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August 8th, 2014
05:36 PM ET

Who are the Yazidis, and why does ISIS want to kill them?

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN

(CNN) – In a church in Irbil, 40-day-old Yeshua lies asleep in a crib, his sister playfully rocking him. It's a peaceful scene. Their mother watches over them, but her face shows the fear and despair many Iraqi minorities have felt over the past few days.

The Sunni militant group ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has steamrolled into Iraq's north, forcing hundreds of thousands of minorities from their homes. The militants have beheaded some who won't bend to their will and are "putting people's heads on spikes" to terrorize others, a senior U.S. administration official said.

Nearly 40,000 Yazidis are trapped on the top of Mount Sinjar with few resources; many with just the clothes on their back, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an address late Thursday evening.

"These innocent families are faced with a horrible choice," Obama said. "Descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger."

So who are these people being threatened by the Islamic State? And why do the militant Islamists have them in their cross hairs?

The Yazidis

The Yazidis are one of the world's smallest and oldest monotheistic religious minorities. Their religion is considered a pre-Islamic sect that draws from Christianity, Judaism and the ancient monotheistic religion of Zoroastrianism.

Yazidis worship one God and honor seven angels. Unlike Muslims and Christians, they reject the idea of sin, the devil and hell itself.

Many Muslims regard them as devil-worshippers because the Yazidis revere an angel who, their tradition holds, refused to obey God.

Their religious differences have made them a target for persecution throughout history, most recently during the U.S. war in Iraq - in 2007, more than 700 people were killed when suicide bombers attacked a Yazidi village. Before that, they were targeted for centuries under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Iraq's Yazidis trapped, hiding from ISIS in the mountains

President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have said that if the Yazidis are not protected, their slaughter could quickly escalate to a genocide.

To help the trapped people, the U.S. has sent them humanitarian airdrops. Obama has authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State fighters who are threatening the Yazidis there.

The U.S. State Department's 2013 International Religious Freedom Report estimates that approximately 500,000 Yazidis live in the northern Iraq, accounting for less than 1% of the country's population. Another 200,000 live in other parts of the world, according to the website YezidiTruth.org.

Like the Kurds, they mostly reside in Iraq's north, many in the town of Sinjar in northwestern Nineveh province, bordering Iraq's Kurdish region. The province is home to mostly Arabs and Kurds, who have jostled for control over it for centuries.

Iraqi Yazidi lawmaker: 'Hundreds of my people are being slaughtered'

But Yazidis also reside in Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Iran and parts of the Caucasus region. The people speak Kurdish and are of Kurdish descent, but most see themselves as ethnically distinctive.

Iraqi Christians

Before being targeted by ISIS, an enormous portion - some say as many as half - of Iraq's Christians fled the country at the start of the U.S. war in 2003. Al Qaeda in Iraq, which preceded ISIS, brutally targeted the country's Christian minority.

According to the State Department, Christian leaders and nongovernmental organizations estimate that there areapproximately 500,000 Christians in Iraq - a that figure has declined by nearly 300,000 in the last five years. At one point there were over a million Christians living in Iraq.

Most Iraqi Christians are Chaldeans, who are communicants with the Roman Catholic church. They predominantly reside in northern Iraq.

The al Qaeda splinter group has taken control of the country's largest Christian city, Qaraqosh. And last month, Christians in the country's second largest city, Mosul, were told they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face "death by the sword."

"Christian communities are particularly affected: a people fleeing from their villages because of the violence that rages in these days, wreaking havoc on the entire region," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for Pope Francis.

The Pope said on Twitter: "I ask all men and women of goodwill to join me in praying for Iraqi Christians and all vulnerable populations."

Turkmen

The majority of the world's Turkmen, a Turkic-speaking, traditionally nomadic people, live in Turkmenistan and elsewhere in Central Asia.

But a small minority of them can be found in the Middle East, primarily in northern Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

eThe city of Tal Afar, whose population is mostly made up of Turkmen, was caught in the crossfire of sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis during the recent Iraq war - a suicide attack killed 150 people in 2007. The city's population dwindled from about 200,000 to 80,000 in just a few years.

Sunni Turkmen make up 1% to 2% of Iraq's population, according to the State Department. A smaller group of Shia Turkmen live there, as well.

Shiites

Despite the risk ISIS poses to Yazidis, Turkmen, Christians and the country's other minorities, the risk to Iraq's majority Shia Muslims is far more widespread.

In their quest to create an Islamic caliphate stretching from Syria to Iraq, ISIS has targeted Shiites in both countries.

In June, the group claimed on Twitter that it killed at least 1,700 Shiites in June. ISIS is also fighting Syrian President

Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria. Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, on offshoot of Shia Islam.

Like many of the minorities in in the Nineveh province, Shiites and Alawites have been labeled as infidels by ISIS.
Shiites outnumber Sunnis in Iraq on the whole.

Most of Baghdad is predominantly Shiite, but large portions of Iraq's western and northern territories contain Sunni majority populations.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Discrimination • Foreign policy • Iraq • Islam • Middle East • Persecution • Religious violence

soundoff (435 Responses)
  1. monica7c

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

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

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

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

    August 17, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • Doris

      spam

      August 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
  2. 19covenant19

    Jesus Christ has already returned

    with "BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES" for the Salvation of all.

    See him, with your own eyes, right here:

    http://www.19.covenant19.com

    August 17, 2014 at 6:46 am |
    • Doris

      Spam

      August 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
  3. mpa2000

    Many Muslims regard them as devil-worshippers because the Yazidis revere an angel who, their tradition holds, refused to obey God.
    ---------–

    So we aren't going to learn who this Angel was?

    August 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      I aw a story from The Daily Telegraph. It says it was the peac ock angel.

      August 15, 2014 at 10:18 am |
  4. awanderingscot

    "The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein".'

    Sir Fred Hoyle (English astronomer, Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University)

    August 11, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
    • hotairace

      Too bad many biologists and many other scientists disagree with him.

      August 12, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    • ragansteve1

      A very interesting analogy. I've seen others that are similar. This one is a bit more extreme.

      It becomes more interesting, in my opinion, as science is finding astrophysical evidence predicted by Einstein that supports the theory of the Big Bang as the point of origin for the universe. We'll have to see how that works out over the coming years.

      Unless there is a "multi-verse" as some scientists are now theorizing, this point of origin would mean that the universe sprang from nothing. For something to come from nothing, would be an interesting challenge to explain.

      August 12, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • G to the T

        "Unless there is a "multi-verse" as some scientists are now theorizing, this point of origin would mean that the universe sprang from nothing."

        I am not aware of any part of the Big Bang theory that says the universe sprang from "nothing". From what I've read, it is believed to have expanded from a singularity. A singularity is not "nothing".

        August 12, 2014 at 10:56 am |
      • igaftr

        That nonsense "the universe sprang from nothing" is completely different than any of the prevailing theories.
        No one is saying that. The only ones who say science says that are those who have no idea what they are talking about.

        By the way, where did your god come from if not mans imaginations?

        August 12, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • ragansteve1

        "The initial singularity was the gravitational singularity of infinite density thought to have contained all of the mass and spacetime of the Universe before quantum fluctuations caused it to rapidly explode in the Big Bang and subsequent inflation, creating the present-day Universe." I am not as stupid as you all apparently think. My question is, where do you get all that mass and energy? Don't tell me it just "always was there." You have no evidence to support that and it makes no sense. Therefore, I say "out of nothing."

        August 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          "where do you get all that mass and energy?'
          That is what we do not know. No one is claiming it came from nowhere, as you claimed above. We are claiming we do not know.

          You still have not answerred where your god came from, if not from mens imaginations. Did your god just spring out of nowhere? Are you going to attempt to claim it always existed, when this is also based only on what men imagine?

          August 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          OK. Fair enough. You don't know and I cannot prove God was always there to your satisfaction. Sounds like a draw to me.

          August 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
  5. ragansteve1

    Well, Doris, we disagree, probably for many reasons that I have already addressed in my writings above. But just to point back a bit, name one major war in the 20th century that was started because of religion. Let's even go back further. The Spanish American war? The Mexican War? The Civil War? The War of 1812? I'm not seeing it.

    Of course, once war is decided, leaders may use religion to drum up support. But if there were no religion, they would just find another tool in their tool belt, like race, or ethnicity, or class, or stopping the spread of communism, or whatever. I am not saying that there is never a reason we might have to go to war. I am simply saying that religion is not the CAUSE of any major war I am aware of.

