say that agnostics are the smart ones.

          June 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • bostontola

          I already said it isn't perfect, just like all science, but we still use it. Since most agnostics are above average intelligence, most agnostics would probably disagree with your assertion.

          June 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • lala1966

          Well that is completely fine if they want to disagree with my assertion. I think for myself, not according to any label.

          June 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          Example of your 'thinking':

          Atheists are narcissistic. Atheists are bound by only 1 thing, they don't believe in God. They are distributed in all other respects very similarly to the population in general. Your 'thinking' is not indicative of above average intelligence.

          June 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • lala1966

          My only purpose in life is not to be above average in intelligence lol.

          June 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • lala1966

          I suppose it give you some kind of security to think that you are in a place to judge me according to your opinion of my intelligence. However, I could really care less what your 2 second perception of my intellect is. I look at it as a good example of why I look at it the way I do. This discussion is over now. Have a great life.

          June 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
        • bostontola

          They're your words. Your words make claims about intelligence, I didn't bring that up, you did.

          June 8, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • tallulah131

          So lala: You post your position with a definite air of superiority, then when others defend their own position you accuse them of being angry and narcissistic. Either you are a troll, or you have utterly no grasp of your own hypocrisy.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • doobzz

          "I don't think the I.Q. test can reveal everything. I mean, Ke$ha the pop singer, has a really high I.Q. lol."

          And?? What relevance does Ke$ha's IQ have to do with this discussion?

          June 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • lala1966

          It was an example of the idea that a high I.Q. doesn't mean that a person is thinking smart. Are we looking through old discussions to try and find something to fight about?

          June 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • doobzz

          Do you know Ke$ha personally to know that she is not "thinking smart"? Or do you just not like her music, wardrobe, makeup or opinions?

          And where did you get the idea that I was looking through old discussions? You brought her up a couple of posts above. Goodness, you're a sensitive one.

          June 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • kudlak

      lala1966
      Do agnostics actually believe in God?

      If they do, then they're also theists, but if they don't, then they're also atheists.

      You're either an agnostic who admits that they aren't certain whether there is a God or not, or you're claiming some gnostic knowledge that God either does, or doesn't actually exist.

      Thus, we have agnostic Christians who worship even though they aren't absolutely certain that God's really there, agnostic atheists who admit that God could be real, but just aren't convinced that he is, gnostic Christians who claim to absolutely know that God's real, and gnostic atheists who similarly claim to know that God isn't real.

      To me, claiming some gnostic knowledge concerning God is just a fallacy. Gnostic Christians are arrogantly denying that they could be self-deluded, and so are gnostic atheists. How in the hell could anyone know that God isn't hiding somewhere? Sure, the typical description of the Christian God is too illogical and too full of contradictions to logically match their perception of him, but some definition of that God could still exist contrary to Christian expectations, right?

      June 9, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "The fact that An Agnostic is at least willing to admit that they do not have all the answers is the smartest view in my opinion."
      ----------------–
      You will find that most atheists will take this position. Disbelief is all that is required to be an atheist.

      Those who hold a categorical belief in the non-existence of God(s) are (I believe) a minority of atheists.

      The word "agnostic" (as a noun) is best applied to people who can't decide.

      June 9, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        lala1966 said:
        "An Atheist is certain of something that no one can be certain of."
        -----------------–
        Conflating all atheists as people who categorically believe in the non-existence of God(s) is inaccurate.

        You evidently misunderstand the term.

        June 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
    • lala1966

      You will notice in the following thread that when this subject comes up, many people start pulling out their penises to try and show off their intelligence. In reality all we have are our perceptions. I merely gave an opinion and I have had to fight off attacks for two days. I am done responding to them. Please move on!

      June 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
  6. bostontola

    When I step back and look at this Hipster-y church, I must admire the Christian faith. 42,000 denominations, each with its own customized branding to appeal to its sub-group. There probably isn't a company in the world with that level of sophistication in personalizing the experience of its customers.

    Any demise of Christianity predicted will be slowed down by the resourcefulness of people. Some say the Internet will kill religion, that information is the antidote. But the Internet is passive. Christianity is active. Christians will adapt and find ways to be relevant.

    A big irony is that as a body, Christians adapt and evolve to survive, they are one of the fittest groups. They won't go extinct without a fight. All this while many Christians deny evolution.

    Perhaps Christians see it differently. It's not social evolution, it is the hand of God that preserves them. But that doesn't give themselves enough credit for their own creativity and determination.

    I hope they hang on. I think the diversity of viewpoints is a net benefit to humanity. Do I wish some Christians were less pushy with their ideas, yes. If so, they would be an even more positive element to our diverse mix.

    June 7, 2014 at 11:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Not only that but people within each denomination have contradictory views on god and Christianity...

      If something is true we would expect to see a convergence of views as the truth is vetted out over time....yet we see the exact opposite.

      June 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      " I hope they hang on"

      This is kind of like a hermaphrodite saying, " Gee, I hope all those single s e x e d people can hang on."

      June 7, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Devin....not at all. Single s-exed people are born that way. The religious are indoctrinated...and they are losing numbers fairly quickly. As more and more information becomes available, more and more people are deciding that there really is no reason or need to believe in an inconsistent god character.

