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July 25th, 2014
10:39 AM ET

Does Jonah's tomb signal the death of Christianity in Iraq?

Opinion by Joel S. Baden and Candida Moss, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The destructive force of  the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the militant Sunni movement, is epitomized in a video released Thursday of ISIS members smashing a tomb in Mosul, Iraq.

The tomb is traditionally thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, a holy site for Christians and many Muslims.

Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, is built on and adjacent to the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, the setting for the biblical book of Jonah and once the most powerful capital of the ancient world.

Indeed, for most people familiar with the Bible, Nineveh is inseparable from the figure of Jonah.

In Christian tradition, the story of Jonah is an important one. Jonah’s descent into the depths in the belly of the great fish and subsequent triumphant prophetic mission to Nineveh is seen as a reference to and prototype of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The destruction of his tomb in Mosul is therefore a direct assault on Christian faith, and on one of the few physical traces of that faith remaining in Iraq.

Despite its acknowledged antiquity, however, it is a virtual certainty that the tomb destroyed by ISIS was not that of the biblical prophet.

His purported tomb was in a mosque dating back to the time of the Muslim conquest in the middle of the first millennium. The mosque, known as the Mosque of the Prophet Yunus (Arabic for Jonah), was built on an even earlier Christian church that stood on the spot.

Officials: ISIS blows up Jonah's tomb in Iraq

It’s likely that the association of the site with Jonah’s burial goes back to the early Christian period when the practice of linking geographical features with biblical figures was all the rage. (See: Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, David’s Tomb in Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, etc.)

Jewish tradition suggests that Jonah returned to his hometown of Gath-Hepher after his mission to Nineveh (as we read in the book 3 Maccabees, from around the first century B.C.).

This was certainly the belief held by the church father Jerome, and was local tradition in Gath-Hepher in the 12th century and remains so today.

(Perhaps less likely is the rabbinic claim that his experience in the belly of the great fish was so terrible that God granted Jonah a rare exemption from the travails of death and he went up to heaven alive.)

In the end, speculations about the actual location of Jonah’s burial are probably moot, as virtually all scholars agree that the book is a work of pure fiction - is perhaps even a comedic novella of sorts - and that it is quite likely to have been written around the fifth century B.C., around 200 years after the city of Nineveh was destroyed.

But it is not the historical reality that is at stake in Mosul today.

The destruction of Jonah’s tomb was not an attack on archaeology. It was an attack on both those Christians living in Iraq today and on the rich, if little-known, Christian heritage of the region.

When people think of ancient Christianity, they don’t ordinarily think of Iraq. But the Christian communities there are among the oldest in the world.

According to church tradition, Christianity was introduced to the region by the Apostles Thomas and Thaddeus. These stories may be legendary, but by the second century we have references to Christian converts with names associated with the region and later histories refer to the persecution of Christians in Iraq in the fourth century. The Mar Behnam Monastery, for example, is believed to go back to the fourth century.

In the past two millennia, Iraq has been a center for Christian theological enquiry, learning and devotion. Important monasteries were built there in the sixth and seventh centuries, and various forms of ancient Christianity that had died out elsewhere persisted in Iraq into the 21st century.

Mar Mattai, which is to the southeast of Mosul and is maintained by the Syriac Orthodox Church, became one of the most important Christian monasteries by the eighth century, and was particularly renowned for its library.

The significance of Christianity in Iraq extends beyond even religion.

It is likely that Syriac monks were partly responsible for the preservation of Greek philosophical, medical and scientific texts by translating them into Syriac and Arabic. A ninth-century Syriac patriarch named Timothy wrote that the best Syriac manuscripts of Greek writers were to be found at Mar Mattai.

All that has been erased in a matter of days.

Last week, ISIS reportedly issued an ultimatum to Christians that they must convert to Islam, flee or face the sword. Earlier this month ISIS had allowed Christians to pay a non-Muslim tax known as jizya. On July 17, Christians were notified that jizya was no longer an option. They must now convert, flee or die.

Among the last Christians to leave the city were monks - residents of the ancient Mar Behnam Monastery - who left behind them 1,400 years of rich Christian tradition, as ISIS refused to let the monks take any of their precious relics with them.

Despite its antiquity and rich tradition, Christianity in Iraq is on the brink of eradication.

The heirs to those who first discovered the tomb of Jonah, and those who helped to keep Greek philosophy alive in the medieval period, are being ejected from their homes and from a land they have held sacred for centuries. This is the face and reality of Christian persecution.

Jonah was one of the earliest symbols of the resurrection for Christians. Will Christianity ever rise again in Iraq?

Joel S. Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. Candida Moss is a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden and Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Houses of worship • Iraq • Islam • Islamic law • Judaism • Middle East • Opinion • Religious violence • Sacred Spaces

soundoff (631 Responses)
  1. Ivey

    Was there a tomb of Jonah? Most of us who have never been to Iraq would never know of its existence. That does not mean that world heritage sites must not be preserved. It's a travesty that this tomb that probably dates back to thousands of years was destroyed.

    Most of us are more concerned with the loss of human lives in all of this.

    A child should never be born only to be killed by murderous adults with a tainted view of this world.Every single child deserves love, happiness and a fair chance at life.

    July 26, 2014 at 10:34 am |
    • otoh2

      There was not only *a* tomb of Jonah, there were THREE - another one in Mashhad, Israel and one in Halhul, Hebron! This one in Mosul seems to have had the most elaborate shrine, though.

