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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. austin929

    we are in the garden...........and evoluation may be the apple that satan is handing out.

    God always gave us His word and instructions. We are equipped with spiritual truth about a minor problem.

    the corruption on earth leading to murder. why is that?

    August 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Doris

      Lately this Garden of Eden thing keeps popping up at lunchtime. Can we at least get a hot dog and lemonade stand in this thing while all this human-reptile interaction is going on?

      August 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Have you ever tried to feed an apple to a serpent? It seems biblical, but it doesn't work.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • Alias

      I was wrong about you. You do have a sense of humor.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      An apple in this metaphor stands for men learning they are the baby daddy, and all was right with the world before men had to take responsibility for their own off spring...So no man wants to listen to woman anymore (eve) because she ruined that wonderful paradise of irresponsibility...ergo knowledge is evil and woman are evil for teaching males they were the baby daddy..The snake eve talked to was eve remembering who gave her the baby...snake = manhood...

      August 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      More cult speak from the resident crazy man.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • igaftr

      It is also possible, that Christianity is the "apple" from Satan, that the entire bible is taking you away from the true path of "god"
      Problem is, since you have no evidence of any supernatural anything, it is all belief based, so you simply have no idea. You have simply decided to choose one possibility out of an infinite number of possibilities, and declared it to be correct.
      Belief+non-logic.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      I don't believe in evoluation either... now evolution, that's an established fact.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I think you’re going about this in the wrong way. By using too much syntax, the finer consistencies of the paradigm are being rapidly eroded in a highly Machiavellian fashion. By reducing divulgence and upping delegation, the future prospects of this escapade will surely come to fruition. I hope to peruse some more tablature with great serendipity.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        "Divulgence" the new movie brought to you from the minds at Paramount and the technicians at the NSA...

        August 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Divulgence is a perfectly cromulent word.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      As it is the tree of knowledge, wouldn't that mean that the bible, in typical self-conflicting style, supports evolution?

      August 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Shhhhhh, don't mention the E word...it'll bring the troll back to life.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Maybe we are in the garden...........and religious belief may be the apple that satan is handing out....and god will reward all those that reject religion in favor of reason.

      Actually more plausable.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • G to the T

      " the apple that satan is handing out."

      Someone's adding to the Bible I see... the fruit being an "apple" was a later convention (i.e. NON-Biblical) in EU.

      September 1, 2014 at 10:00 am |
  2. Alias

    At some point we really should just quit trying to teach science to scott.
    The troll will continue to quote from people with clear agendas, and try to poke holes in century old science.
    We should also quit trying to reason with Austin.
    Austin believes his dreams come true. Well, apparently not all of them because he keeps a large stash of vague references in a file waiting for something to happen that will someday 'prove' god spoke to him in his sleep.
    (BTW – If you barricade yourself into a house you are being evicted from, you deserve to get shot if you point a gun at the police whose job it is to go in and get you out.)
    Fred had a desperate period in his life and now he uses the bible as a crutch to protect him from reality. Pathetic though he may be, we cannot prescribe the drugs he needs. Until he realizes he needs help it is a waste of time to try to get him in touch with reality.
    Dalahast is on a journey to find the truth. Unfortunately he remains unwilling to consider the possibility that his supernatural wet dream of some all-powerful thingy is just wishful thinking.
    Then there are the few who insist that the bible is the perfect word of god. No amount of logic or reason will convince them otherwise. Until they are willing to actually open their minds to the possibility that they are in the minority and the rest of humanity may have a few good points, we should just enjoy the entertainment they bring and hope their children have a rational influence somewhere in their lives.
    Then there is someone using Salero21 for some twisted reason. Lack of maturity perhapse?

    August 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • niknakk

      Very good summation of what goes on with the few BB believers still here.

      I was gone for awhile, but was not surprised to come back and find the board in the same place as I left it.
      Which is non believers making rational posts about the gaping holes in the believers' myth, and the believers posting mostly unintelligible and poorly written defenses of their god hypothesis.

      August 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  3. Løki

    Regarding religious indoctrination...

    But it was only a fantasy
    The wall was too high as you can see
    No matter how he tried he could not break free
    And the worms ate into his brain.

    August 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • LaBella

      Hey You.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • mk

      Great, now I have that song stuck in my head.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
      • LaBella

        Lol, so do I. At least it's not "Yakkity Sax"

        August 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • G to the T

          RIP Benny...

          August 29, 2014 at 8:10 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I got elastic bands keepin my shoes on.
      Got those swollen hand blues.
      Got thirteen channels of sh1t on the T.V. to choose from.
      I've got electric light.
      And I've got second sight.
      And amazing powers of observation.
      And that is how I know
      When I try to get through
      On the telephone to you
      There'll be nobody home.

      I think this one applies as well.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
  4. kevinite

    6 ¶There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

    7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

    8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

    9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
    (John 1:6-9 KJV)

    August 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • Løki

      “Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia – the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death...before they breed more hemophiliacs.”
      ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

      August 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • kevinite

      The point is regarding the belief that this sense of guidance or light (the light coming from Jesus Christ) is given to everyone who was ever born. In that sense then there is the belief that everyone has a basic sense of morality, in which the further light and teachings of Jesus Christ can be built on that basic sense of morality that is given universally despite what their initial beliefs are.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Salero21

    Look atheists, your EXTREME hypocrisy, your compulsive, pathological lying is proof unequivocal of the absurdity, complete and total NONSENSE of atheism.

    August 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
    • Løki

      Shut up Meg

      August 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • Salero21

        Wow, I was being very nice, but see, you're a very good example why I keep saying that atheism is Absolute, Complete and Total Stupidity. I meant; what makes you think you can tell me to shut up?

        August 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • rogerthat2014

      If a man drugs some newlyweds, impregnates the wife, and then gets caught, he gets locked up. Why does God get a pass for essentially doing the same thing?

      August 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • G to the T

        Apparently it's because he's the judge as well – so you are SOL no matter what you do...

        August 29, 2014 at 8:13 am |
    • rogerthat2014

      Why not "poof" Jesus into existence like he "poofed" Adam and Eve.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • bchev

      rogerthat2014,
      Not only that, but once "God" has decided Jesus has done all he feels like having him do, he allows what can basically be viewed as a 93rd term abortion. But you don't see poeple of faith going after "God" for that. Doesn't really make sense.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  6. guidedans

    I see a lot of folks trashing Pascal's wager.

    I just want to point out that, while it is true that Pascal's Wager cannot be used to prove any particular faith is correct, it does an excellent job at demonstrating that the expected values of Atheism and of Heaven-only religions (i.e., everyone goes to Heaven) are lower than the expected value of belief in religions with a Heaven and a Hell. Here's a proof I put together:

    Definitions:
    1. Let n equal the count of all possible beliefs
    2. Let a equal the count of beliefs where, if you are wrong, you cease to exist.
    3. Let b equal the count of beliefs where, if you are wrong, you experience eternal torment.
    4. Let c equal the count of beliefs where, if you are wrong, you experience eternal bliss.
    5. Let x equal the count of your belief, i.e., 1
    6. Based on the above, x = 1
    7. Based on the above, n=a+b+c+1
    8. EVB = Expected Value of belief in Heaven and Hell
    9. EVA = Expected Value of belief in Death’s Finality
    Assumptions:
    1. Let the utility gained by experiencing eternal bliss be a very large number represented by h
    2. Let the average utility gained by all “eternal bliss” concepts be represented by H
    3. Let the utility lost by experiencing eternal torment be a very large number represented by [h]
    4. Let the average utility gained by all “eternal torment” concepts be represented by [H]
    5. Let the average utility gained by eternal bliss be equal and opposite of the average utility lost by eternal torment,
    6. Based on the above, H + [H] = 0
    7. For the purposes of this paper, let the cost of believing any belief set be equal
    Proof:
    Expected value of someone who believes that believers in his faith will go to Heaven and everyone else will go to Hell:
    EVB = (x/n)*H + (a/n)*0 + ((b-x)/n)*[H] + (c/n)*H
    EVB = H/n + 0 + (b[H]–[H])/n +cH/n
    EVB = (H + b[H] + H +cH)/n
    EVB = ((2+c)H – bH)/n
    EVB = ((2 + c – b)H)/n
    Expected value of someone who believes that he and everyone else will cease to exist after death:
    EVA = (x/n)*0 + ((a-1)/n)*0 + (b/n)*[H] + (c/n)*H
    EVA = 0 + 0 + b[H]/n + cH/n
    EVA = (c-b)H/n
    2 > 0
    ((2 + c – b)H)/n > (c-b)H/n
    EVB > EVA
    There is a higher expected value for belief in Heaven and Hell than there is for belief in Death’s Finality.

    Can you guys refute this?

    August 28, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • igaftr

      Complete nonsense.
      The values of a b and c are all infinity.

      August 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
      • new-man

        Infinity is only a mathematical concept that cannot be found in our physical universe, so in reality there's no such thing as infinity.

        August 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Was he not responding to dans' mathematical argument ?

          August 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • new-man

          yes, he was. and it was "his" claim that a. b. c are infinite.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Let's review – dan makes a failed attempt at mathematically proving Pascal's wager is valid, and igaftr points out why using the mathematical concept of infinity – but you think that's wrong because infinity is a mathematical concept ?? Really ?

          August 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • new-man

          Let's break it down for you,
          igaftr is using a concept with no basis in reality to make a point.

          How do you determine that dan made a failed attempt at mathematically proving Pascal's wager when the mathematical model igaftr chose to employ is itself invalid.
          DUH? It's wrong because the model is wrong! and not just because he chose to use a mathematical model.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " Infinity is only a mathematical concept ..."
          You cannot allow dan to make a mathematical argument, and then disallow a mathematical argument against it.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • new-man

          my point remains – infinity is an illusive concept with no basis in reality and cannot be found in our physical universe.
          if you like your argument and it makes sense to you, you're more than welcome to it.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • igaftr

          Hello newman...

          "infinity is an illusive concept "
          Illusive how? For example, when I calculate Pi, i can continue to calculate forever, so the number of digits is infinite, never ending.
          So are the numbers of possible beliefs, regardless of what qualifiers you employ.

          So in effect, his calculation adds, subtract, multiplies and divides infinity, and then compares it to infinity and he claims there is a difference, that one infinity set is bigger than another infinity set, which is obviously incorrect.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " my point remains – infinity is an illusive concept with no basis in reality..."
          You have not resolved how you can allow a mathematical argument (which just happens to support your belief) but disallow a mathematical argument that goes against said belief. If you're comfortable with that, 'nuff said.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Alias

          If you do the algebra CORRECTLY

          EVA = EVB

          or are minus signs the same as plus signs in your religion?

          August 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "my point remains – infinity is an illusive concept with no basis in reality"

          wow, I'd like to say it was rare when religious zealots like new-man put their moronic feet in their mouths, but sadly it is not. It's almost like trying to play tennis with a paraplegic... you can't ever expect the ball to be returned even when you lob an easy one to them...

          August 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • likklehero

          If there is no such thing as infinity – then both b and c have the values 0 (since eternity is also an illusion), and therefore n = a and we all cease to exist. (x being 1 is ridiculous since your belief is included in the set of all beliefs).

          Proven! (not really)

          August 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • likklehero

          If infinity is on the other hand real – then you are just comparing infinities.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Infinity on the other hand, would weigh quite a lot...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hey igaftr,

        In theory, you are correct, that b and c could be infinity, which would make the math more difficult, but in practice, they could not be infinite. There are only so many people with so many beliefs about God. Even if you wrote down every possible formulation of God that could potentially exist, you would still have a finite number, it would just be extremely large. They estimate that there are only 10^78 to 10^82 atoms in the universe. It is doubtful that there would be more possible iterations of God than there would be atoms in the universe.

