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August 22nd, 2014
07:00 AM ET

Why liberals are more tolerant of atheists

Opinion by Chris Stedman, special to CNN

(CNN) Conservative atheist and television pundit S.E. Cupp has come out swinging against progressive atheists.

In a clip (see above) for CNN’s “Crossfire,” she argues that conservative atheists are “better” than liberal nonbelievers. What’s more, Cupp says, those on the right respect and tolerate atheists more than liberals do.

She’s wrong, and here are three reasons why.

Fact: Atheists are still political outcasts.

“It seems like there’s this idea perpetuated by atheists that atheists are somehow disenfranchised or left out of the political process,” Cupp says. “I just don’t find that to be the case.”

Survey data contradict Cupp.

For instance, a 2014 Pew Research study found that Americans are less likely to vote for an atheist presidential candidate than any other survey category—even if they share that candidate’s political views.

Faring better than atheists: candidates who have engaged in extramarital affairs and those with zero political experience.

And unless she recently had a change of heart, Cupp herself falls in line with the majority of Americans. In 2012 she said, “I would never vote for an atheist president. Ever.”

While atheists are making political inroads, we’re also still on the margins in a number of ways. Cupp concludes the clip by saying, “I think our atheists are better than yours.”

Apparently they’re still not good enough to be president.

Fact: Conservatives are hostile toward atheists.

“There’s another myth: that conservatism is somehow hostile to atheism,” Cupp says. “I’m a conservative atheist (and) I’ve felt very welcomed.”

But Cupp goes beyond arguing that conservatives broadly welcome nontheists—she also argues that liberals are less accepting of atheists.

“I’d go so far as to say conservatism is far more intellectually honest and respectful of atheism than liberalism has been,” she says.

Again, Pew’s surveys suggest otherwise.

While the number of people who say they wouldn't vote for an atheist candidate sits at 70% among Republicans, that number drops to 42% among Democrats. (“Progressive,” “liberal,” and “Democrat” certainly aren’t synonyms, but there is overlap.)

Of course, conservative hostility toward atheists goes beyond voting for a presidential candidate.

Earlier this year, the group American Atheists announced plans to sponsor a table at CPAC, the country’s largest annual gathering of conservatives. But within hours, after a number of conservatives spoke out against their inclusion, they were promptly uninvited.

Many of the most prominent anti-atheist voices—including Sarah Palin, Erick Erickson, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich—are conservative politicians and commentators, and I have yet to hear many other conservatives (Cupp included) condemn their anti-atheist remarks.

On the other hand, a number of political moderates and liberals have welcomed nontheists.

In 2009, for example, President Barack Obama became the first commander in chief to reference nonbelievers in an inaugural address. The next year, his administration became the first to meet with representatives from the atheist community.

Overall, a much larger percentage of the religiously unaffiliated (a category that includes many atheists) identify as liberal than conservative.

In 2012, Pew reported that 61 percent of nonreligious Americans are either Democrat or lean Democrat, while just 27 percent identify as or lean Republican.

If it truly were the case that conservatives are much more “respectful of atheism,” I would expect to see more Republican atheists.

Fact: Most liberals respect religious diversity.

“Conservatives appreciate an intellectual diversity,” Cupp says. “In contrast, on the left it seems as though there is this knee-jerk embrace of what is more like a militant hostility to faith.”

If you’ve been paying attention to Cupp’s arguments so far, this one should be a bit confusing. Which is it? Are liberals hostile toward atheists—or the religious? (Or are liberals just hostile toward everyone?)

But religious diversity is actually significantly greater among Democrats—for example, Pew reported in 2011 that just 11% of Muslims affiliate with Republicans, while 60% identify as or lean Democrat.

By contrast, as much as 74% of GOP voters identify as Christian, according to recent surveys and polls.

Finally, Cupp lifts up self-identified progressive Bill Maher—who has said, among other things, that religious believers have a “neurological disorder”—as an example of liberal intolerance.

I should give credit where it’s due: Cupp is partially right here. Maher’s take on religion is problematic and should be condemned.

But his views certainly aren’t representative of most of the progressive atheists I know. Suggesting that Maher speaks for atheism is like saying Pat Robertson represents all of Christianity.

In the end, I’m not arguing that progressives are perfect. We have plenty of our own issues and aren’t as welcoming of atheists or some believers as we could be.

But to say that we’re less tolerant of religious and nonreligious diversity than conservatives? Well, that’s just hard to believe.

Chris Stedman is Executive Director of the Yale Humanist Community, author of "Faitheist," and atheist columnist for Religion News Service. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisDStedman. The views expressed in this column belong to Stedman. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Culture wars • Discrimination • Nones • Opinion • Politics • Prejudice

soundoff (3,322 Responses)
  1. midwest rail

    Unless Burke is a government official, it is impossible for him to restrict your 1st Amendment rights. I don't agree with the policy either, but it has nothing to do with free speech.

    September 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
  2. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    There does seem to be a lot of topics closed for posts – even ones that were open at one point.

    September 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
  3. govtmsmtroll

    CNN DOT COM COMMENTS CLOSED,THE REAL REASON WHY.

    TO SUPPRESS DISSENT.

    It has nothing to do with so called "hate speech",for which the pc definition is extremely broad and biased.
    It has nothing to do with so called "trolls",who too often are defined as anyone who disagrees with the msm narrative.

    And who are these so called "trolls",the ones who enter into discussion forums,and just start throwing bombs and poising the well?..Who are they,and who do they work for?..Might they be from the very government and msm that is trying to control speech and discredit legitimate fact based dissenting views?

    POISONING THE WELL AND THE ABUSE EXCUSE is what tyrants have always used to shut down dissent.
    And just how nice and polite should the people be when opposing an evil nihilistic agenda?

    How civil should we be when opposing lies and mass murder?

    We have a government and a controlled press that is all about war,false flag terror attacks and dividing the people along racial and religious lines,and anyone who draws attention to this fact is simply unwanted.

    THE TRUTH IS WHAT OFFENDS.

    The only thing that the controlled press is interested in protecting is the neocon agenda,which is a far greater threat than all of the other threats combined,whether those other threats are real or a phantom menace.A manufactured enemy.

    ISIS/CRISIS

    We are dealing with tyranny here,sh33ple,wake up.
    The tyrants who are trying to suppress speech are in a war against democracy,not the terrorists who work for them.

    It is comments like the above,the truth,that get deleted. It is comments like the above that threaten the legitimacy of the establishment. This is the real reason why public comments and two way speech is being shut down.

    No hate,just the truth and what the people really need to know.

    But I have good news:

    THE SUPPRESSION WON'T WORK. THE TRUTH WILL CATCH UP WITH THE MSM GOVERNMENT LIE.

    September 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Abject nonsense. You are not enti.tled to a public comment section on a private corporation's website. Feel free to start up, design, maintain, and advertise your own, however. I suspect you will be very lonely there.

      September 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • niknakk

      Did you rail against Fox News when they stopped comments on their online stories?
      I bet you didn't.

      If you want to spout your conspiracy theories then RedState will welcome you with open arms.

      September 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      time for your meds ...

      September 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Gov,

      Post something like that in CNN headline blog will get blocked.