      The only **slightly** redeeming act by ISIS in this attack is that they evacuated the shrine and the mosque before detonating the explosives, so no people were killed.

      July 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  2. colin31714

    There is an interesting intersection between Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and even faint echoes of Buddhism, contained in the Jesus’ birth myth from the Koran. In the two very different versions of Jesus’ birth contained in the Bible (in Matthew and Luke, respectively) Jesus is born in Bethlehem to Joseph and Mary.

    In the Koran, however, Joseph is not mentioned. Jesus is virgin-born to Mary in the desert under a dead tree. While she is in the throes of pregnancy, God speaks to her and asks her if she is thirsty. He then causes water to appear from dry ground. Mary gives birth and returns to town, baby Jesus in arm. The townspeople confront her over her obvious se.xual indiscretion. Mary is struck dumb by an angel and cannot respond. Instead, she points the newborn Jesus who speaks fluently despite being a few hours old. He explains who he is to the townspeople who then understand and Mary is saved from likely stoning.

    The influence of the mythology of the Tanakh (Moses tapping the dry rock for water) New Testament (virgin birth) and perhaps even Buddhism are apparent in this myth from the Koran. In Buddhism, Buddha was said to have been born talking.

    Like co-defendants in different police interview rooms, the principal faiths just can’t get their story straight.

    July 26, 2014 at 7:22 am |
  3. dandintac

    Of course, I abhor what extremist groups like ISIS are doing. It's appalling. But these are the fruits of religion–and not just Islam.

    When the wall of separation between church and state breaks down, or if it was never really established in the first place, theocracy always marches in sooner or later, claiming absolute power from God. Any time religion takes power, and theocracy is established, it's always the fundamentalists who float to the top of the food chain. Religion is on a very basic level, anti-democratic. To channel the character Gandalf in Lord of the Rings: "There is only ONE Lord of the Rings, and he does NOT share power!!" Religions are like Chinese fighting fish–they cannot resist fighting "the other". Religion is a system for domination and control.

    For those Christians who allow themselves to feel smug and superior to these horrible Muslims, I have bad news for you. That which makes Islam so horrible, is present in Christianity as well. Everything the most fervent believers need to do things like execute apostates is right there in the Bible.

    " Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)"

    If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)"

    Get that Christians? If it's your OWN son or wife who follows another religion, not only are they to be put to death, but your hand should be the first raised against them.

    So Christianity too, has the seeds of madness sown within it. What else should we expect from Holy texts dreamed up by primitive, superst-itious and fearful goat-herders thousands of years ago??

    Fortunately for us, unlike Islamic societies, we are largely protected from the madness inherent in our dominant religion and other religions by secular inst-itutions, legal systems and traditions. Most Christians in the west live by a secular moral code derived from the Enlightenment. Yet when asked, they will claim they are following their Christian morality–they are doing anything but! Nowhere in the Bible does have concepts like "freedom of Speech" or protections for those accused of crime, or human rights, or elections and voting, or "innocent until proven guilty", or separation of church and state, or privacy rights, or concepts like "live and let live", tolerance, diversity, open-mindedness, pluralism, or "consent of the governed', etc, etc. The best that Christians can come up with is the Golden Rule and "love your neighbor as yourself"–concepts that do not necessarily originate with Christianity.

    We often hear the chant from the right: "We are a Christian Nation!" I've done some research, and I believe this has its roots in a group known as "Christian Dominionists" (although they reject that label–they also don't like "fundamentalists" either, but that is indeed what they are).

    One of the most highly influential figures was a guy called Rushdoony. He believed that the US should be reconstructed along Christian lines. He believed that Christianity was fundamentally anti-democratic, and that a Christian aristocracy should rule–only people who were Christian should be allowed to hold office. He believed that all the laws of the Old Testament were applicable in modern society. He believed in the death penalty for crimes like blasphemy, apostasy, witchcraft, ho-mose-xuality and adultery should be punishable by death. Burning, "death by sword" and hanging were his preferred methods of execution. He was also a Holocaust denier. Robert Welch, who founded the John Birch Society, was a pal of Rushdoony. Rushdoony was also a big fan and defender of legalized segregation and Jim Crow.

    Rushdoony is dead, but various accolytes and intellectual heirs abound, such as Gary North, who thinks that women who have a an abortion should be publicly executed. Among Rushdoony's followers and admirers: Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Gary North was once an advisor to Ron Paul. There is a whole network fanning out from Rushdoony to many prominent right wing figures. All of them will repeat the chant: "This is a Christian Nation".

    Think of everything you abhor and hate about ISIS, or the Taliban, or the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia. The mysogny, the bigotry, the intolerance–it's all to be found in the most extreme elements in the dominant religion in our own culture–Christianity. And before you say "they're not REAL Christians"–I have bad news for you. They ARE. All of their beliefs can be traced to and justified quite soundly in the Bible. And if the wall of separation were to break down in our country, sooner or later theocracy would emerge, and those influenced by people like Rushdoony would float to the top of the food chain, and if we truly became "A Christian Nation"–we would be no better than ISIS or Iran under the Ayatollahs, or the Taliban.

    July 26, 2014 at 12:39 am |
    • ddeevviinn

      Yep, there are those who claim to be followers of Christ who are quite capable of carrying out the most repulsive of human
      behavior. Always has been true, always will be true. That fact does absolutely nothing to change who Jesus Christ is, what He accomplished and what He will hold us accountable for.