        I believe you would have to do a better job at proving that there are an infinite number of beliefs in God if you wanted to refute my argument.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          Ahhh...I though you were actually trying to mathematically prove Pascal, which I refuted. What you are actually doing is mental self flagellation, in the fact that you are trying to calculate by the number of possible beliefs, not the actual possibilities.

          By the limitations you have placed, basing your calculations on the possible beliefs, you have effectively created an argument that has nothing to do with Pascals wager. Here is why.

          The number of people who believe any given thing has no effect on whether or not something is valid or not.
          Belief in something is not pertenant, so this has been an excercise in mental mas tur ba tion.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "It is doubtful that there would be more possible iterations of God than there would be atoms in the universe."

          Why? You are limiting past human experience and number of humans who have lived with the possible infinite future of humanity and the ability of humans to imagine limitless variations no matter how small and insignificant.

          Simply put, your attempt at mathmatically proving pascals wager was flawed from the start and you have added nothing to the discussion but an attempt to confuse other morons who really really want to believe they are super special and know the creator of the universe who has a special plan for them where they get super special treatment while those they disagree with will suffer for an eternity. Pascals wager is purely a device used by believers to reinforce their already held doctrine that they got it right when in reality you would have to have an IQ under 5 to truely believe you, out of 7+ billion people, got the one big unanswered question right because you just "feel" it in your gut and you get warm and fuzzy when you pray. Newsflash, everyone gets warm and fuzzy when they pray, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, every religious group that prays gets the same feeling and the same exact results.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • likklehero

          Here is why the number of beliefs is infinite. I can take any of your beliefs in god and create an infinite set where in my "heaven" god wears a placard with a whole number written on it. Since the set of whole numbers is infinite, I can envision an infinite number of alterations on any belief.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • Alias

      You are not accountig for the idea that you could lower your chances of eternal bliss by choosing the wrong god.
      i.e. the bible clearly says choosing te wrong god is not forgivable, but the pope said atheists have a shot at getting into heaven. So if the bible were correct,
      not worshipping > choosing wrong

      August 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • joey3467

        How do people miss this?

        August 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • guidedans

        Alias,

        Your point is not valid. I am comparing belief in Heaven and Hell to belief in nothing. Yes, if you choose the wrong Heaven and Hell religion, you would go to Hell, but if you chose no religion in that scenario, you would also go to Hell.

        Here's an example:
        Imagine there are 2 contradictory Heaven an Hell religions (e.g., Christianity and Islam), there is only Heaven only Religion, and then there is Atheism.

        If you choose Atheism, you have a 25% chance of going to Heaven (assuming all religions are equally weighted), and 50% chance of going to Hell.

        If you choose Christianity or Islam however, you have a 50% chance of going to Heaven and a 25% chance of going to Hell.

        In that scenario, you have a better expected value if you believe in a Heaven or Hell religion.

        I know that that scenario is heavily simplified, so that is why I put together my proof in the OP. If you look at it, it takes into account the situation you describe (i.e., choosing one religion means you will not go to the Heaven of some other religions).

        August 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The chance that I would worship or respect any god that based rewards and punishments on belief, and used fear as a motivator, is 0.

          I have no idea why you think that is an ethical premise. Awful stuff.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You somehow magically assumed that the liklihood that either Christianity or Islam is true to be equal to the liklihood that they are not true. That is an incredibly erroneous assumption upon which your "proof" relies. The likelihood that there is a god is almost zero. The reality is that we're all going to the same place regardless of what we believe: nowhere. However, those of us who are honest with ourselves get to live a better life.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • guidedans

          Yo SeaVik,

          I gave that example as a simplification. Not that it has any place in reality. I even stated that outright.

          I am not actually saying that they are equally weighted. I was demonstrating a concept.

          You know how, in physics questions, they will often say "in a frictionless environment..." We don't just cross out the question and say, "frictionless environments do not exist." We look at what the question is asking, and we attempt to address it.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • guidedans

          Cheesemaker,

          Where did I say this is an ethical premise?

          I am just showing expected values here. Not Ethics.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Alias

          50 + 25 = 75
          Where is the other 25%?

          August 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh so you agree that it is unethical...good.

          My point is you premise is moot...what kind of god would reward people for hedging their bets...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • guidedans

          Alias,

          the 25% is the belief in nothing (In my example I had all 4 beliefs equally weighted). With belief in nothing, you get no after-death utility, so it does not add expected value to the equation.

          e.g. 50% times the utility gained from Heaven plus 25% times the utility lost from Hell plus 25% times 0.

          the 25% times 0 is 0, so I did not include it.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Yes, I have a degree in engineering. I am familiar with assuming away insignificant complexities to get a directionally correct answer. However, you have made a MAJOR assumption that is wildly incorrect and your result directly depends on this assumption. You have also assumed that there is 0 utility from not believing in a god. That is also incorrect. Most of us who don't believe in god believe our lives are better as a result. That is KNOWN positive utility and should be weighted much more heavily than the things you are speculating on as possibilities.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Alias

          again,
          It is also wrong to have (a/n)*0 in your first equation.
          'a' should be added to those going to hell, as per your belief no one just goes away.
          That would mean those 25% have to be added in somewhere.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • austin929

      That's radical.

      I couldn't have done that with my current set of dull calculus skills.

      August 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Alias

        That isn't calculus.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Vic

      While I adore the devising of mathematics, I am troubled by the premise that "truth" is anthropic-centered rather than it being intrinsic to the "existence of God" which is revealed in nature —Natural Revelation— and Scripture —Special Revelation— as well as it (truth) being intrinsic to God Himself.

      August 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • igaftr

        ""existence of God" which is revealed in nature "

        False. That is what you BELIEVE, but no where in nature can any "god" be found or revealed.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • guidedans

        I agree with you Vic.

        My proof is not a proof in God in the least. It is just a proof to demonstrate the irrationality of choosing a belief in nothing over a belief in God.

        This proof should not be the foundation of anyone's belief in God. It just should get you to think about the expected values of your beliefs.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • bchev

          guidedans,
          You miss a critical element though. You cannot mirror the subjective with math. Belief is not a choice it is how you feel, and for some people no matter ow much they want to they do NOT believe in gods, any of them. Your system only works if the simple act of saying "I believe" is equal to legitimately believing it. It isn't. Saying you believe when you don't isn't belief, it's a lie. In fact, it's a pretty great example of bearing false witness. And in the Judeo-Christian traditions, that one gets you sent to hell; unless you think what is suposedly the most powerful being in the universe can be fooled by simple lip service. Also your assumptions for reduction of torment are bad and don't hold up to math or logic (your beliefe does not reduce the pool of b by any appreciable amount, so it does not shift the balance of the equation the way you have ilustrated).

          August 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "My proof is not a proof in God in the least. It is just a proof to demonstrate the irrationality of choosing a belief in nothing over a belief in God."

          This is another flawed statement. You have implied that belief is a choice, which it is not. I could not "choose" to believe in a god, because I don't. I could pretend, but supposedly the all-knowing god would know I didn't really believe in him anyway, so it would be pointless. It would also mean I would be going through life living a lie, which wouldn't be very healthy.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide
          "It is just a proof to demonstrate the irrationality of choosing a belief in nothing over a belief in God."

          Your "proof" is not sound, since what one believes has no effect on what possibilities may be.

          For example...one possibility is there is a god, but it is staying hidden, and will punish any and all "souls" who believe in any gods at all. In that scenario, all believers in god are the ones who lose, while all non-believers are rewarded.
          What one believes is irrelevant to what actually may exist.

          That is why Pacsals wager is a fallacy, and any calculation based on belief is irrelevant. There are simply more than two possibilities, invalidating Pascal entirely.

          You have been in pursuit of an undomesticated ornithian ( AKA wild goose chase)

          August 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • guidedans

          Guys,

          I am not advocating for belief in God BASED on this argument. I am presenting a proof that demonstrates different expected values. in my argument, I am equally advocating for belief in a personal God who punishes everyone as I am advocating for the Christian God, so, while I personally believe in the Christian God, my argument does no help to convert others to the faith.

          I am merely trying to shine the light on the fact that the belief in no Gods provides a lower expected value that the belief in God, Heaven, and Hell.

          For your arguments about belief and legitimate belief. You are just discounting your own ability to decide what you believe in. If you cannot believe in something, then that is just a limitation that you have placed on yourself. For example, I could believe that there is no God. I just don't want to. I could also believe that there is no oxygen in the world outside my house. Both of those beliefs (God does not exist, and there is no oxygen outside my house) provide me with lower expected values.

          Lastly, you mention that there may be a God that punishes those for false belief. That is covered in the a "b" class religion (you go to Torment), because you were wrong in your belief about God. If you had a false belief in God and you were correct, your "correct" God would have to be one that rewards those with false beliefs in Him. Gods that do not reward false belief and instead punish it, would fall into the category of "b" class religions, which is covered in my proof.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide
          Sorry you wasted so much time on this, but doing any calculation based on belief is irrelevant.

          If I have a box, and I have a blue thing in the box. 99 out of 100 people I ask say they believe that the thing is red, and one person believes it is green, does it make any difference to the fact that the object is blue?

          belief is unimportant, and your entire calculation is flawed, as shown above.

          Back to the drawing board, and leave Pascal where it is...it is a flawed premise, and a fallicious argument.
          there are more than two possibilities.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "I am merely trying to shine the light on the fact that the belief in no Gods provides a lower expected value that the belief in God, Heaven, and Hell."

          Yes, but we have explained pretty clearly why your "proof" doesn't work. It depends on the following assumptions, which are clearly wrong:

          1) All three of the possible realities you mentioned are equally likely (this is wildly off since we have plenty of evidence already to disprove the Christian version of god, so that one is actually zero).

          2) There is no positive utility that comes during our lives to those of us who don't believe in a god. This is absolutely incorrect. I feel I am much better off as a person who doesn't believe in a god.

          In summary, you are ignoring the positive utility of atheism while drastically overstating the extremely unlikely positive utility of believing in a god.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "For example, I could believe that there is no God. I just don't want to."

          And that pretty much sums up the problem with the religious mind. It's not about reality, it's about what you want reality to be. This is why religious people can justify doing anything they want. I think I'll just choose to believe that if I fly a plane into a building I'll be rewarded by god.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • guidedans

          SeaVik,

          Sorry to be blunt, but you have no justification to claim that you know what "reality" actually is. You just have beliefs about reality based on your experience. Your experience, by the end of your life will end up being 80 years of experiences from the perspective of one creature. From this 80 years of experiences from one perspective, you are expecting to be able to extrapolate the rest of reality? Your sample size is extremely small if that is what you are attempting.

          From your life, you have a very limited view of the universe. You also have a very limited time-frame in which you are able to view the universe. If the universe is 13.8 billion years old, your lifespan (and what you are basing your "reality" on) is 5.9 e^-11% of the whole of reality.

          That would be like taking 40 people from South Dakota and trying to make generalizations about the entire world's population.

          I do not think you have the justification to claim that my beliefs are based on faith while yours are based on truth. Your truth may be just as manufactured as mine is.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • guidedans

          igaftr,

          Your example makes the assumption that we know what is in the box. With God, and the beliefs we are discussing, you do not know what is in the box. So the best you can do is make assumptions about the box based on other knowledge.

