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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. Robert Brown

    I was standing by the banks of a river
    Looking out over lifes troubled seas
    When I saw an old ship that was sailing
    Is that the old ship of Zion I see

    It's hull was bent and battered
    From the storms of life I could see
    Waves were rough but that old ship kept sailing
    Is that the old ship of Zion I see

    At the stern of the ship was the captain
    I could hear as he called out my name
    Get on board It's the old ship of Zion
    It will never pass this way again

    As I step on board I'll be leaving
    All my troubles and trials behind
    I'll be safe with Jesus the captain
    Sailing out on the old ship of Zion

    August 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • tallulah131

      We come on the sloop John B
      My grandfather and me
      Around Nassau town we did roam
      Drinking all night
      Got into a fight
      Well I feel so broke up
      I want to go home

      So hoist up the John B's sail
      See how the mainsail sets
      Call for the Captain ashore
      Let me go home, let me go home
      I wanna go home, yeah yeah
      Well I feel so broke up
      I wanna go home

      The first mate he got drunk
      And broke in the Cap'n's trunk
      The constable had to come and take him away
      Sheriff John Stone
      Why don't you leave me alone, yeah yeah
      Well I feel so broke up I wanna go home

      So hoist up the John B's sail
      See how the mainsail sets
      Call for the Captain ashore
      Let me go home, let me go home
      I wanna go home, let me go home
      Why don't you let me go home
      (Hoist up the John B's sail)
      Hoist up the John B
      I feel so broke up I wanna go home
      Let me go home

      The poor cook he caught the fits
      And threw away all my grits
      And then he took and he ate up all of my corn
      Let me go home
      Why don't they let me go home
      This is the worst trip I've ever been on

      So hoist up the John B's sail
      See how the mainsail sets
      Call for the Captain ashore
      Let me go home, let me go home
      I wanna go home, let me go home
      Why don't you let me go home

      August 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • Doris

      You know Robert, I was being my silly self (yesterday?) with the hills and trees clapping. But I did listen to those verses done by the ?Maranatha? singers. Not that is not my cup of tea for music, but they had a nice video with scenic shots. (It was something from Isaiah.)

      August 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Doris, the verse from the 55th chapter Isaiah that posted last night is the result or effect of hearing the word of God.

        August 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • Doris

          OK – since there was so much about nature in it, I thought one might say something like what comes with the word of God is a harmony with natural things (or His other creations).

          August 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Sometime when you have a minute read the whole chapter. I think you will see what I mean.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Doris

          I'll check that out, Robert. And for kicks, I'll try to find a different version of it put to music. Not saying they were bad, but I'm not really into that Lawrence Welkish type of music too much. Maybe the Pixies did a version.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
        • Doris

          Or maybe the MT Choir. I can get into the large choir sound.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I hope you weren't offended by the reference to HR Pufnstuff, Robert. It was meant in fun.

      August 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Not at all Tom, I enjoy good humor.

        August 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
  2. kristinagadfly

    Band on the run....Lets shout out for John Walsh!

    August 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
    • Doris

      I'm not so sure about that John Walsh.
      How do we know he's not a little lady suffragette?

      August 28, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        That was random...

        I don't think John has experienced any sort of suffrage that would qualify him for such status...

        Do you know anything at all about Suffrage?

        August 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Not even a good troll.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • Doris

          And jet I thought the only lonely place was on the moon

          August 28, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Now that song's going to be stuck in my head. At least it's one of McCartney's good efforts.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
        • Doris

          "At least it's one of McCartney's good efforts."

          I think it is. Even though I like the whole album from beginning to end, it's almost like all the songs are in the same key. It's one of those things where even though they are separate tracks, you could eliminate all the silence in between songs and it would just make one big song that could sound like it was meant that way.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • LaBella

          I like "Jet" from that album. Probably my favorite song by McCartney solo is "Maybe I'm Amazed."

          August 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Its amazing that so many people when seeing or hearing the word suffragettes, only heard the reference from pop culture singer... without any connection really until they discus the song do they realize what the suffrage movement or suffragette represented....

          It also seems to marginalize their impression of woman's suffrage or any suffrage of anyone... So pop culture causes detachment of profoundly important ideas...

          Even when I am talking with a grown adult, when referencing these concepts, the digress to adolescent perceptions of topics because that is where they first formed they emotional connection...

          First Impressions are very important in the amygdala hippocampus imprint of memory and emotional associations, whether detachment will be formed or emotional recognition...

          A lot has been studied in sociopathic tendencies in adolescence, but we can see in neurology they persist into adulthood...Your childhood formed your adult mind, and no amount of adult responsibilities reduce these first blush associations...

          August 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • Doris

          That's my favorite too, Akira. Re: BOTR, sometimes, if I go on a road trip, I will make that a playlist to play all the songs in the right order.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
      • LaBella

        I dunno, Doris. He seems Catholic.

        August 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
  3. kristinagadfly

    Its always typical to see a group of trolls taking the Hills on line all over, mostly Catholic soing the shun off run off game... a gang of pretty misguided people I must say...

    August 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Im gonna make a change
      For once in my life
      Its gonna feel real good
      Gonna make a difference
      Gonna make it right.......

      Na na na nan na...

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

    Its very obvious to see those whom have been raised in faith and are some how disillusioned and those like myself whom were raised completely godless...

    You can remove the idea of god, but you cannot remove the foolish demands it left behind...

    I am ready when you are to grant you an atheist benediction...

    August 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      And we can see in you what happens to people lost.

      August 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  5. kristinagadfly

    Are there any liberals on this chat or just pot heads? I know pot heads think they are liberal, but they have no idea that most pot heads are conservatives...

    August 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
  6. kristinagadfly

    Hey everyone, be careful what you say here talking about religion Miss Priss might get all offended by the truth...

    August 28, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
    • LaBella

      If you're referring to Tom, he's an atheist, too.

      August 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        Tom only plays Atheist on blog... Obviously loosing faith is not the same as never being forced to have faith...

        August 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • LaBella

          And it's readily apparent you know nothing about anyone here.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          This one might be a good match for austin. Do you like cats, kristin?

          August 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • Doris

          "This one might be a good match for austin. Do you like cats, kristin?"

          LOL. OK, maybe if we all think some austintatiousness together we can conjure him up. It has to be at least four or five words – something like soul-enslaved Satanic-perpetrating brain-washed death-loving goats. OK, 1...2...3...GO!

          August 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Doris, that was brilliant...

          Is that the games they taught you in Catholic school?

          August 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • Doris

          I had good helping of SBC-style Christian education. I have to blame my hometown public schools for teaching me not to say "Is that the games", though.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • Doris

          (I had a good helping..)

          August 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          You know I mean to do you in?