      I have a fairly large circle of chrisitan friends and family. While we all at times fail miserably at reflecting the image of Christ, for the most part we go about our business feeding the poor, helping the homeless, taking care of orphans, trying our best to love our neighbor as ourself and ultimately, via these things, love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. I think you will find this to be true of any Christian who is serious about the claims of Christ.

      I have read pretty much everything from R. J. While I agee with many of his postulates, I understand your concern.

      July 26, 2014 at 1:18 am |
      • dandintac

        devin,

        I've read many of your posts and you're a very reasonable guy, in fact a nice guy. Everything you say is true–most Christians are reasonable, moderate, do good things, etc.

        But the same can be said of most Muslims also. In fact, I would say everything you said, could be said of Islam too, just subst-ittue Mohammed for Jesus.

        But with both religions, the seeds of fanaticism and extremism and intolerance are sewn right into the very fabric of the religion. It's right in your holy books, both the Bible and Koran. In the west, we've been fortunate to have secular inst-itutions that have largely domesticated Christianity–chiefly separation of church and state, although the religion is constantly pounding away at the wall of separation, and starting to punch holes here and there. When religion has power–real political power where it calls the shots and can do what it wants–you get ISIS and the Taliban–regardless of whether its Islam OR Christianity.

        When you say you've read RJ–are you referring to RJ Rushdoony? And you say you actually agree with his postulates? If true, this makes me worried. You say you are a moderate, and much of what you say is usually fairly moderate, but religious moderation is the very soil from which the seeds of extremism grow into ripe fanatics. If you actually agree with Rushdoony, this is NOT moderation.

        July 26, 2014 at 4:20 am |
        • ausphor

          dandintac
          Thank you very much for your reference to R. J. Rushdoony, whom I had never heard of, it explains a great deal about some of the Christian posters on this blog.
          Rushdoony asserted that all non-Christian knowledge is sinful, invalid nonsense. The only valid knowledge that non-Christians possess is 'stolen' from 'Christian-theistic' sources.
          Salero, scot, Theo, devin, Topher, Vic, b...fred, and all the others are part of the Rushdoony troll camp, AMEN.

          July 26, 2014 at 8:37 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          dandintac

          I appreciate the kind words in your initial line. This forum does not lend itself to maintaining the "nice guy" image, but a basic level of cordiality and mutual respect should be the goal of each of us.

          It was not my intent to give the impression that Christianity was the sole provider of altruism. I was simply relaying my personal experience with the Christians I know.

          I will have to disagree, and it is a fundamental disagreement, with your main premise that the mentioned atro c ities are the " seeds of madness" and the " fruits of religion." It goes without saying that history is replete with examples of hei n ous acts done in the name of religion. But these are no more or less at ro cious than those done by Pol Pot, Mao tse tung, Stalin or any other despot throughout history. I would contend that the seeds and fruits are actually the product of human nature. Anytime the human element is factored into the organizational equation, the potential for abuse and hypocrisy is present. But religion is not the culprit, it is the human being.

          Let me clarify my thoughts on Rushdoony. Like most of us he had mult i faceted views. He was a fideist in the line of Van
          til and Kypur, and I valued his thoughts in this area. He was also the progenitor of the home school movement and made many contributions to christian education. You were focusing in on the facet of his christian reconstructionism theonomy. I am an ardent proponent of separation of church and state, and as such reject his postulates in this area.

          Another clarification: I can assure you I have never implied or stated that I am " a moderate". I am not ( although perhaps somewhat politically and socially)

          July 26, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • bostontola

          devin,
          I understand that you may find aspects of his philosophy satisfying, but associating yourself with a person viewed by many to be a racist and Holocaust questioner could lead to misunderstanding of your position. I assume you disagree with him regarding the Holocaust, and slavery.

          July 26, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • ausphor

          devin
          Do you agree with his stated belief that "Rushnoody asserted that all non-Christian knowledge is sinful. invalid nonsense." Yes or no, please.

          July 26, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Good morning boston

          Yes, of course, I completely dismiss his opinions on the Holo caust and slavery. But I will say this, and it is in no wise supportive of his positions on these issues, it's always best to go to the source. It is much easier to grab an internet soundbite quote from what someone said, as opposed to reading the actual material and establishing the context in which it was said.

          I also think " associating yourself" may be a little too strong a phrase. As mentioned, I appreciate some of his opinions and have found them to be helpful, but other than that I have no real allegiance to him or his various ideologies. Let me give you a little analogy, although even as I type I'm thinking it's probably rather trite. I did not support Bill Clinton politically, in fact there were attributes of the man I found rather repulsive. Add to the fact that he was coming from a political perspective much different than my own and you have a recipe for disdain. But the truth is, I thought he made some very wise political decisions and was a very lucid thinker. Still didn't care for a lot of his ideology and shenanigans, but I gleaned the good from the whole. My thoughts on Rushdoony are similar.

          As always, I appreciate your input..

          July 26, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • bostontola

          Hey Devin,
          I agree, reading sound bites is unfair. His position on slavery is not out of line with his formative time, many had similar or even more aggressive positions. But his positions are simply out of the mainstream today. I don't fault people for being in their time and place of culture. If he had taken a modern position on slavery he would have been a heroic leader. I don't know if he shifted his position later in life as society moved, do you? I am more disappointed in his Holocaust position. He cited sketchy sources as his basis. That is not something a leader should let happen to themselves in any era. It indicates he may have fell victim to a confirmation bias. That's just speculation though.