          I understand that a person's belief probably has no bearing on the reality of things; however, when unknowns like what we have here, we are forced to make assumptions based on something.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I am speaking about my reality. It is a fact that I gain positive utility in my life as an atheist. It is a source of pride for me. That is a known reality. So unless the chances of the existence of your god are much higher than I believe they are, your proof fails.

          Essentially, all your proof says is that if you're right, it's better to believe in a god. That's true, but I don't believe you're right.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide
          Ok...Let's assume that we do not know what is in the box, yet 100 believe there is something...does their belief alter what is in the box? You are chasing your tail...you wanted someone to refute your calculation, I did.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Schroeder's cat is in the box...

          August 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • joey3467

          Yeah, but is the cat dead or alive?

          August 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          Do you mean Schrodinger's cat?

          Shroeder played piano for peanuts.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • igaftr

          Since Schrodinger postulated his paradox in 1935, one can safely conclude that the cat is now long dead.

          August 30, 2014 at 8:34 am |
    • SeaVik

      "Can you guys refute this?"

      Yes. It's utter nonsense.

      August 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • guidedans

        That is a statement, not a refutation. Here's me refuting atheism: "It's utter nonsense." See how impactful that is?

        August 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Nothing was presented that remotely approached a logical proof of anything, so I felt that simply stating that it was utter nonsense sumarized the situation appropriately.

          You want something more tangible? Ok. Your "proof" completely ignores the cost of going through life believing in fairy tales.

          You want another? What if there is a god but he only rewards those who didn't believe in him?

          Want another? What if those who believe in a god are punished because even though they turn out to be right, they ignored rational thought and just got lucky?

          Want another? Go ahead and think for yourself – I'm sure you can come up with many more flaws with your "proof" on your own.

          August 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • guidedans

          SeaVik,

          "Your "proof" completely ignores the cost of going through life believing in fairy tales."

          This is covered in my assumption:
          7. For the purposes of this paper, let the cost of believing any belief set be equal

          I know that you may not accept this assumption, but you would have to demonstrate that the utility gained from atheism is greater than the utility gained from religion. There is a cost to believing in nothing (e.g., investing time on CNN forums debating about atheism), just like there are costs associated with religion. It would be a much bigger debate to show that you are "better off" not believing in God than you are believing in God.

          You want another? What if there is a god but he only rewards those who didn't believe in him?

          That is covered in my "c" class religions where, if you are wrong, you get eternal Bliss. If you are saying that you get punished for belief in any God, then that would fall into the "b" class situation, where if you are wrong about God (and you would be wrong if you believed you were being rewarded after death), then you get eternal torment.

          This situation is addressed in the proof.

          Want another? What if those who believe in a god are punished because even though they turn out to be right, they ignored rational thought and just got lucky?

          That is not a possible scenario. A person's beliefset is a complex set of thoughts and actions. If you did not legitimately believe in God, but you feigned belief, in order to be "right" about God, God would need to be one who rewards those with false beliefs in Him. If God was in fact one who punishes those with false beliefs in Him, your false belief would be wrong and then it would fall into a c-class situation (which is covered in my proof).

          You are basically arguing that there is a set of beliefs where you are right but you are wrong. Those are two mutually exclusive sets and thus, the option you present is not possible.

          Want another? Go ahead and think for yourself – I'm sure you can come up with many more flaws with your "proof" on your own.

          I can't. I thought it through rather thoroughly and that is why I am asking you all to attempt to refute it. I do not believe that you have done so.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "That is not a possible scenario."

          Dude, I give up. If you're going to make up the rules as you go, that's fine – just don't pretend it's some sort of logical proof.

          Let me make this as simple as I can for you: I believe I am better-off as a person being an atheist. That is a real positive benefit. I believe there is pretty much zero chance that there is a god, so the utility of believing in a god is zero in my opinion. Your proof depends on assumptions that you've made based on what you believe which I believe are incorrect. Since your proof depends on your views being right, it doesn't prove anything.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
    • hal 9001

      guidedans, how is the count of belief that is not a nor b nor c accounted for in this proof?

      August 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hi Hal,

        That is a good question, but in my thought process, I could not think of any situations that fell out of those three categories.

        You might argue that there is a category of beliefs that have you reincarnating over and over, but I would say that all of those beliefs fall into the buckets I defined (a or b or c). With reincarnation, you would either reincarnate until you reached a happy end (e.g., nirvana), which would be like the c beliefs, or you would reincarnate until you messed up so bad, they kicked you out into Hell (the b or a beliefs), or you would just reincarnate forever, which would either gradually up your utility into the c-belief range over eternity (i.e., it would be like eternal bliss because you would be increasing your utility with every life), or you would gradually lower your utility into the b range (each life would suck more and more, so like eternal torment. In the strange occurrence where your lives completely balanced out good and bad, your utility would be 0, so the a set of beliefs would fit that mold.

        Can you think of any situations that do not fall into the categories I defined? I wasn't able to.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • G to the T

          Nirvana is extinction, not a "place". In most reincarnation beliefs, most of the gods are also subject to reincarnatory effects. Indeed, being reincarnated as a god is one of the most tempting stumbling blocks on the path to extinction. Hell, is here, so you are kind of right on that account.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • guidedans

          G to the T,

          That is good to know. I always thought of Nirvana as a type of Heaven. But I guess if you think of it as an escape from existence, you are kind of right that it is extinction.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • G to the T

          Here's another fun fact – In most "primitive" religions, where you end up in the afterlife has nothing to do with your beliefs/conduct in life – it's contingent on how you die (ex. If you die in the jungle you become a jungle spirit, but if you drown you become a dolphin).

          "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. "
          – Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

          I've riffing on it's original meaning, but I think it's still applicable.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • joey3467

          What about a god who would send you to hell for believing in the wrong god, but treated those who believed in him the same as those who believe in no god at all so that the only people who end up in hell are the ones who believed in the wrong god?

          August 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          GOd don't send you to hell..yuo go when you reject Gods invitation..as for believing other gods....you think that sall it take huh? even demons believe in God and theyu shudder..its abou thaving a personal relationship with God..after all, youre going to HIS house.....do you invite people to your home and not have any relationship with them? just say "its all yours, help yourself to anything"

          August 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • joey3467

          Kermit, if you are going to respond you should at least figure out what the conversation is about. My post has nothing at all to do with the Christian god so I am not sure why you felt the need to bring it up.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      Yes, your values are based on irrational assumptions...Belief has no value and assigning value is arbitrary, where deaths finality is quantifiable and known...

      That was easy...

      August 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • guidedans

        First, I would ask for your proof that death's finality is quantifiable and known. And second, my assumptions are not arbitrary, but based on beliefs that are in existence today. You might not like my assumptions, but I would ask you to refute them with your own refutations rather than just dismissing them outright.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Belief challenging the overwhelming evidence of the non-existence of god...your values of belief are arbitrary based on a lack of any evidence...People following a belief does not give it anything but irrational values...

          Belief = irrational (unquantifiable)

          Non-beleif = rational (quantifiable)

          August 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • guidedans

          Kristina,

          How is non-belief rational and quantifiable? What are you quantifying? How is it rational?

          Are you quantifying the number of Gods? I would like to see that proven out.

          Are you advocating that it is rational to not believe because you get a higher benefit from belief? That is what I just demonstrated was not the case, so I would like to see how you would plan to refute my argument.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          non-belief is rational because of our ability to quantify the universe, the nature of our existence including our energy states, belief if unquantifiable, therefore it is irrational...

          August 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • Alias

      Shouldn't EVB = (H + b[H] + H +cH)/n
      actually be EVB = (H + b[H] – H +cH)/n?

      so EVB = (b[H] + cH)/n

      August 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • bchev

        Alias,
        Guided Dans is opperating under an unlisted assumption. He is saying that -[H] = +H. that a reduced chance of torment is EQUAL to an increased chance at Bliss. This is of course ridiculous, as less chance of being punished does not directly equal more chance of being rewarded.

        the math of having a -[H} is also absurd. As has been pointed out, the number set of b is completely unknown. Just because you believe in one faith doesn't mean you get to subtract your faith from the set b, and even if you did, you don't know that that would have any actual mathematical effect (if there are 1000 religions where you'd tormented for being wrong and you eliminat 1 of them, you haven't accomplished much, 1H is insignificant in the face of 999H, and in actuality the number of b is MUCH larger. So, his algebra is "fine" his premise is bad.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • guidedans

          Yo bcehv,

          All good points, but the main point that I am trying to make is that The expected value of belief in a Heaven and Hell religion is greater that the expected value of belief in death's finality. Not that the expected value of either one is particularly high.

          I agree that you are more likely to be wrong than right with any belief. My argument just shows that your better off if you actually choose something than if you opt to choose to believe that you stop existing when you die.

          Also, my assumptions about Heaven cancelling out Hell are not overly relevant to the math of the proof. I made that assumption to simplify things, but the idea is that, by believing one of the Heaven/Hell religions, you eliminate one of the potential Hells and you add a potential Heaven, thus resulting in a higher expected value than you would have if you don't believe in a Heaven/Hell religion.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • bchev

          guidedans,
          I see what you're trying to do, but it doesn't work, because you are starting from a bad point. It's not your fault, it's built into your faith, adn it kind of skews that math. You operate from the constant position that ther IS a heaven adn hell model religion, and that that is the righ tkind of system. But that is a major and unsupported suposition, watch.
          You're basically saying that there are a near infinite number of ways that you can be rewarded or punished for eternity, and there is no way to handle all of them, so we're all about the same level, we can call that zero. By believing in a heaven/hell style religion, you go up to 1. By maintaining athiesm, you stay at 0. and while 1/1000000000 isn't much bigger than 0, it's still bigger. That seems to be the gyst of what you're saying, but that's a bad premise, and it's wrong.
          Because a belief in a heaven and hell religion doesn't put you at 1, because the near infinite pool of options interact with one another, they are not purely independent. So, while you choosing a specific heaven and hell religion may put you at +1 with that religion, it may also put you -1 with an unknown number of other religions, now you're at less than 0 (or more, there is no way of knowing). While the athiest may be at 0 or even in the negatives because of some heaven and hell religions, there are an unknown number of religions providing +1s, possibly putting the athiest into the positives. There are to many unknown and unknowable variables for an equation to be anything other than a laughable guess.

          The only thing that makes any sense is to live life the best way you know how, and hope that the universe and any potential afterlives aren't run by asholes.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • G to the T

          "The only thing that makes any sense is to live life the best way you know how, and hope that the universe and any potential afterlives aren't run by asholes."

          A masterly summation I must say.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • bchev

          G to the T,
          Thanks. The word filter really takes the punch out of the end of it I must say, but hey, c'est la vie.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • guidedans

          bchev,

          You are totally correct (accept that part about me starting from a bad point ;>) ). my argument would most likely (when you put in all the real numbers into the mix) have Christianity (or any Heaven/Hell religion) coming out with an expected value of something like -0.000000000000001 and atheism coming out with something like -0.0000000000000009. So almost a negligible difference. Then you could start the conversation regarding which beliefs provide you with a better existence on Earth, rather than ones that lead to an eternal life. But that is a much larger debate.

          I am fine with those who want to say that you get a higher after-death utility from belief in Heaven and Hell, but it is probably negligible. That is totally in line with what my argument shows.

          I still think that there is something to look at here/think about. There is a higher utility in belief in Heaven and Hell. maybe that doesn't mean anything, but maybe it does. I have been asked why God doesn't just make it clear that He exists. I generally throw out the whole, "blah blah blah, faith is necessary to love, otherwise it is forced love, blah blah," but I think there are things in life that point to there being a God, and the result of my proof may or may not be one of those things.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • bchev

          guidedans,
          "I still think that there is something to look at here/think about. There is a higher utility in belief in Heaven and Hell."