        June 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
      • bostontola

        Devin,
        Hermaphrodite species do quite well. I don't get what your analogy is trying to communicate. Maybe if I were a Universalist, I might get it.

        Did you mean to say:
        This is kind of like a sterile person saying, " Gee, I hope all those single s e x e d people can hang on."

        June 7, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Sorry for the confusion there boston.

          I found it both slightly odd and humorous that a non theist would express concern over the imagined demise of an ideological group that significantly out numbers that of their own. It was strictly a numbers thing.

          No ill will intended, just an observation.

          On a side note: I'd like to commend you on the tone and demeanor I have observed from you on this site. Although I can't now recall, I'm sure we have had our verbal "moments", but you seem to be an individual concerned with maintaining mutual respect. I'm appreciative.

          June 7, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • bostontola

          Thanks Devin, I enjoy or discussions as well.

          June 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • kudlak

      Instead of social evolution, perhaps the success of Christianity can be described as product evolution? In a ever changing religious marketplace, Christianity has consistently changed to match what the faith consumer has desired.

      In the very beginning, that was a sense of family for urban types who left their family villages and homeland, and a way to join God's people without following unappealing Jewish kosher requirements.

      From there it has consistently changed and branched in order to offer appeal to the broadest spectrum of people. Had it remained the exact same faith that Jesus and his original followers knew it likely would have either remained very a very small sect, or disappeared altogether by now.

      June 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • bostontola

        I'm pretty sure we're saying the same thing.

        Interestingly, Jews retained their exclusive approach with strict rules and lost members. The Jewish strictness is being scientifically looked at as a form of true biological genetic evolution. The idea is, instead of geographical isolation, they have cultural isolation that limits interbreeding. The strict rule of literacy resulted in many leaving the faith in the first millennium. It is a form of selective breeding. It's too soon to see speciation, but there is evidence of differential adaptation. Christians have the opposite strategy as you mentioned, stretch the rules to open the tent to as many as possible.

        June 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • kudlak

          bostontola
          I understand that there is actually quite a lot of variety within Judaism. Beyond the familiar Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative there's Ashkenazi, Wizrahi, and Sephardi as well as varying ways to "identify" as a Jew.

          It seems to me then that the driving "evolutionary" force in religion is still a kind of isolation. People realize that the available religious options do not express their beliefs well enough, so they develop a slightly different variation for themselves and gather followers; or they come up with a radical, original idea, and they branch off dynamically.

          What keeps large groups together over long periods is human authority over the individual. Some may argue that scripture is their authority, but the reality is that they follow a certain interpretation of scripture, which means that they're still following human authority. Invariably, new varieties develop when individuals stop accepting this human authority over them, and they reinterpret scripture to better match their beliefs.

          June 9, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • bostontola

          Well put.

          June 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Religion, like politics, nationalism or sports fandom, is "tribalism".

        To belong to a tribe you accept the norms of the tribe including their values and their taboos. Coerced conformity is a hallmark of tribalism.

        Eventually people refuse to accept the norms and leave the tribe. People see what they are doing and that they are still alive and join them forming a new tribe with a new set of norms.

        True liberty of conscience requires that every belief or disbelief is respected. This does not require anarchy. Arguably it is the opposite of anarchy. I do not stipulate that rule of law is equivalent to 'tribalism'. A society that imposes fair laws does not have to behave like a tribe. Conformity of thought is not required under rule of law.

        June 9, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
  7. Dalahäst

    I have to work to become more tolerant of other people. It doesn't come naturally. When I am honest with myself and examine my motives, I often see the same flaws I eagerly point out in other people. It is easier to accept the limitations of others when I acknowledge my own.

    When I am vigorously honest with myself, I have to admit that my thinking can get distorted and my behavior inconsistent. If my perception of myself can be so inaccurate, how reliable can my perceptions of others be? I really don't know what anyone else should think, feel or do. Therefore, I can no longer justify intolerance. Praise be to God, your Creator, science, atheism or whatever keeps you loving, not hating, others.

    June 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      A+

      June 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
    • ausphor

      Dala...
      We all have an ego and of course would see ourselves as always wanting to be right. On this anniversary of D-Day
      I am thankful that my five years of service was done in a time of relative peace and never had to raise up arms on my fellow man. I have no hate in my Deist heart for any person, thank you for your thoughts, made me think of what is important.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        "The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

        Douglas MacArthur

        Thank you for serving. I actually walked around the WWI memorial today. A lot of veterans were meeting up.

        June 6, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      A Christian, a Deist and an agnostic walk into a bar...

      June 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • Reality

      Since Dalahast is in a tolerant mood, he needs to scroll to the previous commentary page to see how he is not only a victim of the Infamous Resurrection Con but also a victim of the Inanity of the Angelic Con.

      June 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        You all have posted that same thing before multiple times. Are some of you forgetting that?

        June 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • Reality

          Just in case you forgot on many fronts but also keep in mind the following:

          As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, m and s ) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

          June 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
    • kudlak

      Dalahäst
      "If my perception of myself can be so inaccurate, how reliable can my perceptions of others be?"
      From your pervious posts you seem to perceive yourself as being immune to delusion. Are you now saying that you could be wrong about God being real?