          I'm a good girl I am owwwooooooo!

          August 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • austin929

          Nice to meet you all.

          I have experienced supernatural revelation through dreams/ visions over thirty times. Every single time you have rejected any of my testimony as valid and truthful.

          I've been called a liar.

          I have not lied to anyone about anything. I will say this..........I have failed God with the way I respond to my situations in life. I know the truth as a fact, and yet I am not a person with Godly character.

          God allowed me , by His grace, to understand the presence of the devil. I have heard other Christians say the same thing and I have to believe them . I don't doubt them one bit and at the same time, if they tell me their story with details, it doesn't appeal to my flesh. sometimes when someone gives me a gift it makes me feel resentful. why is that?

          August 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • Doris

          austin: " if they tell me their story with details, it doesn't appeal to my flesh. "

          Austin – what do you mean here?

          August 28, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
  7. atlantic9

    How odd for you. I got it straight from a psychiatrist that deals with psychosis that people who have god talk with them are psychotic. A professional not a wannabee.

    August 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
    • atlantic9

      Hmm not meant for a new thread but whatever. Not the end of the world.

      August 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      ok..so A professional told this....the consensus of professionals is that "god talk" is not always psychosis...you shouldn't be throwing the label around haphazardly

      August 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        DSM V does have a bit on what it means when people talk to god and god responds audibly.

        August 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      I know a psychiatrist that has 100 statues of Angels and odd sorts in her office, and I think she is psychotic...Its actually called psychosis NOS where one has a difficulty accepting reality and lives life in some sort of fantasy...We see this in so many people professionals of all types...We also see practiced masking behaviors, where mental evasions are obvious to the trained observer...

      August 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
  8. Løki

    Jane says
    Have you seen my wig around?
    I feel naked without it
    She knows
    They all want her to go
    But that's O.K. man
    She dont like them anyway
    Jane says
    She's goin away to spain
    When she gets my money saved
    I'm gonna start tomorrow
    I'm gonna kick tomorrow
    Gonna kick tomorrow

    August 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
    • LaBella

      A little Jane's Addiction. Nice.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      We'll make great pets.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        according to Christians we already are...

        August 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Hope you saw my Arizona Bay reference. You're the first I've seen on this blog with that taste in music.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  9. kristinagadfly

    I did forget to mention I am the embodiment of the Antichrist, which means I am on a mission from me, to destroy all religion on the world and bring about world peace...

    Don't want to be accused of being a poser, "me" only knows what I have been accused of by many in the past...

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

      An atheist wandering scot.

      August 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        Scotsmen? ekgads!

        August 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
      • tallulah131

        "she" probably is scotty. The old name was running out of steam. Time for him to troll under a new identity.

        August 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
        • Doris

          Yeah – I was thinking that as a possibility.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      The worst religion seeks is to divide and conquer in an egomaniacal way, were no one knows their true selves, running around like painted artifacts...while everyone seeks to validate themselves with others...

      Knowing oneself truly is the only way you can ever know anyone else, what you hide deep inside you, is who you are...It seems so many are hiding themselves in plain sight...

      August 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
    • kudlak

      Read your Bible! The expected antichrist of Revelation will create a religion around himself, call himself God, and be able to perform his own miracles. Instead of wanting to destroy religion, he will depend upon religious zeal in order to gain power.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        See, you have poor reading comprehension...

        I told you people have been accusing me of all sorts of things, like making a religion around myself, ALL LIES...

        Also referring to me as a male, because religion is so misogynist that no woman can destroy religion, ALL LIES...

        OK, so I can do a few tricks that look like miracles, that is just good medical knowledge your backward religion has suppressing...

        And no, the antichrist is anti idolatry so I am not forming a religion around me, because raising idols even me is a religion...

        I want everyone to forget my name after I am done, go retire, live on the water, eat lots of fish except on Fridays...

        August 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          What is interesting about lies being told to you, lies being told about you, or lies being told by you?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Can you put your response in the form of an actual question?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • kudlak

          Anybody know how to wipe crazy off your foot after you step into it?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          why did you step in crazy? are you freaking crazy?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          They should make a kind of condom to put between your screen and brain. I just put down a bit of rum to wash away to foulness. Works well enough.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          "to wash away to foulness" you're going to go foul now on us?

          Ok miss priss...

          August 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
    • guidedans

      Bible mentions multiple antichrists. In fact, anyone who is opposed to Christ is technically "an" anti-christ. The Beast in Revelation is a different type of animal.

      2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

      So I guess technically, by John's definition, you are correct if you are asserting that Jesus Christ is not come in the flesh.

      August 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
  10. Løki

    "Look, Mummy. There's an airplane up in the sky."

    August 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • LaBella

      Goodbye Blue Sky
      You're in a very Floydian mood today.

      August 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        What is this business with Floyd, Uncle or Pink? neither were all that great....

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

          Heretic

          August 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          oh ye of little taste ...

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

          It has nothing to do with taste...

          August 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Did you see the frightened ones?
      Did you hear the falling bombs?
      Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the
      promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue
      sky?

      Did you see the frightened ones?
      Did you hear the falling bombs?
      The flames are all gone, but the pain lingers on.

      Goodbye, blue sky
      Goodbye, blue sky.
      Goodbye.
      Goodbye.
      Goodbye.

      August 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        And lest no one forget, in the movie and show, it is more than bombs being dropped on the population; it was symbols of empty commercialism and consumerism, and false religion.

        August 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
    • igaftr

      Always a crowd favorite when I play that one.
      I'll have to put it back in my set list.

      August 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • Rynomite

      You say the hill's too steep to climb
      Climb it.
      You say you'd like to see me try
      Climbing.

      You pick the place and I'll choose the time
      And I'll climb
      That hill in my own way.
      Just wait a while for the right day.
      And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds
      I look down, hearing the sound of the things you've said today.

      Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd
      Smiling.
      Merciless the magistrate turns 'round
      Frowning.

      And who's the fool who wears the crown?
      And go down,
      in your own way
      And every day is the right day
      And as you rise above the fear-lines in his brow
      You look down, hearing the sound of the faces in the crowd.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
      • LaBella

        Fearless

        August 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
  11. kristinagadfly

    Did you guys notice how Catholicity bias this page is, where at the top of the page they have on the far left a innocent and friendly picture of the pope holding a sheep on him smiling and on the far right, a hedonistic picture of Shiva, painted like a harlot?

    August 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • igaftr

      I've been around the world a couple of times, I have never seen a "harlot" painted up like that...although I have seen a few that were dressed like the Pope.( even acouple that were dressed like the sheep.

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

        I see your point, but as you probably know based on your wonderful observational skills, that is not the intended association with other's reality...