          July 26, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          boston

          If memory serves me correct ( something it doesn't seem to be doing as efficiently these days) I recall reading what appeared to be a revision or perhaps even an amplification of his position on the Holocaust. He died in 2001 and it was published in the Chalcedon Report shortly before that. Perhaps I can try to locate it later in case you're interested. Gotta run. Enjoy the day.

          July 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • bostontola

          Likewise Devin, and thanks!

          July 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
      • ausphor

        devi
        So you are not a Southern Baptist, good on you, but do you condemn their behaviour or remain silent? Why are Christians so silent about the fringe groups of Christianity and leave it up to the state to control the likes of Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Branch Davidians, or the oh so many crooked Evangelists?

        July 26, 2014 at 8:08 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          In all honesty, I have no idea what you are talking about.

          July 26, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Almost forgot.

          I find it simply fascinating that you are able to determine what I think about a man, let alone what he thinks, who by your own admission you " never heard of" up until a few hours ago.

          July 26, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • ausphor

          devin
          I will take that as a duck. People often claim that moderate Islam does not condemn the radicals in their midst, Jihadists. I am simply calling out the moderate, so called Christians, on this blog for not calling out the outrider Christians group including the evangelist hucksters and scam artists.. Your comprehension of simple statements needs some work!!!

          July 26, 2014 at 10:26 am |
    • Vic

      It is very disconcerting to see people easily take the liberty and misrepresent the truth about Christianity by quoting the Old Covenant/Testament Law that DOES NOT APPLY anymore since the New Covenant/Testament, that is "Salvation by the Grace of God through Faith ALONE in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior." We are no longer in the "Dispensation of the Law," rather, we are in the "Dispensation of Grace."

      What you are describing in your post is basically a fascist Jewish Law and not a Christian one. Furthermore, please note that it is also Christians who set the record straight and established a secular working platform for government when other Christians misinterpreted the Bible and reverted back to the Jewish Law that DOES NOT APPLY. What you see in the case of Islam is the implementation of their basic tenets and not just extremism!

      July 26, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • ausphor

        Vic
        Psst!! It is scam, all religions, perpetrated by the hustlers that make a good living at shearing the sheep/suckers. Back in tribal days it was the medicine man/psychic that could get the people to BELIEVE that he dad the power, little has changed except that the present breed of hustlers have big mansions.

        July 26, 2014 at 11:42 am |
  4. Reality

    Some of the koranic passages that drive Muslims to the horror and terror that is Islam:

    http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
    o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
    o
    "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    July 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
  5. myweightinwords

    I always find it interesting when Christians protest the destruction of some holy site or church or similar that is Christian in nature, yet many of them rally strongly for the destruction of symbols of other faiths.

    If this organization was at least calling itself Christian and destroying historical Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim sites, would they support it?

    As has already been said, this group is extremist and do not represent Islam, but only their narrow, twisted view of it. They are like the Westburo Baptist idiots, if they suddenly got power.

    July 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • No Wake Zone

      This group is extremist and clearly represents Islam.

      July 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        Are you prepared to say the same of groups like, say, the Army of God or the Church of Jesus Christ Christian–to wit, that they are extremist and represent Christianity? Or is such opprobrium only for "them-thur ragheeds"?...

        July 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • No Wake Zone

          I am prepared to say the same of groups like the Army of God. They are extremist and represent Christianity.

          July 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          Just making sure. There are plenty of jackwagons who will say the one is representative, but not the other...

          July 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        If this group clearly represents Islam, then so do groups like Westboro Baptist and those who advocate conversion at all costs and violence against non-believers/gay people/abortion doctors, represent all of Christianity.

        Which is to say, wrong.

        July 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • No Wake Zone

          This group is exactly like Westboro Baptist.

          July 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
  6. thesamyaza

    at least they didn't taking in smiling selfies because that would really be offensive

    July 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • No Wake Zone

      If you look closely, there is a man standing near the top of the structure taking a selfie. He is wearing a dirty brown sheet.

      July 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
  7. Chris

    The problems are multiple:

    Persecution of Christians worldwide
    Christians who think listening to Christian music makes them a Christian

    Both the categories above are equally contribute to rise of true Christians with a servant heart. Christianity has always flourished when there is persecution.

    For those pseudo Christians that walk around with a phony grin, may God be your judge!

    July 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • Alias

      I dissagree.
      The problem is faith in a god that doesn't exist.

      July 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Lee

      Phony grin?

      As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19

      July 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      So tell me, skippy, is persecution of other religions not a problem in your view? It's okay to persecute Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc.?...

      July 25, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      "Persecution of Christians worldwide"

      A taste of their own medicine perhaps??

      July 26, 2014 at 8:12 am |
  8. bostontola

    The destruction of heritage sites is awful. I have no religious association, but these religious heritage sites are part of our shared human heritage. I think they deserve respect. I thought the Taliban was bad when they destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and this is awful as well. The same goes for native American heritage sites.

    July 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Hear! Hear!

      July 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      i agree.

      July 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      Strange, innit, that the RWNJs who are running around with their hair on fire about Jonah's tomb were strangely silent about Bamiyan? You'd almost think they don't care about non-Christian holy sites...