          I understand that you believe that, and you see things that way; but it is important that you realize that your equation does not show that. It is just your belief, and your equation only supports it if you apply a lot of assumptions that are specific to peopel who believe in a heaven or hell type religion. If you don't follow that model it all comes out as equal chance of whatever will happen will happen.

          Believe what helps your life the most, but please don't think that this equation is a universal proof. It's not.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • mk

      To begin with, your answer is the result of taking three concepts (a, b, c) and figuring them into two final values (EVB, EVA) by merging two of the concepts together (a, b+c). Nice try.

      August 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • colin31714

      This is probably the greatest example of voodoo math I have ever see.

      I believe in a god for whom there is exactly the same amount of evidence as your god, but this god is 1,000,000,000 times more ferocious toward non-believers and will torture them 1,000,000,000 worse than your god. Will this cause you to drop your wimp of a god and run over to mine?

      August 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • guidedans

        Colin,

        My God is the pinnacle of good and Hell is the pinnacle of bad. In my faith, your God cannot be better than the best. Your hell cannot be worse than the worst.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Anselm and more recently Plantinga and others work with the concept of a maximal God. Plantinga talks about a maximal God in all possible universes.

        A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W;

        and

        A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.

        It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
        Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
        Therefore, (by modal axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
        Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

        I can only observe that God failed to appear. Ontological arguments can't compel or create anything.

        modal axiom S5: saying that it is possible that A is necessary is the same as saying that A is necessary:
        00…□ = □ and 00…◊ = ◊, where each 0 is either □ or ◊
        □ It is necessary that ..
        ◊ It is possible that …

        I've wondered if the modal axioms should all be prefixed with "It is possible that ".

        August 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • Alias

      This is also wrong :
      7. Based on the above, n=a+b+c+1

      it should be
      7. Based on the above, n=a+b+c

      August 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • Alias

        This will change your initial equations

        August 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • Alias

        It is also wrong to have (a/n)*0 in your first equation.
        'a' should be added to those going to hell, as per your belief no one just goes away.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hi Alias,

          I think you are missing a concept here. The "a" classes of beliefs are those where, if you are wrong with your 1 belief, you just stop existing. You don't go to Hell if these beliefs are correct. It would be like if a Christian dies, but the atheists are correct. Then the Christian just stops existing. The utility of that, I have argued, is 0, so the unweighted likelihood of receiving that end result is the total number of possible a-type beliefs divided by the total number of possible beliefs times the utility gained or lost from that belief being true, thus (a/n)*0

          August 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • guidedans

        Alias,

        I am saying that a person has 1 belief. That is where the +1 belief comes in.

        The a, b, and c are all classes of beliefs that are external to your belief (i.e., They all start off with "if you are wrong").

        So your belief may share characteristics with beliefs within the a, b, and c classes, but it is separate from them. Thus, the a+b+c+1 is correct.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Alias

          By your definitions a,b, and c are the only possibilities. If you add 1 you are double counting somewhere.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • bchev

      Here's a better thought exercise than Pascal's Wager. I'll call it the little white pill-

      A Man offers you a little white pill. He tells you that the pill is supposed to be a vaccination against a horrible condition.

      This condition will cause you to be in constant, unbearable, un-relievable pain until the day that you die. However, no one has EVER witnessed anyone suffering from this condition, and there is currently no medical evidence that it will actually develop. But if it does ever occur, it is predicted that it will be extremely virulent, and nearly unstoppable if you are not already vaccinated. He is very, very sure that the disease will one day manifest.

      Just before handing you the pill, the Man says that there is one more important thing. The pill has 4 separate and completely unpredictable effects.
      -It can inoculate you as promised, completely and for the rest of your life
      -It can render you immune to the horrible disease AND make you healthier and happier than you were before,
      -It can do absolutely nothing, as if it were a sugar pill
      _It can give you a non-transmittable form of the disease it was designed to prevent, relegating you to a life of pain.

      It is impossible to test the pill or yourself to determine which effect will happen, there is absolutely no way to predict the result, and they cannot determine any statistical percentages for any of the outcomes.

      Do you take the pill?

      August 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  7. Brian

    It's been awhile and apparently trolls have taken over this blog completely!

    Whatever happened to the dynamic duo, "chad" and "chuckie"???

    August 28, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  8. SeaVik

    adelusionalscot /ay/dee/looj'/in/ul/skot

    Noun

    1) An internet troll who believes in fairy tales.

    Ex: Wow, that annoying moron is a real adelusionalscot.

    Verb

    2) To behave like an adelusionalscot.

    Ex: I was curious to see some intelligent comments on this article, but someone just adelusionalscotted all over the board.

    August 28, 2014 at 10:37 am |
    • jhg45

      did you really have nothing better to do? look below, people are actually talking about the subject, with some intelligence.

      August 28, 2014 at 11:19 am |
      • SeaVik

        Wow, lighten up! I hate to break it to you, but my post was less of a waste of time than yours. Do you not have anything better to do?

        August 28, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Right, because awanderingscot is well known for adherence to topic.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  9. kristinagadfly

    This concept is a smoke screen of such manipulative proportions...

    The idea that there is a liberal atheist or conservative one really is a logical fallacy that assumes values will follow a herd like progressive path or a stagnant path of status quo...

    This then begs the question can a person be a progressive conservative or is conservative natural regressive?

    If you are a libertarian, values of conservative are strong but your demands for individual freedom are driven against oppressive conservatism...

    Not to sound oxymoronic, I am an Progressive Atheist Conservative, which is enough to say I tend to shy away from socialistic fiscal government, appreciating capitalism and I am not an anything goes person when it comes to self expressive ideals...

    Religion in the US is ever more trying to dominate our society, with demand of more extreme anti-religion trying to express more radical values which seem to push an anything goes agenda...

    Atheism or progressive Atheism has no compass and for that reason, no structured humanistic value system that is sell-able to theists whom were raises on structure...This lack of structure in humanistic value makes liberal forms of atheism chaotic and dangerous to our society...

    As a progressive conservative Atheist or humanist, I seek to define structure of values out of lack of belief in a more flexible less dogmatic convention which fairly examines the most benefit or a great whole concept to allow individual freedoms without putting undo burden on others...

    August 28, 2014 at 9:42 am |
    • Doris

      "I seek to define structure of values out of lack of belief in a more flexible less dogmatic convention which fairly examines the most benefit or a great whole concept to allow individual freedoms without putting undo burden on others..."

      Do you have an example of what that structure might be? (Or a preview perhaps of what you see as components to such a "structure of values"?)

      August 28, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • jhg45

        I would rather someone undo my burdens than to add more undue burdens. other than that, not bad.

        August 28, 2014 at 11:07 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "Atheism or progressive Atheism has no compass and for that reason, no structured humanistic value system that is sell-able to theists"

      I often see this and wonder why people have this flawed impression of atheism. Being an atheist does not in anyway lessen the inherent nature of subjective morality which is all anyone anywhere uses anyway. We are the needle, or subjects, of our own moral compass that is constantly being debated and adjusted by the subjects for which it guides. If something is good for a single human and they are the only ones looking at their compass they will almost always choose whatever benefits them personally. If you add more subjects looking at the compass who are having to see it for what is good for humans in general then you have the essential components of a parliament. This does not change from theist to atheist.

      August 28, 2014 at 10:42 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        To put it simply, atheism does not equate to anarchism.

        To expand on that, no God is needed for man to decide upon laws that are positive for the growth and health of human society.

        August 28, 2014 at 10:46 am |
      • mk

        Well said.

        August 28, 2014 at 11:32 am |
      • Doris

        Agreed.

        August 28, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • SeaVik

      "This lack of structure in humanistic value makes liberal forms of atheism chaotic and dangerous to our society..."

      You are expanding the definition of atheism way beyond what it actually means. The fact that I don't believe in a god says absolutely nothing about my political views or morals structure. Strong morals have nothing to do with a belief in a god. Moral structure is pretty simple to define: turn on your empathy and you'll know the difference between right and wrong.

      August 28, 2014 at 10:42 am |
    • kudlak

      "Atheism or progressive Atheism has no compass"

      If Christianity has a "compass" it's needle has lost all polarity and it's "map", the bible, was drawn up before people even knew about the Americas, or that the Earth was a sphere.

      I have more confidence abandoning these old guides and finding my own way in the world. It may take longer, and require more attention to the road ahead than you're willing to give, but I will not be led dumbly into a lake through blind trust.

      August 28, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        very well said!

        August 28, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • Doris

        Indeed.

        August 28, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • bostontola

      Of course atheism has no compass. It has no morals, ethics, science, music, art, or literature either.

      Atheists have a compass with morals, ethics, science, music, art, literature, etc.

      Atheism is just not believing in God(s).

      August 28, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • Alias

      You are trying way tooo hard to put labels on everyone.
      Not all people fit into your categories.

      August 28, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • LaBella

        It appears she's doing the same thing Ms. Cupp did.

        August 28, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • kristinagadfly

          I cannot respond to each thoughtful challenge of my original comment, so let me respond to all here and hopefully you all followed the string...

          Atheism is the lack of belief in any god, while theist not only claim a belief in a god, but most often claim adherence to a creed that represents their moral compass...

          The concept of liberal or conservative is also intangible which always have broad interpretations dependent on who is claiming them...

          Politics always tries to assert convention in ideals, but ends up serving whatever popular interest at any given time, whether it be liberal or conservative, so there are no true concepts of progressive or conservative...

          Humanism seeks to find common ground as a convention of what human morality truly means, with great effort not to inflict oppression or subjugation on any individuals in the process of serving the "greater whole" while theist serve a "greater good" concept based on a belief in god, shouldn't lack there of serve a "greater whole" suffering the least burden on each individual for collective interests that are inherently irrational by demand of a demanding god?

          Atheists require a compass, convention, progressive is a concept of change, by which a compass in rational agreement chose the direction of that change, re-imagining conservatism as an agreeable concept of what we will not burden others with and what responsibilities we all have to the whole...

          I do not agree with this woman one bit, and to advance Atheism, in other words to advance rational morality without a concept of god, a convention must be at least considered valuable...After all, Atheists have a responsibility understanding the truth to try and help theists see the light, and without value to promote reason, we can only be taken as hedonistic and self indulging...

          August 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
  10. awanderingscot

    "Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7, NKJV

    – Although the Lord cares for all His creation, it is man who is His special interest. Atheists and evolutionists strive to abase man saying that he is just another animal. They are wrong.

    August 28, 2014 at 8:51 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Hokey homespun wisdom all wrapped up in bronze age metaphors ... like a drug for the infantile slave mind of the believer.

      August 28, 2014 at 9:01 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You called me a liar yesterday and yet here you are lying yourself...such hypocrisy. I'm sure your imaginary friend god won't be happy with you...do you think he's paying special attention to your delusions of grandeur??

      August 28, 2014 at 9:19 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      A Candid Conversation between Two Species

      The Man: I am the predilect object of Creation, the centre of all that exists…
      The Tapeworm: You are exalting yourself a little. If you consider yourself the lord of Creation, what can I be, who feed upon you and am ruler in your entrails?
      The Man: You lack reason and an immortal soul.
      The Tapeworm: And since it is an established fact that the concentration and complexity of the nervous system appear in the animal scale as an uninterrupted series of graduations, where are we cut off? How many neurons must be possessed in order to have a soul and a little rationality?

      – Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Recollections of My Life

      August 28, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • mk

      A dog obeys, worships and follows his master no matter how brutal he is. I think you are closer to a dog than you think.