    Even if you go back further in history, do you think the Romans conquered the world for Jupiter or Mars? Come on? They did it for empire and money. Sure, later on they declared the Emperor a god in order to further their goals. But that wasn't the reason. Even the Crusades, the most obvious of "religious wars", were really about trade routes and adventure and, ultimately, money. The church was involved, but not the cause.

    Blaming wars and other kil ling and vio lence on religion is a favorite thing for atheists because it fits so nicely into their goal of deni grating religion. But the facts, unfortunately for them, do not support the theory. Wars are e vil. And ultimately, they are started because of e vil men.

    August 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      oops! I meant this as a response to Doris below.

      August 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
    • Alias

      Vietnam.
      To stop the spread of atheism / communism.

      August 11, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        That was one of the stated reasons. Having been there, I would also say that a bigger reason was to feed Johnson's ego and the military budget as well as corporate/defense industry profits. But I may be being a bit cynical. In any case, it was not a Christian vs Buddhist war.

        August 11, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The Vietnam war had nothing to do with LBJ. It started with the French who were defeated in 1954.

          Even Eisenhower sent military advisers to Vietnam. This took place in 1950 when it was still French Indochina. When Kennedy sent more 'advisers' there were already 900 'advisers' in Vietnam that had been sent by Eisenhower.

          Eisenhower's "Domino" speech (1954) was a key statement of American interest in south east Asia.

          August 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Excuse me!!! I was there. It started, if you want history under Truman who aided the French in what was then Indo-china. Then it passed to Eisenhower with little build-up until it got to Kennedy. Kennedy didn't like it much (some speculate that might have been a factor in getting him killed, but I don't believe that). After Johnson took over the ramp up of combat soldiers took off (see Gulf of Tonkin incident). We had only a few hundred to a few thousand in Vietnam when Johnson took over. When he decided not to run for a second full term we had over half a million men there. Then Nixon took over and tried to win it. He failed in that regard and we got out. THAT is the history lesson for today.

          Don't get me started on Vietnam. I spent time on a ship in that gulf. And I lived through all the riots, hearing about soldiers being spit on, and on and on. So, don't tell me Johnson had nothing to do with it.

          August 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Fair enough – obviously LBJ ramped up the US engagement, more so than his predecessors – but he didn't start it and the topic was the cause of the war.

          I am sorry to hear that you had to be there, and thank you for serving at that very difficult time.

          August 11, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          No problem. Who knows why? Now on one cares anyway. Vietnam is doing well apparently and that is a very good thing. It was a rough time for everyone.

          Thanks,

          August 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
    • Alias

      I wonder if there is any estimate of the number of people killed by the christian theocracy responsible for the Dark Ages.

      August 11, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        I don't think a Christian theocracy was responsible for the dark ages. My history teacher laid that to the fall of Rome at the hands of the Mongol hordes, goths and visigoths, and others. Theocracies arose during that time and they did not help much. In fact, it could be said that they increased the pain for most of the population. (I am not in favor of a theocracy.)

        August 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • Alias

          Then your history teacher was using a text book from the American Public School system.
          There was a peroid of chaos, and lack of law that made progress difficult. It did not last long enough to really be the answer to the question. Look at the period when the Pope had power over governments. Scientists who attempted to teach things that were not in the bible were cinvicted of crimes.

          http://www.historytoday.com/jean-lindsay/science-dark-ages

          August 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Well, you are correct about the church being involved in some very bad ways. I'm not saying it wasn't. But it was ultimately the fall of Rome and thus the destruction of civilization as they knew it that caused the dark ages. And I would assume hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions died during that time period from wars, diseases, and more. But I don't have a record of how many. Still, it was far less than died from war in the 20th century.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "But it was ultimately the fall of Rome and thus the destruction of civilization as they knew it that caused the dark ages
          -------------------------
          Nonsense. Once Christianity spread in Europe, the constant in the so-called "dark ages" was control of the serfs by a Christian hegemony. The state (local kings or the Holy Roman Emperor in France and Germany) employed religion to keep the serfs in their place and enlisted the network of monasteries and village churches to maintain it.

          Only the aristocracy and the religious had any education at all and the aristocracy had very little.

          Meanwhile in Constantinople, the church continued with business as usual in the head of the (eastern) Roman empire. The Greek orthodox hegemony was challenged by multiple schisms particularly ones related to the divinity of Jesus. The Byzantines continued until well into the late middle ages when Constantinople was sacked by Latin Christians.

          August 11, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          If it were nonsense, then suggest to me how it would have happened if Rome hadn't fallen and was still the power in the region. I get it that the church has a really bad history during the middle ages. They did some good things, but on the whole, things were very bad. As I said in another place, I have no use for a theocracy. But my views are not nonsense.

          August 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          It's the idea of the 'dark ages' that I suggest are nonsense.

          Wikipedia has a nice summary of what I mean:

          "Originally the term characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the "light of Rome" after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century. This definition is still found in popular use, but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century). However, many modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages"

          I'll submit that the period was "dark" because of narrow-minded religious control of the western European peasants. There was very little education or social mobility.

          Yes there was a power vacuum in western Europe (and only in western Europe) formed by the fall of Rome but this vacuum was ultimately filled by the medieval church/state symbiosis.

          Conversion of the Goths started in the fourth century.
          Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons started in the sixth century.
          The Scandinavian Vikings were converted to Christianity in the twelfth century.

          August 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          GOPer, sounds about right to me. It was a dark time for western Europe, religious or not.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
    • dandintac

      Ragan,

      While it is certainly true that the big major wars between nation-states are usually not primarily caused by religion, you cannot deny that religion plays a role. Every leader in every war is always quick to invoke God and get the blessing of the nation's religious leaders. Why? Because it gives them divine permission. It is useful in getting the people to go along with it, when other justifications are too weak. It also gives leaders divine permission. And religious leaders are complicit, and useful to this endeavor. Therefore religion cannot and must not be excused. It plays its part, and does nothing to stop the slaughter.

      Furthermore, while religion may not be the cause of the big wars between nation-states, it IS the direct cause of many other conflicts, that while small, they are often intractable, bloody, and there are many of them–therefore the death toll is indeed significant over a period of time. Here's just a short list off the top of my head of conflicts and violence that would not, probably could not happen without religion:

      The Israeli/Palestinian conflict
      The IRA and Northern Ireland conflict between Catholics and Protestants
      The war between the Shias and Sunnis in Iraq and elsewhere
      The part-ition of India/Pakistan and the multiple wars between them, including terrorist activities and development of atomic bombs
      The US's "War on Terror"
      The Byzantine/Muslim wars
      The Thirty Years War
      The Crusades
      The second Sudanese Civil War
      The Lebanese Civil War
      The French Wars of Religion
      The many various Muslim Jihads
      The Buddhist Uprising in Burma
      The Civil War in Afghanistan, and that country's multiple wars and conflicts
      The civil war and genocide in Bosnia/Serbia/Croatia
      Muslims vs Christians in the Philippines
      Muslim rebellion in Thailand
      Civil War in Uganda conducted by "The Lord's Resistance Army"

      And it goes on and on and on and on.

      And this doesn't even count inquisitions, witch burnings, terrorism, and other random violence and murder and mayhem.

      You cannot deny the huge role religion plays. There literally could not possibly be an Israeli/Palestinian conflict if there were no Muslims or Jews for each other to kill. There would not have been an IRA if there were no Catholics and Protestants. There would not have been a 9/11 Terrorist Attack without religion.

      Religion is a frequent and major cause and motivator of war. That is a fact. Vast numbers of people have lost their lives because of it. Where it is not the actual cause, or the necessary cause, it aids and abbetts those who would bring about war for other reasons, such as greed and the lust for power. And in conflicts where it plays no role, it did nothing to stop the bloodshed.

      August 12, 2014 at 12:51 am |
      • ragansteve1

        Thank you for the list. It is very detailed and will be helpful. However, I don't believe I ever said religion never played a role in wars or violence. In fact, in several places I said it was clearly a factor, occurring together with other factors. My point has always been that it is almost never THE causal factor in a war. There are almost always (except with the possible exception of crazy terrorists) other factors that are more central to the conflict. Indeed, several if not many of the members of your list fit into that category.