        August 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
    • Løki

      "I get recognized so much. It happens mostly when I'm in Starbucks." ~Katee Sackhoff

      August 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Not sure about that. If there is a photo or video showing the Pope doing immoral acts, iM certain it would be use.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        immoral acts like getting a BJ?

        August 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Maybe. If that is immoral to you.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          immorality is concerning yourself without cause of whom is giving or getting a BJ...

          Cause involves a victim of said BJ...We have a whole chart to explain that to you...

          I frown on sodomy in general, simply because its not the best for either party involved...

          August 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          If cause is applied to bj why not sodomy. A bias a$$ertion. Pardon the use of words. I think others would disagree.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          " frown on sodomy in general, simply because its not the best for either party involved... "

          That isn't necessarily true.
          Plenty of people enjoy being on either end of the sodomy see-saw.
          Given that pros.tate stimulation is intensely pleasurable for many men, one could argue that the male anatomy is designed for it.
          As for the giver, physiologically speaking, the male genitalia aren't particularly discerning. Barring cultural taboos or other psychological impediments, all a penis really needs is a moist hole.
          So long as both parties are consenting adults and keep clean (ie: washing, douc/hing, using a con.dom), it isn't any less hygienic than other s.ex acts.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
        • believerfred

          "all a penis really needs is a moist hole."
          =>and there we have it, the end result of godlessness

          August 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Alias

          Yes,
          your god is so against s.e.x that he had it with a virgin.

          August 29, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • believerfred

          Alias
          God is not opposed to sex he created it. In a godly mindset it is beautiful. Adam and Eve did not notice they were naked until they broke from God then the physical reality set in. They were stinking hairy ape like things. And, so it is with most of us today we fail to see the beauty God created within us and run to the flesh. All that sex stuff in the Bible relates to the carnal or animal nature of man absent God. It is easy to grasp and associate the lusts and desire of flesh as to sex since most fail at that basic level. As you advance from animal the observed failures are deeper and more meaningful.
          God did not have sex with a virgin. There are many ways to view what scripture referred to as Mary found with child through the Holy Spirit. This is the miracle of life in the Spirit where we are born again by the power of Holy Spirit when God is upon us. The anti theist again proves the Bible is the living word of God as it reveals the heart of the reader. You have shown in your comment why Adam and Eve had to cover up.

          August 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred

          "God did not have s3x with a virgin"

          So the unmarried Mary was actually an ADULTERER that God impregnated?

          August 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • LaBella

          They were stinking hairy ape like things.

          You are not positing that God is a stinking hairy ape like thing? He made Adam in His image.
          Anyway, you know they were stinking hairy ape like things...how?

          August 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • believerfred

          LaBella
          They were the first humans and suddenly became aware they were naked and covered themselves with leaves. All we are told is that God asked "who told you you were naked, have you eaten from the tree?" Their eyes open so it is clear they first saw themselves as they looked when sinful and separate from God. Hairy and stinky is just an expression to cover the possibilities of what the serpent wanted to picture them as. I doubt the delusion of the serpent would be two perfect shaved zen like beauties. If so why cover up?

          August 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • LaBella

          I know the story; I was amused at your description that since they were aware they were naked, they must be hairy and ape like.
          I don't know how much of a pelt you posess, so I cannot soecukate how hairy and ape like you are, nor do I know how you smell.
          Can we agree that your speculation is just that?

          September 1, 2014 at 11:27 am |
  12. kristinagadfly

    Be warned there are a bunch of posers on this comment line, spouting hedonistic diatribe in mono-linguistic dexterity for purposes of concealing their true deranged agenda to dominate the world like the Taliban and kill off all non-followers of their empire...

    Thwart your diabolical and deceptive plan, Darth Vader! there is no evil on earth darker and more duplicitous...

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

      "I find your lack of faith...distuuurbing"

      August 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        I find you being disturbed about my lack of belief more disturbing and also horrific and dangerous on so many levels...

        August 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • LaBella

          That is a Darth Vader quote...which you used in your OP.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • bostontola

          Hello darkness my old friend.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          now you're just being a stalker

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

          I’ve come to talk with you again

          August 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • LaBella

          The Sound Of Silence
          One of my favorites.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • bostontola

          Akira,
          That was the sound kristin made after you pointed out how she missed the darth Vader reference she started.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          I don't study Star Wars like a bible and only refer to it for a comparative to Catholics, which seems to follow the exact same model as the sith...You can add-in some Borg from Star Trek too if that will help you relate...

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

          Boston, I heard crickets myself, you old bourgeois papist, you. (Wink)

          August 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          LaBella, you have no blog... zip, nada...

          August 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • bostontola

          It's always someone else's fault.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • igaftr

          Not a stalker just yet... I'm still a grade 3 lurker, but my test is next week.
          I was seeing this girl the other night, everything going along fine. she went into her bedroom, started disrobing, then suddenly the cops pulled me out from the bushes...well she didn't know I was seeing her.....

          August 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          I figured as much...and that is why you behave the way you do now?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          If I catch you outside my window, you'll wish I didn't have a strong grip in yanking you by your scrotum....

          August 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • LaBella

          Kristin, I can tell you one thing: nobody on this current page of comments is Catholic; most are atheist (including bostontola). So knock off the condescension, okay? People just want to talk to you, and you are making it exceedingly difficult.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • LaBella

          I don't have it hyperlinked. Who's the stalker now?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          I didn't realize I was being have.....

          August 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • bostontola

          Akira,
          Thats why I like you so much, you have much more patience than I do. I will try harder.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Akira? you are confused....

          August 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • LaBella

          Boston, thanks. The respect is mutual.

          Kristen, my username was Akira before my account was inexplicably rendered useless. Many bloggers still use my original name, since we are all familiar regulars here on this site. Bostontola isn't confused.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Oh, then I am getting your cross talk, how annoying, so you all haunt this page? Why don't you go haunt my blog...Say the secret word and win $100 ...

          How old are you guys, using references like Akira? isn't that a kids TV show?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          How to make friends and influence people.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • LaBella

          With a name like gadfly, you're hardly one to cast aspersions.
          Akira is the name of a retail store I'm affiliated with.
          After your gracious entrance into this blog, I will respectfully decline the invitation to visit your blog.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Well, you should look up Socrates...

          Ok Akira, the retail store, it was so dandy commenting with you, lets do that again, really really soon?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • LaBella

          And you ask how old we are, Kristen?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I am forced to suspect that kristina is yet another troll to plague this page but this time on the atheist side of the spectrum. Apologies if you are not a troll, but you seem very young and very arrogant and very much the stereotype of atheist that fundies like to put forward.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Are you kidding me?

          This page is nothing but regular tolls...Ekgads...

          No sense of humor either...