      July 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      So, skippy, how much is ISIS paying you to troll comment boards?...

      July 25, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        Sorry, this was for alakhtal's verbal spew...

        July 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Agreed.

      July 25, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
  9. Alias

    At least they blew up someone who was already dead this time.
    This is a step in the right direction.

    July 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      -shakes head- i agree.

      July 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Reality

      A waste of explosives as Jonah was simply another myth as were Abraham and Moses. Details previously presented.

      July 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
  10. Salero21

    Will Christianity ever rise in Iraq? I don't know, nobody knows, only God knows. One thing I know and I'm certain of, and is; that these people will continue to walk in rubble and ruins. Unless they can believe and then understand that God Loves them and that idolatry is Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE.

    July 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "nobody knows, only God knows." it's like you can't help but contradict yourself.

      July 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      LOLOL ... a Christian polytheist talking about idolatry ... LOLOLOL

      July 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      unlike Christians Muslims are not Idolaters, and for those of us are "idolaters" that's just a misunderstanding you see the golden caff was not a god but it was a symbol of a god, much like the crucifix is to you

      July 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Do you think they'll panic?

      July 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  11. alakhtal

    Are you kidding? If Assyrian Christians given away 7000 years civility for $475 then Christianity will reemerge in Iraq in new flavor and in outer.
    There’re millions of Christian who love to convert to Islam or stay Christian, Hindu, Buddhist get a job in Iraq.
    When the Yanks invaded Iraq! Iraqi elites sold everything and fled to work as petty as janitors the world. Now it’s about time to let the whole world work for ‘em.

    July 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "There’re millions of Christian who love to convert to Islam or stay Christian"...

      I'm think mostly the latter...

      July 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Løki

      Iraq is a crap-hole that I'm glad I will never see again...

      July 25, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      So, alakhtal, does ISIS pay their trolls as well as the Kochs do?...

      July 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
  12. crittermomagain

    It's certainly a sad historical loss. I wish the article included a photo of the building as it was ... what remains looks really stunning.

    July 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  13. tomasseffect

    Destroying a Holy site shouldn't mean much of anything. G-d NEVER intended us to worship a Holy site, but to worship Him.

    July 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Holy: 1. dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.

      I think the religious should be required to prove their God exists to claim anything or any place is holy. Then we can remove the "holy" or "sacred" designation from every place on earth since not a single religion can step up and prove their God is real.

      July 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      then your religions SUUUUURE have gotten it wrong then. Worshipping sites and worshipping mammon is all religion is about these days!

      July 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • new-man

      you are correct; and I think it's also silly to ask if Christianity will rise again in Iraq because Christianity is about one's relationship with God, it doesn't matter where one's locale is. Our body is the living temple, if the Holy Spirit dwells in you then you are housing the presence of God, so no physical location needed.

      July 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        nicely put. So how do you think religion in America has gone so wrong. Multi-millionaire televangelists bringing people to churches bigger than football fields and asking for money, money and more money, churches on every street corner ... ?

        July 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • new-man

          the answer lies in your question. like I said somewhere yesterday that unfortunately many Christians are religious. it's not supposed to be this way. Christianity is knowing God well, having an intimate knowledge and relationship with Him. Many who seek and are satisfied to be told of their heavenly Father for an hour per week will settle for religion instead of relationship.

          July 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Løki

    I am doubting the veracity of 'Jonah's Tomb'.

    July 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      be honest loki.

      we all know where jonah's tomb is..................it's right beside davey jones locker, once the whale/fish pooped him out. lol

      July 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        And here I was celebrating the destruction of the Jonas brothers tomb...

        July 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Løki

          Apparently, I cannot type L.O.L. without dots any more

          July 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The Jonas Brother's Tomb is right next to one of the Monkees' lockers?

          July 25, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          sea-monkeys?

          July 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think its a Davy Jones reference, not a sea monkey reference...

          July 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Alias

          Are we talking about the normal sea monkies here, or the ones with wings?

          July 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  15. Vic

    That's what happens if Islam ever takes hold of power, it is a fascist ideology; an Islamic State is NEVER a Free State.

    Obviously, all those Islamic movements popping up all over are a referendum on an Islamic State, Sharia Law and conversion by the sword.

    p.s. The Christian Magi is believed to had been from Babylon of Mesopotamia—present-day Iraq. Also, the Jonah reference for the "Resurrection of Christ" is found on so many ossuaries in Israel.

    July 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      Well, Vic, how about the achievement of Christian culture in America eradicating Native American beliefs? Was that okay? Puritan law's greatest achievement in America was the Salem witch trials, in perfect reflection of what was going on in Europe at the time. Is that something to be proud of? Spanish Inquisition? Italian Inquisition? The Thirty Years' War? The Troubles in the Six Counties? Stop pretending that Christian theocracy would be any more enlightened that Islamic theocracy; its track record is just as ugly. Until the concept of theocratic governance is rejected by ALL religions, it is a danger that must be guarded against by anyone who values freedom of conscience...

      July 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      Oh, and let me ask you, skippy–is Charlemagne's policy of baptism by the sword somehow more enlightened than ISIS's? Is baptism by the sword okay when your team does it, but not all right when attempted by others? Or are you ready to admit that forced conversion is evil no matter which religion is doing it?...

      July 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Great point Vic. Northern Ireland shows us clearly that when Christianity takes power, peace will always reign.