        Religion has often been used as an excuse for war (e.g., the Crusades to Jerusalem), but not the cause. And as other in the discussion have pointed out, it can be a motivating factor after the wars are ongoing or even in the beginning in some cases.

        My underlying point, which upon reflection I think got buried in the discussion, is that atheists like to hammer the Bible and Christians with how violent the religious people, particularly in the Old Testament, were. But in comparison to wars started in the 20th century and aided by scientific technologies, they were pikers in terms of killing. They were much too beneficent.

        August 12, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • dandintac

          "My point has always been that it is almost never THE causal factor in a war." Steve, I don' tthink anyone is arguing that religion is the only cause of war. I'm pretty sure that all reasonable people can agree that wars almost always have multiple causes.

          However, I think you are trying to downplay it as a factor. Just look at the ISIS thing going on now. That simply would not, could not happen were it not for religion. Why? Simply because if there are not Shias or Sunnis, there can be no conflict between the two branches. Now sure–there may be other factors. Power, domination, etc. But it seems likely that this conflict could very well happen without those factors. But it could not possibly happen without religion.

          I also think you are downplaying the role of religion in the Crusades. Just as one example, the first crusade was launched by the pope. Now was there sacking of cities along the way? Sure–but what moved thousands of knights, peasants and serfs to leave their homes, for months, maybe years, and travel to some distant land for uncertain rewards. These people were moved by religion. Religion was absolutely central.

          When it comes to other factors for war–like Nationalism, dispute over lands, or whatever, we don't hesitate to all agree that these are causes. But when it comes to religion, people have to make excuses, soft-pedal and downplay, when the evidence is against that.

          Religion, without a doubt, is a major and often central cause of conflict around the globe, and always has been.

          August 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          dandintac, It wasn't in this post perhaps, but I think I made the point that for wha cko te rrorist groups, religion is a major factor. I am, and have been, talking about conventional wars. Those are where the VAST majority of the ki lling, both military and civilian occur. In Gaza now we are having collective apoplexy over 1500 dead civilians allegedly at the hands of Israel. In Germany there were hundreds of thousands of dead civilians due to allied bombing. We, or rather our fathers and mothers, didn't even bat an eyelash.

          Moreover, ISIL is NOT just about Shia and Sunni as you proclaim. ISIL wants to kill or convert, but mostly kill anyone who is not an extreme Sunni sect member adhering to this brand of Sharia law. These are different animals, and I am not using figurative language. And this is a movie coming to a theater near you soon.

          As far as downplaying goes, I suppose I see many other factors as more important. But my analysis is not intended to downplay an obvious role for religion in certain conflicts. At the same time, those of you who are avowed secularists or even atheists want to play up the role of religion in war for your own reasons. So, even if I did play it down, that would at least counter the arguments I read on this site daily. My presentation, however, I hope attempts a balance.

          In sum, my point is that yes, as I have said all along, religion can and does play a role in violence and war. That is unfortunately human as humans tend to bring their beliefs into every aspect of their experience. But in most wars, and the most violent and destructive wars, the primary reason for the initiation of the wars was not religion.

          August 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
    • fascinatedspectator

      Then please explain why religion produces FAR MORE "evil" men than atheism? Hmm?

      August 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
  6. boudicabpi

    Reblogged this on BPI reblog and commented:
    Who are the Yazidis, and why does ISIS want to kill them?

    August 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      If you are looking for a lengthy answer there is one in several places. But in short they are a very small religious group that has an mixture of beliefs apparently taken from Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and maybe others. There number I hear is estimated to be about 500,000 world wide. But that is not a confirmed number, just what I read in one post.

      August 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Oh, and ISIS wants to kill them because they are not devout Sunni Muslim. At least that is the stated reason, or excuse. Likely the real reason is so that they can clear the land of any non-believer and take their property.

        August 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
    • Reality

      Might want to read the cover story

      August 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
    • Doris

      And ISIS wants to kill them because that's the way ISIS rolls. If you don't believe the way they do, you are the enemy. Their approach is just a very crude and extreme form of evangelism.

      August 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
      • Alias

        ISIS doesn't tolerate those who do not support the cause.
        Much like Nazi Germany. Join or else.
        They think it makes them stronger.

        August 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        I would agree with crude. But evangelism is a stretch. They really don't want converts. They want either dead infidels or slaves. And they want their property and lands.

        August 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  7. bostontola

    The brutality of ISIS is not a fluke. ISIS, Hamas, and other extreme Islamic groups intend to bring their brand of Islam to everyone, everywhere. What makes me think that? I read their charters. They are killing moderate Muslims by the boatload because they don't subscribe to their brand, what will they do to non-Muslims if they get the chance? They are not looking to co-exist, nothing short of imposing their brand on everyone will satisfy them (again, by their own written words). They don't hide from this. They repeat it during news media interviews.

    I don't like what Israel is doing to Palestinians, or what the leaders in Syria and Iraq are doing, but these extreme groups must be stopped or we'll pay much steeper price later.

    August 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
    • austin929

      I think that is what the Pharisees thought about Christ. I see your point too. but also to keep in mind is the hysterical way the media reports this. and how our bias makes us feel. those people may have been on the suffering end when Bush went through and killed a million people.

      my ex room mate from south Sudan, who has a Christian name, he is a "lost boy". and his parents were killed. and they had to escape to ethopia, just the children left. and half of them died, from dysentery , some were ate by lions in front of the lad,

      and he says the reason that the north muslim clan attacked, his reasoning is that its because "the British colonized Sudan"

      We have got to learn how to appropriately reach people with respect. Abrahams parents were killed, he is a Christian, and he believes the reason was the british occupation. and he is a victim of the whole thing.

      August 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
      • bostontola

        Austin,
        My initial reaction to any people is to try to understand them and work out the differences. That often works. I believe some people are beyond that. Their motivation and beliefs are so extreme, that the only resort is to fight them. These extreme Muslim groups have charters that clearly state their position that compromise is out of the question, and nothing short of domination is acceptable. It may be true as you postulate that our own actions in the past may have contributed to their extreme position. That changes nothing for me.

        My position is not influenced by media hysteria. I have little respect for modern news media. I get my info from many sources and decide for myself. As I said, my position on these extreme groups is mostly formed by their stated charters and their public statements.

        I admire your desire to work things out and allay violence. My problem with that is that there is an existing track record that these extreme groups have established. I'm afraid their own track record substantiates my position. Sadly, I believe there are groups of people that are incorrigible, and are a threat to us. Sometimes the survival of an entire philosophy of society comes down to a violent conflict.

        August 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
        • G to the T

          I think I would point the finger at certainty. Religious certainty to be specific. It's nearly impossible to get concessions from a person that absolutely believes they are correct about something.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • Doris

          boston: "there is an existing track record that these extreme groups have established"

          A big track record. Around 1786, the Barbary states, from the ports of North Africa, were waging a war of piracy and enslavement against all shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar. Thousands of vessels were taken, with more than a million Europeans and Americans sold into slavery. When Jefferson and Adams called on Tripoli's envoy to London during the negotiation of the famous treaty with the U.S., they asked him by what right he extorted money and took slaves in this way. As Jefferson later reported to Secretary of State John Jay, and to the Congress:

          "The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise."

          The Koran obviously needs the Jeffersonian touch, whereby every verse dealing with virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and other puerile superst.ition, are excised with a razor blade – literally. In 1904, the Jefferson Bible was printed by order of Congress, and until the 1950s, was presented to all newly-elected members of that body. (A private organization, the Libertarian Press, revived the practice in 1997.)

          Reference: Hitchens, Christopher (January 9, 2007). What Jefferson Really Thought About Islam. Slate.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • austin929

        Bostontola, I realize that the world is in need. but I think Christ knew that a military victory does not promote spiritual life, Jeremiah was spiritually alive in a cistern, Joseph, sold as a slave. and the bible calls Christians "slave or free" to work to gain peoples heart and respect though love and not pride. to suffer and possibly die.

        and the scary truth about Bush 1&2, and Clinton and Obama all chanting "new world order" ............this with nato , the three oblisks in the Bank of London, Washington DC, and Vatican city, they have more power and money than any other regime. and they quite possibly are the "who.re that rides the beast". That "'system of anti Christ" is persecuted by satan and his army.

        just remember.................that is 2 terribly off track armies fighting one another.