      June 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I've never said I'm immune to delusion. I'm sorry if I have projected that. I definitely deal with all kinds of delusions in my life. I've never met a person that doesn't. We are all delusional about ourselves, and often need the help of someone outside of us to help us see those delusions. I'm glad I have spiritual, medical and religious programs to help me with those issues.

        June 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • kudlak

          So you could be wrong about God being real then?

          June 7, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Of course.

          June 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          So, when you say that you know that God is real, there's still some healthy uncertainty, right?

          June 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Of course. Like I know the Earth revolves around the sun, but I could be wrong.

          June 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          dala, Another false equivalence on your part. The motions of the planets can be observed and measured; their motion can be explained by gravity, etc. No evidence so far of a god as the explanation for the origin of the universe or the origin of life.
          I see a lot of christians mention humility, but it seems to me the antithesis of humility to claim knowledge that the cumulative knowledge of fields such as cosmology, biology, chemistry, etc. do not have.

          June 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, not a false equivalence.

          I don't have the education or tools that verify for myself that the motions of the planets can be observed and measured – I have to rely on my faith in science to come to that conclusion. Science has been wrong before – the science book my dad used stated scientific facts that aren't scientific facts anymore (like that matter can't be destroyed).

          I do have the tools to verify that God exists. I live in response to that knowledge.

          The cu.mulative knowledge of fields such as cosmology, biology, chemistry, etc. do not attempt to answer the meaning or purpose of such real things like love and humility. Humility, for example, is something that can be encouraged in our life by following spiritual practices or principles.

          At least that is what some scientists have told me. I'm sure your going to tell me you know better and your way is the only way, bla bla bla.

          June 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          As I said the cumulative knowledge of science cannot prove a god and yet you can! Not exactly humility is it?

          June 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I didn't say I could prove God to you. God has proven himself. If you think you are humble, you are not. That is the tricky thing about humility.

          June 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          My point is – in claiming to "know" god you are claiming more knowledge than all the scientific community. Hence my reference to lack of humility.

          June 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not really claiming to know more than all the scientific community. God may be one of those realities that is not confirmed by science.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          You claim to know that there is a god which is claiming to know more than all of the scientific community.
          "God may be one of those realities that is not confirmed by science." Or, more likely, it may not exist.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:52 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You are free to believe that. I'm not claiming to know more than all of the scientific community. I'm claiming to know God – who is not defined by the scientific community. But their are individuals in the scientific community that testify they know God.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          You claim to know that a god created the universe and life on earth; the scientific community does not know the origin of the universe or the origin of life, yet you claim to know.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • Dalahäst

          The scientific community can't explain what love is or what the purpose and meaning of life is without stepping out of their laboratory. I don't think scientism is an adequate viewpoint for me to hold. If that outlook helps you – good for you. Science is a great tool. But it is not the only tool to knowing something. You have to use something other than science to prove you premise the scientific community is the supreme source of knowledge.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Live is an emotion. What is to explain? To feel caring for another being is not unique to humans. Just because we call it love does not attach some sort of spirituality towards it.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Love is not just an emotion. I've heard philosophers and even scientists describe it as something more.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          I've heard of scientists that believe that the story of Noah could have happened. Of course, they are very, very few, and are easily discounted.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I don't think that you mean "faith" in science, but rather confidence in it. Faith, in a religious context, has a vastly different meaning than confidence in a thing that demonstrates itself to be reliable. If you don't want to use philosophy, by all means use religion to attempt to answer the meaning or purpose of such real things as love and humility, but don't confuse concepts like those with proofs of things in the physical world.

          If "love" actually caused the universe to be created, show your proof, or be satisfied with your idea being treated as nothing more than that. Science only begins with ideas and goes on from there to try proving them, but religion seems content with sticking on the idea level and doesn't seem to be concerned whether those ideas are actually true, or not.

          June 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Faith means trust and confidence in something or someone. That is the same kind of faith, or trust and confidence, that I have in God. I'm not just seeking truths in the physical world – hence the reason I'm on a faith blog.

          June 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • tallulah131

          "I do have the tools to verify that God exists. I live in response to that knowledge."

          What are these special tools, Dala? And are these tools proven to be accurate or are they the same sort of "tools" every true believer of every one of the thousands of human-made gods has used to "verify" that the god of their choice exists?

          June 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Spiritual tools.

          June 9, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I know that you attribute your good fortune, or whatever, to God, but the question that we keep circling around is how you can be certain that there is an actual God behind it all?

          If someone told you that they have a lucky charm that they've worn for the past 20 years, and are therefore "confident" that the good things they've experienced since wearing that charm were directly caused by it, would you consider that a logical deduction?

          June 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't attribute good fortune, or whatever, to God. How do you know that I do that? I don't have a magic genie for a god or whatever you are imagining.

          Good for them. I don't believe in lucky charms for myself. I know some baseball players and others swear by them. But I've tested them and not found a reason to trust in them. I'm not superst.itious, so such a comparison is not very relevant for me.

          June 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          "I don't attribute good fortune, or whatever, to God."
          Most Christians I know express a grati.tude to God for bettering their lives, and converts even more so, it seems.