      July 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • Vic

      To all:

      Please don't mistake 'human doctrines' for the "True Message of the Gospel-Salvation."

      In Christianity, there is no human dominion, rather, a Divine Dominion ONLY. Christianity is Faith/Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      July 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Doris

        You know, Vic, come to think of it, last time I was at the local discount store, I think I did see where they were trying to pass 'human doctrines' off as genuine "True Message of the Gospel-Salvation®." (eyeroll)

        July 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        "In Christianity, there is no human dominion, rather, a Divine Dominion ONLY"

        And you don't think the Muslims think their only dominion is divine? Every religion claims this.

        July 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Vic

          Not so.

          Christianity does not proclaim human government or hierarchy, rather, God the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

          July 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          ? Are you saying there are no "Christian" governments? I would love for that to be true, sadly many millions of Christian Americans think of themselves as a "Christian Nation" and say so often. The only difference between Christians and Muslims is a couple hundred years of religious evolution. The Christians mostly stopped converting people at the point of a sword two hundred years ago, the Muslims aren't there yet.

          July 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Vic

          You can have a Civil Government —i.e. the United States— for order in the land but that's not an ecclesiastical one.

          Jesus Christ did not form any government as a man, rather, He is the Head of the Church —simply believers— as a Divine.

          And yes, the United States is in fact a Christian Nation by the majority of its people and not by the form of its government.

          July 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." – George H. W. Bush.

          July 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Bob

          Vic, the whole Jesus-sacrifice-salvation story that you keep pushing at us, the foundation of your crazy superstition, is a steaming pile of bull-do, as is your holy ghostie nonsense.

          How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          July 25, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Vic, you wrote "And yes, the United States is in fact a Christian Nation by the majority of its people and not by the form of its government." I'd refer you to the Treaty of Tripoli, which was negotiated by a commissioner appointed by George Washington and which was signed by Washington's successor, John Adams, after a unanimous ratification by the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, becoming the law of the land on June 10, 1797. The treaty states:

          "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

          Hopefully, you do not believe in "Christian privilege" – see the Wikipedia article at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_privilege if you are unfamiliar with the term – but I find many people who declare the U.S. to be a "Christian Nation" do believe in Christian privilege, believing that government endorsement of their religion, such as placing the Ten Commandments in courthouses and other government buildings, erection of crèche displays at Christmas, etc., is acceptable and desirable.

          America's founding fathers knew the danger of government endorsement of any religion and the identification of a nation with any particular form of religion. They had the example of the religious conflicts in Europe and were also aware of the persecution of Christians by other Christians in the American colonies, which is why it is important that people know the danger of declaring the U.S. to be a "Christian Nation" because that is the religion with the largest number of adherents within the country.

          Prior to the colonies joining to form the United States, some colonies had a de facto state religion. In Virginia, which was the colony of Thomas Jefferson, the Anglicans dominated the government and persecuted and imprisoned Baptists. Most American Christians today would not regard Baptists as dangerous heretics, but Baptists were one of the most widely persecuted Christian groups in the American colonies. Michael Farris writes in from Tyndale to Madison: How the Death of an English Martyr Led to the American Bill of Rights: "By the 1760s, the Baptists of Virginia had become the colony’s most-persecuted sect." He includes a letter from James Madison, who would later become the fourth president of the United States, regarding the attempts to suppress the Baptists by the Anglicans:

          ...We have it is true some persons in the Legislature of generous Principles both in Religion & Politicks but number not merit you know is necessary to carry points there. Besides[,] the Clergy are a numerous and powerful body[,] have great influence at home by reason of their connection with & dependence on the Bishops and Crown and will naturally employ all their art & Interest to depress their rising Adversaries; for such they must consider dissenters who rob them of the good will of the people and may in time endanger their livings & security.

          In Virginia, tobacco tax revenues were used to fund the Anglican clergy while Baptist preachers were imprisoned and even stoned. From Debating the Issues in Colonial Newspapers: Primary Doc_uments on Events of the Period (Debating Historical Issues in the Media of the Time), chapter 22:

          In 1771 four Baptist preachers in Virginia were given five-month jail sentences for holding unlawful religious meetings – that is, services that were not approved by the general assembly and did not use the liturgy of the Church of England. The ministers' plight was not unusual. Baptists had been the target of attacks in Virginia since they migrated in large numbers into the colony following the Great Awakening (Chapter 8). Some Baptists faced more dire consequences for their worship and preaching than imprisonment. Some were beaten or stoned. One minister, David Thomas, was grabbed while preaching, dragged outdoors, and beaten. When his attacker pulled a gun to execute the stunned Baptist, a bystander wrenched it from the would-be assailant's hand.

          In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Puritans dominated the government and would not tolerate Baptists, Catholics, nor Quakers, whom they deemed heretics, in their midst. In 1659, 1660 and 1661 they hanged three Quakers, who came to be known as the "Boston Martyrs". Their hatred of Catholics was so great that in 1647 they passed a law which allowed them to put to death "all and every Jesuit, seminary priest, missionary or other spiritual or ecclesiastical person made or ordained by any authority, power or jurisdiction, derived, challenged or pretended, from the Pope or See of Rome" found in their colony.

          The colony of Maryland, which was founded by the Catholic Lord Baltimore, of course, respected Catholicism, but in 1649 passed the Maryland Act of Toleration stipulating that anyone who denied either the Trinity or the divinity of Jesus Christ could be punished by execution. Fortunately, no Jews nor non-trinitarian Christians within the colony were put to death because of the law.