      Maybe CNN is being more tolerant.

      I do agree partly. Media and religion are often used to promote one's cause, hopefully, for the benefit of mankind. I may not be a realist but I'm a hopeful idealist.

      September 4, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    if I was a "loving god", I would have saved Steven Sotloff from ISIS. I am pleased to say that is the difference between me and your god.

    September 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • MadeFromDirt

      Dyslexic, If you were a "loving god", would you let anyone die? How would you decide who lives and who dies and when? Would there be exceptions? On what scale would you weigh the factors, and does each factor carry the same weight? Would your rules be black-and-white for all people in all cultures and all times? Or where exactly does your gray area turn black?

      September 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        if I was a loving god I wouldn't have anyone die. I would make the universe a perfect place with ample food and drink and joy for everyone. If I was a loving god I would have dome a better design job than this current disaster that is barely holding together on a daily basis. If I was a loving god I would not have let adam and eve be tempted and would have not designed my creation to fail. It's all so simple.

        September 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          It does NOT sound loving to make everyone into puppets and robots and not be able to make any choices...love does not force one to love them back...its has to be a choice...otherwise there is no love...all the evil we see is cause people have chosen to reject and not love God....starving kids? (result of adults not helping, or tyrants who rule the society)...IM sorry dog..but Id rather choose to love someone than have no choice st all

          September 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
  5. idiotusmaximus

    Why liberals are more tolerant of atheists...................

    INTELLIGENCE......something conservatives lack.

    September 2, 2014 at 10:02 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @idiotmaximus
      You know, I've some great friends in Rome named Sillius Sodus and Bigus Dickus.
      Ever met them?

      September 2, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        He's not the messiah! He's just a very naughty boy!

        September 2, 2014 at 10:14 am |
      • idiotusmaximus

        Why yes I have met them......they don't speak highly of you at all.....and don't understand why you won't have your problem taken care of..

        September 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • djangoboy

        That would be "gweat fwiends in Wome."

        September 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    - "Arguing with christians is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board, and strut around like it's victorious"
    - anonymous

    September 2, 2014 at 8:57 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Lololol....that's still better than what conservatives would do.....

      September 2, 2014 at 10:03 am |
  7. aallen333

    In the first Star Trek motion picture which premiered in 1979, the premise of the movie centered around a huge alien craft many miles long that the Star Ship Enterprise was commissioned to intercept. In the process of intercepting the alien craft, it was discovered that the craft was originally a small probe named Voyager that NASA had sent out in space in the 20th century to collect data. Over the centuries since its launch the probe had gathered so much information that it actually became self aware and evolved into this alien life form more advanced than anything on earth. Well we know that although entertaining, such a scenario is absurd bordering on the bizarre that would only play in the movies. Or would it? Ask yourself – Is the theory of evolution any less bizarre? The only difference between the two is that one starts off as advanced NASA technology while the other starts off as a rock!!?

    September 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
    • otoh2

      Perhaps you'll tell us again that story about how your alien space/time sorcerer just "breathed" or thought everything into existence? Nothing bizarre about that, no siree...

      September 1, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Actually your premise is false. Life didn't start as a rock.It started as amino acids. If you really want to know how it may have started look the Nobel winner Harvard researcher Dr J Szostak's lectures on You Tube. They're over your head, but maybe you're get the jist.

      September 2, 2014 at 1:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Oh and that isn't an argument against evolution....try again.

      September 2, 2014 at 1:51 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        The best proof against evolution is: "In the beginning, God created..." enough said.
        It is not the job of the evangelical to convince anyone of anything. The job of the evangelical is to preach.

        September 2, 2014 at 7:26 am |
        • nclaw441

          I am a Christian, but quotations from the Bible don't convince non-believers. Even though you said that it is not your job to convince others, I think that we should try, as that is part of the Great Commission. The how and why of creation are things that we may learn from God directly in the life to come, but there is enough that has been created that truly thoughtful people can come to the conclusion that all that we see could not have "just happened," even over billions of years.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:01 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          NClaw,
          We may go the route of Paul in Romans 1:18-32 where he takes the reader to the creation as proof of the existence of God. That is, God, although invisible to our physical eyes, may be plainly seen in the things that have been made.

          But aside from pointing the reader to creation, there is no example in scripture of anyone going to any length to prove the existence of God to the non-believer. In the Scriptures, the existence of God is always treated as an axiom.

          Surely there are Christians who go to some great lengths to philosophically prove the existence of God, the beloved R.C. Sproul and Ravi Zacharius being two of the greats – and indeed there is a place for this, I can only see this as a secondary issue. The primary task of the evangelical is to "preach the word in season and out of season."

          Paul, when teaching at the Areopagus about what they deemed the "unknown God" went first to creation, then immediately to scripture.

          The great C.H. Spurgeon once said that "Scripture is a lion, and does not need defending. Have you ever heard of anyone defending a lion? No, just turn it loose!"

          September 2, 2014 at 8:15 am |
        • igaftr

          theo. That is correct, that is the best you have against evolution...words from a book that has been shown to be wrong in many places....a hypothesis with no evidence to back it up...exceptionally lame "evidence".

          nclaw "could not have just happened over billions of years"...hilarious, but what do you have refuting it? We have evidence and proof everywhere...no evidence of any gods anywhere.

          By all means, explain in detail how it could not have happened. Then show your evidence of how a "god" could have "spoken" the universe into existance.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • igaftr

          theo.
          No matter what lengths people have gone to, no one has ever proven any gods exist. Existance is not evidence.

          All they (and you) have done is show people will go to great lengths to justify ( mostly to themselves) the belief itself.
          For all your "evidence" , you cannot show any gods to be anything more than imaginary.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:28 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "words from a book that has been shown to be wrong in many places...."
          -------------------
          Actually, no. The problem is not with the word of God, the problem is with atheists who continually prove their exceptionally poor hermeneutics.

          a hypothesis with no evidence to back it up...exceptionally lame "evidence".
          ------------------–
          Actually, it isn't hypothesis – it is factual explanation. And we have proof in the words of Jesus who proved Himself to be God through many signs and wonders.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:29 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          No matter what lengths people have gone to, no one has ever proven any gods exist.
          ------------------
          Jesus did.

          All they (and you) have done is show people will go to great lengths to justify ( mostly to themselves) the belief itself.
          --------------------
          Yeah, including raising themselves from the dead when Jesus proved to all men that God is by raising Himself from the dead.

          For all your "evidence" , you cannot show any gods to be anything more than imaginary.
          --------------------
          The contingent nature of all physical reality coupled with the law of causality proves the existence of God. And this goes back to what Paul said in Romans 1:18-32.

          However concrete physical reality is sectioned up, the result will be a state of affairs which owes its being to something other than itself. Every physical state, no matter how inclusive, has a necessary condition in some specific type of state which precedes it in time and is fully existent prior to the emergence of the state in which it conditions. There is not one example in the physical universe of a physical quant.ity that explains its own existence.

          All physical reality is dependant upon something else for its existence. Ergo, only the supernatural can explain the existence of the natural.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:34 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "The best proof against evolution is: "In the beginning, God created..." enough said."

          That is still not an argument against evolution....

          saying "god did it" is not proof of anything....