        August 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      I agree wholeheartedly. If Israel were doing the things it does in a out of the context you describe, I would be the first to condemn them. But I completely support Israel because they have no other option but to defend themselves and attempt to crush Hamas. I believe both the Palestinian people and Israelis want peace. Hamas, not at all.

      August 10, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
      • G to the T

        So you believe an artillery strike into a heavy populated area is an appropriate way to target two enemies on a motorcycle? Because as I understand it, this recently happened and seems typical of Israel's defensive strategy.

        August 11, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Yes. War is hell. People get killed. I am sorry for the Palestinians, but at at least one level they asked for it. They elected Hamas to control Gaza. If they didn't know what Hamas was then they were blind. If they did, then they are accomplices. Either way, One must meet evil force with force. Evil knows nothing else.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • G to the T

          I guess my contention is that there are more precise ways to accomplish their same goals before they start doing artillery fire into a residential area just to (hopefully) hit 2 people on a moving target. If they had intelligence enough to use artillery, wouldn't it make more sense to use a method that focusing on those people without all the collateral damage? I think this is where Israel is losing the popularity contest. I find it hard to justify their tactics considering the overwhelming military advantage they posses.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          GT, Well, I am not a military tactician, so I will have to leave that the professionals. But I assume they weighed the estimated losses of sending in special ops versus artillery and the level of effectiveness in killing the terrorists as well for each method. Probably a lot like deciding on a drone strike, or not, in Afghanistan.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Probably a lot like deciding on a drone strike, or not, in Afghanistan."

          Which I would also disagree with for many of the same reasons. If you are willing to kill innocent civilians because you want to avoid the possibility of harm to your side, you are using a cowardly methodology.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Well, once again, you and I disagree. Have a nice day.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
      • igaftr

        ragan
        "But I completely support Israel because they have no other option but to defend themselves and attempt to crush Hamas"

        They have MANY other options. They are doing far more than simply defending themselves when they steal land, build illegal settlements, then steal more land as a "buffer" around the other stolen land. Look at their borders since 1948. They have been expanding, illegally.

        one option, return to their original borders...there is one option. If all they want is to live in peace..leave. That would solve the problem too.
        instead the trap 3 million people in a barrel and when those fish lash out, they murder by the hundreds.

        They do have a right to defend themselves, but that has never been what they are doing.
        You have a very one-sided myopic view of the problem.
        There are radicals on BOTH sides, and if you don't understandthat ISREAL is the aggressor and oppressor, you are sadly misinformed.

        MANY times, members of the UN have tried to charge isrealis with various war crimes, and other sanctions, the US vetoes every time ANY UN resolution against isreal. With the US backing them, and blocking the international community from doing anything, Isreal is free to act in any criminal way they choose...as evidence by their history since 1948.

        When I saw the Isrealis setting up lawn chairs to watch the murdering of children and cheering as the bombs exploded in gaza, it sickened me, as it should anyone with a conscience.

        August 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Thanks for your opinion. I see we could argue all day about this and get nowhere. So, have a nice day.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Alias

          @ragansteve
          You are intentionally ignorant.
          Surf the web some time, and learn what is going on in the region.
          Any site – except maybe Fox News – will tell you what Israel is doing to those people.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Alias, Thank you for your opinion of me. I'll keep my opinion of you to myself.

          I'll just say that I read and watch media widely and form my own opinions. That those opinions do not conform to yours does not make me ignorant.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Thanks for your opinion. I see we could argue all day about this and get nowhere'

          Most of what I posted was not opinion, but fact.

          The only reason we will get nowhere is because you are refusing to see both sides of the issue, and willful ignorance on your part. There are radicals on both sides, not just Hamas, but on the Isreali side.
          Try looking at things from the point of view of the palestinians, and news sources that are not so tied with the jewish community ( which excludes all US based media)

          August 12, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • ragansteve1

          igaftr, Well, it is accurate, as you say, that the UN passes all sorts of resolutions condemning Israel. But all that proves is that THEIR opinions are one sided and favor Palestinians even though Hamas has started nearly every conflict since they rose to power. It is also a fact that they use women and children as human shields hoping they will get killed and make Israel look bad to the world. It is also a fact that Hamas attempts civilian casualties on the Israeli side as well. Therefore, our state department has labeled them "a terrorist organization." And because of those FACTS, I say kill them where ever we find them. The collateral damage of innocent civilians is on them not on Israel.

          August 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • austin929

        " But I completely support Israel because they have no other option but to defend themselves and attempt to crush Hamas"

        Israel is under the curse. they have rejected the parameters of the new testament. I believer that when Christ returns the restoration of Israel is going to be different than the state of Israel, and I mean no anti Semitism by that.. I believer both the u.s. and Israel are transgressors of the new covenant examples and commands.

        to say that Israel has no other choice..........they have no prophet to tell them to submit , like Jeremiah told them to do. the fact is, there are consequences to rejecting the way of Christ. suffering the consequences of doing things mans way and not God's way is a real thing, and God does not show favoritism to those who reject Christ. Christ will come and rule and will have a better plan of salvation than man has.

        "In that day"...........referring to the restoration...........when is "that day"? there are 65 million Jews in the world. 6 million in Israel. some are in Iran and Iraq. and the plan of salvation includes the descendants of Ishmael, beloved son of Abraham.

        Isaiah 60:7 ►

        Parallel Verses

        New International Version
        All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple.

        as well, Israel's enemies are cursed. and the "wh.ore will be fighting satans army when the devil turns around and persecutes the great apostacy of the anti Christ.

        August 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          If you are speaking of a spiritual choice, then I guess I could agree, at least in part. However, we are talking not about an individual's salvation. We are talking about a people who have a government that is largely secular wanting to stay in existence.

          With that I will have to let it go, because, if this doesn't address it, then I truly do not understand your point.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • austin929

          I think that they have no right to shoot missles into Palestine and kill people . and the united states had no right either. and since neither of these peoples who were the only hope to set the appropriate tone, that in a number where you are on a narrow road, you are setting yourselves up for failure.

          and its also a transgression from the new covenant for any nation, secular , atheist, or Christian, to disobey God's law. The law is forgiveness even as slaves. that is why the governments are enemies of God. The united states and Israel are going to be standing against God, and many will perish, aside from those who were not idolatrously devoted to the system.
          this is what Chirst said for the Jews when he returns.
          28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.

          resist the idolatry of a nation that perverts the ways of God . our presidents have been chanting "new world order" and it is time to obey the new testament at all costs. does it say in there that Paul had a right to defend his life and fight back? why didn't he? why didn't paul join the army?

          August 11, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Well, you and I disagree on that point. I believe that when you see e vil, it must be confronted. And when a people use women and children as shields for their weapons of destruction as with Hamas, and when a people chop off the heads of children and ra pe women and make them sla ves as with ISIL, then you k ill them where ever you find them. And if there is collateral damage, that is a price that they have brought, not us.

          August 12, 2014 at 10:05 am |
  8. ragansteve1

    For Tom, reality, nancytoby and other atheists who like to blame religion for all the violence in the world, I have a few questions.
    1. Who invented bronze weapons? Which shaman or other religious figure?
    2. Who invented iron axes and swords? What astrologer, or ancient priest?
    3. Who invented gunpowder? Which Buddhist monk or Zen master is responsible for that explosive material?
    4. Which priest or pastor invented the first gun with which to kill people?
    5. How about the machine gun, designed only for war? What priest or pastor is responsible for that?
    6. Which priest or other spiritual leader invented mustard gas, biological weapons, sarin gas, and so on?
    7. And finally, which religious leader split the atom and created the atomic bomb and all the related nuclear weapons?
    Moving on to corollary questions.
    1. Who started World War I and thus caused the deaths of upwards of 75 million people either directly or indirectly?
    2. What caused the Second World War, causing more millions to die? Who exterminated 6 million Jews in eastern Europe? And who did a similar thing with Jews, Gypsies, Cossacks and other ethnic groups in the then Soviet Union?
    3. Who started the Korean War? And why?
    4. Who started the Vietnam War? And why?
    5. Who started the first Iraq war, and why? And don’t even suggest it was religious?! Saddam was a committed secularist interested only in power.
    6. While there is religious cover given by the terrorists for the second Iraq war and the Afghan war, clearly even liberals do not believe that religion was the reason. So, what was the reason?
    The point, as you may guess, is that if your god (that which you believe and put your faith in for human progress) is science and by extension government, which god has caused the most deaths, particularly in the 20th century when killing became so much more efficient?
    You all love to beat up on Christians and Jews for believing in a Bible that includes historical facts related to war, including ugly killing. You might want to take a second look at the book, because if I were writing a book to try to persuade people to believe, I don’t think I would include the ugly side. That in and of itself gives the book some credibility. Our government certainly tries with every fiber to keep the ugly facts from us.