          You seem young for thinking I am young, probably lacking generational associations which comes from living a long life...

          August 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Might be the one that called itself 'faith'. That one would go on about a lawsuit. This one hasn't mentioned it.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Yep. Troll. Back under the bridge, krissie!

          August 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Oh go screw off, you troll, you religious wackoff...

          Such a typical nitwit you are,,,

          August 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • LaBella

          Tom, I find many similarities...from the opposite side of the spectrum...

          August 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Sounds like scotty with a new name (and gender). Whoever it is, it's a troll.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          So you predators ran off poor scotty too, trolling on a single web blog like you own it?

          I am sure you ran off anyone that had anything valuable to say, and are playing the territorial BS, we see troll clan do on comment lines...

          what a buzz kill to the entire world, trolls claiming a comment lines, so religious, so gang involved... No intellectual discourse whatsoever...give yourself a St Christoper Medal

          August 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • tallulah131

          It is you, scotty! How's that gender reassignment working out for you?

          August 28, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Everybody wants to rule the world....

      Why attack catholics? I hope not because they have a lot of followers. As you say, divide and conquer.

      August 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

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

    August 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • austin929

      literally anonymous................or the hacker group anonymous?

      August 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • Science Works

        Hey Austin still chasing the cat's tail ? (for fred too) Hot one here austin – no god(s) required.

        Detecting neutrinos, physicists look into the heart of the sun

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827131652.htm

        August 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Actually, it can be attributed to S. D. Weitzenhoffer.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        Although the original quote is different from yours.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
  14. austin929

    1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was made bright {lightened} with his glory. 2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of demons {devils}, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are grown {waxed} rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

    August 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
    • austin929

      the hold of every foul spirit?

      all nations?

      wow that sounds like this applies to me, like this said long ago that this situation would apply to me and attempt to be a hold in my life. Fornication with Babylon?

      I wonder what that mystery is referring to?

      August 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
      • austin929

        hateful bird?

        August 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Babylon hasn't been around for a very long time, austin.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • austin929

        well it was where Iraq is, between the tigrus and eucalyptus, and

        I think this is referring to "mystery Babylon"

        August 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • observer

          austin929

          "well it was where Iraq is, between the tigrus and eucalyptus"

          Amazing facts from the Bible: Iraq is between the Tigris River and a TREE.

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

          Eucalyptus? Hahaha....

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

          Tigris and the Euphrates. Austy000 never actually took a class on the Babble.
          Or maybe it IS the Eucalyptus. And the Holy Koalas chew all day. Doo dah. Doo dah.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Løki

          I have physically stood on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers... trust me you're not missing anything. But to be fair, I might have enjoyed it more if the little bastards weren't trying to kill me at the time.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • kudlak

          Where the Tigris and Euphrates meet is also the traditional location of Eden, where God supposedly had his first hissy fit against humanity, unjustly condemning them for disobeying him before they discovered that doing so would be bad.

          Maybe that's the evil John was referring to?

          August 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Eucalyptus? I'm dying.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • kudlak

          Does anyone know if the Koala is mentioned in Revelation?

          August 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Perhaps it was a koala and not a snake in the garden of eden.

          August 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • kudlak

          Naa. God zapped the legs off of whatever did the tempting in the Garden, and koalas still have their adorable little legs, so it can't have been them. Something that looked like them originally, but not them.

          August 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Wine?
      Fornication?
      Sounds like friday night!

      August 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
      • Science Works

        Friday night's se-xual desires that could include a stork somewhere down the line.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      Did you just take a hit of acid?

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

      A prophecy (Revelations) actually referring to Rome as Babylon to avoid the proto-Christian author being an obvious target from the then unfriendly Roman empire. I would like to see a study comparing the vision from which this comes with Ezekiel's vision and Black Elk's as well.

      August 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    if atheists are so bad, then why was it Godzilla that attacked Tokyo and not Atheistzilla?

    August 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Alias

      But he keeps attacking Tokyo, where there are very few christians.
      aka they are heathens who deserve to die anyway.
      Except for the virgin women, thay deserve to be turned into slaves/wives.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • austin929

      dragons come to mind. serpent gods.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Yes indeed. You have quite the bevy of mythical creatures.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
      • Alias

        But Godzilla has one head and no crowns

        August 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • kudlak

        Why would Quetzalcoatl attack Tokyo?

        Some kind of World Cup grudge?

        August 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Believers may know. Which is stronger: faith or desire? Which are stronger: ordinary desires or spiritual desires?

    August 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Mixing apples and oranges but i'll bite.

      Desire is to want or wish for something.
      Faith is to have confidence or belief in something.

      To me, desires morality would be determined by the individual while faiths morality is determined. Although. a desire or faith could be both moral or immoral or mixed depending on the desire or faith. To determine what is stronger depends on the actions we take with or without morality determination.

      Question is who are we?

      August 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Let's cut to the chase: If you feel spiritual desire, the Holy Spirit working within you – groaning for things only understood by God, and you also feel a desire to defecate, which would win out?

        August 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          A selfish manifestation if we are all about power, strength or winning. Now, if we attain our desire to do good or to do what is moral is ideal.

          You got to go, you got to go. Dont force it just to prove a point. Very unhealthy.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  17. zhilla1980wasp

    you know i love kermie; he couldn't even answer this simple question.

    so i shall throw it to everyone else and see what i get.

    "is the bible 100% tamper free?"

    meaning have books of the bible ever been edited, lost, stolen, burned, or hidden from view?
    ----

    if people can say it is tamper free then they can trust the entire bible.

    if they say the book has been tampered with then which parts can you trust and which parts can you not trust?

    August 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Let the Holy Spirit guide your reading of scripture.
      That way you can pick and choose the bits you like and declare them literal Truth and then interpret the rest in any way you want. It's doubleplus good!

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

      zhilla1980waspk,

      LIke many Christians, he thinks the Bible has all the answers, but won't respond to questions.

      Of course the Bible has been tampered with from the beginning when religious leaders decided which stories to include and which to exclude. The fact that there are tens of DIFFERENT versions shows NO ONE can agree on what the Bible is to say.

      August 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        knock off your da mn arrogancy observer! YOUr questions were misleading and loaded and you know it..your integrity with me is lost..get over yourself

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

      If you consider the Parallel Postulate axiomatic, you get Euclidean Geometry.

      If you consider the bible axiomatic, you get Christianity.

      August 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Careful with that axiom, Eugene.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • bostontola

          Just point me at the sky.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          Nice Floyd reference....