          September 2, 2014 at 8:36 am |
        • igaftr

          "Jesus did. "

          Not even close to correct.
          Not one single word Jesus allegedly said can be actually verified that he said it, and secondly, no one has ever shown this Jesus character to be anything more than any other man.

          You really need some lessons in what is evidence and what is proof. because what you are saying is the same as flat out lying.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          There are many words written about innumerable gods, demi-gods and their prophets performing miracles up to and including conquering death itself.
          If Young Earth Creationists are going to trot out the argument of "you can't know for sure because you weren't there thousands of years ago" when it comes to things like radioactive decay rates, then non-believers can trot out the same argument when it comes to the supernatural events attributed to anybody in any book.
          Corroborating circu/mstantial evidence can't be sufficient since there are historical docu/ments and archeological evidences confirming the existence of King Gilgamesh – and yet nobody would ever believe that he was a demi-god who ruled for 125 years and took the occasional trip to the Underworld as is told on the 3 and half thousand year old stone tablets expounding his history.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:49 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey theo NOW it is the Jesus did it gang too funny !

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/30/did-the-historical-jesus-exist-a-growing-number-of-scholars-dont-think-so/

          September 2, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          when it comes to things like radioactive decay rates
          ----------------–
          Do you have any proof for the belief of uniformitarianism?

          September 2, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          You're deflecting.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:02 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          igaftr

          theo.
          No matter what lengths people have gone to, no one has ever proven any gods exist. Existance is not evidence......

          Better you converse with the wall igaftr......the tree of fantasy was planted in the early dawn of human kind....it's impossible to chop it down.....nice thing about fantasy is that you can keep moving the GOAL POST FOREVER.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:10 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          @Theo
          You're deflecting.
          --------------
          No, because in order to use physical observations in order to extrapolate elaborate conclusions, one must first support uniformitarianism. Something that no naturalist has ever been able to do. Proving of course that no matter how vehemently the atheist claims no religion, his conclusions are predicated on belief.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Naturalism is not the same as uniformitarianism – nor does atheism connote either of those worldviews.
          For the umpteenth time – atheism is a negative statement that describes only one thing in which a person doesn't believe.
          You are deflecting.

          Can you prove that Gilgamesh wasn't a demi-god who ruled for over a century and visited the Underworld?
          Can you disprove the existence of Enkidu?

          September 2, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Naturalism is not the same as uniformitarianism
          ------------
          Of course not. The one merely as.sumes the other.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Can you prove that Gilgamesh wasn't a demi-god who ruled for over a century and visited the Underworld?
          Can you disprove the existence of Enkidu?
          --------------------
          Yes. Because Jesus proved the exclusivity of God. The God of the Bible is, as proved in the life of Jesus. All else is mythology.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Do you draw the line at anything in the realm of excuses for the failure of your Bible in describing the natural world, Theo?

          September 2, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Why is the Bible more "true" and accurate than the stone tablets on which the Epic of Gilgamesh are inscribed?
          Can you disprove Gilgamesh?

          September 2, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          theo, you must have been very good at dodgeball as a child. You sure are a slippery character.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Can you disprove Gilgamesh?
          --------------
          It is possible to disprove anything by proving it's ant.ithesis, if the truth about that ant.ithesis includes exclusivity. Jesus proved Himself to be the second person of the Exclusive Triune Godhead. All else is mythology.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Do you draw the line at anything in the realm of excuses for the failure of your Bible in describing the natural world, Theo?
          --------------
          The Bible describes the natural world in phenomenological language. Even today, we speak of a "sunrise" and "sunset" when in fact the sun does neither. The meaning conveyed however, is true.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • tallulah131

          So in other words, theo can't.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Where in the Bible is the triune godhead defined? Where does Jesus claim to be part of it?

          September 2, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Jesus proved Himself to be the second person of the Exclusive Triune Godhead."

          No – some of the ancient texts detailing Christ's life claim Him to be the second person of the Triune Godhead.
          But not all Christians are trinitarians, just as not all atheists are unifornitarians.
          Your proof of Christ's divinity amounts to the same level of evidence as one who would claim Gilgamesh's divine ancestry.
          Was Christ a real person? Probably.
          Was Gilgamesh a real person? Probably.
          Were either of them divine? Unlikely to the point of absurdity.

          September 2, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Where in the Bible is the triune godhead defined? Where does Jesus claim to be part of it?
          ---------------–
          How many verses do you want? I can give you about 4 typed pages worth...

          September 2, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The word "Trinity" is not found in the New Testament, nor is the doctrine explicitly taught there.
          Tertullian introduced the term in the 2nd century – but it did not become offical dogma until 325.
          The Trinity owes a lot to the various triads in Egyptian religion, principally Amun, Mut and Khonsu.
          Anybody who can worship a Trinity and still maintain that their religion is a monotheism is capable of believing anything – just give them time to rationalize it.

          Muslims have docu/mented eye-witness accounts of Miracles performed by their prophet.
          The moon split for him, water gushed from his fingers, food became more abundant in his hands, and similar phenomena were authentically reported and happened in a way that could not be denied.
          According the the Koran, Abdullaah Ibn Salaam who was a Jew as well as Negus (king of Abyssinia) who was a Christian, believed that Mo was The One Prophet.

          The Muslim argument goes something like this:
          God himself says in the Quran that prophet Muhammad is His true prophet and since the Quran has been proven to really be from God, it automatically and logically follows that prophet Muhammad is God's true prophet.

          The Christian Argument goes something like this:
          God Himself says in the New Testament that Jesus Christ is His onyl Son and since the New Testament has been proven to really be from God, it automatically and logically follow that Jesus Christ is God's only Son.

          Both of these arguments are ciccular and rely on one thing: Faith that a given Holy Book is "The Truth".

          September 2, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Just a few to get you started on the Trinity...

          Johnn 10:30, 33 – Father and Son are one
          1 Corinthians 3:16 – Father and Spirit are one
          Acts 5:1-4 – The Holy Spirit and God are one
          Romans 8:9 – Son and the Spirit are one
          John 14:16, 18, 23, 26 – Father, Son, and Spirit are one
          > see also John 15:26

          2 Corinthians 13:14 – Paul blesses using all three persons of the Trinity
          Romans 15:16, 30 – Spells out the Triune God
          2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – Spells out the Triune God
          Ephesians 2:18 – Spells out the Triune God

          September 2, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • igaftr

          "Yes. Because Jesus proved the exclusivity of God. The God of the Bible is, as proved in the life of Jesus. All else is mythology."

          ANd your whole story is likely mythology too, especially the supernatural nonsense.
          You can identify the myths in other man made works, why can't you see it in the bible?
          And by the way, you have no idea what, if anything< Jesus did or did not do, said or did not say. You haven't got one word from him.
          You have an unverifiable book of stories, which , without any sort of verification, and considering the outrageous claims, is also very likely to be myths as well. Why can;t you see that?

          September 2, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          If you wish to look at the mountainous volumes of scholarly work in the fields of textual criticism and hermeneutics and brush them aside simply because they do not agree with your chosen morality, then you have that right. But what you cannot do is to attempt to make a general truth statement based solely on your unstudied opinion.