    August 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • bostontola

      Absurd on many levels. There is no reason to think Science was worshipped by the inventors of those technologies. In fact, there is plenty to conclude that the inventors of most of those things believed in the deities favored by the group they were in. There is no doubt that God believers used those technologies to impose their will on others. And, Government is not any kind of extension of science (there were governments long before there was science. Not a very persuasive hypothesis or argument.

      August 10, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        F-. You didn't answer the questions. And I didn't say "they" worshiped the inventors. I said you all worship science and government.

        August 10, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          No need to answer even 1 of the questions when the premise is false.

          August 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " I said you all worship science and government."

          That alone is presumptuous and thus if you were being graded, the grade given would be 'F'. You can't possibly make such a claim when you have no way of knowing if it is true or not.
          Religion has been used as an excuse for many major wars in this world but no-one is blaming all Christians, to do so would be to do what you have done here and lie and fortunately not many Atheists are that dishonest.

          August 11, 2014 at 6:21 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Are you listed among those I address in the first line of my post?

          August 11, 2014 at 9:11 am |
      • ragansteve1

        The premise is quite true. Science, which I notice you capitalize (like I capitalize God) even when not at the beginning of a sentence, or the early versions thereof are absolutely responsible for inventing these methods of killing people. And if you had tried to answer the second set of questions with any sense of honesty, you would have had to conclude that the primary reasons for all those wars was NOT religion. Were they conducted by "christians"? Some were. Were they conducted by people of other religions? Since 95% of the earth's population (or more) at least nominally subscribed to some religion during most of the killing, of course. But that does not mean religion was the CAUSE of the wars? No.

        "At the dawn of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was somewhere on the order of 5 million. (Very rough figures are given in the table;[table not included here] these are averages of an estimate of ranges given by the United Nations and other sources.) " If one can live with the UN guess at a population at this time, we k illed 15 times over the entire human race at the dawn of the modern earth just in World War I..

        The same study, admittedly speculative but the best guess anyone has, places the population of Earth at about 300 million at 1 AD. We probably killed that many in the 20th century, although my numbers above likely add up to only perhaps half that number. (There were many more wars than the ones I named.) So, the Biblical characters were pikers in terms of ki lling. They could have ki lled ten times the number they did and still have been benevolent in comparison to 20th century scientific mankind.

        Now, I am NOT blaming science for wars. Wars are human instruments of ha tred, destruction and all consequent e vil. But what I am saying is that it is just as false to blame religion for all of the violence in the world as it would be to blame science. I get so sick of people's attempt to den igrate religion by pointing to all the violence they cause. I am a follower of Christ, but I do not blame Islam for terrorism. I don't even blame atheists for the ki lling that went on in Mao's China or Stalin's Russia, although both were avowed atheists who spawned, or reinforced, nations that were absolutely anti-religion.

        I'll reconsider your grade if you answer the questions accurately and honestly.

        August 11, 2014 at 4:51 am |
        • ragansteve1

          "atheists" in the last paragraph should have been "atheism."

          August 11, 2014 at 5:22 am |
        • bostontola

          Your premise is, that atheists worship science. That is false. Your insistence that they do, doesn't make it true. I study science, I appreciate science, I trust the scientific method above other methods of finding objective knowledge, I don't worship science.

          I don't think that science is the best way to find all types of information. Art, literature, music, and a hike in the mountains are superior to science today in exploring our humanity. There is much more to life than science. As I said your premise is false. Many of your assertions are false, Government is not an extension of science. Even if it was, atheists don't worship Government. I respect The Governmental process as a social contract for order, I don't automatically respect the Government official.

          I'm sorry that you put so much time into your hypothesis, but it was I'll formed, based on presuppositions and assertions that are false. Not surprisingly, given that, your conclusion is false.

          August 11, 2014 at 8:52 am |
        • ragansteve1

          First, I wasn't addressing you in the first post unless you identify with the people I named. If you do, then my premise holds because they believe as I read in their posts, that religion is virtually evil and needs to be eliminated in favor of more rational (their words) means. They blame religion for many if not most of the wars.

          While "worship" for science may be a little extreme, it is clear that they do not accept any explanations for what is other than the scientific ones. Thus, they trust and place their faith in science. And thus, finally, they worship science.

          Now, to the more central question, the cause of most deaths in wars is NOT religion. None of the wars named were caused primarily by religion. The world wars in Europe were among Christians. So it would be absurd to claim that it was over some religious doctrine. The wars in Asia were clearly started by and initially fought between people who had the same or similar religions. So, ditto.

          As I said in my final paragraph, what I am sick of is people blaming God and religion for all the e vil in the world. THAT, and only that, is my premise. My premise is that people are stupid when they blame religion for everything that is wrong with humanity.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • LaBella

          I guess you probably should have prefaced it to Tom, Reality and nancyboy only, since it appears that you want those three to respond to you exclusively.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • ragansteve1

          LaBella, I didn't say that. I said, ". . . "and other atheists who like to blame religion for all the violence in the world . . ." If you're one of those, then you fit in fine.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:22 am |
        • LaBella

          Ragansteve, I'm not an atheist, but the other ones responding to you are, and you kept reminding them that if they're not among those named, it didn't appear as if you were all that interested in conversing with them.

          That's the way it looked to me.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:26 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Funny thing is, I get all this dancing around my snarky comment about worshiping science and miss my main point about the blame for violence. I think some people have guilty consciences. Maybe someone should read my last paragraph in my second response to Boston.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:27 am |
        • ragansteve1

          LaBella, Sorry you took it that way. "Named" or included in the quote is fine. My main point is about violence and the blame game. If anyone reads my entire posts, that should be evident.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • G to the T

          "Thus, they trust and place their faith in science. And thus, finally, they worship science."

          I think we have different definitions of "faith". I don't have religious faith in anything that I'm aware of. I believe that the scientific process creates the best models of what objective reality actually contains. This belief is based on past experience and the evidences that science provides to be back up it's models. It seems you are using faith interchangeably with trust. I do trust science, I don't trust religious revelations as they are inconsistent and (in many cases) unfalsifiable.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          Religion is one of the major reasons that wars have been fought. To attempt to deny this, is foolish. It is not the only reason, but it is one of the most common reasons.

          Baseless beliefs that are religion, make people think they are right, and that means everyone else is wrong.
          It is a nonsensical and baseless source of confilct, and frequently is the named reason for war.

          The history of the world and religion proves that religion is often the named reason for war, and a quick look around the world today is all the proof you should need.
          There are other rwasons, but none are so completely baseless, and as a result, religions are detrimental to humanity, separating cultures from other possibilities, such as the extreme likelyhood that NO religion is correct, and that there is no logical reason to believe in "gods" considering there is no evidence of any such thing.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • ragansteve1

          GT, if you believe in it, then you have faith in it. Simple. But if it helps, I apologize for the snarky remark about worshiping science. That was not even close to my main point.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • ragansteve1

          igaftr, It's nice that you believe all of that. But did you really read any of the data I presented? Do you have any data to refute it?

          August 11, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • bostontola

          Steve,
          Your words in the OP:
          "The point, as you may guess, is that if your god (that which you believe and put your faith in for human progress) is science and by extension government, "
          ==> False assertion that a persons object of faith for human progress is that persons God. I have faith in my fellow humans, they are not my Gods either.
          ==> False assertion that faith in science extends to faith in Government.

          "which god has caused the most deaths, particularly in the 20th century when killing became so much more efficient?"
          ==> I've already shown that science is a God to atheists in general, and no one has demonstrated it is a God to any of the names you mentioned in particular. As to numbers, if it gives you comfort that religion isn't the sole cause of war and violent death, then good, that is true. What is also true is that religion has been used many times in history to justify horrendous actions.

          Your premises and conclusions are false.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          When the stated reason for war is religion, such has been the case countless times, all your "data" falls by the wayside.