      August 28, 2014 at 9:29 am |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Do you have any evidence for creationism?

      August 28, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  11. observer

    kermit4jc,

    With your knowledge of math and science, these should be VERY EASY questions for you..

    If a circle has a diameter of 10 then the circ-umference is 30. TRUE or FALSE?

    The sun hurries around the earth after sunset to start a new day. TRUE or FALSE?

    Let's see HOW MUCH you learned.

    August 28, 2014 at 2:49 am |
    • austin929

      I wonder if hes a natural . do you believe in spiritual gifts?

      you remember when David threw a rock?

      August 28, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  12. austin929

    20:4
    And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years

    August 28, 2014 at 1:49 am |
    • Doris

      Yep, I can see it now. John of Patmos crashing his camel in a field of magic mushrooms just before dictating that mess to some poor fool who had to sit there listening to him.

      August 28, 2014 at 2:13 am |
      • gruphy

        Why Doris are you unhappy for someone's hope? Don't you have hope?

        August 28, 2014 at 2:48 am |
        • Doris

          Someone's hope? Anyone can have hope. It's only natural to have it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of dangerous baggage that comes with wildly unsubstantiated beliefs that some rely on to help give them hope. I think of it as taking a pill that may make you feel a bit better, but where you probably don't know all the long-term side effects. Evidently, there was a lot of argument over the inclusion of Revelation. And after that, Peter 2 was highly contested. That's where Peter allegedly gives his blessing for Paul's works as divine scripture. Most NT scholars now think it's highly unlikely that Peter actually authored Peter 2. I think before some extremists who post here hope for the end of days, they should start honestly hoping that all this hearsay that their belief is built on is actually true. They need a lot of hope for that.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:25 am |
        • awanderingscot

          If you are wrong, and you are, you will have an eternity to regret it.

          August 28, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • mk

          Scary. And this is exactly the fear that they used to get you to believe and never let go.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          "If you are wrong, and you are, you will have an eternity to regret it."

          So why not live as though vampires actually do exist, wear a garlic necklace around your neck all the time, just in case? Better to carry a leprechaun trap with you all the time too. You wouldn't want to miss out on all that gold! better carry a virginal maid for unicorns, a magical amulet to ward away wizards and a talisman to keep yourself from being made into a Haitian zombie. When it comes to the other kinds of zombies, well there's several schools of thought, depending on whether they end up being "fast" zombies or slow "walkers". Crossbows, samurai swords, and axes are all good options ...

          August 28, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "If you are wrong, and you are, you will have an eternity to regret it."
          Thanks Pascal.

          Go ahead and die quietly in bed with the priest giving you Last Rites.
          But know that unless you die bathed in the blood of your vanquished foes on the field of battle, you'll never get to Valhalla.
          If you don't learn the secret, masonic handshakes and passwords, you'll never get into the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom.
          If you keep on eating burgers and steak, you'll be reincarnated as a dung beetle.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "If you are wrong, and you are, you will have an eternity to regret it."

          You know this how???

          August 28, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @doG
          Do you have any suggestion for what bait to use in the leprechaun trap?
          I've tried a potato, Lucky Charms cereal and a pint of Guiness but nothing seems to be working...

          August 28, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          hmmmm ... the Guinness usually works ... maybe the pint glass is a little too big ... try Guinness in a wee little shot glass.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • kudlak

          gruphy
          I've read Revelation. Why does your "hope" have to include the suffering and slaughter of millions?

          August 28, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "If you are wrong, and you are, you will have an eternity to regret it"

          Threats of eternal punishments betray a weak position.

          August 28, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • bostontola

          If you picked the wrong God out of the thousands proposed, you may have an eternity to regret it.

          August 28, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        The hippie era take 1? Except these 'trips' were really odd and didn't include peace and love.

        August 28, 2014 at 8:24 am |
      • kudlak

        Doris
        The popular theory a while back was that John experienced the effects of the same kind of cave gas that affected the sibyl oracle at Delphi.

        Either way, it's interesting to hear Christians both attest that Revelation is full of symbolic imagery and metaphor while also insisting that it's literally prophesying future events. Yikes!

        August 28, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • mk

      It's not our fault that you believe in a god who is so petty he kills his own creation over jealousy from not getting all the attention. Nevermind the fact that he commanded a list of ten rules be enforced, one of which was Thou shalt not kill. Double-standard? I think so.

      August 28, 2014 at 8:07 am |
      • awanderingscot

        You'll have the opportunity one day to point out his transgressions. I doubt you will be so bold then.

        August 28, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • mk

          Ah, so your god does transgress. I thought so.

          August 28, 2014 at 8:58 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          And when Ma'at weighs your heart and finds it heavier than a shut feather, you can argue with her about the accuracy of her spirit scale.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • evidencenot

          You'll be sorry when you one day meet Thor and he shoves a lightning bolt up your azz!

          August 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        noyou said is even Biblical or describes the God I worship..nor the God of the Bible....God is HOly..not because basedon feelings..it is His very being..and Holiness simply can NOT accept imperfection! Plus, God is JUST..and it seems like you hate consequences and justice when it comes to you...but then like justice when it applies to others (sound familiar? double standard) and also..it says thou shall not mURDER....get the context...and only GOD reseves the right to take life..not us...

        August 28, 2014 at 9:41 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Christians seem to have the same sick mentality as pervy submissives ... "Oh I am a worm. Oh I am a sinner. Oh I am unworthy. Oh punish me. Oh discipline me."

          With a good portion of abused spouse ... "Oh he loves me, that's why he has to punish me. He only hits me because I deserve it. He only hits me because I do wrong. It's my fault he hits me"

          what a sick, sad view of the world.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Christians seem to have the same sick mentality as pervy submissives … “Oh I am a worm. Oh I am a sinner. Oh I am unworthy. Oh punish me. Oh discipline me.”<–I agree this is twisted..it is unfortunate SOME Christiasns think this way..but reality with the Bible does not even compare...we HAVE worth..and the submissiveness is based on GODS love and mercy...I submit to God because I LOVE God for what he has done to save me from eternal hell fire, (ONE of reasons I love god)..I hope you were not trying to lump all Christians together like that

          August 28, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • mk

          "..and it seems like you hate consequences and justice when it comes to you...but then like justice when it applies to others "

          Where are you getting that? I believe consequences come from our actions and we are accountable to those around us who are affected, not to a hypocritical god who is allowed to commit murder but commands his creations not to kill.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • kermit4jc

          yod have to prove God has committed murder, by proving he has no right to take life he gives

          August 28, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • mk

          "I LOVE God for what he has done to save me from eternal hell fire."

          You are making his point exactly in merely expressing that you need such saving from an all-powerful god who could easily wipe out hell at any time. It's this desperate fear that compels you to worship such a needy god.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • kermit4jc

          not a desperate attempt at all..this shows your complete ignorance of the God we talk about...this shows you are shallowin your ways...God is a JUST and Holy God..to do what YOU ask of him (to wipe hell out) means to take away JUSTICE and His HOLINess..of which is his BEING..not his FEELINGS..God is NOT Just because he fEELS like it..it is His very BEING..thus YOU are asking for God to CEASE to be God! and that based on YOUR feelings

          August 28, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • kudlak

          God's "justice" appears to be as unilateral as that of some dictator, and a vain, egocentric one at that. Empathy and compassion tell me that there's no justice at all in God's wrath. If he exists he's an alien overlord undeserving of any worship. Perhaps you only find it just because you imagine that you will be spared from it, which may say something about your ego as well.

          August 28, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • kermit4jc

          your words show youre not taking all things into consideration for which I brought up..you seem to ignore that I brought up that God is HOLY (not egotistical) and sin can NOT simply coexist within his full presence! Its not baed on feelings as I said before...youre basing all this on feelings.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • evidencenot

          "yod have to prove God has committed murder, by proving he has no right to take life he gives"

          First you have to prove god exists... complete lack of evidence says = no god... just mythology.

          August 28, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • kermit4jc

          nice way to dodge the question...YOU brought god up and started by arguing of his works (for sake of argument-if he existed) and then when I ask you to back that up, you dodge by saying to prove God exists...that's a cop out...remain focused here..for sake of argument..suppose that this god exists and what YOU see of this god...then prove he does not have right to take life that He has given..ok?

          August 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • kudlak

          "yod have to prove God has committed murder, by proving he has no right to take life he gives"

          This reminds me of the debate about whether vampires are evil, or just doing what they need to do in order to survive.

          August 28, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "yod have to prove God has committed murder, by proving he has no right to take life he gives"

          So if a couple mutually agrees to terminate pregnancy – taking the life they made – that isn't murder.
          So why are you anti-abortion?

          August 28, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • kermit4jc

          that does not address the issue...try again please. We are talking of GOD right now..not humans

          August 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          The closest supporters of any dictator think that he can do no wrong as well, so why should I consider God's supposed "holiness" as any excuse for his behaviour?

          Yes, I'm basing this on feelings. You'd have to be pretty unfeeling to not see something very wrong with it, as far as I can see.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and therein lies your problem..and which is why yo udo terrible when trying to use humans as anoloogy....feelings have an ebb and flow..they come and go....and thus cannot be totally trusted at every single instant. whereas God is constant...His judgement is not based on feelings...it is constant..thus we can trust in Him..as for Holiness..its not a feeling..its a state of being.....but like justice, it is Gods very nature and does not change as well..He is constant...if he changes either one of those, he no longer is God...

          August 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • atlantic9

        Yet your version of a god is not universal. It has no right to take any life but your own.

        August 28, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      People love apocalyptic literature.
      There are bits of pieces of quite a few apocalyptic scriptures from the early days of Christianity, some of which were in wide circulation at the time.
      Peter's Apocalypse dates back to the early 2nd century (around the same time frame as the 2nd Epistle of Peter that became canonical) and describes the pleasure and punishments that await in the afterlife.
      For example, women who have abortions are tossed into a lake of guts, blood, and the assorted viscera of all the other folk tortured in Hell where they are tortured by the spirits of their unborn children.
      Ho/mose/xuals are also punished – though interestingly enough, only lesbians and "bottom" men (I guess tops still get into Heaven). Their Sisyphian torture is that they get driven up a cliff by angry angels and pushed over the edge so as to fall to their doom, this process repeating for all eternity.
      It ends on a bit of a hopeful note – apparently one day God will be moved by the prayers of those in Heaven and take mercy on the souls in Hell, eventually admitting them to Paradise.

      Gotta love Christian torture p/orn.
      Now I kind of feel like watching Mel Gibson's passion play....

      August 28, 2014 at 9:01 am |
    • igaftr

      I was once, I was strolling one very hot, summer’s day
      When I thought I’d lay myself down to rest
      In a big field of tall grass.
      I lay there in the sun
      And felt it caressing my face
      As I fell asleep
      And dreamed.
      I dreamed I was in a Hollywood movie
      And that I was the star of the movie.
      This really blew my mind,
      The fact that me,
      An overfed, long-haired, leaping gnome,
      Should be the star of a Hollywood movie.
      Hmm, but there I was.
      I was taken to a place,
      The hall of the mountain king.
      I stood high upon a mountain top,
      Naked to the world,
      In front of every kind of girl.
      There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones,
      Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones.
      Out of the middle
      Came a lady.
      She whispered in my ear
      Something crazy.
      She said,

      Spill the wine, take that pearl.
      Spill the wine, take that pearl.
      Spill the wine, take that pearl.
      Spill the wine, take that pearl.