          August 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "There are approximately 400,000 variants in the Greek Text of the New Testament, and only 138,162 words in the New Testament. That means that there are approximately 3 variants per word. Now, 99% of all variants do not impact the meaning of the text. Variations in spelling and word order make up the vast bulk of the variations. Hence, 1% of the 400,000 variants means there are 4,000 meaningful textual variants, or, 1 meaningful variant for every three pages of text. But only half of these are viable, hence, there are 1,500 – 2,000 viable, meaningful New Testament variants.

      The more manuscripts that exist, the more textual variants there will be, this is a simple fact. There are around 5,800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the average of which is 200 pages long which means that there are approximately 1.3 million pages of text!

      That means that there are only 1,500-2,000 meaningful and viable variants in over 1.3 million pages of hand-copied text spanning approximately 1,500 years (prior to the invention of the printing press) – this is an AMAZINGLY small percentage of the text reflecting an AMAZINGLY accurate history of transmission (one might say it is MIRACULOUS)!

      But, the 1,500 – 2,000 number needs to be understood. Even when the variant does impact the reading, in the large majority of instances the careful student of the text can see which reading is original. Many of these errors involve common “scribal errors,” that are mistakes that we continue to make even to this day when copying from one text to another…

      Example:
      1 John 3:1 – Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. (KJV)

      1 John 3:1 – See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (NASB)

      The majority of the later Greek texts do not contain the phrase “and such we are.” But, the vast majority of the earliest manuscripts do. This scribal error, like most scribal errors, can be attributed to how the Greek was actually written. It was written in all capital letters in a row with very little spacing and almost no punctuation. Furthermore, because of the extreme similarities between certain words (such as in our very common English suffixes like “tion” or “ing”), when a scribe was copying portions of a text with similar words, some were accidentally overlooked and left out.

      This is a very easy to recognize scribal error, and by comparing the Greek texts to other manuscripts, it is easy to correct and to know what was missing. Furthermore, the fact that we have thousands and thousands of manuscripts to compare with makes this task even more simple.”

      Aside from the 5,800 Greek texts, we have early translations into Latin, Coptic, Sahidic, etc., that are important witnesses to the early text of the New Testament – combining these with the Greek texts yields over 20,000 hand-written witnesses to the New Testament.

      We have more than 124 Greek manuscript witnesses within the first 300 years after the writing of the New Testament – far more than any other work of antiquity. In fact, we have 12 manuscripts from the 2nd century (within 100 years of the writing of the NT). These manuscripts contain portions of all four gospels, nine books of Paul, Acts, Hebrews, and Revelation, comprising a majority of the books of the NT we possess today. Again, no work of antiquity even comes close to this early attestation.

      The average length of time between the writing of most works contemporaneous with the New Testament, such as the historical works of Pliny, Suetonious, or Tacitus, and their first extant copies, is between 500 and 900 years!

      Furthermore, any allegations of purposeful corruption, such as those accusations made by Muslims, fall upon the mere consideration of the historical context and date itself. The rapid, wide-spread distribution of the NT manuscripts in the first 2 centuries precludes any purposeful, centralized corruption since an examination of the earliest extant manuscripts proves the unchanging nature of the Biblical texts (It also gives rise to the need to study the relatively small number of textual variants).”

      Dr. James White, “The Reliability of the New Testament Text,” lecture delivered March 11, 2011 and sponsored by Trinity Law School

      August 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
      • Alias

        All that proves is that the bible in not clear.
        Your perfect book can be interpreted differently by different people.
        That is not the work of any god.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Wrong. The scripture is perspi.cuous to anyone willing to take more than a cursory examination of the text.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • LaBella

          It seems if one has to study any book for 30 years, it is anything but perspicuous.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Løki

          "It seems if one has to study any book for 30 years, it is anything but perspicuous." DOH!

          August 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Alias

          Then expalin theo
          whay are there so many different christian religions, and why do they dissagree on important issues?

          August 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "The scripture is perspi.cuous to anyone willing to take more than a cursory examination of the text."

          Meaning that True Christians (TM) interpret Scripture in exactly the same was as Theo and everybody else is a misguided heretic.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • joey3467

          As if there aren't people who spent their entire lives studying the bible who came to wildly different conclusions.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • kudlak

          Theo
          We can gather dozens of scholars, not the purely academic ones from respected schools, but the top people from every Christian denomination, and each will be able to give an equal accounting of how scripture supports their unique ( and contradicting ) theological stands. "Clarity", then, is not a virtue of the Bible, not when there is so much room for disagreement in what the text actually says, let alone means.

          August 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
      • Løki

        Theology: The most useless of all studies or degrees.

        “One man's pornography is another man's theology.” ~Clive Barker

        August 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh"

          "Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there."

          – Robert Heinlein

          August 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        The fact they were relatively unchanged is irrelevant if the original texts were invented from whole-cloth. There were hundreds of gospels and they were vastly different. The criteria used for inclusion in the canon was "there are 4 winds and 4 pillars upon which the Earth stands". (Eusebius). The Church Fathers lied, accused each other of lying, and wrote chapters in their books praising the value of deceit for a good purpose. Nothing they wrote is reliable, least of all the "good news" which admits it's only part of the story.

        August 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        THANK you theo, well put..I am quiting responding to loaded questions such as they ask

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

      Do you mean this kermit ;
      Those are 'tranlation issues'.
      YOU aren't reading it right.
      Well, if you take if from the right perspective .....
      you have to read it in the right context ....
      ?

      August 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • MadeFromDirt

      There is a warning in Scripture against any one adding or subtracting from God's revealed Word. God does not give warnings unless the offending action will actually occur. But the type of adding and subtracting in that warning is open to discussion. To me, the warning refers to preachers of deception, omission, distortion, and false doctrine, not material interference with Scripture.

      But for the sake of discussion, even if the Bible we have today was "tampered with" by men, God has not, does not, and will not fail to protect, preserve, and communicate His Truths to the people He chooses so that they will be saved. Following the fall of Adam, God being perfectly just is not obligated to give any man anything, but in His good pleasure He made a promise to save a remnant of mankind from His righteous wrath, and He always fulfills His promises. So even if there was tampering, shining throughout the Bible is the distinction of the true Gospel - that man's reconciliation with God is possible only by Christ, through Christ, and to Christ, and is wholly independent of any actions of man who is a fallen creature - and that distinction is what separates the Gospel from all the other attempts by men to explain their existence and justify themselves. This is what gives God's people full confidence that the underlying purpose and overall accuracy of the Bible has been preserved and made available to us, and any doctrine that cheapens or dilutes this revealed overarching Truth is false, and is certainly a path to eternal separation from our perfect Creator.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
      • kudlak

        MadeFromDirt
        Actually, John of Patmos has that warning not to add, or subtract anything to his scroll. We have no way of knowing if he had ever even read any of the other books that were grouped with his hundreds of years later into the New Testament, so interpreting this as applying to the entire combined Bible would, ironically, fall into the kind of thing he was warning against.