          Science and technology are not the reasons for wars, but the tools of wars.
          You can turn a blind eye to the threat to humanity that religion represents, but some of us are not so blind.
          I am not by any means claiming that religion is the only reason, but it certainly is a frequently used one.

          By removing baseless superst!tions from the world, you will remove one of the biggest roadblocks to actual peace.
          As long as there are different illogical beliefs, there will be a completely unnecessary roadblock, and a major source of conflict.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • bostontola

          S/B: "science is not a God..."

          August 11, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Boston,

          Since you seem incapable of discerning my imitation of atheists' arguments about what Christians believe in, i.e., placing God and science in the same place in the argument, let me spell it out for you. My use of science as god is an exaggeration, it is a device, like a parody. My point, the only one I really care about, is the point that religion is not the causal force in most wars and certainly not in the major wars of the 20th century, the ones that caused by far the most deaths. And in spite of what igaftr believes, but apparently cannot refute, my premise stands on the data I presented.

          Much like in a scientific experiment, two things can happen together without one of them, or either, being the cause of the other. As I said in my second response to you, war, and violence in general, is a human condition not caused by either religion or science.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igaftr,

          "When the stated reason for war is religion . . . " In which war on my list was religion the stated reason? You're dancing and not answering the questions or providing any evidence.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • bostontola

          Steve,
          There are many causes for war, disputes over resources, power, and ideology/religion. So in some cases the war is about religion. In many other cases where religion is not the cause, it is a key factor being used as motivation/strength. Yes, there are wars where religion has no substantial role, so what. Science as a cause of war is much more rare. Technology makes war more intense, that is a different but important thing.

          Your parody did escape me, but the fundamental point is still weak, religion/belief in God has contributed to many wars and violent deaths. People take the action, but it is the fear and obedience bred by religion that makes people effective and determined killers.

          By your analogy, you could also ask whether science or religion has helped more people in the last century. My opinion is it was science. Religion was a major contributor to the civilizing of humans thousands of years ago. I believe we wouldn't be the great social animal we are without it. But in the last century, science has helped humans much more than religion, and much more than it contributed to hurting humans.

          Even if you believe in Christianity you don't need religion, you just need your relationship with Jesus. Religions have been corrupted, like just about any human organization. This comes from the hierarchical power structure of most religions. Science has a distributed structure with no authority. That uses human nature to limit power and hence corruption.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Boston, Now I think we are getting close to being on the same page. Sorry, if my little fit of snarkiness caused confusion. But the comments of the three named folks just Pi$$ed me off.

          I agree fully that science has been beneficial in the extreme. We could debate all day about which is more beneficial, but that is unnecessary. And it may surprise you to know that I also agree about hierarchy in religion. It is a serious problem for churches. While there are some resource benefits, the power issue often gets in the way of good work. I still disagree about the assertion that religion makes people fear and therefore go to war. There are many things leaders use to breed fear in people.

          In addition, let me use an analogy (hope it doesn't create more confusion). I can use a hammer to kill someone. Or, I can use it to build something. The same can be said of either science, or religion. That doesn't make either the cause. It simply makes them the tool of either a good leader, or an evil one. Getting rid of hammers will not keep people from killing each other.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • austin929

          I just bet thought, that the Sunni's are using religion as their front, that the struggle is one of revenge, and desire for territory. and the shunning of the british idea..

          religion fits into desires and funnels it but without the religion..............they would do the exact exact same thing. in the name of religion, simply out of selfish ambition and the in ability to obey the peace that the real God delivered and won.

          death is no object to either the devil, or a Christian. isn't that strange? no it really isn't. to live is Christ, to die is gain. (this Christian death is the death of a martyr, not a military warrior)

          August 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • austin929

          to clarify, death is the gaining of heaven. that is the gain.

          and the call to suffer is for the sake of those who will go to hell. why war and send the deceived to hell? that is the act that Christ prevented, and died to do so . that is why Christians are called to be humble slaves if need be, to win the heart of the enemy.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • G to the T

          "GT, if you believe in it, then you have faith in it."

          Nope. Again, I believe we have different definitions of "faith".

          August 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • austin929

          find ONE SINGLE VERSE, in the new testament, that condones using lethal force "if you are threatened as a nation or individually"

          I'll find one that says "fear not death"

          August 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          GT, If I were currently a teacher I might say, "go look it up." But I won't. Here it is from the dictionary. Look at the synonyms. You know what those are don't you?

          faith

          noun

          1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
          "this restores one's faith in politicians"
          synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction

          August 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • G to the T

          Conveniently, you omitted the other definitions of faith:

          1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
          2.belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
          3.belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
          4.belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
          5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

          I was using the first, religious beliefs fall under the 2 and 3 categories, which was exactly my point. I don't have religious faith in anything – please stop acting as if these are all equivalent, they are not.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Sure they are. They are parallel definitions in the dictionary. All faith rest on belief in something. It doesn't matter what you are believing in. I believe that my chair will not fall. Therefore I have faith in it.

          But this is ridiculous, not because I am wrong, because it has nothing to do with the central argument.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • dandintac

          "we k illed 15 times over the entire human race at the dawn of the modern earth just in World War I"

          Ragan–while your basic observations about killing and modernity are true in a strict numerical sense, you are omitting some very important factors.

          There were vastly more people on the planet in the 20th century than there were in antiquity. And a lot more people were packed tightly together in cities. In antiquity the vast majority of the population was highly dispersed. Most people lived where the food was produced. This made killing lots of people far more difficult.

          Also technology had changed. Machine guns and artillery are far more efficient at killing people en masse than are swords and spears. (There's a book called "The Social History of the Machine Gun" that makes for interesting reading). And it's not just weaponry. Locomatives, automotives, and aircraft make the transport of soldiers and weapons, and also of innocent civilians far more fast and efficient. By the 20th century, it became possible to move lots of weaponry and soldiers around to where the killing was desired, or to bring the people marked for killing closer to the means to do so. There are also soft technologies, heck–just record-keeping can help make the process of killing more efficent. Just ask the Nazis.

          Nowadays if you drop a bomb in an urban area, you WILL kill numerous innocent people. We bemoan this, and wring our hands, and will go on about how they "weren't targeted"–a reaction that would surely have bewildered a Mongol warrior in the 13th century who slew their enemies deliberately and up close rather than from a safe distance in the air.

          Imagine if someone like Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler, or Ghengis Khan had modern weaponry at their disposal, along with a densely packed urban population the size of China to work.

          So my point is–it's simply not a fair or relevant comparison, and indeed it would be misleading, to use the greater number of deaths in the 20th century as some sort of indicator to illustrate the morality or cruelty of the people or leaders in one era versus the other.

          August 11, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          dandinac (forgive me if I misspelled it), So, if I get your point the fact that we could not kill people as efficiently and people were more difficult to find or get to because they were spread out, we now are less valuable as human beings. So, is the ratio 10:1? 20:1? Do we now have to kill 20 in order to be as valuable as one in 2,000 BC?

          Actually, you're making my point while I'm kidding you a bit. Science has made us much more efficient killers. Science is not the cause of wars and killing. But its technology helps us do it better. But then, neither is religion the cause of wars and killing. People with evil intent are the cause.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
        • dandintac

          Ragan,

          "But then, neither is religion the cause of wars and killing. People with evil intent are the cause."

          And where do you think they get their evil intent? Their Holy Books!!!

          Nowhere in science is there a dogmatic book to be found that enjoins scientists to Kill the Other. This is not true of the Bible or the Koran. Taking the Bible as an example, there are multiple passages where the faithful are specifically commanded by God to kill followers of other religions. Here's just one of them:

          "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)

          Here's another:

          "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)

          There is nothing in Darwin's "Origin of Species" or Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity that tells people to kill those who refuse to believe their theories! Therefore it is a false comparison to compare science and religion.

          August 12, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • ragansteve1

          dandintac, First, I never suggested that there were no kil lings, wars or violence in the Bible. Such a claim would be absurd for anyone who has read much outside of the New Testament.

          Second, my central thesis has not to do with specific acts as much as it has to do with a comparison of the level of kil ling going on the in Bible compared to modern kil ling and wars. You can cherry pick a specific sentence from all that I have written and try to make me look false, but that is simply disingenuous. If you want to charge me with lying, say so. If you want to charge me with hypocrisy, then do it. Be brave.