          The mind of this age states that "there is no ultimate truth." That is, of course until you address the one who actually claims to subscribe to this supposed axiom, and he tells you that God doesn't exist. Apparently, there is no ultimate truth excepting of course the truth that there is no God... You hypocrite. First recognize that truth DOES exist, and that truth is NOT created by any individual, but that it exists outside of us, only then can one begin on a journey to find out what truth actually is.

          September 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo
          all that nonsense can be easily brushed aside, since not one bit of it verifies any supernatural anything. Without verifiable evidence (which there is none) you still cannot show that your belief are not based in myth and imagination.
          All you mentioned equates to theologic mat tur bation.

          you still cannot even show beyond doubt that Jesus actually existed, and if he did, that he was anything more than just another man. You also have no writings that were attributed to him. You have no way to verify if there ever was any resurrection, and without that, christianity is moot. The best that can be said about Jesus is that he likely existed. That is as solid as it gets in regards to Jesus. Everything else is speculation, and most likely myth.

          There are myths about many famous people, like George Washington, he did not have wooden teeth, he did not chop down a cherry tree and he did not throw a coin across the Potomac, yet those myths have been around snce he was.

          September 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          From your response, I gather that you have not read even one book on textual criticism have you? Because you appear to be completely ignorant of the subject altogether.

          September 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • igaftr

          You actually claim I am a hypocrit? In what way specifically. Where exactly did I say anything hypocritical. Give me an example and I will show you exactly why you are mistaken.

          I have never said "god" does not exist. simply pointed out the FACT that there is no evidence of any gods, no evidence of any supernatural anything, no evidence of Jesus alleged ressurection, no evidence that any of the words or deeds attributed to Jesus can be verified, and there is an extreme likelyhood that your entire book is nothing but baseless myth.
          Where is the alleged hypocrisy?

          September 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • igaftr

          Theo
          I am not ignorant of textual criticism. I am simply pointing out that you have no evidence of any supernatural anything. Why do you keep deflecting to man made texts, man criticizing his own works. There continues to be no evidence anywhere of any supernatural anything. textual criticism is completely moot without being able to verify that what was written into texts happened. It is like textually criticising Harry Potter.
          Study, examine all you want, it is moot without evidence, and you have none.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You actually claim I am a hypocrit?
          ---------------
          Actually, no, I didn't.
          I said "the mind of this age" and "those who subscribe to this belief."

          The rest of your post was refuting textual criticism that you've obviously never read.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          There continues to be no evidence anywhere of any supernatural anything.
          --------------
          Now you're really plugging your ears and hiding your eyes. The very existence of the contingent nature of all that is physical points to a supernatural cause. All physical reality is dependant upon something else for its existence. Ergo, only the supernatural can explain the existence of the natural.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Ergo, only the supernatural can explain the existence of the natural."

          False. We do not know does not equal supernatural. That is utter nonsense, but that is what we have come to expect from you. It is quite possible that all of existance, the universe as it is now, as it will be, as it was before the Big Bang, could all be naturally occuring cycles. Since you cannot exclude all natural possibilities, you cannot claim supernatural. lame and quite false argument theo.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          could all be naturally occuring cycles.
          -----------------
          This is not even worthy of being considered unless you can prove the belief of uniformitarianism. And we're back to my original point.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Ergo, only the supernatural can explain the existence of the natural."

          And once you reach that ridiculous conclusion, you stop? You feel no responsibility to ask the next question which is "If the supernatural explains the existence of the natural, then what explains the existence of the supernatural?" Yes, I already know your answer which of course is "Magic!" aka "My God is all powerful and can do anything, even always exist in defiance of universal laws which is of course what I tried to use to reach this conclusion in the first place..."

          You logic reminds me of a snake eating its tail...

          September 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You logic reminds me of a snake eating its tail...
          --------------–
          The law of causality states that all that BEGINS to exist has a cause. The physical universe began to exist, therefore it has a cause. Since something cannot be its own cause, then only the supernatural could have been the cause of the natural.

          Infinite causal chains do not exist, (therefore the universe is not eternal) since an infinite causal chain could not explain how the causal chain began to be in the first place (think of a line of falling dominoes). Causal chains by definition are a series of causes and effects, and you cannot have an effect without a cause. And an infinite causal chain is an effect without a cause, and that is impossible. Therefore the very existence of the causal chain (that is, our physical universe) demands the existence of a first cause. Since infinite causal chains do not exist, then that first cause must itself be eternal. Since the first cause stands outside of physical reality as its creator, and it is thus greater than the creation since the lesser cannot create the greater, and it is eternal, it must also be supernatural. That can be nothing other than God. Furthermore, it cannot be argued that the first cause itself had a cause, or you err in creating an infinite regress – an infinite causal chain that cannot exist. Therefore to deny the existence of an eternal creator who is outside of our physical reality is to dip into an illogical fantasy designed to fictionalize reality so that man may ease into a death without fear of having any contact with a God to whom they will one day be accountable.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          "This is not even worthy of being considered "

          Why not...It is a distinct possibility and yet you want to throw it away because of some nonsense man has stiplulated?

          It is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about, and your bias will continue to prevent you from seeing clearly.
          Good day, sir, and good luck with your supernatural nonsense.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          “Our common habits of thought allow for the existence of need among created things. Nothing is complete in itself, but requires something outside itself in order to exist. All breathing things need air; every organism needs food and water. Take air and water from the earth and all life would perish instantly. It may be stated as an axiom that to stay alive every created thing needs some other created thing and all created things need God. To God alone nothing is necessary.”

          A.W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy”

          September 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "To God alone nothing is necessary." Why stop there. Perhaps god needs to stand on a divine turtle. Perhaps all divine turtles have to stand on another turtle. Thus it's turtles all the way down. Forever.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo
          Claimiing everything needs a cause EXCEPT GOD...is absurd, and a null and void argument. You can't simply change the rules you apply to everything else and exclude god, especially for the FACT that no one can show this "god" to exist, and as far as some external cuae needed, why would you immeditately leap to YOUR imagined definition of what "god" is. Perhaps "god" is the universe itself and through a circular causal chain, is it's own cause...another possibilitiy.

          You simply cannot exclude your god requiring a creator and claim the rest of the universe did wothout allowing for the many other possibilities.
          There continues to be nothing at all that points to any gods at all. there may be "something" indicated, but "something" does not equal "god".

          Have you ever heard the term logic? You are obviously not familiar with it.

          September 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "through a circular causal chain, is it's own cause...another possibilitiy."

          "Have you ever heard the term logic? You are obviously not familiar with it."
          -----------------------
          Yes, I am very familiar with logic. And you sir, in positing a formal fallacy as an escape hatch are proving that you embrace illogical concepts with open arms. Don't be a Vulcan for Haloween, OK?

          September 2, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Theo, are you suggesting that breaking with the classical view on causes is a formal fallacy? How so?

          September 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • igaftr

          I have posted no fallacy, since what I posted is a possibility. It is just YOUR causal nonsense that excludes it.
          Since we do not know, it remains a possibility, even though remote.