        Forgers were everywhere, applying the names of apostles to their works in order to give them some authority. Many of Paul's epistles fall into this category, and were likely not penned by the man. Then again, Acts mentions that Paul himself was in a dispute over who was preaching the correct gospel. He warned his churches not to follow the teachings of others in his letters. The funny thing is, there's every indication that he was talking about Peter's gospel here. Imagine, some guy who had never even met Jesus presumed to claim a better knowledge of what his teaching was than a man who Jesus handpicked as his successor, and who had been with him from the beginning.

        And you learned all this salvation theology from a book that you admit may have been tampered with, yet cannot see the possibility that the rot contaminates this part as well? Amazing!

        August 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Kudlak, no and no. Would the Designer, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe fail to preserve His communication to the people He chooses? Would the God who designed, created, and sustains all atoms (and quarks and Higgs bosons and whatever other small particles science discovers next), DNA, water, plate tectonics, the earth's magnetosphere, the moon, and everything else that makes man's life possible allow puny men to foil His eternal purposes? Better think it through.

          You are also wrong about Paul and Peter.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
        • kudlak

          MadeFromDirt
          You're assuming that any actual God would approve of the central theology of the Bible, but what if he doesn't? What if he never sent Jesus to be the saviour of anyone? What if his last communication through humanity was actually the Qur'an, or the Book of Mormon? You're just assuming that God complies with your expectations of him, right?

          Where am I wrong regarding Peter and Paul? Acts details the struggle between these two Christianities. Of course, Acts was written by Paul's man Luke, so we may have reason to believe that Peter and the rest did not bend to Paul's view as easily as his story tells it. If not Peter's, whose gospel do you believe Paul was warning against? Were there really that many different versions of Christianity floating around so soon after Jesus' death?

          August 28, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Both Spirit-inspired authors Paul and Peter affirm the absolute sovereignty of God, man's inability to justify himself, and faith in Jesus Christ granted to elected human beings by God's grace alone as the only way that fallen man can be reconciled to eternally serve and enjoy perfect and infinite God. The false gospels which both Paul and Peter warned against contained elements that elevate man's status independent of God, and make God's intentions pliable or His decisions dependent on actions of man. These errors of false gospels are also prevalent in beliefs of Muslims and Mormons and every other religion devised by men, and testing any belief system or doctrine by this measure is a sure way to discern if it is truth from God or not.

          August 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        dirt: ok let's have a little test of your book shall we?

        now lucifer is suppose to be the greatest of con-men; correct?

        prove luicfer didn't "inspire" all those men to write the bible, just to cause infighting amoung our species.
        -----

        here's another fun trick; you know what telepathy is correct?

        let's just suppose it wasn't a "god or devil" that inspired the bibical writings, but a passing alien that was just really bored with the "inflight movie" so it decided to have a little fun.

        August 29, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Silly questions, internally illogical, and already covered in my posts yesterday. But not surprising, considering your belief in aliens tells much about the consistency and sophistication of your logic, which is an effect of sin and pride on your mind. If you don't understand what I wrote before, I don't expect you to understand now, but anyway, for a reader who may still be searching, I will answer your question with a question: Why would God's enemy (Satan) want man to proclaim the absolute perfection and sovereignty of God, the utter helplessness of man, the salvation of man through Christ alone, the inevitable defeat of opposition to God, and the eternal punishment of Satan and the unrighteous? Those are the truths that Satan aims to hide from men, and he succeeds only to the extent permitted by God for His purposes, including permitting the deception of the non-elect, many of whom stand in pulpits and sit in pews every Sunday.

          August 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Why would God's enemy (Satan) want man to proclaim the absolute perfection and sovereignty of God, the utter helplessness of man, the salvation of man through Christ alone, the inevitable defeat of opposition to God, and the eternal punishment of Satan and the unrighteous?"

          Wow – you really don't see it do you? If Judaism was correct, all of the above is EXACTLY what satan would do to lead people away. To test the beliefs of mankind (like Job) to see if they would stay faithful – looks like you failed...

          September 1, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          G to the T,
          "If Judaism was correct..." How do you define Judaism?

          September 1, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
  18. bostontola

    Many animals establish a pecking order, some birds, fish, even insects. It is beneficial to groups in that it limits the frequency and intensity of fighting over resources and mating. Humans have this characteristic as well.

    If you take our pecking order nature and add in the unique human ability to think abstractly and imaginatively, humans have created (thousands of times) imaginary "Top Dog"s in our pecking orders, the various God(s). In societies with many intelligent people, it has been a remarkable success in organizing and pacifying us within our groups, allowing complex societies to form. These complex societies then conflict with other groups with different God(s) and the strongest survived.

    That dynamic is amazing. We go through all the trouble of establishing the pecking order, then we put imaginary beings on top, and that has worked best. Who knows going forward if that is the optimal strategy, but it sure has been in the past.

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

      Maybe in bee society all the workers and guards are indoctrinated from birth to believe the Queen Bee is a Godess and will send their little bee souls to a horrible honeyless afterlife if they don't "bee"have... why else would thousands of healthy strong individuals dedicate their whole lives to slaving for one giant fat bee that sits around all day being fed?

      August 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Goddess...

        August 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • Løki

        They must follow their indoctrination... because their Beeble tells them they must

        August 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • bostontola

        Of course the Queen Bee actually exists.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • rogerthat2014

        They are beelievers.

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

          and if they happen to like a certain teen pop star they become Beeliebers?...

          August 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      Humans only have pecking orders through irrational conflict, and social dominance is not really all that equatable to animals...Today we call pecking orders tyranny, in which we follow conventions that frown on pecking orders...

      You have to earn or establish your place in the world today by self actualization, and not dominant subjugation...

      You're not only a theist, you're a Catholic socially dominant one as well...

      Dom cornhole, nice try...

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

        You obviously have never been in the high school, military or corporation

        August 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          I was pretty high in the high school pecking order, until some deranged loon who had no business being there demoted by standing with his derangement from the outside...

          We don't let certain pecking order people to raise up and be the top dog, so in all these things when a renegade decides pecking order will be chosen by derangement, we remove them and demote them to the lowest possible...We're pretty firm on that, and we have put many in jail who use pecking order to commit crimes against our social value...We hold these people to high standards...I am pretty high on pecking order, but I have earned it, now if a group of low caste POS want to get on top of me, they are going to need a crane and a bucket...

          I am so high on the pecking order now, that many could not even challenge me to my face based on how high I am now...Its impossible...

          Who's your momma?

          August 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Løki

          If you say so ... more power to you momma.

          An aside... and this is meant as constructive criticism not abusiveness because you are obviously intelligent, but your writing style is punishing to read...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
      • LaBella

        New here? Aren't familiar with bostontola's posts?