          And then I will suggest that in pointing a finger at me, you have three pointing back at yourself because the level of violence has only escalated horrendously since the world has become more secular (with perhaps the exception of the middle east, although it might apply there as well) and with the new technologies for war that we now have.

          But thanks for your opinion. You do have a point.

          August 12, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • ragansteve1

          dandintac, Oh, one more thing: I don't think I would credit Darwin with the atom bomb, mustard gas, sarin gas, machine guns, and so on. But then Darwin does not represent all of science, does he?

          August 12, 2014 at 10:20 am |
    • Keith

      Religion has been the single most destructive force in human history. here it is again taking the lives of thousands of people.

      August 11, 2014 at 10:40 am |
      • ragansteve1

        Obviously, you didn't read anything I presented in terms of war in the 20th Century. Do you have any real data to refute it? Or are you just offering your opinion? If this the latter, fine. You have every right to believe what you want. If you have any data though, it might persuade me to take you seriously.

        August 11, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • Keith

          Your argument is specious. Just in case you don't know what that means, it is superficially plausible, but actually wrong.

          Religion is how evil men get stupid people to fight and die for them. Religion is the tool, not the cause but never the less it has been used by many to leave a path of death and destruction. It is being used today by men claiming to be Muslims and the cycle of destruction will continue.

          I did read everything you presented and I found that you provided no data, you merely presented a specious argument.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • ragansteve1

          So, you're saying that the Germans used religion to start WWII? You're saying that Stalin and Mao used religion to get people to kill millions? Talk about specious! And I do know what that means.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Oh, and I did speak about millions being slaughtered in various wars and other violent campaigns. That's not data?

          August 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          considering the Reichsconkordat, and Krystalnacht ( when the specifically targeted jews, jewish businesses) with the silent backing of the Catholics, if you are trying to claim religion was not a major factor, you would be completely wrong.
          You are trying to minimalize the role of religion as a destructive force, and that is not what history shows us.
          It was also used to bolster the troops moral, that they were acting according to "god". The Germans buckles on their belts all said God with us.

          Religions provide a good excuse for people to rationalize killing, war, destruction.( and pretty much anything else they choose...the bible for instance can be used to justify bigotry, killing, slavery, beatings..etc or the opposite..depends on how you interpret it.

          Remove superst!tions, you remove one major roadblock.
          I never said it was the only factor, but it is a factor that is often in play, and is often a major factor, if not the primary factor.
          You keep trying to minimalize it, history will keep a more accurate record.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igfatr, I do not think I ever said people do not use religion for their own ends, be they good or evil. But that does not mean that religion is the major causal factor in starting wars, or even maintaining momentum as you added. Evil men will find a way to do what they do. If it isn't religion, it will be race. If it isn't race, it will be ethnicity. But the real reasons are always power and money (or resources).

          Look at the Palestinian conflict for example. The simple answer is Islam vs Judaism. But that's not what it is about. It is about the fact that Palestinians feel they own the land and want it back. It is about Hamas getting money from Qatar and Turkey and Iran, and staying in power. It is about Israel wanting to stay in existence, and in control of the land and water that they have. Neither are most Israelis or most Palestinians particularly religious. They are mostly secular. And Hamas has simply hijacked Islam for its own purposes, the same as Al Quaida and ISIL.

          I'll borrow an analogy from a post above. I can use a hammer to kill someone. Or, I can use it to build something. The same can be said of either science, or religion. That doesn't make either the cause. It simply makes them the tool of either a good leader, or an evil one. Getting rid of hammers will not keep people from kil ling each other, or building houses.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          All you keep doing is minimalizing the role of religion.
          Why does hamas get support? because of the religious reasons they state as their cause to fight.
          Those other things are factors to be certain, but the most underlying, most basic reason, continues to be religion...it underlies everything/
          You keep on minimalizing it...then go there...live in gaza for a while...and see exactly how wrong you are.
          Easy to minimalize baseless religious nonsense from your computer...go there and see for yourself.

          Why did Isreal get established in the first place? RELIGIOUS BELIEFS...which was the start of ALL the destruction..since 1948.The country would not exist if not for religion, so ANY other factor is secondary. If not for religion, Isreal would not exist.

          Are you starting to catch on now?

          August 11, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Igfatr, Sorry. I'm not buying it. The reason the UN allowed the Jews to take Israel is simply that the western powers felt guilty that they had turned a blind eye to the holocaust for so long. It could have been any people anywhere.

          Aside from that, I only use that conflict because it has the most likely involvement of religion, and yet, has mostly other causes for the conflict. If you look at any of the major wars I listed, there is practically no involvement of religion in starting the wars.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Doris

          Steve – get real. Wars involve people, not robots waiting for a computerized set of instructions. Most people have beliefs that, to some extent or another, influence them in one direction or another in their decisions. It's much too simplistic to think that religious belief does not play a role at every level of what is involved in conflict and "war". If you want to argue something, argue that these same affects also play a role in positive things in life, but don't think you can disassociate religion from conflict – that's silly.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Doris

          OK the first part of the last sentence was messy.

          "If you want to argue something, argue that these same affects also play a role in positive things in life,"

          should be: "If you want to argue something, argue the role religious belief may play with regard to ideas/things people cherish and accept as the common good,"

          August 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Doris, Sorry, see my response above.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          " The reason the UN allowed the Jews to take Israel is simply that the western powers felt guilty that they had turned a blind eye to the holocaust for so long. It could have been any people anywhere. "

          Flat out false. Look up the Zionist Movement...a RELIGIOUSLY based group bent on making isreal exist again. They had been working on the issue for over 50 years, and believed it HAD to happen because of RELIGIOUS "prophecy" The ONLY reason Isreal exists is because of religion, whether or not you "buy it".

          So ultimately, everything that happens in Isreal or involving Isreal, would NEVER have happened if not for religion.
          Go ahead and brush off the truth...should be easy for a believer.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igatfr,
          I am aware of the Zionist movement, but I believe that if it had not been for the holocaust it would have failed. The western powers had already divided up the lands, inadvisedly I might add. Once again, religion was a part of this decision, but it was not the traditionally antisemitic west's goal to invest in Israel until the political fall out from their failure to act during WWII caused them to move in Israel's direction.

          There is always more to the story than just the simple, surface, "specious" argument.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          igatfr, Actually, now that I think about it, I may back off from that last statement just a tiny bit. From a purely secular perspective, I will not back off. But if you believe in God, then I think you might have something. God can make good come out of really ev il stuff, even though I am sure He would rather we not get into the e vil stuff in the first place.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • Alias

          Actually it was both.
          The jews were trying to resettle the holy land by moving back and buying one house at a time. However, the refugees now known as the Palistinians were removed from their homes with the support of the UN.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Alias, that is literally accurate, but leaves out the part about Palestinians being allowed to stay in the country. They refused to live under Jewish rule and thus re-settled in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza, which originally were not part of the UN agreement. It was the war that neighboring Muslim nations brought to Israel that displaced many of the Palestinians permanently. And it was the 1963 war that expanded Israel's border all the way through the Sinai and into what is now Syria. Then Israel pulled back through negotiations with the deal that there would be peace. But peace never came, and now we are here.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          ragan
          "I am aware of the Zionist movement, but I believe that if it had not been for the holocaust it would have failed"

          And the holocaust was also RELIGIOUSLY based.

          If not for religion, Isreal would not exist, so everything that happens in and around Isreal, is the direct result of baseless religious belief.

          Stop being so dense... your argument turned into mine. RELIGION is the reason many things happen. Blame EVERY death in Isreal, Palestine ( or to the palestinian people on NONSENSICAL and BASELESS religions..everyone of the deaths there would NOT have happened if not for religion.
          WAKE UP.

          August 12, 2014 at 8:03 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Friend, it is not being dense to have a different perspective. The holocaust affected the Jews, but not JUST the Jews. Gypsies were mur dured by the thousands as well. Other French and even Dutch peoples were placed in concentration camps. For the cause you have to look for the motive. The religion was just an excuse to rob rich people, and the Jews were a good group to rob because they, as a group, had a lot of money, art, and other property that the Third Reich could steal by taking them away and kil ling the owners.

          It was about the money. It's always about money or power or both.