          For all you know, all of existance is one causal loop, with no beginning, no end....the SAME EXACT ARGUMENT YOU USE FOR YOUR GOD. If you claim it is a fallacy, you also claim your god is a fallacy.
          If your god does not need a cause, then the universe does not need a cause.
          Again..logic...look it up.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          are you suggesting that breaking with the classical view on causes is a formal fallacy?
          ---------------
          No, but attempting to claim that something can be its own cause qualifies as not only illogical, but stupid.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          If that is to be disputed, then please explain to me how something can be it's own cause?

          September 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          It's called circularity, Theo. Rowe(?) pointed out that a finite set of necessary things could each be the cause of another in a closed loop.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          a finite set of necessary things could each be the cause of another in a closed loop.
          ---------------
          Interesting thought experiment for sure, but I fail to see an observable example of this.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I thought you were saying God is an example. Trivially, God caused God. Or did you feel that God is uncaused is more likely?

          September 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "The physical universe began to exist, therefore it has a cause."

          Please provide evidence that our universe didn't exist and then did. All we have evidence of is an expansion of energy some have named the big bang, that does not mean there was "nothing" before the big bang. Our universe could have existed in a form of dark matter or dark energy and we call the rip in space time that the dark energy exploded out of the big bang.

          Therefore, you have no evidence to support your theory that the universe "began to exist" at some point which effectively deletes any supposed evidence you claim for supernatural origins.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • igaftr

          "No, but attempting to claim that something can be its own cause qualifies as not only illogical, but stupid."

          Ahh, claim something is "stupid" because you don't comprehend...ironic.

          Think of it this way. Time, we know is not linear, so what if time were circular, that you go though many cycles, many universes, that ultimately loops back on itself. that what was "before" will be "again".

          again, you claim your god needs no cause...then by the same statement, the universe does not need a cause.

          Your causal chain arguments are nonsense, since , again we do not know.

          you continue to see it as if time were linear...we already know it is not.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Please provide evidence that our universe didn't exist and then did
          ---------------------
          There is no model of an eternal universe that works, because if the universe is eternal, then it would have to be self-existent, meaning that it is dependent upon nothing else for its own existence. But, there is no physical ent.ity in the universe that can explain its own existence.

          Considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. (The Christian denies this because he maintains that the universe IS acted on by an outside force, namely – God) The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that although energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy because there is no energy input into a closed system, then all usable energy already should have been expended, yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning.

          The universe did not come out of nothing, but there was a time when the universe was nothing. To say otherwise is to beg infinite causal chains which do not exist.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Time, we know is not linear
          --------------
          In this existence it is.
          Outside of mathematical equations (which do not in and of themselves prove anything, since mathematics can be used to describe fiction, such as the "Mathematical Modelling of Zombies"), where is "non-linear time" observable?

          September 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Here's a few more.....

          > Olbers’ paradox – the “Dark Night Sky Paradox” states that the darkness of the night sky conflicts with the assumption of an infinite and eternal, static universe.

          The paradox simply states that a static, infinitely old universe with an infinite number of stars distributed in an infinitely large space would be bright rather than dark, since a sight line in any direction in the night sky would terminate in a bright star rather than darkness.

          > The radiation echo was discovered by Bell Labs scientists in 1965. What is it? It is the heat afterglow from the Big Bang. Its discovery dealt a death blow to any theory of the universe being in a steady state because it shows instead that the universe exploded.

          > Galaxy Seeds. Scientists believe that, if the Big Bang is true (first, there was nothing, then, BANG, something came into being), then temperature “ripples” should exist in space, and it would be these ripples that enabled matter to collect into galaxies. To discover whether these ripples exist, the Cosmic Background Explorer – COBE – was launched in 1989 to find them, with the findings being released in 1992. What COBE found was perfect/precise ripples that, sure enough, enable galaxies to form. So critical and spectacular was this finding that the NASA lead for COBE, said, “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.”

          > Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity means that the universe had a beginning and was not eternal as he had previously believed (Einstein was originally a pantheist). His theory proved that the universe is not a cause, but instead one big effect—something brought it into existence. Einstein disliked his end result so much that he introduced a “fudge factor” into his theory that allowed for an eternal universe. But there was only one problem. His fudge factor required a division by zero in his calculations—a mathematical error any good math student knows not to make. When discovered by other mathematicians, Einstein admitted his error calling it “the greatest blunder of my life.” After his acknowledgment, and upon confirming further research that showed the universe expanding just as his theory of relativity predicted, Einstein bowed to the fact that the universe is not eternal and said that he wanted “to know how God created the world.”

          September 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "There is no model of an eternal universe that works"

          Really? There are many theories that work with current known physics, they just are not yet verifiable. Dark matter wasn't verified until recently and is still a huge mystery and yet you act as if everything there is to know about our physical universe is known and thus you can draw some God conclusion from it which is about as moronic as it gets. Our universe could well be an endless mobius strip of energy, never creating new energy or destroying it, just moving it between forms, matter to dark matter and back again. Empty space isn't really empty and your logical premise for God based on the universe having to have a begining is flawed from the start. You want it so badly you close your mind to any possibility that doesn't include your personal savior. What a dishonest way to live.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • igaftr

          "In this existence it is."

          No...it has been proven that in this current universe, time is not linear. We can only percieve it as linear since we only have one perspective, but time is absolutely not linear. It has been proven.
          It doesn't change the possibility that all of existance, every universe that has ever existed, could be it's own cause...the problem is, there is no way for you to be able to know it.

          Again, if your god does not need a cause, then niether does the universe.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          close your mind
          ----------–
          People often talk about having an open mind as if it were a good thing. In fact that is one step away from insanity. Would you, knowing dangers that lerk outside, leave the front of your house wide open to anything or anyone wanting to enter? No, you put a door on your house, and the door has a knob, and that knob has a lock.

          The problem with having an open mind is that people are constantly wanting to stuff things into it. Put a filter on your mind.

          It you are locked into a room surrounded by doors, and only one of them leads out, how many doors will you try before you can leave? Well, as many as it takes to find the way out, right? Well, if after finding the way out, do you keep trying doors? Of course not.

          The way out was found 2,000 years ago in the man, Jesus, and that door is accessible to any who diligently seek Him.

          September 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You are certain you've found the way. Why? Self-deception is common enough. How can anyone know that's not what's going on in you, Theo?

          September 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Olbers’ paradox " is no paradox at all when looking at the universe from the perspective of being dark matter before exploding out into our known physical universe.

          "The radiation echo" is what you would expect to find if the universe and all it's energy existed in some other form before exploding into our known physical universe 14.5 billion years ago.

          "Galaxy Seeds" have nothing to do with anything supernatural and are explained by the big bang.

          Einsteins “fudge factor” as he called it was a tool he needed but was unable to explain at the time, to draw some of his conclusions. Since he was never able to figure out what his fudge was made of he reverted as many stumped humans do, to believing it must be supernatural. Thankfully we now know his fudge was entirely made of dark energy.

          Why do Christians and other religious persons want to try and use decades if not centuries old scientific theorum, stand it up as some wimpy straw man, and then attack it with all their might like it will spit out some form of spiritual candy like a pinata.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You are certain you've found the way. Why?
          -------------------–
          Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me."

          Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Why do Christians and other religious persons want to try and use decades if not centuries old scientific theorum, stand it up as some wimpy straw man, and then attack it with all their might like it will spit out some form of spiritual candy like a pinata.
          ----------------–
          Meh... I quote it, but I don't stand by it as if it were infallible (see below). Only one testimony is infallible, and that is the word of God. That's why I have said before that although Christians may give testimony to the existence of God through means given to man, that is not his primary role. The primary role is to preach the gospel.

          Besides, one fact that can never be controverted is the necessity of the supernatural for the creation of the natural. This is proven through the law of causality, supported by the law of non-contradiction, and applied to the argument from contingency.

          Empiricism (knowledge that comes from sensory experience) is limited in scope in the sense that not all truths are determined by our senses – observational science is derived from empiricism, and is therefore handicapped in certain areas. Discussions of consciousness, emotion, and other truths determined mainly if not solely by subjectivism cannot be defined empirically, but are nonetheless real. Discussions of the existence of God are no different. Therefore to ask for "scientific proof" of God, i.e., that which can be experienced by one of our senses, is akin to finding scientific proof of love. We may be able to put the chemicals used in our brains to control emotion into a bowl, but we can never say that the bowl loves us. There is something more to knowing "truth" than that which can be shown to us through observational science.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I have an open mind and make my own decisions based on the evidence I see, read and experience. I do not accept just any persons word just because they stand on a pulpit and claim to know the book they read from. Instead I will read it for myself and make up my own mind. I have read the bible cover to cover several times in my life as well as read as many science articles I can get my hands on and read sciencedaily.com on a regular basis. I find that having an open mind has lead to many wonderful things in my life and I have never been happier. Those who tell you to close your mind for fear someone will trick you just means the guy telling you that is likely the one trying to trick you into handing over your hard earned income.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "close your mind"

          Cuz remember kids – the Original Sin for which all mankind is forever cursed is the acquisition of knowledge.
          New ideas can be scary and some of them might be wrong, so it is better to to accept unprovable, supernatural dogma as inerrant, eternal Truth.
          After all, what new information has done anything positive for mankind in the last two millenia?
          Entertaining any world view other than the one to which Theo subscribes is a surefire recipe for mental illness – or at least demonic possession.
          After all, there are no naturalists in Heaven.
          So close you mind to any so called "facts" that can't be verified via Scripture and/or anything ever said or written by someone who isn't Theo's kind of Christian.
          Anything else is heresy.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          This seems similar, Theo. How would I know if this is true and you are deceived?

          1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
          2. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin.
          3. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
          4. The Only Owner of the Day of Recompense
          5. You we worship, and You we ask for help .
          6. Guide us to the Straight Way
          7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          the Original Sin for which all mankind is forever cursed is the acquisition of knowledge.
          ---------
          Wrong. The original sin was to become intimately familiar with evil.
          For that is what the word "knowledge" meant in this sense. "Adam 'knew' his wife Eve, and she conceived." And, "Before I formed you in the womb, I 'knew' you." The word "knowledge" in the context doesn't mean an intellectual understanding, but rather an "intimate relationship" with...

          September 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Besides, one fact that can never be controverted is the necessity of the supernatural for the creation of the natural. This is proven through the law of causality, supported by the law of non-contradiction, and applied to the argument from contingency. "

          False. There would then need to be a creator for the creator, and a creator for the creator for the one who created the creator, etc, etc.
          Not even close to proven. The law of causality would say there had to be a cause...NOT the nature of that cause, so again you fall on your face.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Tom,
          Truth converges on the life of Jesus. The mountains of work done by textual critics verifies that the Bible that we have today accurately reflects the words of the original authors. Considering the context in which the original authors wrote, the stories they told could be corroborated with literally thousands of eye witnesses, including many miracles and signs who authenticated them as coming from God. No lie could have survived with so many witnesses that could have controverted them.

          By contrast, Islam is a religious system that was started in the 7th century by Muhammad. He claimed that the angel Gabriel visited him, and during these visitations that continued for about 23 years until his death, the angel supposedly revealed to him the words of Allah.

          As was the case with the Bible, God worked miracles through the apostles in order that He would authenticate their message to an unbelieving world that their message came from God, but Muhammad performed no miracles to back up his message (even when he was asked to by his followers – Sura 17:91-95; 29:47-51). Only in much later tradition (the Hadith) do any alleged miracles even show up and these are all quite fanciful (like Muhammad cutting the moon in half) and have zero reliable testimony to back them up...

          They believe in the Torah, the Prophets, and the Gospels of the Bible, and yet it is these who claim that even if a message comes from an angel from heaven, if it is not in accordance to the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the apostles, let him be anathema.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Wrong. The original sin was to become intimately familiar with evil."

          And here I thought the bible called it the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, but apparently Theo knows better and it was simply the tree of the knowledge of bad.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          The law of causality would say there had to be a cause...NOT the nature of that cause, so again you fall on your face.
          -----------------
          Of course you would say that even though I already gave you the definition of the law of causality, because you are willing to embrace contradiction to support your stance.

          I'll repeat...

          The Law of Causality DOES NOT STATE that "everything requires a cause."

          What the Law of Causality states is that "everything that BEGINS TO EXIST requires a cause."

          And since infinite causal chains CANNOT BY DEFINITION exist, then the supernatural cause of the physical universe must be eternal. NOT SELF CREATED, because if something is eternal, then it never had a beginning, but SELF EXISTING – That is, His existence is not dependent upon anything else. There is a difference.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "By contrast, Islam is a religious system that was started in the 7th century by Muhammad."

          Right, whichever came first is the correct one right, and Christianity was started up in the first century, and 1st comes before 7th, so case closed right? Oh, wait a sec, you mean to tell me there were many religious creeds written before the first century? How is that possible if the "1st" century was first? Oh, that's right, the followers of Christianity went back to change the calendar to fit their idea of Christs life and death and hundreds of years after the fact labeled it the "1st century"...

          September 2, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          the tree of the knowledge of good and bad,
          ------------–
          The Bible nowhere calls it "the tree of good and bad." Definitions are important. It is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The emphasis is on evil...

          September 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          This is news: "infinite causal chains CANNOT BY DEFINITION exist". Is this something you can produce a proof for, Theo?

          September 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Right, whichever came first is the correct one right
          ---------
          That's not the reasoning that I gave for it being incorrect at all. Does no one actually read my posts?

          September 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          This is news: "infinite causal chains CANNOT BY DEFINITION exist". Is this something you can produce a proof for, Theo?
          ---------------–
          I'd be happy to.

          An infinite series of causes with no beginning is a contradiction, because a causal chain by definition must have a beginning. And an infinite causal chain is an effect without a cause, and that is impossible.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "That is, His existence is not dependent upon anything else. There is a difference."

          How can you assign your God qualities that you claim the universe cannot have but that your God can? Why can't the universe have always existed in one form or another and the big bang was just the transition from one form into another and the energy contained that is never created or destroyed not be dependent on anything else? You have given no explanation for why this power must reside in your brand of deity but cannot exist in anything else. You simply make moronic blanket statements as if the physics of the universe are all known and understood and there is only one option for universal origins which is your version of an Abrahamic God. How can you be so blind as to not see this?