          Some other Christians really do treat their belief in God as a kind of supersti.tion, especially when they prophecy dire consequences for disobeying God. Like when Pat Robertson hinted to the people of Dover that their rejection of creationism might bring catastrophe down upon them.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:11 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea, some do. I'm taught to avoid that.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          There is no coincidence that the highest concentration of believers can be found in our most uneducated States.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • kudlak

          gulliblenomore
          Education is the surest way to better yourself.

          Without education, only the fantasy of becoming better in some afterlife seems obtainable, I guess?

          June 10, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kudlak....I think that the data would support that. Not that all believers are not very intelligent, but a rather large portion are.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There are some highly educated people that believe in God. And there is not one thing my belief in God hinders me from doing within education that your atheism or agnosticism allows you to do.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Dala....you're being defensive. We are just pointing out that the highest concentration of believers can be found in the most uneducated States. Education and the availability of information are god killers.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Not always.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          I did not say always. I said the highest concentration of believers reside in the most uneducated States.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Dalahäst

          In the US: religious attendance rises sharply with education across individuals.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          No, it does not. It is just the opposite.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "In the United States, religious attendance rises sharply with education across individuals, but religious attendance declines sharply with education across denominations."

          June 10, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Dalahäst

          In my religion education is very important. While we have Bible and religion education classes – we also have classes on science, technology, sociology, etc. We invite people of other faiths or leaders in an industry from outside the church to speak, discuss and teach us about the world.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Dala....kudos. But most of the creationist nuts (and yes, they are nuts), can't reconcile science with their belief system. And it is only getting worse, as many more scientific principles are being uncovered

          June 10, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I belong to a religion that believes our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world with science.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Do you believe that not believing in your God will have dire consequences for me?

          June 10, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I can't make those decisions for other people. If you claim you don't need to be saved or can save yourself than I will let you demonstrate that.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          There has never been one single shred of proof that anybody has ever been 'saved'. What are you basing your criteria on?

          June 10, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I've been 'saved'.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Any proof your afterlife will be any different than mine?

          June 10, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No. I'm not talking about the afterlife.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Saved from what then?

          June 10, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          My self-destructive nature: fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          I'm fine then....I have no need for a god, so I guess I was saved already.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No wonder you are so preachy.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          So, you think that your belief in God "saved" you from self-delusion?

          Isn't there a possible fallacy there?

          June 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • bostontola

      Dalahast,
      I admire your leadership. I will try to maintain a tone of respect and tolerance. Wouldn't it be great if everyone did.

      June 7, 2014 at 8:44 am |
      • gruphy

        It wud be great. It is hard when a deluded person who is sure there is no God tells a deluded person who is sure there is God that he the believer is deluded. Agnostics and spiritual believers rarely fight because only God can know whether he is or is not.

        June 7, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • bostontola

          Peace through apathy, it works for some. Peace retaining passion takes more work but is more rewarding for some.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          I'm not positive there is not a god, but I'm pretty damn sure....and if there is one, he is a heartless p-rick. But, where my passion in these discussions take over is when the religiously deluded ignore physical and scientific factual evidence in order to sustain their delusion. I understand why they do it though...to admit that a single fact that would show their bible to be wrong would put into question their entire belief system. The Catholics, while still deluded, have at least put into perspective some of the craziness in the bible (adam and eve, noah, parting of the red sea, Job, etc).

          June 7, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • Dalahäst

        I think we all need to practice more respect and tolerance. I certainly do. You are a good example of how to maintain it.

        June 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • kudlak

          More respect and tolerance for people, sure, but their ideas and opinions are another matter entirely, right?

          June 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kudlac....I certainly hope so!

          June 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • kudlak

          gulliblenomore
          Me too. Criticism is a great tool for change, and world would be far too constrictive if we couldn't criticize each other's ideas and beliefs freely out of fear of being labeled "intolerant".

          June 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Criticism is ok. Trying to push your views on others is not.

          June 9, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I think we all need to practice more respect and tolerance."
          ---------------
          Absolutely,

          "... but their ideas and opinions are another matter entirely, right?"
          --------------------
          An opinion/idea/comment/observation can be criticized, but there is never a need for derogatory remarks about any deeply held belief (or disbelief).

          June 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          "Criticism is ok. Trying to push your views on others is not."

          Well, I guess you're not a fan of missionaries, or pastors then. Pushing the Faith is pretty much their job description, isn't it?

          June 10, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No, that is not pretty much not their job description.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Actually, that is exactly their job description. Love god and we will feed you. It's extortion, really.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Most do not do that. The ones I know do not.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Most do that. The ones you know do not.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • kudlak

          I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
          "but there is never a need for derogatory remarks about any deeply held belief (or disbelief)."

          Racism is often a deeply held belief. You would be "respectful" towards racist beliefs?

          June 10, 2014 at 10:17 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Really? Racism?

          You are being pointlessly and deliberately argumentative.

          I think it should be clear that in the the context of the "Belief Blog" my expression "deeply held beliefs" refers to religious beliefs, not bigotry.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I would concur that missionary work is precisely "pushing views on others".