          August 12, 2014 at 10:25 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Let's evaluate the following statments:

      A. Most wars were started because of religion, therefore ther is no God.
      B. Most wars were not started by religion, therefore my God and my God only exists.

      Either one look logically valid? People on both sides have been arguing points such as this for quite sometime thinking that somehow it supports thier side. Religion starts wars, Hitler was a Christian, Hitler was not a Christian, Einstien said somehting about God, My religion does the most charity, Mormons are so polite they must be the true religion, my religion advocates the most efficient economical system, Christians do that, atheists do this.

      None of these arguements are logically valid as it pertains to "Is there a God?" All these arguments are good for is showing our lack of predictability in human behavior based on a one word label.

      August 11, 2014 at 11:08 am |
      • ragansteve1

        To be honest, I am not sure I understand your point(s) at all. If you are responding to my list of questions, I am simply saying that religion, particularly in the 20th century, is not the major causal factor in starting wars. The existence of God is a whole other thing in my opinion.

        August 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          I understand your point. In my experiance i have not witnessed many times when religion was brought up and the person who brought it up was not trying to endorse one side or the other. By saying religion does not [insert negative action here], one might surmise, quite possibly incorrectly, the whoever made the statement is saying religion is good. Any person who thinks reigion is good would probably be expected to want others to share thier veiwpoint and make arguments to support why they should. If you are not going to attempt to parlay "religion did not start the most wars" into a pro-religion argument, just disregard what I said.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Lunch, no, I am not parlaying anything. I'll advocate for faith in a different way. War has nothing to do with that.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          I think it just clicked for me what you are getting at. In that sense I agree with you. My above post was to illustrate that even if any correlation between the 2, war and religion, existed, to me that doesn't mean anything to said religions validity.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • Reality

      Rank Death Toll Cause Centuries (Religions involved/Groups involved)

      1 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians and Communists vs. Christians, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)
      40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)
      4 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)
      5 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)
      6 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)
      20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)
      8 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)
      9 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C
      10 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)
      11 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)
      15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians)
      13 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C
      14 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
      10 million Xin Dynasty 1C
      16 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)
      17 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans)
      8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C
      19 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)
      7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm

      August 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        BS.Your labels, of course, intend to mislead people into believing that just because those religions were involved in some way that they caused the wars. That is dec eptive and desp icable.

        August 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          There is no question that religion was a major cause of the Thirty Years war for example.

          Most of the European wars from the 16th through the 19th century have very strong religious components. Even the revolutionary war in the United States has religious roots that go back to the English Civil war, where religion was a major component.

          The genocide in the Belgian Congo was perpetrated by Christians against non-Christians. Religious differences may not have started the war, but one could argue this would never have happened in a Christian country. Religion was a major factor there like it was in all the slave trades – either Christian run or Muslim run.

          On the point of slavery the bible is quite clear. Those from your own country/religion are not to be slaves. People from other countries/religion may be made slaves. This worldview existed for millennia.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          There are pieces of what you say above that I agree with. The 30 years war had a strong religious component. And some of the issues related to slave trading are related, but the passages in the Bible you speak about were to protect the Jews from each other rather than to force slavery onto one particular group. The fact is that slavery was a way of life and the Bible tended to limit it.

          So, there is some truth to what you say, and some not so much.

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

          Irrespective of the cause of a conflict, religion is almost always enlisted to fight along with the first volunteers.

          Excepting the wars of the 20th century, religion is usually a contributory cause, if not the primary cause of war.

          August 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • Reality

        As noted many times, religion was not the cause of all conflicts but it has had its fair share as noted in the list. See
        http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm for specific details and the body counts for most of the recorded human atrocities.

        August 11, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Nice, I will look it up. Thanks,

          August 12, 2014 at 10:28 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Relatively few wars have religion as a major cause*, but religion is quickly enlisted to the fight for the cause in almost all of them.

      How quickly do people start praying for a complete victory over their enemy, even when they pray the same God?

      * Current exceptions include: Israel/Palestine, ISIS (Sunni) in Iraq, Central African Republic, Northern Nigeria insurgency, Northern Mali insurgency.

      August 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Prayer is a normal human reaction for those who believe in God. Nothing wrong with that. In times of any crisis, I would assume people of faith would pray.

        That is an interesting action, particularly when the two sides have a common religion. But that also points to the fact that religion was not the cause of the conflict.

        Nonetheless, those are interesting thoughts.

        August 12, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  9. cosimo100

    First you all seem preoccupied with your own agendas – there is no God etc. Second none of that matters relative to this article. The ISIS folks are the leading element in infidel eradication and any deviation is not o be tolerated. You better get a good grip on that because if they get an upper hand here they will try to go the same way. These folks are no philosophers they are killers and only one criteria is applied – are you in or out.

    August 10, 2014 at 9:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We've seen the likes of ISIS many times. Enforcement of unfounded beliefs is a common theme in the infliction of pain on the world. We can end religion. Are you in?

      August 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
  10. Reality

    And once again from my scrapbook of essential information:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    August 10, 2014 at 8:11 am |
    • ragansteve1

      Of course, you really mean your scrapbook of essential propaganda.

      August 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
      • Reality

        Added details from my scrapbook of essential information:

        (As requested)

        1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

        “New Torah For Modern Minds

        Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
        prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

        2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

        The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

        earlychristianwritings.com/

        For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

        Current RCC problems:

        Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

        2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

        Current problems:
        Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

        3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

        This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

        And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

        Current crises:

        The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

        4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

        The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

        Current problems:

        The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

        5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

        "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

        Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

        Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

        Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

        August 11, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          The Rabbi revision is an interesting development that I intend to research. Sounds like there might be something there to what you say, although I would certainly question the objectivity of the source of the article? you were drawing from. So, we'll see.

          The rest, since there are no or very few allusions to real sources other than a few people's opinions, I think are not worth the effort to research.

          Until I can verify the Rabbi issue, I am not persuaded. And BTW: I don't recall a request. But perhaps it was one of those hallucinations you think Jesus had that struck you.

          August 12, 2014 at 10:40 am |
  11. 19covenant19

    Jesus Christ has already returned

    with BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES

    for all Nations on earth now.

    http://www.19covenant19.com

    August 10, 2014 at 6:50 am |
  12. austin929

    I went to the drudge report today, and clicked on the picture of Mrs Obama and Mrs Bush. and it took me to yahoo, and I looked at the comments and ohhhhhhhhhhhh my gosh.

    I did not know there were so many racists that are still alive.

    and all the people who have a problem that she had a dress without sleeves? w.t....

    I am starting to think that world war 3 is started, and that the pretexts to war are going on within this country. you have snowden, and assange, and Van Auken running for office.

    I think something bad is about to happen!

    August 10, 2014 at 1:29 am |
  13. austin929

    alex jones just said that Sadaam was installed by the U.S. , and then set up by the CIA, "its declassified" and that we told him to invade Kuwait.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG6oCLuzu70&w=640&h=390]

    has anyone hear that? is that true?

    August 9, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "It's a false flag operation"

      August 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
      • austin929

        do you think that's true about sadaam and Kuwait? maybe?

        August 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          No.

          August 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I think Alex Jones needs to fuel his narrative.

          August 10, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • austin929

          ive been reading up on it , it sounds like the US was involved in some cia coups in Iraq and I have not seen any information that agrees with Alex Jones that the u.s. set him up and told sadaam to invade Kuwait.

          Sadaam also invaded Iran. so that means Alex Jones has a bit of an issue.

          that kind of freaks me out that this is the stuff we have to filter . I think its abusive. why the heck would Jones do that? why go that far?

          August 10, 2014 at 1:15 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That is what Jones sells...conspiracys.

          The best lies have parts of the truth...

          August 10, 2014 at 2:10 am |
        • austin929

          ya and that isn't all he sells. have you seen his new secretary?

          August 10, 2014 at 2:26 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No, I don't pay a lot of attention to him.

          August 10, 2014 at 3:01 am |
        • joey3467

          W.T.F. is an Alex Jones?

          August 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Doris

          CONspiracy shock jock charlatan.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • joey3467

          Since austin was the first to mention him, I figured looking him up wasn't worth my time.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • austin929

          alex jones is the only news station chanting "false flag"

          "there will be rumors of wars"

          the state run news channels have a better chance of demonic deception than Alex Jones does, I think jones is there to protect. and maybe they don't like capitalism..........so what .

          August 11, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
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About this blog

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.