          America's founding fathers wished to separate the power of the state from religion, which is why Jefferson and others wanted a wall of separation between church and state. They were joined by the predecessors of many of today's evangelical Christians who believe America is a "Christian Nation." Predecessors of the modern-day evangelicals were aware of the dangers of allowing some to declare their religious beliefs should prevail as they were persecuted by other Christian sects that dominated colonial governments. From The Framers and the Faithful: How Modern Evangelicals are Ignoring Their Own History at washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0604.waldman.html :

          It is ironic, then, that evangelicals–so focused on the "true" history–have neglected their own. Indeed, the one group that would almost certainly oppose the views of 21st-century evangelicals are the 18th-century evangelicals. John Leland was no anomaly. In state after state, when colonists and Americans met to debate the relationship between God and government, it was the proto-evangelicals who pushed the more radical view that church and state should be kept far apart. Both secular liberals who sneer at the idea that evangelicals could ever be a positive influence in politics and Christian conservatives who want to knock down the "wall" should take note: It was the 18th-century evangelicals who provided the political shock troops for Jefferson and Madison in their efforts to keep government from strong involvement with religion. Modern evangelicals are certainly free to take a different course, but they should realize that in doing so they have dramatically departed from the tradition of their spiritual forefathers.

          July 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Jesus Christ did not form any government as a man" He may not have accomplished his plan, but my understanding is that the 12 were most definitely going to be the new kings of the 12 tribes, with the Son of Man sitting on the cosmic throne of judgement.

          July 30, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • LaBella

          Vic,
          We are a secular nation with Christianity as the majority religion.
          Different from a Christian Nation.

          July 30, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • igaftr

          vic
          "And yes, the United States is in fact a Christian Nation by the majority of its people and not by the form of its government."

          By that logic, The US is an ant colony, since there are more ants than humans.

          By your logic, the US is a caucasion nation, since they are the majority...see the HUGE flaw in your logic vic?

          The US is not now, nor has it ever been a christian nation.

          July 30, 2014 at 10:56 am |
      • MidwestKen

        Vic,
        Don't mistake 'human doctrine' for the "true message of Allah".

        July 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        That is because Christianity is a world rejecting religion (as is Islam).
        Those types of spiritualities are generally predicated on the acceptance of ethical and behavioural doctrines as laid down by a founder authority. Instead of being ethno-centric, they will welcome anyone who is willing to supplicate themselves to the authority of the founder's representatives and/or the dogma laid out by the frequently suprahuman founder. These belief systems seek to trascend whatever sociopolitical environment their adherents find themselves in by asserting universal ideals over cultural traditions. In advancing their own identi/ties as the sole arbiters of Universal Truth, they tend to be divisive in nationalistic environments.
        Fundamentalist Christianity is a good example. A shared focus on overcoming man's shared character flaws in order to attain posthumous paradise through strict adherence to dogmatic ethical codices gives comfort, identi/ty and a sense of exclusivity over the wider, unenlightened populace.

        When this type of religion aspired to, and actually attains, governmental powers it invariably leads to theocratic despotism in which the rulers suppress opposing ideologies, subvert all education to seize early the minds of the young, and kill, lock up, or drive underground all heretics.

        July 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • Bob

        Vic, the whole Jesus-sacrifice-salvation story, the foundation of your crazy superstition, is a steaming pile of bull-do.

        How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

        Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
        Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
        http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

        July 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        Yeah, skippy, because Randall Terry never called for replacing the Consti.tution with the Decalogue, right?...

        July 25, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "an Islamic State is NEVER a Free State."

      If you had said "a religious State is NEVER a Free State." then I would give you a pass. Trying to try "bad theocracy" to a single religion is missing the point about why all theocracies take away individual freedom and human rights.

      July 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        try = tie...

        July 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • Alias

      Just look at what a christian theocracy did for western Europe.
      Does the term "Dark Ages" sound familiar?

      July 25, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
  16. johnbiggscr

    '(Perhaps less likely is the rabbinic claim that his experience in the belly of the great fish was so terrible that God granted Jonah a rare exemption from the travails of death and he went up to heaven alive.)'

    Less likely than what? That someone called Jonah survived several days inside the belly of a whale? Give me a break.

    July 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • Woody

      If Jonah "went up to heaven alive" who was in his alleged tomb? Maybe he went up to heaven alive and the lack of oxygen and the below freezing temperatures of the high alti.tude killed him and they beamed his body back down. Makes perfect sense. I guess it just wasn't Jonah's day.

      July 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    Just thugs looking for money and using religion as justification.

    they gave Christians the 3 choices to either:
    Flee – the thugs will take your house and belongings and get money
    pay money – the thugs get their money
    die – the thugs kill you and take your house and belongings and get money

    see a pattern here? As it has been for thousands of years, it's just about power and money in a primitive culture.

    July 25, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      That's a perfectly reasonable thesis, doG, and very possible, but it's more likely that these jackwagons truly believe in their twaddle and are acting on those beliefs. The Christians who pillaged Central America were filled with gold fever, true, but also sincerely believed that it was their mission to eradicate the natives' "Heathern(tm)" beliefs, with the result that much of Mayan/Aztec culture was destroyed down to the figurative roots. The motives behind ISIS and their crusade to destroy everything they think is un-Islamic could have very similar roots...