      I could feel hot flames of fire roaring at my back
      As she disappeared,
      But soon she returned.
      In her hand was a bottle of wine,
      In the other, a glass.
      She poured some of the wine from the bottle into the glass
      And raised it to her lips
      And, just before she drank it,
      She said,

      “Take the wine, take that girl.
      Spill the wine, take that pearl.
      Spill the wine, take that pearl.
      Spill the wine, take that pearl.”

      Take that pearl, yeah.
      It’s on girl, all you gotta do is spill that wine, spill that wine.
      Let me feel, let me feel fine, yeah, yeah.
      Spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine, spill the wine, take that pearl.

      Eric 19:70

      True story.

      August 28, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Perhaps the One True God would be pleased by people who admit they know nothing about it and believe in it on the basis of no evidence. And don't attribute their spiritual feelings to it.

    August 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
    • austin929

      its not about feelings. supernatural life in the spirit is a gift, its alive, and your feelings are a burden and a dead weight compared to what God does in the spirit.

      August 27, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        What does God do in the spirit. Explain assuming I've no idea what the spirit is ( mine or God's).

        August 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          If you discover the meaning of this verse, it may help.

          Isaiah 55:12
          For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          When I was young there was a show I watched called HR Pufnstuff. The opening sequence was like that. Do you know it, Robert?

          August 27, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          The name sounds familiar, but I'm afraid I don't know it.

          August 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh I see, this is sort of one of those "The hills have eyes with the sound of music" kind of things...

          August 27, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Not really Doris.

          August 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Both HR Puffinstuff and a British show called The Magic Roundabout. A lot of acid trips went into the writing of those shows!

          August 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          H.R. Pufnstuff,
          Who's your friend when things get rough?
          H.R. Pufnstuff
          Can't do a little cause he can't do enough.

          August 27, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
        • LaBella

          The writers of that show seemed to be pufnstuff. I found it unwatchable as a kid.

          August 28, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • Doris

        "supernatural life in the spirit"

        OK hold on a minute – I wrote that down and I'm pressing it to my forehead to see if it makes more sense...

        August 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Not only do they have the problem of figuring out how this planets life got here, the religious want to invent a whole new "spiritual life" that they can't explain the origins of...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • evidencenot

          The more ambiguous, the better

          August 28, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • Madtown

        Is it a gift to everyone? All God's human creations?

        August 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • austin929

          ya he does give it to everyone bud. but you would just receive it then. right? because there is another option.......its not good.... it would mean that you wont receive it.

          August 27, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • Madtown

          ya he does give it to everyone bud.
          ----
          Why so many humans with ZERO knowledge of christianity then?

          August 28, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I cant spea for them all...mostly they are not listening though..and many will reject God..like you..(it does not have to be that way, you still got time to accept God)

          August 28, 2014 at 9:51 am |
      • kudlak

        austin929
        A "gift" that gets you to believe all this stuff, regardless of its lack of supporting evidence? Personally, I get a lot of free stuff, but I only value what I find useful, and blind trust isn't one of those things. I value my skepticism; it keeps me from getting cheated.

        I know that Matthew 18:3 says And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven., but isn't Jesus actually telling people here to just throw their adult reason out the door, and blindly take him at his word? Isn't that what a con man would ask you to do in order to trust him? You already trust Jesus, so you're like the little kid and willing to accept this just because it comes from an authority figure, but is this really a good practice for grown adults with responsibilities?

        My feelings are a "burden and a dead weight ". Yup, I have to admit that my empathy and compassion for my fellow man do get in my way when it comes to accepting a God who would condemn people for being gay, or for just not believing in him. I just can't, in all good conscience, ever support even the idea of such a being.

        August 28, 2014 at 10:37 am |
  14. Reality

    James Foley died because of the lies of one Mohammed who said he had visions from the mythical Gabriel. The significant stupidity of all religions makes one want to vomit !

    August 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Well actually he died because modern humans do not take responsibility for themselves. History is replete with lying fools. Does not mean anyone needs to follow them. There is no evidence Ole Moe ever really said or did anything. There was a trader named Mohammed. There is a lot of evidence Arabic leaders invented the new cult to unify their expanding empire, using the example of the Romans and the way they used the Christian cult to do the same thing.

      August 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
      • sanddudian

        Well said and excellent point!

        August 27, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
      • Reality

        Excellent point but are therereferences on the real Mohammed? I cannot find any other than the Koran and of course that book of terror and horror has no validity.

        August 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
        • Reality

          "are there references"

          August 28, 2014 at 6:47 am |
        • khidir619

          Because there are no references to Muhammad in the Qur'an. Actually, most of the Qur'an is about Moses. Muhammad is in what's called the Hadith. It's called reading, you should try it before trying to sound knowledgeable on a topic. You just sound ignorant.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:54 am |
        • Reality

          Moses? Hmmm just another of the many myths of the OT and koran.

          origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

          New Torah For Modern Minds

          “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
          Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

          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 doc-ument.

          The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

          August 28, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • Reality

          More on Mohammed and the koran:

          The Quran (English pronunciation: /kɔrˈɑːn/[n 1] kor-AHN , Arabic: القرآن‎ al-qur'ān, IPA: [qurˈʔaːn],[n 2] literally meaning "the recitation", also romanised Qur'an or Koran) is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God (Arabic: الله‎, Allah).[1] Its scriptural status among a world-spanning religious community, and its major place within world literature generally, has led to a great deal of secondary literature on the Quran.[2] Quranic chapters are called suras and verses are called ayahs.

          Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel (Jibril), gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE,[3] when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.[1][4][5] Muslims regard the Quran as the most important miracle of Muhammad, a proof of his prophethood,[6] and the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with the messages revealed to Adam and ended with Muhammad. They consider the Quran to be the only revealed book that has been protected by God from distortion or corruption.[7]

          According to the traditional narrative, several companions of Muhammad served as scribes and were responsible for writing down the revelations.[8] Shortly after Muhammad's death, the Quran was compiled by his companions who wrote down and memorized parts of it.[9]"

          August 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • austin929

      13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

      16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

      first fruits............Nisan 16 .......Christ ascended to heaven on the levitical calendar festival of firstfruits..........celebrated for 1400 years, two sun downs and the third day from Passover(Passover being day 1, unleavened bread day 2, first fruits day 3) .

      the seed of life........the seed of Abraham. Firstborn of God.

      August 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
      • austin929

        what I am talking about is NOT, a fleshy dull conversion.

        I'm referring to the birth of the Spirit, the submersion into freedom from sin........and the old man is submersed..........and the new man is supernaturally alive and redeemed..

        that is no religious clammy uninteresting chore or routine. This is other worldly. Its different. Its unique and personal, and it has unmistakable glory .

        August 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • Doris

          "what I am talking about is NOT, a fleshy dull conversion."

          I see – so you're talking about straight up flopping on the floor Benny Hinnism.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Austin Voodoo has the same effect i think,,,

          August 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
  15. bostontola

    No matter how deeply biologists probe living things, all they find is chemistry/physics. They have been able to repro.duce complex living processes by understanding the chemistry and initiating it in the lab:

    Date:August 25, 2014
    Source:University of Edinburgh
    Summary: Scientists have grown a fully functional organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal for the first time. The researchers have created a thymus - an organ next to the heart that produces immune cells known as T cells that are vital for guarding against disease.

    Date:August 24, 2014
    Source:Heidelberg University
    Summary: The origin of our body axes.The Hydra reproduces ase.xually by producing buds on the body wall of the adult, which then mature to form new polyps. The Heidelberg researchers delved into this process at the molecular level and discovered that a signal pathway is used that triggers the left-right asymmetry of organs in higher animals, including humans.

    Bottom line, life is chemistry/physics. There is libraries of evidence of this down to the atomic level.

    There isn't one piece of evidence showing that there is something else in addition to chemistry/physics at play.

    Every known life form is natural chemistry/physics. If God created life, it used only nature as the building blocks, and it operates naturally according to the laws of chemistry/physics.

    All existing life is natural chemistry/physics, and is vastly more complex than early one celled life. Evolution is completely consistent with how life became complex. It's just chemistry/physics operating in a region where enormous energy influx (from the sun) bakes the chemical cake.

    That doesn't preclude God. Just like we bake ingredients and predictable meals come out, a God could use earth as it's easy bake oven.

    I happen to believe no God was necessary, but that model is not in conflict with known science.

    Sticking with the literal Genesis story has been absurd for some time and is getting more absurd by the day. Why would a God snap his fingers for a static set of life forms, kill most off in the exact way to mimic evolution?

    August 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      A real god could have made life work without "intelligent design". Apparently it couldn't

      August 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
      • bostontola

        A real God would know that ID of static life forms is a recipe for disaster. Changes to the environment, meteor strikes, etc. would ruin everything unless it wanted to tweak everything everyday. A God could do that also, but now you have a God that controls weather, meteorites, etc. but lets children die of nasty diseases every day. No, the evolution path would create robust life forms that can handle changes without a helicopter mom God.

        August 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The evolution path gives rise to many species that don't make it. A God with foreknowledge of what species might encounter, and "whose eye is on the sparrow" wouldn't be so wasteful.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
        • bostontola

          Tom,
          Evolution is not wasteful at all. It is quite conservative. It just matches form to need via an algorithm. The obsolete forms were right for their time and place. Humans with their precocious intelligence may be the only counter example. It's too soon to tell though.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Many of the obsolete, or inadequate, forms left no descendants. Their information is gone. I find that wasteful.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
        • bostontola

          Tom,
          You may be right, I don't know the actual percentage. I do think there is a gap between 100% efficient and wasteful though. The dead end species may have been essential in the ecosystem that supported the surviving forms (including us). It's a difference of perspective more than a difference of fact.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          i would say evolution is basically an option left open; allow me to explain.

          if you go to an un-touched eco-system you will find prey/predators and plant life in basic harmony. (meaning appropriate numbers according to each creatures task)

          now let's take a system like that of north america in current age; due to our almost complete extermination of the wolf population, the prey animals grew out of control.
          this requires humans to take up the role of predator to control the number (mind you we are failinng horribly); if prey animals grow unchecked they consume all the eatible vegetation in an area, that leads to them starving to death and the population either returns to numbers the resources can handle or they go extinct from that region.

          now let's take an "extinction event"; i'll use a well known one from 65 million years ago.
          dinosaurs being wiped off the world left a huge void where smaller animals were able to fill; as prey animals normally do geting larger than the predator provides a bit of protection from predation, in kind predators would eventually grow in size as well; yet not to the point of the prey animal.

          as time passes this on going battle of predation would fill the voids left by the previous dominate creatures.
          ----–
          in the case of humans; we are a plague. we have no natural predators, nor do we truly have a fixed place in the food chain we belong.
          seeing as humans are omnivours, we can fill both role of predator/prey; yet even on that we have no spot so that would simply lead one to the conclusion the reasons humans survived this long is due to that one main factor......we can be oppritunistic eaters.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:29 am |
      • believerfred

        realbuckyball
        Given you do not know the origin of the processes we experience or purpose, if any, how can you make predictions as to the nature or capacity of agency?