          September 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I still don't know why Christianity is to be preferred over Islam, Theo. Muslims point out that their teachings come from a single source. Christianity, in contrast, is transmitted through a compilation of sources, authorship usually unclear, that were copied, edited, recopied, recompiled over many centuries. Islam does seem derivative, but then so is the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. The Torah, for that matter, reads like other myths and writings that survive from from the same periods.

          September 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Theo: "An infinite series of causes with no beginning is a contradiction, because a causal chain by definition must have a beginning."

          An infinite series of causes with no beginning is a causal chain?

          September 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Tom, as it would be too lengthy for me to flesh out here, get the book "Jesus Among other Gods" by Ravi Zacharius. He goes into a bit of detail there. Amazon's got it for about $12.

          ---http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Among-Other-Gods-Christian/dp/0849943272

          September 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          An infinite series of causes with no beginning is a causal chain?
          ---------------
          No, but that is what some have claimed in order to attempt to prove an eternal universe.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I don't see any reason to rule out an infinite sequence of causes. It makes people like W. L. Craig uncomfortable enough that they try to rule them out in their premises, but I don't see any reason to agree to that.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I don't see any reason to rule out an infinite sequence of causes.
          ----------------
          I would be willing to concede to that if you could show me an effect without a cause.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Why would that be necessary, Theo? An infinite series would have no first cause or first effect.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "infinite sequence" is more accurate, sorry about that

          September 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          An infinite series would have no first cause or first effect.
          -------------------–
          I understand that, but without a cause, how could that infinite series exist? We may stand in front of an infinite series of dominoes, but we still have to somehow account for the dominoes themselves.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          As I mentioned with circularity, not if they are necessary, Theo.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          As I mentioned with circularity, not if they are necessary, Theo.
          ------------
          Yes, but now we're back to thought experiment. You may be OK with an uncaused effect, but one would need to be produced in order for circularity to come out of the realm theory and into fact.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          All right, I'll speculate. Physics – the Universe is the accessible part of the only example of an infinite sequence of causes we can know about. Philosophy – other possible worlds may depend on them too. Perhaps all possible worlds do.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo
          Once again, claiming there has to be a cause is one thing, caliming you know the nature ( or supernature) of the cause is where you jump the precarious logic train you are riding. once again, SOME cause does ot mean supernatural...it could well be naturally occurring.
          Then once again, you seek to exclude your imagined creator...once again...if your creator is external to existance, then so could some aspect of the universe.

          seriously, how can you keep claiming one thing HAS to be, but then allow an exclusion that should be applicable to all?

          You really do not have any form of grasp on logic. You continue to make no sense at all, and you can't see how. Too bad your book has blinded you so.

          September 2, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think Theo is trying out the tactic I once saw on a shirt with a picture of Garfield wearing nose and glasses...

          "If you can't beat 'um, confuse 'um..."

          September 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          claiming there has to be a cause is one thing, caliming you know the nature ( or supernature) of the cause is where you jump the precarious logic train you are riding
          ---------------------
          Since we know that truth exists, it should not be a great leap to think that the truth can be known.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "If you can't beat 'um, confuse 'um..."
          ------------------–
          In this, oh, how the scriptures are fulfilled that even in describing basic Biblical truths, those who are not the sheep of Christ have no understanding (John 10:25-30).

          1 Corinthians 2:14-16 – But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

          And as often as not, many who would deny the basic tennants of Christianity (namely, the creation narrative) are willing to fully embrace contradiction in order to bolster their claims against the tennants of the Bible. (such as infinite causal loops)

          These ideas may work well in the area of speculative mathematics, but when reality is observed, these ideas dissolve under the weight of the nature of reality, and fade into impossibility.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • lunchbreaker

          So if I write a ridiculus book, and in that book I say your a fool if you don't believe my book, and no one believes me, I can claim the non-believers are fools and have fulfilled my prophecy. Makes sense.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          That is just more self-affirming nonsense from your propoganda book. Of course it tells you to ignore those who don't believe...can't have you listening to reason now can they.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Say what you will, I'm still waiting for you to produce for me an effect without a cause. Until you can prove (outside of theoretical mathematics) that an effect can actually exist without a cause, then you have no foundation to stand on for the idea of an eternal universe.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • igaftr

          The same thing applies to your god theo.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The same thing applies to your god theo.
          -------------------
          But God can be demonstrated simply by pointing to Jesus.

          You err in thinking that the information that we have about Jesus is unreliable because you have no depth of study into textual criticism. As I have said before, the mountains of work done by textual critics verifies that the Bible that we have today accurately reflects the words of the original authors. And, considering the context in which the original authors wrote, the stories they told could be well corroborated with literally thousands of eye witnesses, including many miracles and signs who authenticated them as coming from God. No lie could have survived with so many witnesses that could have controverted them.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo: "I would be willing to concede to that if you could show me an effect without a cause."

          ok so if i can show you an effect with no cause, you will concede that i have proven your god doesn't exist; correct?
          ----

          now let's look at what sort of thing would have an effect, yet no apparent cause; the only logical thought would be that it would be both.
          it is a causal/effect, in otherwords it acts as both, yet neither.
          --–

          example: energy.
          now the first rule of thermal dynamics states that " energy can not be CREATED nor DESTROYED."

          ok let's think about what this truly means;
          1) that energy has no beginning and no end....... eternal
          2) that energy is both a cause and an effect.
          ----------
          question 1) this one is simple to understand however i will elaborate. what this applies to isn't fossils fuels or even our finite star we orbit. what this applies to are the particules that comprise everything in the known universe.
          the very basis of everything can not be destroyed, nor created. it will always be here in one form or another.

          question 2) now this on takes a bit of explaining; seeing that it has always been here and will always be here.......then in itself it kicked off everything we know.
          yet how can a effect, be here before a cause could.....well cause it?
          simple it's eternal, immortal, etc etc etc for things that defy human consepts of finite.
          something that is infinite would have the ability to both cause something and effect itself.
          --------

          i hope i was able to explain that an infinite is both cause and effect unto itself; which means no gods were ever requried to "cause" an "effect" to even begin in the first place.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          now let's look at what sort of thing would have an effect, yet no apparent cause;
          --------------------–
          Now we're talking definitions. A cause affects an effect. If there is no cause, there is no effect. If there is an effect, there -must have been a cause. Once again, definitions...

          the only logical thought would be that it would be both.
          -------------------
          In order for something to be both cause and effect, then it would have to be its own creator. In other words, it would have to "be" before it "is" in order to be a cause to affect its own effect. This is impossible by definition.

          example: energy.
          now the first rule of thermal dynamics states that " energy can not be CREATED nor DESTROYED."
          ----------------------–
          The Laws of Thermodynamics were never meant to make a statement upon origins, but were rather meant to deal with the operations within closed systems. If you are considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. (The Christian denies this because he maintains that the universe IS acted on by an outside force, namely – God) The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that although energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy because there is no energy input into a closed system, then all usable energy already should have been expended, yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning.

          So, wrong on two counts: definitionally, and logically.