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

        kristin,
        1. I'm an atheist.
        2. You say humans don't have pecking orders, then you say in a later response that you were high on a pecking order.

        Then you call me a 'Dom cornhole'?

        I've seen some of your other comments just to check. You may want to focus a bit more.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          You don't seem to follow things very well do you?

          natural pecking order cornhole, is different from dominant or oppressive pecking order...

          In animal pecking order, you cannot self actualize and there is very little control over what pecking order you are placed in...In our society we have criminal pecking order who is out of order with our pecking orders...

          Religion puts inferior people in a pecking order above superior people...criminals do that...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • bostontola

          kristin,
          You keep admitting that pecking orders do exist in humans. I didn't specify any particular subclass of pecking orders.

          Why do you continue ad hominem?

          Your arguments are assumption based. You assert false claims based on assumptions (that I am catholic, where did that come from?). I see no discipline in your thought process.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      And after a while, you can work on points for style.
      Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
      A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
      You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
      So that when they turn their backs on you,
      You'll get the chance to put the knife in.
      -Pink Floyd (Dogs)

      You can always work your way up, eh?

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

        LOL, I thought referencing lyrics was my schtick... but nice

        August 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Some of my favorite lyrics that almost seem prophetic in regards to global climate change...

          Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
          Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
          Followed by fault lines that cannot sit still.
          Followed by millions of dumbfounded dip shlts.

          Some say the end is near.
          Some say we'll see Armageddon soon.
          I certainly hope we will cause
          I sure could use a vacation from this

          Stupid shlt, silly shlt, stupid shlt...

          One great big festering neon distraction,
          I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

          Learn to swim. Learn to swim. Learn to swim.

          Mom's gonna fix it all soon.
          Mom's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to be.

          Learn to swim.

          Fvck L Ron Hubbard and
          Fvck all his clones.
          Fvck all these gun-toting
          Hip gangster wannabes.

          Learn to swim.

          Fvck retro anything.
          Fvck your tattoos.
          Fvck all you junkies and
          Fvck your short memory.

          Learn to swim.

          Fvck smiley glad-hands
          With hidden agendas.
          Fvck these dysfunctional,
          Insecure actresses.

          Learn to swim.

          – "Ænema" – Tool

          August 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          never,

          See you down in Arizona Bay.

          August 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • guidedans

      Are you trying to argue that the invention of gods is an attempt to establish a hierarchy of people? I am just going to throw this out there as a thought, because it is something I think about a lot:

      If humans are so successful a species (dramatically more successful than the majority of other species around the world), and humans evolved from common ancestors with the rest of the animal kingdom, then why to humans exhibit so many unique, or rare survival skills/behaviors.

      Here's a list of some I can think of:
      Praying to an external god
      Worship in general
      Suicide
      Depression
      self mutilation
      Music
      Art
      Keeping animals as pets
      Tattoos and body modification
      Organized Religion
      Complex language
      writing and record keeping
      Youtube

      Anyway, the point I am getting at is that, usually when a behavior or trait or attribute is successful enough to promote evolution and become a part of an evolved trait, it shows up in multiple animals, even those that are far away from each other on the evolutionary tree. For example, eyes are pretty helpful, so most animals have eyes. Being long and slender is pretty helpful sometimes, so snakes, ferrets, and eels are long and slender. Making noises is effective, so birds, dogs, some insects, and many other creatures make noises or calls. building a nest or shelter is helpful, so a lot of animals build shelters.

      If normally, when a trait is successful, you see it crop up all over the place. Why are humans the only ones doing so many things that we don't see in the animal world?

      August 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        If memory serves, all our unique traits are the result of our superior intelligence.

        August 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
        • guidedans

          That's a good point Robert, but it then begs the question as to why there aren't a ton of really smart animals. We have seemed to do very well with our brains and our intelligence. To the point where it has trumped most of our other survival skills. It seems like this mutation would be a go-to evolutionary trait if it ever cropped up in the wild. Shouldn't we see more super-smart creatures out there?

          August 28, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Personally, I believe our superior intelligence has something to do with being created in the likeness of our creator. My first reply was more the official scientific answer to your question, at least as far as I can understand it.

          August 28, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • G to the T

          Because intelligence isn't enough – you need intelligence, language and manual dexterity. Without the other 2, the first 1 isn't nearly as useful. Even then there's evidence of several bottlenecks in our genetic history – so it appears it was a close thing that we developed at all.

          September 1, 2014 at 10:43 am |
  19. Løki

    “I am all that I grok.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

    August 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      (Trivially)

      "I yam what I yam and that all I yam"
      Popeye

      August 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        "I think, therefore I am ... not religious."

        – Dyslexic doG

        August 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think, therefore I am... an atheist.

          August 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Coitus ergo sum."
          – Dr. Humoladonne Q. Vestibule

          August 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        I am a woman in a monkey suit, put in it by a roving gang of religious nuts, who first tar and feathered me...After this kidnapping they put me in an apple cart, for all the town folk to see, look at such a beast we caught, and hedonistic Jezebel...

        The towns folk started to through stones and vegetables at me, while I cried out for someone to help me they laughed and said "look the monkey can speak" someone gag the monkey, so they did...

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

          They all mindlessly keep throwing for fear they are singled out for some reason and put in the cart along with you...don't think, just throw...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Løki

        Todd: Daddy, was mommy a monkey? I can't remember.
        Ned: (yelling) No one was ever a monkey! Everything is what it was and always will be! God put us here and that's that!
        Todd: But you said a stork brought me.
        Ned: Uh, that was God disguised as a stork.
        Rod: Who brings baby storks?
        Ned: There's no such thing as storks, it's all God!
        Todd: (praying in front of a statue of a stork) Please bless daddy and mommy...
        Ned: Stop praying to that stork!

        August 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
  20. Doris

    kristenagadfly: "a convention must be at least considered valuable..."

    This part of your response below is interesting to me, kristen. When you say a convention must be at least considered valuable, are you saying that we should be teaching that a convention is already there that is valuable (that is not static, but evolving – I think someone like Dan Dennett might say that), or are you saying something where the goal is some compromise that is external to our laws, or do you mean something else?

    kristenagadfly: "Atheists have a responsibility understanding the truth to try and help theists see the light"

    What do you mean by "truth" here?

    kristenagadfly: "and without value to promote reason, we can only be taken as hedonistic and self indulging..."

    Does one really need value to promote reason? That sounds a bit odd. In a way, it makes me think of how different types of believers oppose each other – often on moral issues, often throwing reason out the window in favor of a value gain they think they will achieve based on their particular tenets/interpretation.

    August 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Who claims to know "truth" except in simple or well defined systems?