        August 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Well actually we do know. The origin of life is pretty well known, (Dr. Jack Szostac at Harvard has pretty much wrapped that one up). The purpose of life is life. That's it. We do know the origins of "what we experience". The fact that you don't speaks only of your ignorance or Neuro-science.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • believerfred

          realbuckyball
          Ah we have found Bizarroscot of the Bizarro anti-theist World. I know the anti's would call your bizarro claim of knowing the origin of life a lie but I see it as misguided lack of knowledge.
          There is no evidence for the speculative origins of life.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Just goes to prove you actually know nothing about the current state of research. Thanks for again demonstrating that for all to see.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • austin929

          the purpose in life is what you hear from believer fred.............a man who knows God and shares in God's glory. and in that Fred is glorified eternally. There is no greater joy than that anticipation.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • believerfred

          realbuckyball
          Which unsupported speculation as to origin of the first self-reproducing biomolecules do you have evidence to support. The anti theists of the world are waiting to finally put Jesus at rest. Don't hold us in suspense

          August 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • evidencenot

          " There is no greater joy than that anticipation."

          Ah yes.. the joy of delusion!
          '

          August 28, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • Science Works

          Come on fred

          http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/08/27/dnt-mammoth-skeleton-found-texas.wfaa.html

          majorwiblit • an hour ago
          and for all our looney dim-witted creationist friends....

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/28/florida-pastor-lashes-out-at-atheists-because-he-wants-school-prayer-like-the-consti-tution-says/

          August 28, 2014 at 10:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm reminded that God is good for a cup of coffee at Starbuck's, but only if you bring a few dollars with you.

      August 27, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
      • evidencenot

        Reminds me of that old joke... "that and 25 cents will get you on the subway.."

        August 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Bostontola,

      That is some really neat stuff about growing an organ, maybe someday we'll be able to replace parts as needed.

      I think if you are looking for God, he will find you.

      August 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
      • bostontola

        Robert,
        I'm open. If there's a God, why do you think it is one of the thousands of Gods from the ancient stories? Maybe it's a completely different being that has never been written about. Humans have existed for less than 1 hundredth of 1 percent of the time of the observable universe.

        August 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          In a spiritual but very real sense, I have met the God of the bible, his mercy endures forever. I know several people who have met him too. When you meet him you will be convinced that he is the God. According to the bible, the recipe to become acquainted with him is to hear his word preached by one of his selected preachers. If you are open, accept the invitation of one of your Christian friends and attend a service this Sunday. You may be surprised at what you "hear."

          August 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • austin929

          you cant make a factual statement about time in the observable universe. you are making as.sumptions.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • bostontola

          Robert,
          I'm glad that works for you. It is clear that most humans need a spiritual connection. It has conveyed an advantage. That advantage is passed on to succeeding generations. That feeling you have could be real, or it may simply be a manifestation of that advantage.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
        • bostontola

          Austin,
          I don't know what you consider a fact, but I take tested, validated science as fact. Scientific fact: the observable universe is more than 13 billion years old.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
        • austin929

          if you experienced the supernatural though...............then you would realize that you would be disrespecting God to think you are important enough to know more than he told you.

          its o.k. to want to know, but to insist you know and that you have greater wisdom than God's intended information is dangerous.

          it may be that God was creating the universe for millions .........or x amount of years. Just don't count Him out because you insist that star light had to run a natural course.

          God is NOT nature. He can manipulate nature to make it speak to you and thus you know He can sovereignly say "go"

          and everything is in place and fully functioning...........just like you are............and just like the Holy Spirit is.

          If you had spiritual power and the ability to hear God, would you trade it to have a more powerful knowledge?

          August 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          'God is NOT nature. He can manipulate nature'
          -------------------–
          But doesn't do anything about disease or natural disasters. Presumably he created these too? Why?

          August 27, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • austin929

          evolution and dealing with our origin.......is a way to exalt yourself in knowledge.....beyond what God told you.

          that is a serious test. Adam failed. and we have been given an alternate chance.

          take your pride before God and talk to Him about it.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
        • Doris

          Goodness – you're starting to sound like HeavenSent... and not the real one.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Robert Brown,
          "If you are open, accept the invitation of one of your Christian friends and attend a service this Sunday. You may be surprised at what you "hear.""

          I don't know about others, but if we accepted every "invitation" like this then we likely wouldn't have time to do anything else, and it's not like we haven't ever been to a Sunday service before.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • Madtown

          the recipe to become acquainted with him is to hear his word preached by one of his selected preachers
          ---
          But of course. How would it be anyone other than "God of the bible", if you're listening to an evangelical preacher? Meanwhile, humans with no concept of christianity also have religious experiences, and believe they've found God.

          August 27, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Ken,

          Yes, I'm aware that several here were even former believers, but when you have attended, did you "hear" the word of God?

          August 27, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "did you "hear" the word of God?"

          Ahhh...the old...'you weren't doing it right' argument.

          August 27, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Blessed,

          No, I think it is just the opposite. God has to open your ears, before you can hear. Your responsibility is to seek, in my opinion.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:29 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          austin: "take your pride before God and talk to Him about it."

          you know austin i tried doing that while my christian grandparents were beating me with whatever they could get their hands on.....................you know what i heard?

          my own screams of pain and anger. that's all; if a child begging your god to stop being beaten couldn't move your god to action (and seeing i am a father) then he's either:
          1) doesn't care
          2) isn't real
          ------–
          i elect the latter.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • midwest rail

          " you're starting to sound like HeavenSent... and not the real one."
          For me, suspi.cion grows every day that several of the current crop of trolls are further manifestations of A.B.'s boredom.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:48 am |
        • niknakk

          RBrownstreak,
          "I have met the god of the bible"

          This is why I would never let creepy religious people like you around my family.
          You are delusional.
          And delusional people will do unexpected things that usually involve violence.

          When you can get educated adults to believe in fantasies like you do, then you can get them to believe/do anything.

          August 28, 2014 at 8:16 am |
        • atlantic9

          Most psychotic people, like those that meet or talk to god, don't get violent. Of course I don't want to have that religious bs sounded out likes its true around my kids either.

          August 28, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • kermit4jc

          are you a psychologist or psychiatrist?

          August 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Austin = "Adam failed. and we have been given an alternate chance"

          Just an old story from a book of mythology...... pure fiction.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • atlantic9

          Why do you ask ? I do a lot of reading and talking with doctors on the topic of psychosis. I have a child with it.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ell..you seem to be presenting yourself as one to be able to diagnose all believers as being psychotic....and I have noticed that most people who label us as such are not qualified, they are arm chair psychies..wannabes..I work in the field..(granted, FEW psychologists and such would probably label us as such) but those I worked with over 15 years have not labeled me such, even though they know of my beliefs

          August 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • atlantic9

          To believe in the concept of a god is not psychotic. To talk to a god is psychotic. Or to meet one.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and again hardly any psychologists and psychatrists freely throw that term around for those of us who do speak and meet with God...they don't freely throw it around like you do....I suggest you leave the labeling to those more qualified ok? as I said..ONLY people I experienced who make these labels are wannabes

          August 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          medical defintion of PSYCHOSIS.

          Description
          Patients suffering from psychosis have impaired reality testing; that is, they are unable to distinguish personal subjective experience from the reality of the external world. They experience hallucinations and/or delusions that they believe are real, and may behave and communicate in an inappropriate and incoherent fashion.
          --------
          incoherent speaking = "speaking in tongues"

          August 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • austin929

      God doesn't mimic evolution. there are biological physiological systems that are designed to perform and thrive.........evolution mimics the strengths of who God is .

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

        "evolution mimics the strengths of who God is"

        My goodness you do come up with some strange claims.

        August 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Doris. That was complete guess from Austin and in fact is meaningless as he has zero evidence to support that claim.. Sounds like he has accepted evolution as real though..

          August 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Austin pulls crap like that out of his azz all the time.... and man does it smell bad!'

          August 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Apparently God (the Standard God) doesn't explain its commands and actions for the reason a parent may not explain things to a three-year-old. I learned something today. From someone who claims to be a frog puppet, no less.

    August 27, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      God gave us a brain and expects us to use it...and where is it he does not explain his rules...clarify please

      August 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I was reading Leviticus 14. The part after The Lord said to Moses". Has your God explained any of that? I'm particularly curious about the birds.

        August 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Leveticus 14 seems pretty self explanatory to me.....what is it you needed to have God explained?

          August 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Before we go into this, do you find anything humorous? Is Monty Python funny to you, for example?

          August 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          What do some ancient writing(s) have to do with any of the gods, and why should some ancient desert dwellers be looked to for anything ?

          August 27, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          The former chapter directed the priests how to convict a leper of ceremonial uncleanness. No prescriptions are given for his cure; but, when God had cured him, the priests are in this chapter directed how to cleanse him. The remedy here is only adapted to the ceremonial part of his disease; but the authority Christ gave to his ministers was to cure the lepers, and so to cleanse them. We have here, I. The solemn declaration of the leper’s being clean, with the significant ceremony attending it, Lev. 14:1-9. II. The sacrifices which he was to offer to God eight days after, Lev. 14:10-32. III. The management of a house in which appeared signs of a leprosy, Lev. 14:33-53. And the conclusion and summary of this whole matter, Lev. 14:54-57

          August 27, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Except no leper was ever "cleansed" without the antibiotic for Hansen's Disease. Why didn't your god reveal the formula for that ?

          August 27, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          It's hilarious, Robert. Believers don't see that?

          August 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          If you didn't read the books and chapter prior to this I could see how it would be considered odd, but I don't see the humor. What is the humor in it Tom?

          August 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          So the God of Monty Python tells some sod that now that his skin has cleared up: "the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed. Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. Seven ( not six, not eight, not seven times seven, but seven) times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the defiling disease, and then pronounce them clean. After that, he is to release the live bird in the open fields." Why?

          Now if this were in your Bible you would no doubt find it deadly serious:


          Tom Sawyer: What's a dead cat good for?

          Huck Finn: To cure warts away.

          Tom Sawyer: Well, I got one. How's it work?

          Huck Finn: You take your dead cat to the graveyard on the day somebody wicked's been buried, and when the devil comes, you heave your cat at him and say "Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat, I'm done with you". That'll fetch any wart.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Bucky, God obviously gave someone the intelligence to figure it out.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I think killing the birds and releasing one are ceremonial. Instead of a scapegoat, you have a scapebird. Unlike, the dead cat, the birds had nothing to do with causing the cure, they were part of the ceremony in response to the cure and don't forget to throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder if you spill some.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I'd like to think I don't do things without reason, Robert. But I' m sure I do. No animals harmed, though.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I think part of the reason had to do with the importance and meaning of sacrifice.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I don't recognize any value in that kind of sacrifice. Please explain.

          August 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          "Bucky, God obviously gave someone the intelligence to figure it out."
          Buncha crap. The discovery of antibiotics was an accident. Flemming discovered penicillin by accident. Sure. Your loving god waiting for an accident ? Anything to explain away the cognitive dissonance. So millions if not billions suffer and die, and your god waits for an accident. Right.

          August 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Tom,

          I don't understand it completely either. God requires the shedding of innocent blood for the remission of sin. Under the old covenant, the blood of animals covered sin, temporarily. Under the new covenant, the blood of Jesus, erases sin, permanently.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:52 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          mr.brown: " Under the new covenant, the blood of Jesus, erases sin, permanently."

          ok let's try some logic here, ok?
          ------

          1) jesus dies and erases all sin.
          2) jesus just destroyed his own religion.
          how you ask?

          once jesus dies and permenantly erases sin, then all humans following that event are "sinless".
          sin no longer existing means we are all "pure" from the moment of birth until our death, so jesus just erased his very need in this whole "repent and be saved thing".

          so no use for the bible; no use for churches; hmmmmmm i would guess the disasoitive personality god would have figured out that simple logic that by doing so he put himself out of a job. lmfao

          August 28, 2014 at 7:48 am |
  17. ausphor

    scotty
    Google bichir fish. Also watch Cosmos, binge viewing preferred in your case. Then watch episode two of Cosmos over and over again until you get it. Thank you.