          June 10, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Not always. The people I know personally who do missionary work or providing aid to people in need: they dig wells for water, educate on sanitation, provide medical aid and build schools for education. They do preach and share their beliefs – but they don't require others to share their beliefs. They actually share beliefs. Each side. The people being helped have a lot to offer to those helping, too. Nothing is being pushed on anyone. That is not how it works.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          " they dig wells for water, educate on sanitation, provide medical aid and build schools for education"
          -------------------
          There's no 'free lunch' with those 'good' works. It's no different to a business dinner with a client. They are selling something and their purpose is conversion. It may not be coerced, but the purpose is to push views on others.

          The acid test is: do the missionaries tell the subjects of their proselytizing about the 'one true faith'? If so, they are pushing views on others. They disrespect the original beliefs of their target.

          June 10, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Nope. It is not a business. The purpose is to serve God's people – the poor, needy, widowed and orphaned. You can respect the beliefs of other people while disagreeing with them. It is not about doing 'good' works. It is about equipping the people to become independent.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          " You can respect the beliefs of other people while disagreeing with them."
          ----------------
          Of course you can. The purpose of missionary work remains conversion. It always was and always will be.

          Proselytizing never respects people's beliefs.

          It always devolves to "I'm right and you are wrong." The 'good works' are the inducement to convert.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          OK, I guess the Christians I know are not doing missionary work. They are just helping others in need. They are aware of people who go to proselytize and do 'good works" as an inducement to convert others. Instead they are just going there to love others. They believe they have what others need. If people are interested in what motivates them, they are free to learn more about it.

          If they aren't interested, they are free to go their own way. You shouldn't push your views on them. That doesn't work.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I accept that distinction. Humanitarian aid necessarily has no strings attached. There is no reason a church group cannot deliver humanitarian aid – but can be a slippery slope. As soon as they start telling people about Jesus they are 'off the humanitarian wagon'.

          Missionary work involves proselytizing. Usually things like building schools that include religious instruction, etc.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Nah, that is not what God asks us to do. We've been blessed to be a blessing to others. Those we bless become a blessing to others themselves. You can provide humanitarian aid and talk about Jesus. Especially if people are asking about him. And they do ask about such things.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          You can provide humanitarian aid and talk about Jesus.
          ----------------–
          Not without proselytizing. Then it is missionary work.

          Especially if people are asking about him. And they do ask about such things.
          -----------------–
          Of course they do. People are curious. That is the whole point of missionary work. At it's heart it is deception – a deliberate confidence trick.

          Furthermore it is arrogant to assume your 'truth' should become someone else's 'truth'. Doubly so if you consider their existing 'truth' to be primitive. This is why it is precisely pushing views on others. That is the anticipated and intended outcome.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You can talk about Jesus without arrogantly assuming your 'truth' should become someone else's 'truth'. Don't push views on others: that is not how it works. You are preaching the same thing my church preaches. I'm glad you agree with us.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Doris

          Actually, from my experience not(GOPer), I have seen some significant efforts on the part of some Christians that are, for the most part, free from proselytization that, at least using their terms, falls under the category of missions work. So maybe this is more of a disconnect over terms. Missions for some may mean you're likely to find a line item in a church's budget that targets such a mission, whereas it may also mean many other things. I've seen some charities have their prime focus and support outside of churches, but adopted as worthy causes by one or more members of a church (and advertised as such within the church) and addressed with little or no proselytization. But as my OP at the top from yesterday shows, from extremist fundamentalists, there can be some pretty nasty stuff in the guise of "helping people".

          June 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Doris

          not(GOPer): "Furthermore it is arrogant to assume your 'truth' should become someone else's 'truth'."

          Agreed.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is what we preach. It is difficult to carry it out. Most people don't carry it out well.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I don't have any concern with people 'explaining' a belief to the curious or interested and don't really consider that to be proselytizing.

          Using humanitarian aid to create an atmosphere of goodwill with the specific intention of creating an atmosphere of curiosity in Christianity is to me very morally ambiguous, since there is an implicit agenda to convert, a wolf in sheep's clothing component to this, that unsettles my sensibilities.

          I'll happily stipulate that there are missions where there is no overt coercion and the 'good works' are no doubt very beneficial to the communities involved, but I'll stand by my assertion that it is 'pushing views' since this is the outcome.

          When it extends to building schools that teach Christian religious instruction there is no question that this is proselytizing.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I have people proselytizing me on this blog all the time. And they are not religious. I know what proselytizing feels like. So do other Christians. We attempt to not do that.

          I leave the proselytizing for the fundamentalists and internet atheists. I'll focus on what works.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "That is what we preach. It is difficult to carry it out. Most people don't carry it out well."
          ---------------–
          It would be really hard to do this.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No kidding. Most people don't practice what they preach. Whether they are Christians or not.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I have people proselytizing me on this blog all the time. And they are not religious.
          --------------
          Yes. I know you do.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • Doris

          Dala: "That is what we preach. It is difficult to carry it out. Most people don't carry it out well."

          Yes, I'll bet it's very difficult. Especially when you are not in direct contact with those that are in the field carrying out some kind of "mission" objective; where you may not understand their own agendas. Back when I was a believer, I always felt a little bit safer about a mission objective outside of the church if it was cross-denominational; at least that way I thought there was a good chance any message being proselytized was most likely moderate.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The 2 groups I work with – not many have actually gone to Africa yet. One has sent a doctor who had the mission of providing medical care to orphaned children. Another group sent people with the skills or experience specific to the mission of each trip (e.g. architecture, engineering, or economic development). It can be dangerous to go over there.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          dala
          "They actually share beliefs."