      July 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    this is like star trek geeks breaking star wars toys.

    My magical fairy story is better than your magical fairy story!

    Naah naaah na naaaah naaaah!

    July 25, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Except that there is no doubt that Trek is The One True Sci-Fi series.
      (Coincidentally, I am wearing my ST:TNG hoodie today – http://michaelalen.storenvy.com/collections/62488-all-products/products/1164024-hero-hoodiez-space-ace)

      July 25, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      Would that make JJ Abrams into God, since he now runs both franchises?...

      July 25, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • bostontola

        If he does a Babylon 5 movie, he'll be the Trinity.

        July 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          The very thought has ruined me for the rest of the day...

          July 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • Løki

          I liked Babylon-5, but I would much rather see another Firefly movie... the death of Hoban "Wash" Washburne still haunts me...

          July 25, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

          "the death of Hoban "Wash" Washburne still haunts me..."

          as it should......

          July 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          No love for Farscape?

          July 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          doc: i loved farscape........until it was cancelled. the season finale drove me insane. i was like WHAT! NO!
          how could they do that to me! just as he finally got the ring on her hand. AHHHHHHHH! i just want to scream. lol

          July 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          He should remake the old Disney classic "The Black Hole" to make it full circle sci-fi...

          July 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • Løki

          If you have DirecTV... check out the channel PIVOT... they play Farscape reruns everyday... they just rebroadcast the Peacekeeper Wars this past weekend

          July 25, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Løki

          "I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I..."

          July 25, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          nope i can't do it. i can't bring myself to watch farscape ever again.

          the finale of the last season killed me. they took a happy moment and vaporized it. i almost cried........if it wasn't for me screaming at my tv. lmao

          July 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          FAVORITE FIREFLY QUOTES.

          Zoë: Whose colors are they flying? [...] Are we really getting out?
          Mal: We are.
          Zoë: [almost crying] Thank God.
          Mal: God? Whose color is he flying?

          Mal: Well, what about you, Shepherd? How come you're flying about with us brigands? I mean, shouldn't you be off bringing religiosity to the Fuzzie-Wuzzies or some such?
          Book: Oh, I got heathens aplenty right here.
          Mal: If I'm your mission, Shepherd, best give it up. You're welcome on my boat. God ain't.

          The Operative: Do you know what your sin is Mal?
          Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Ah Hell... I'm a fan of all seven. But right now... I'm gonna have to go with wrath.

          Kaylee Frye: Have faith, Captain!
          Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Not today.

          Shepherd Book: [dying] I ki11ed the ship that ki11ed us. Not very Christian.
          Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: You did what was right.
          Shepherd Book: Coming from you that means – almost nothing.

          They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people..
          . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave.

          July 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Løki

          "I ain't lookin' for help from on-high. That's a long wait for a train don't come." – Malcolm Reynolds, “Serenity"

          July 25, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          Let's go back to the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a ninety-pound girl, 'cause I don't think that's ever gonna get old.

          lol i love that part.

          July 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Løki

          Hello fellow Browncoat

          July 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I refuse to watch "Serenity" because as long as I don't see Wash die, he isn't dead.

          July 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  19. lunchbreaker

    Even if their is a God, what is so holy about the dirt beneath your feet, a man-made structure or a tomb?.

    If you truly believe that everything on this earth and the earth itself will be destroyed and you will live for eternity somewhere else, why all the bloodshed over stuff?

    July 25, 2014 at 10:55 am |
  20. bostontola

    ISIS is as extreme as it gets. This isn't just a war on Christianity, it is a war on all that isn't Islamic. From another CNN report today:

    "The group has threatened to destroy any shrine it deems un-Islamic.

    ISIS has blown up several Sunni holy sites in the last few weeks in Mosul.

    Last month, it destroyed seven Shiite places of worship in the predominantly Shiite Turkmen city of Tal Afar, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Mosul, Human Rights Watch has reported, citing local sources."
    ------

    These people are nuts, bat sh!t nuts. They are destroying Shiite, Sunni, anything that doesn't meet their extreme standard. All this in the name of their religion.

    July 25, 2014 at 10:55 am |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      As you point out,. boston, this is a war on anything that does't fit their twisted little world view; they have struck not only at Christianity, but Islam–even their own branch of the religion. If there was any Jewish/Buddhist/Hindu/eetc. traditions in Iraq, ISIS would be targeting them too. Yet Baden sees nothing in what they are doing beyond their depredations against Christianity. I suspect that the actions ISIS takes against any religion other than Christianity wouldn't even get his attention. As long as the criticism of ISIS is limited to criticism of their attacks against one religion they despise rather than all of them, opposition to these theocratic thugs will never be anything but fragmented and ineffectual...

      July 25, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • bostontola

        ..., spot on.

        July 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          I'm going to be sorry I asked this, but what the sheol–I wonder if topher would have any problem with ISIS destroying Catholic churches in Iraq (if any exist there), considering his vitriolic hatred of Catholicism?...

          July 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • bostontola

          ...,
          Topher has some strange ideas in my opinion, but I don't see him supporting violence.

          July 25, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • joey3467

          You could argue that all Christians are pro violence because in the end they eagerly await the return of Jesus which according to the Bible will lead to a lot of violence.

          July 25, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          topher wouldn't support violence but Rainer would have.

          July 25, 2014 at 2:22 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.