    August 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • bostontola

      Thanks for the reference, I hadn't heard of them. This is a particularly interesting link"

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/walking-bichir-fish-may-reveal-how-vertebrates-moved-onto-land-1.2748483
      Walking bichir fish may reveal how vertebrates moved onto land

      August 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
  18. Alias

    “PAUL SAID, "God is not the author of confusion," (I Corinthians 14:33), yet never has a book produced more confusion than the bible! There are hundreds of denominations and sects, all using the "inspired Scriptures" to prove their conflicting doctrines.
    Why do trained theologians differ? Why do educated translators disagree over Greek and Hebrew meanings? Why all the confusion? Shouldn't a document that was "divinely inspired" by an omniscient and omnipotent deity be as clear as possible?

    "If the trumpet give an uncertain sound," Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:8, "who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air." Exactly! Paul should have practiced what he preached. For almost two millennia, the bible has been producing a most "uncertain sound."

    The problem is not with human limitations, as some claim. The problem is the bible itself. People who are free of theological bias notice that the bible contains hundreds of discrepancies. Should it surprise us when such a literary and moral mish-mash, taken seriously, causes so much discord? “
    http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra

    August 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
    • believerfred

      " Shouldn't a document that was "divinely inspired" by an omniscient and omnipotent deity be as clear as possible?"
      =>Alias what does God say you (Alias) need to do if you desire eternal life?

      August 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I'm curious, fred, has this God you have actually ever said anything to you?

        August 27, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • believerfred

          Tom, Tom, the Other One
          All the time.
          Before I read the Bible I pray that God open my mind and heart to the presence of God. When reading I may be stirred to pray for someone or something. Recently, I began to jot things down immediately afterwards as they would quickly slip my mind. God speaks to me much the same when you are stirred to thought or action while reading a thought provoking book.
          Given that I am looking for and listening for God to speak into my life I am sensitive to the stirring (quite inner voice).
          In the same way if I am looking for contradiction or find myself in a skeptical frame of mind I find what some atheists on this site find in the Bible. Doubt is a very enticing force that must be dealt with. When Cain began to stew against Able God said sin is crouching at the door, it desires to have you but you must master it. Here is the answer to the problem. If the question is how do I master it I ask God and the answer is provided.
          After a period of time I observe that God is faithful and does provide. The Bible said God would and my experience validates God does.

          August 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          So God isn't very verbal. It's not his(?) style, then?

          August 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • sealchan

          @believerfred I appreciate this open sharing of your process. I think that it shows a sensitivity to a truth that arises from experience, is based on beliefs (axioms) and is subject to disprovability.

          Just as with scientists looking for new experiments, the believer looks to solve new problems. It may be for some, scientist or believer, to discover deeper principles than were known before.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
        • believerfred

          Tom, Tom, the Other One
          Technically most would say it is the Holy Spirit that "speaks" into our lives but that is a difference without distinction.
          Not sure what you implying other than most people do not make the effort to hear God. God is not vocal these days as some Old Testament manifestations would have it.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • believerfred

          sealchan
          Yes, sometimes I think science limits itself with its own core assumptions:

          -There are natural causes for things that happen in the world around us.
          -Evidence from the natural world can be used to learn about those causes.
          -There is consistency in the causes that operate in the natural world.

          As such I wonder how much more we would know if science was not self limiting.

          August 27, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • Alias

          Fred,
          "God is not vocal these days as some Old Testament manifestations would have it."
          God ism't there. The old testament is mythology. You need to get past your insecurities and face reality.
          I know you find great comfort in your faith, but try thinking objectively for a change.

          August 28, 2014 at 10:54 am |
      • evolveddna

        Fred.. what does science "believe as a core assumption.", that is more an apt description of religion/god than science. Science works to understand the world, it makes no assumptions as to whether any of the gods are real or not. What it does is uncovers and explains it may not jive with what you want it to but you are free to prove other wise...as with your creation belief. There are many folks on here, atheist and believer who would love to have some evidence that could be verified of creation.. Nobel prizes all round.

        August 27, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • evolveddna

          fred opps sorry missed the middle part of your statement.. I see what you said..

          August 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
      • Alias

        Fred,
        There is no god.
        If you had looked to the Koran or tke teachings of Confucius ot enev Scientology you would have found te same things you have in the bible. Just because the bible has good advice on how to live and some valuable bits of wisdom, that does not prove the god it talks about exists.

        August 28, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • believerfred

          Alias
          The word of God has been around since the beginning of oral tradition. Most religions pick up on the basic teachings and ascribe it to various spiritual or naturalistic thought through this very day. Like the concept of numbers they exist in reality, effect reality and affect reality. You are suffering some mighty delusion that you can claim that which exists does not exist. I cannot imagine such deceptive power capable of completely blinding you to that reality.

          As to the Koran, Confucius and Scientology they all tap into the truth at various levels. These offshoots work because the principles of God apply whether you believe or not in the one true God. As with numbers principles matter and although we can trace algebra to the Babylonians the Muslims sometimes take credit for algebra because the word comes from Arabic al-jebr. Some may think Diophantus the father of algebra but it matters not because numbers are still numbers and they exist because thought becomes reality when evident in form and substance that supports the concept of numbers.

          In a like manner the truth of God as revealed through the thought and concept of man is an attribute of God just as numbers have attributes and a body of principles, laws and theorems that allow us to understand our environment. Now, it is possible Moses got it wrong and we are all off on this anthropomorphic visualization of what drives this wonder and awe we experience. By the same token science chases down the naturalistic rabbit hole of existentialistic evolution. Yet, as a matter of belief they could be wrong but the numbers DON"T lie and the principles and laws hold. That is to say the truth of God is the Word of God which holds regardless.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • believerfred

          Einstein:
          We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—-a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Alias

          Fred,
          "The word of God has been around since the beginning of oral tradition. Most religions pick up on the basic teachings and ascribe it to various spiritual or naturalistic thought through this very day."
          You are mixing your bible with reality here. Didn't oral tradition begin with Adam and Eve? Where did all these other races and religions come from?
          Please at least be consistant.
          There is no proof of any god, including te one you've chosen. It would be delusional to know this and still try to believe that your god exists.

          August 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Exactly...... what is funny to me is when someone will claim "the holy spirit spoke to me"... They are forcing some feeling they get, to mean something other than what it really is,,,.... In the Bill Maher movie Religulous, he's talking to the man who plays the part of jesus at the Christian theme park when a breeze comes along, jesus says, "feel that?, that's the holy spirit.."..... Bill says, "no, that's just the wind,,"

          August 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Exactly…… what is funny to me is when someone will claim “the holy spirit spoke to me”… They are forcing some feeling they get, to mean something other than what it really is,,,…. <-and you know this how? you been inside my mind? are you some thought police or something?

          August 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • believerfred

          Alias
          "You are mixing your bible with reality here. Didn't oral tradition begin with Adam and Eve?"
          =>No, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. Now, God said let there be light and there was light.
          Thus, oral tradition and life hings on the Word of God. A man filled with the word of God is a blessing that radiates the Glory of God that is eternal life. As a firm believer of naturalism you preach that existence begins with inorganic lifelessness and ends in organic lifelessness. That is in stark contrast and one must wonder how one could not notice the difference between life and death.

          "Where did all these other races and religions come from?"
          =>The observed physical could well have evolved as well as various religions. What has not evolved is truth which is the same as it was when God said let it be and so it was.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Alias,

      Try gotquestions.org

      August 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Feedyourdelusions.org

        August 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
      • Alias

        I've seen it.
        Nothing but lies and twists on context.
        I prefer a site that at least attempts to find the truth.

        August 28, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • sealchan

      The problem is Life itself. Life doesn't provide us clear answers. God, as representative of the experience of Life, takes on the same qualities. It is faith that we use to guide us during those times when a clear lack of relevant information is not present in time to make decisions that have little or no time left to be made in. We perceive these God given truths as ways to handle the practical need for meaning and action where experience, science and even cultural wisdom fails to give us a acceptable solution.

      August 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
      • evolveddna

        Sealchan.. no the problem is that you are trying to fit a god into a world where your own observation and experience tells you he does not exist. but you feel you must believe anyway Why does there have to be a reason for life? the best the bible could come up with is we are here to glorify a god.. to be sycophants . i can easlily accept the beauty of the natural world as is.. the way we are all connected to the universe, the fact that our atoms may have been part of a star and in fact the iron in your blood has been. We are all as old as the universe and our atoms will continue to be part of it albeit it in a vastly different forms till the universe itself evaporates .. if that is lost on you in favor of the supernatural i am sorry.

        August 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • believerfred

          "Why does there have to be a reason for life?"
          =>Oh say it ain't so ! You just claimed there does not need to be a reason for life then you give your reason for life:
          "evolveddna : we are all connected to the universe... We are all as old as the universe and our atoms will continue to be part of it
          =>kumbaya evolveddna Jesus beat you and Hawking to the unified theory. We are one
          =>You also answered your own question. You need to feel connected to something greater than self. You need to have connection and meaning after death to something the transcends death

          August 28, 2014 at 12:21 am |
        • evolveddna

          Fred.. what then does JC have to say about the UT? if he whispers again may be get a little hint.. along with the creation evidence you may be up for two Nobel prizes..

          August 29, 2014 at 12:04 am |
        • believerfred

          evolveddna
          Jesus presented the F-theory although not in context with current string theory where F-theory is the "Father-theory" which is the 12 dimension version of the God particle on steriods (S-duality symmetry)..............seriously! I think science is getting closer to god rather than taking us away from God but only time will tell.

          When I referred to Jesus his unified theory had to do with being one with the Father as he is one with the Father. The way we can be one with the Father is to be in Christ. When this happens we are united in the kingdom of God as one for eternity. It is very different than what Hawking deals with but you really must love the direction physics is going (towards God). Today science lacks observed effect of grand unification and when we see those effects (say proton decay) physics reaches its climax (the theory of everything) we are at Grand unification epoch where the known major forces are meaningless.
          If you are still paying attention, man at that point has proven NO GOD NEEDED and meaningless existence is the agency of existence itself. YEAH ! score one for the anti-theists.
          Ready for this...........that is the antichrist presence in man which is the End of Days and you can turn off the lights as reality will prove once and for all the Bible is true from beginning to end. Believers lost the battle but God wins the war for souls.

          August 29, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Fred . Total unsubstantiated garbage...Father theory.. End of Days. the Antichrist.....it will not be physicists who find "god" but psychiatrists.

          August 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
  19. No Wake Zone

    If god loves us, why is he killing us with $2 Jalapeno Double burgers and Ebola?

    August 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      LMFAO.

      because that is god's way of having a "recall" on his broken products.

      August 28, 2014 at 8:17 am |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    Alas ... all that power to create the universe but stymied by the devil. No wonder god's minions fear the devil ... god just doesn't seem to be able to stop him! LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    August 27, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • No Wake Zone

      Maybe the devil is an abortionist that rides in an iron chariot…god hates that.

      August 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Maybe the devil is a gay abortionist that rides in an iron chariot while wearing clothing woven of two kinds of material ... on a sunday …god reeeeeally hates that.

        August 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Who has been divorced three times and has a tattoo and eats shellfish.

          August 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Saturday please ... to a clambake or crayfish boil.

          August 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • ausphor

          And who had a gay son.

          August 27, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Alias

          I just realized, if the devil were a woman it would explain why god kicked hre out when she tried to take over.

          August 27, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • ausphor

          A transgender god that could supernaturally f" himself/herself.

          August 27, 2014 at 5:41 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.