          Do you have numbers – converts to christianity vs converts from christianity.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, that is not what I meant. They share their beliefs. The people being helped, some of whom are already Christians mind you, share what they know. They often have more to teach us than we do them.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          It can be dangerous to go over there.
          ---------------–
          Yes – very. I've heard first hand stories from people who went to South Sudan.

          June 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I leave the proselytizing for the fundamentalists and internet atheists."

          – knock knock knock -

          "Hello?"

          "Hi, my name is Steve and I was just wondering if you have a belief in a higher power or God and if so I would like to try and convince you to give up that belief. Can I come in?"

          "Oh, well sure, where would you like to start?"

          lol

          What really happens:

          – knock knock knock -

          "Hello?"

          "Hi, my name is Steve and I was just wondering if you have a belief in a higher power or God and if not I would like to try and convince you to accept my God as your own. Can I come in?"

          "Well I don't believe in God or gods because no one has been able to show me any evidence of them, do you have evidence of your God?"

          "Of course, i'll show you the evidence in this book written a long time ago that describes God!"

          "I mean, do you have any evidence other than other people unverified testimonies?"

          "Well, I mean, no, but I know he exists! I just know it!"

          "Then please provide some tangible evidence of your God and I will believe."

          "Arghhh! I hate you proselytizing atheists! Go away!"

          "Um, you're at my door..."

          June 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is an example of the stereotype of proselytizing. One that I do not believe I am guilty of. Nor are most Christians guilty of acting in such a manner.

          Do you know what an atheist proselytizing looks like?

          June 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • kudlak

          I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
          Sorry, I didn't realize that this blog was limited to just religious examples.

          Still, even within religious beliefs, are you arguing that any which are "deeply held" should somehow be sheltered from criticism? No criticizing Jehovah's Witnesses for not allowing blood transfusions, or creationists for lying about evolution, or Popes for not allowing condom use in areas with high levels of AIDS, or evangelicals for trying to shame people into not acting gay, or any of the prejudice being shown atheists by religious people who "know" that we're somehow untrustworthy?

          Really!?

          June 10, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          We're sharing beliefs here, aren't we?

          You're free to stop posting to anyone who starts "shoving" their views down your throat, right?

          Are any atheists coming to your door?

          What does atheist proselytizing looks like to you?

          June 10, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, we are sharing. Sometimes you get a little preachy, but I know you are just trying to share your point. Some people try to shove their scientism or secular humanism down my throat.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Kudlak,

          my comment, which I expect you understand full well was about belief in God(s) or disbelief in God(s).

          If you want to go and invent things I didn't say for the purpose of being argumentative, go right ahead.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • kudlak

          I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
          Belief in god(s), or lack thereof, then. Are you stating that this is something that simply should never be criticized?

          June 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
    • observer

      Dalahäst,

      That's one of the best comments on here in a long time. Kudos.

      June 7, 2014 at 9:57 am |
      • Dalahäst

        I actually learned that from a pastor. I liked it. I think it demonstrates the "golden rule". Or as Christians say what Jesus teaches about loving neighbors.

        June 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Reality

          Did the historical Jesus utter a version of the Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12- no he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

          e.g Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in Herodotus III 142, 3:

          "I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors."

          From Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 151-152, " In view of the widespread attestation of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to Jesus."

          See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

          And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself follow said rule.

          June 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Jesus wasn't teaching the "Golden Rule" Jesus' "rule" requires you to do something favorably to others:

          Jesus -> Do unto others what you want them to do to you

          While the others only prohibit you from doing something unfavorably to others:

          This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain. – The Mahabharata

          The BUDDHIST religion taught: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. Udana-Varga

          The JEWISH traditions taught: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. – The Talmud

          What they teach that is required is that you don't harm other people; with Jesus, what is required is that you show kindness to others.

          June 10, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  8. ausphor

    Deism defined from the Deism site.
    Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organised religions of having received special divine revelation.
    bostontola and Dalahast..In my opinion the universal creative force is something that we just don't know but maybe will be discovered by science if we can just keep looking and expanding our knowledge, saying one of the many gods man has created is responsible is just nonsense. Dalahast the something you imagine that helps you is just a mental exercise, no god required.

    June 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power, religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.” -MLK Jr

      Science is not the exclusive path to knowing God. That is why I'm not a deist. I know God's love.

      June 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • ausphor

        Dala...
        Well I guess it comes down to being able to tell the difference between belief/faith and knowing. You have convinced yourself that your belief/faith equates to a knowledge of some personal God that loves you and you wonder why people consider you delusional, oh well. Funnily enough I agree with much that you have posted here in comparison to say Topher and Theo, as a matter of fact you are probably the most rational of the Christian posters. I will go back to trying to convince the less rational that Genesis, the great flood, the tower of Babel, etc. are just myth. Good day sir.

        June 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, you really don't know what you are talking about.