          September 3, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The eternality of matter and energy would be the equivalent of a system with an energy input and 100% usable energy output. It would be the equivalent of describing the Universe as a perpetual motion machine—a design that attempts to violate either the First or Second Law of Thermodynamics by, for instance, running forever without an energy input. No such machine has ever been designed, since such a machine would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Philip Yam, writing in Scientific American said, “Claims for perpetual-motion machines and other free-energy devices still persist, of course, even though they inevitably turn out to violate at least one law of thermodynamics."

          September 3, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • evidencenot

          Doc wrote = "Cuz remember kids – the Original Sin for which all mankind is forever cursed is the acquisition of knowledge."

          Frank agrees..

          "The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge. "You eat this apple, you're going to be as smart as God. We can't have that."

          The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the Tree of Knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your f***ing mouth shut and hadn't asked any questions.
          – Frank Zappa

          September 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          evidencenot,
          You're getting theology from Frank Zappa??? OK, that means I can go to Hank Johnson for advice on geology.

          September 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • evidencenot

          The word is "mythology" which is of course what the bible is..... but since you have your own unique definitions for the words "proof" and "evidence" anything is possible. Your interpretation of mythology is no more valid than Frank's, in fact I would say less valid since you believe invisible spirits and fairytales to be reality.

          September 4, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • johnbiggscr

          'Theo Phileo
          No lie could have survived with so many witnesses that could have controverted them.'
          --

          That claim only works if you believe there really were 'thousands of eye witnesses'. The claim for such comes from the same stories that claim miracles. And if you claim Islam is wrong, then with a billion followers you have ample proof that people will believe a 'lie' easily enough.
          If you want to take it further you can claim that Harry Potter really did exist and really did fight Voldemort because if it didnt happen the hundreds of students mentioned that witnessed it would have come forward and claimed it all to be a lie.

          September 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "You're getting theology from Frank Zappa??? OK, that means I can go to Hank Johnson for advice on geology."

          theology: religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed.

          geology: the science that deals with the earth's physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it.

          So no, it doesn't work that way. With one all you need is imagination. With the other you actualy need an education and science degrees.

          September 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
      • aallen333

        Oh yes it does – Read again.

        September 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "What does God need with a starship?"
      – Cpt. Kirk, Star Trek V – The Final Frontier

      In the fifth Star Trek movie, which premiered in 1989, the premise of the movie is centered around Spock's brother, Sybok, tricking the Enterprise into taking him to the centre of the Galaxy where he expects to find the mythical planet Sha Ka Ree where Creation itself began.
      When they reach the planet, Sybok encounters his vision of God – a ent.ity that demands the landing party bring their ship closer. When Kirk questions God's motives, he is violently struck down.
      The rest of the Enterprise crew are unwilling to believe in a malevolent God that inflicts pain for no reason and Sybok, realizing the folly of his ways, sacrifices himself to save the others.

      Well we know that although entertaining, such a scenario as conversing with God is absurd bordering on the bizarre that would only play in the movies. Or would it? There are many stories of encounters with the divine around which entire cultures are built.
      People predicate their laws, personal morals and general worldviews – often flying in the face of basic logic and reason – based solely on stories of divine, psychic conversations.
      The only difference is that in Trek, it turned out not to be The Creator.

      September 2, 2014 at 8:38 am |
    • kudlak

      Maybe you're thinking of Star Trek V, where some evil alien character pretends to be a loving God?

      Totally believable!

      September 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
  8. monica7c

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU9MbXueRFg&w=640&h=390]

    September 1, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Thwarted spambot!

      September 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
  9. monica7c

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU9MbXueRFg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU9MbXueRFg

    September 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  10. 19covenant19

    Great MIRACLES have been discovered in the Words of Jesus Christ
    in Gospel (=Matthew & Mark & Luke & John).

    It will change the World forever!

    http://www.19covenant19.com
    BIBLICAL EXCELLENT MIRACLES -3-

    September 1, 2014 at 6:39 am |
    • kudlak

      How can miracles ever be proven by mere stories?

      September 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • nclaw441

        The "mere stories" you describe are eye witness accounts in many instances. The New Testament accounts of Jesus' ministry on earth were told by several people, and if not true would have been discounted at the time of the telling. Many people have sought to disprove the resurrection of Christ, for example, and none have successfully done it. In fact, many of those who tried were ultimately convinced of the truth of the resurrection story, and became believers.

        September 2, 2014 at 8:04 am |
        • igaftr

          No one has ever shown any miracles to have happened. You would need to not only verify events, but then be able to directly show some "supernatural" something to be the cause, which no one has.

          No one has ever verified there was ever any resurrection either.

          September 2, 2014 at 8:33 am |
        • evidencenot

          Another member of the liers for jeebus club.

          September 2, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • kudlak

          nclaw441
          Shall we go over all the things that are mainly supported by eyewitness accounts? Jesus' miracles are not in good company.

          You also have to remember that other people were claimed to be miracle workers at that time, including the Emperor Vespasian, recorded by noted (and otherwise trusted) historians. We can't disprove any of these claims any more than we can actually disprove those made about Jesus, but when it comes to history the practice is to discount fantastic claims such as these due to probability. Thus, we don't actually take reports of signs of Jupiter joining the battlefield any more serious than these claims made by devout and zealous followers of Jesus.

          September 3, 2014 at 9:29 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Yes I discovered some wonderful miracles today the Lard hath wrought. Let me list these wonderfully intelligently designed miracles :

      ID talks about "the miracle of blood clotting, the intelligence of blood carrying oxygen to organs etc) However the unintelligence of the design are obvious – we have multiple diseases JUST relating to haematology due to the screwed up design mechanisms involved:

      Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP),
      essential thrombocythemia
      Polycythemia ruba vera
      Dozens of cancers just related to blood
      (ALL, AML, APML, CLL, Myeloma's, Lymphoma's NHL/SLL/HL....,CML...)
      Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
      Dozens of types of haemophelia
      Sickle cell and dozens of other genetic mistakes (various thalassemia's)
      erythroblastopenia's
      Different types of autoimmune hemolytic anemia's
      Hemoglobinopathies
      Hereditary pyropoikilocytosis (HPP)
      Triosephosphate isomerase deficiency
      Waldenström's macroglobulinaemia
      Disseminated intravascular coagulation disorders
      A whole range of hypogammaglobulinemia's
      Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome

      It's he a wonderful god ?

      September 2, 2014 at 1:41 am |
  11. Vic

    Happy Labor Day

    September 1, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • tallulah131

      You as well.

      September 1, 2014 at 12:03 am |
    • Science Works

      Yes Vic – Have a happy Labor Day and might I suggest you have a fish fry for lunch or is that to fishy ?

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/31/opinion/moreno-atheists-unelectable-congress/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

      And where did our ancestors walk out of Vic?

      September 1, 2014 at 9:33 am |
    • kudlak

      Another good day of fishing for me.

      You guys all have a great day, OK

      TTFN

      September 1, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  12. awanderingscot

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

    August 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
    • kudlak

      There is no evidence that this story ever actually took place. You do realize that people like to make up stuff like this, right?

      Besides, goodness could also not exist, if it is merely the absence of evil. Both good and evil require distinct acts, and a whole lot of personal interpretation. What is good for some is considered evil by others, and vice versa. Few things are universally considered either good or evil.

      September 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.