          Stick to what you know: yourself.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "No, you really don't know what you are talking about. Stick to what you know: yourself. "

          And Dala can say this because HE knows you, but you can't know him. lol

          One last question though, whats an ausphor?...Certainly not pooping I hope...

          June 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think it is fair when someone tries forcing their beliefs and opinions on me that I suggest focusing on themselves.

          I know I don't like people to do that to me. Don't deists have something like a golden rule on how to treat others?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • ausphor

          never...
          ausphor..was supposed to be a combination AUStin and toPHOR when we were sort of forced to change our handle, unfortunately, I screwed it up.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "was supposed to be a combination AUStin and toPHOR " So it IS for pooping! I knew it!

          I almost miss that sad crazy hallucinating dead cat lover...

          Topher just changed his name noahsdadtopher, which would be much harder to pair. Austinoah, or Ausdadpher maybe?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I always thought it was a drunk person trying to say "officer".

          Ausphor, I wadn't drinkin'

          June 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • ausphor

          never...
          The squished cat chronicles were a hoot, miss them also.
          Dala...
          Good one, another thing you display more often than the OTHERS a sense of humor.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Even Dala has to admit, if there is a God he's got a great sense of humor...

          June 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. One of the first things Jesus says to his completely freaked out disciples, who have no idea what his return after death means, is the crucial and deeply spiritual question of: “Do you have any snacks?”

          June 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        "Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values."
        Yes. If God's existence were proven it would be considered a scientific fact, but as a religious belief, it's actually just a value.

        June 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There are things that exist that science can't prove as a fact. Like value, but also meaning, love, compassion and forgiveness.

          June 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          "value, meaning, love, compassion and forgiveness" are all just concepts, aren't they? I take it that you don't believe in a God that's just a concept, right?

          June 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      "A material being couldn't have been the creator of the material universe as a whole, since all material beings are immanent in, part of it. So the transcendent deistic god must be an immaterial being, which means that it is either a spiritual being or an abstract being. But impersonal abstract beings lack causal powers by definition and hence cannot create anything. Therefore, the deistic god must be a spiritual being, i.e. a self-conscious immaterial being/an immaterial person, just like the theistic god."

      June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        Cause does not necessarily equate to create. I could create a hole in the ground by digging one or a meteorite striking the ground at random could be the cause of the hole.

        June 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, you could dig a hole or a meteorite could strike the ground at random. True. I would have to discern what caused the hole.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        "must be an immaterial being"

        Your logic fails when you run into the law of conservation of energy which states energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only change form or be "conserved". This means your premise that something had to be outside our universe to create it when in fact according to known physics energy cannot be created. And if you claim that the "immaterial being" created energy aka matter, then would that not make it "full of energy" thus enabling it to transfer that energy to a specific location, thus implying that the energy was there all along but just in the form of some deity? Nope, i'm not buying it. Occam's razor would suggest the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected, and if we know energy can neither be created nor destroyed then the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is that the universe has always existed in some form or another. Like an endless mobius strip the universe likely just changes the form of its energy in and endless dance of matter, radiation, light and gravity of which we are just one tiny speck.

        June 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Oh, some say that say the law of conservation of energy actually proves God's existence. I guess we don't really know what the law of conservation of energy proves in regards to God.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      "Deism proposes that God is such a good designer that He has no need to interact with His creation. However, as the "perfect" creation, the purpose of the universe seems elusive for those who believe in deism. The presence of evil doesn't seem to make this universe the ideally-designed creation for mankind to live in. So, why did God create the universe and withdraw to watch humans suffer and die without assistance from Him? These reasons are the downfall of the deistic paradigm. Under deism, the purpose of the universe is elusive at best, and downright cruel at worst. In contrast, theism posits that evil is necessary so that human beings can make a choice between good and evil. In contrast to deism, where God abandons humans, theism says that God promises to be with us in our trials to guide and shape us to respond as He would so that we can become conformed to His image."

      June 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "theism posits that evil is necessary so that human beings can make a choice between good and evil."

        And it fails on that basis...

        Is there free will in heaven?

        June 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          What is heaven?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Is that a capitilization poke?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No.

          Is he asking is there free will in something that is pleasant or good? Or if there is free will where God dwells?

          If we make it to where God dwells, I imagine we have our free will but we learn to abhor all evil. We freely choose good. And that makes evil lose power and disappear. We learn to live like God, not creatures that fail to live up to our own ideals like we all do on this planet.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          I always used to wonder about that. If angels could choose to defy God, would it be possible for a soul in heaven to decide to defy God. If it were possible, given an eternity it would happen at some point. I find it hard to find a reason one would do such a thing, but I also don't understand why Lucifer did the same thing.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          lunch...actually, one wouldn't do that. But, the concept of god as the good aspect of life would never work if there was no bad side as well. An upset angel, wanting to strike out on his own a la Van Halen is completely illogical.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Are you saying what I think you're saying? That David Lee Roth is Satan and Sammy Hagar is Jesus?

          That makes me want to "Jump!" ... "Right Now!"....

          June 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I've heard that there are things like shame that exist and they have an origin. And that origin doesn't come from God. I think that is what one of the origin stories the Bible tells in Genesis tries to explain. They tried to illustrate this by having a voice of a serpent displaying the origin of those things that exist, but that they didn't come from God. They don't align with his will or love for us. So Adam and Eve felt shame, which caused them to lie, shift blame and hide. And now we all live with the consequences this has caused.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "If we make it to where God dwells, I imagine we have our free will but we learn to abhor all evil. We freely choose good."

          3 issues with that Dala.

          Why couldn't that be the case with our present reality?

          Why didn't Satan abhor evil?

          Humans behaving poorly does not explain "natural" evil like cancer, natural disasters, ect.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          I have heard a phrase, usually attributed to big bang theories, but the phrase is "The potential for something to exist is not nothing." So if nothing could exist without God, He had to consciously create the potential for things such as shame, sin and whatnot to come into existance.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          ... unless of course, said traits existed independant of God creating them, meaning there are other ways for things to come into existance.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - Why couldn't that be the case with our present reality?

          It could be.

          - Why didn't Satan abhor evil?

          I don't know. I don't understand evil. Sometimes people do things they hate, like addicts. And pride and self-centerdness causes us to do strange things, too.

          June 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Like Adam and Eve, wasn't Satan supposedly cast out (or exiled) for disobedience, and not for being "evil"? Doesn't that make them all more like political enemies of God than criminals?

          June 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      My question for Deism is if it defines afterlife consequences for believing Deism to be correct or not. Even more so than theists who threaten fire and brimstone, I get annoyed by people who preach there is definitely a god, reject all religions and yet can't illustrate any reason why believeing in said god is good or bad. My question, more so than "Is there a God?" would be "If there is a God, why should I care?"

      June 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • ausphor

        lunch....
        No after life in Deism, simply a quest to gain enough knowledge to find out our beginnings and if there is other life (think yes) in the universe. What are the apologists going to do when life outside of earth is discovered, wouldn't their braggadocious god have mentioned it, he took credit for everything else, I guess it does not have anything to do with god, but just the 2000 year old myths. So when you die you will be star stuff, dust to dust.

        June 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There is an afterlife possibility in Deism – some Deists say they hope for an after life.

          June 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
    • bostontola

      ausphor,
      That was my understanding. I've been to a few Deism sites. Like I said, I find Deism to be indistinguishable from atheism at the pragmatic, day to day level. The only difference is in how existence came into being. We have precious little science on that (especially in the context of a possibly multiverse), so for the foreseeable future, Deism and atheism are practically the same.

      If I had any disagreement, it is the statement that Deists 'recognize' the existence of a creative power. I think Deists believe it. Recognition presumes the existence in the first place, but that is a minor point.

      June 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • ausphor

        bostontoa
        The recognition of a universal creative force is not the way Dala... sees it as either spirit or a supernatural being that is the Creator. To me it is a natural force or forces, a god by any other name, that have caused what we observe (the Higgs boson for example) and no doubt science will gain more knowledge. Dala... managed to come up with some dated apologist quotes that are not relevant today, of course neither is the bible.

        June 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most atheists I've met are highly critical of deism.

          I mean, only deists seem to be the one trumpeting its merits like you. Most people have issues with it. That is great you found something that gives you comfort. I hope science can lead you to find God someday.

          But what if God exists outside our realm? What if he is not a physical thing and is undetectable by science? Science doesn't explain everything. Most scientists and philosophers agree that science can't explain our purpose or meaning. Unless maybe your purpose is to worship the creation of the Creator?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          Dala..
          All those what ifs, could also equate to we don't know.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          I have issues with Deism in that the Deistic god and the non-existent god are essentually indistinguishable. I think it is "putting the cart before the horse" reasoning.

          But the Deistic belief is pretty much harmless so while I disagree with it I don't usually oppose it until the Deists start making unsubstatiated claims.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          I have no idea what that had to do with what I wrote...

          June 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          All beliefs are harmless, until someone takes action that harms others.

          I'm just as afraid of the harms that theists or deists cause, that atheists also cause. I'm saying we are all capable of doing good and bad things based on our beliefs. History has shown all people are guilty of this.

          June 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "All beliefs are harmless, until someone takes action that harms others."

          First I don't think this is true. Beliefs can be harmful without action.

          And you seem to be arguing all beliefs are essetually equal and that is just demonstrably false.

          CHristian belief in general is harmful because it teaches that humanity is irreparably flawed and that only through belief in Jesus can people be "saved". It is an abusive relationship with their god. And none of that requires specific action to be harmful.

          Deism and atheism do not share that harmful dogmatic view of the world.

          June 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Actually that is not what Christianity teaches me. That sounds like what a few anti-theists teach, though.

          June 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          That is garbage, that is the teaching of CHristianity. The first time I interacted with you I bluntly stated that same position and you said the same thing. So then we had a back and forth at the end of which you admitted I did understand the belief....you just hadn't heard stated so matter of fact.

          I have spent plenty of time as a Christian to understand the dogma. It was as a christian that I started to reject that dogma and THEN became anti-theist because I realized the foundation of CHristian belief is fundamentally flawed.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          "All beliefs are harmless, until someone takes action that harms others."
          Even if they never say, or do anything to anyone because of it, isn't a bigot still being harmed by his own hate?

          June 8, 2014 at 12:58 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.