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

      Doris, I think you might have a problem understand what I am saying...

      Atheist has a whole set of values by the simple lack of god belief in one simple value of faith in the human mind, rather than a demand humans follow a god...

      Truth is the overwhelming evidence of lack of god as well as the known understanding of how and why humans made up god in the first place...Truth is, there is no god, and I do feel obligated to teach this and explain it to everyone...

      Value comes from emotional need, and self perception of sentiments, you cannot use reason on someone whom has emotional attachments, so Atheist value as I explain shows sentiment to demonstrate then with reason...

      Remember, theism is by nature irrational which is supported by value emotionally, that makes theists resistant to reason...

      In humanism, supporting what we see as common values, are really common sentiments of emotional need, this common ground can then use reason to find agreeable cause...

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

        This blog needs more people like you.
        Actually, the world does – but I'll start small.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • Løki

        Psychological babble-speak is annoying...

        August 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
      • Doris

        kristen: "In humanism, supporting what we see as common values, are really common sentiments of emotional need, this common ground can then use reason to find agreeable cause..."

        Thanks – that helps me understand your point of view I think.

        kristen: "Truth is, there is no god"

        I don't disagree, but more of a claim than I would make.

        kristen: "Atheist has a whole set of values by the simple lack of god belief in one simple value of faith in the human mind, rather than a demand humans follow a god..."

        I agree with the general comparison – especially the latter part. For some reason I feel compelled to detail a bit more with regard to this notion of "faith in the human mind". I believe for some atheists, that notion might include the evolution of the mind and the evolution of societies – that a person's outlook possibly could be influenced by the minds of individuals and societies preceding (and not conscious effects) still without any divine involvement. If there is semi-compatibilism and/or if there is some biological moral tendency that can transcend generations naturally, then one or the other or both I would think may very well, in a big way, refute the labeling of an atheist being "hedonistic and self indulging..." (although I do understand your point about the challenge in finding common ground of agreement).

        August 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Faith is arguably the most powerful of all human emotions and there can be no logical answer to an emotional argument.

        August 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Faith is a string of small emotional attachments formed in childhood that can be easily dissolved with expressive common values, like telling a child Santa is fake...

          Religion seeks to prevent one's faith to be lost but silences reason and preventing communication on the subject by an demand to never question one's faith...

          The very reason religion demands to never question one's faith is because faith is so easily broken with reason...

          August 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Faith denies reason.
          It is the willing suspension of critical thought in order that one might accept supernatural dogma as Truth.
          Adherent to world rejecting religions like Christianity are particularly resistant to questioning their faith.
          World rejecting spiritualities are generally predicated on the acceptance of ethical and behavioural doctrines as laid down by a founder authority.
          Instead of being ethno-centric, they will welcome anyone who is willing to supplicate themselves to the authority of the founder's representatives and/or the dogma laid out by the frequently suprahuman founder.
          These belief system seek to trascend whatever sociopolitical environment their adherents find themselves in by asserting universal ideals over cultural traditions.
          In advancing their own identi/ties as the sole arbiters of Universal Truth, they are given a powerful mental armour that protects against dissenting opinions, views, or plain old facts that come from the unenlightened masses.
          The greater problem is that this kind of religion is necessarily sectarian and thus divisive.

          Because of this, sociological evolution is slowly but inorexably dimishing the importance of these types of spiritualities as humanity begins to knit together a globally cooperative identi/ty.
          Whatever one's beliefs, we are starting to recogize that supernaturalism in any form is not a reliable means to build a universal consensus.
          Any proposition that relies on faith can and will be twisted by unscrupulous individuals for their own gain. Its just far too easy to manipulate those who are willing to suspend critical thinking and accept something without evidence.
          If only Cochrane would hurry up and invent Warp Drive so the Vulcans can make First Contact!
          Then we can do away with money, hunger and racism.
          And also get it on with green skinned women in go-go boots.

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

          Vulcans? First Contact? EYEROLL...

          You sounded some what intelligent until you got to star trek fantasy....

          Thank you for your explanation, however, that is not what I was saying...

          You didn't say the secret word and you didn't win $100 dollars, thanks for playing...

          August 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The point of the Trek reference is to illustrate that only in fiction has mankind ever achieved the humanist ideal. Absent a globally shared epiphany that gives human kind as a species a common goal, our pervasive tribalist mentality (as exemplified in religious sectarianism) will not go away.
          People are inherently selfish. We instinctively do that which is least painful. Children do that which is least painful to themselves. Maturity comes when we are able to put aside our own immediate comfort and do that which is least painful for the group.
          Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this. Christianity reveals this truth about ourselves most poignantly in the character of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace, charity, modesty and forgiveness – the traits most important to develop when living in a society.
          It takes a mighty big stick to beat the selfishness out of us! Historically, it has been a God sized stick capable to inflicting unimaginable devastation in this life and the hereafter.
          These shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
          The faith that is required to accept supernatural dogma has by necessity been presented as a virtue because without it, there is fear that communities would collapse and we'd all fall down the slippery slope to nihilistic hedonism.
          To question faith is presented as an invitation to chaos which is why it can be so difficult to "break it with reason".
          That's why the fundamentalist Christian crowd oppose evolution being taught in schools – not so much because they think that Genesis is literally true or that evolutionary theory is fundamentally unsound, but because they fear the societal impact of atheistic naturalism.
          To them, such a world view is devoid of moral or ethical considerations and thus religious faith must be protected at all costs.
          It's also why the religious can usually tolerate someone of another faith or even the unenlightened "sava/ges" who haven't yet been exposed to their religion – but they absolutely abhor and apostate.

          August 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Atheist has a whole set of values by the simple lack of god belief"

        Atheism is a negative statement that only describes only one thing – a disbelief in gods.
        The term implies no morals, ethical standards, political leanings or other characteristics.
        Humanism is a positive statement that describes a belief in the primacy of humanity, especially where reason is applied en masse.
        Not all atheists are humanists and not all humanists are atheists.
        A common fallacy amongst the religiously indoctrinated is to conflate atheism with something else – communism, anarchism, nihilism, satanism, fatalism, etc. ad nauseum
        Be wary of your own bias.

        August 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          I know that, if you notice I qualify, Thomas Moore a Catholic and the Chancellor of the Church of England was a humanist, do you want to each your teacher again?

          sit down young man

          August 28, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Your qualification is that humanists can find common ground wig religionists who share a positive outlook on humanity's potential.
          Your statement that theists share a set of values based on their lack of belief in gods was not qualified and implies a connection between atheism and the main topic of the rest of your post, which is humanism.

          August 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Wig = with
          "Theists share a set of values" should read "Atheists".
          I must've left my typing fingers at the office

          August 28, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
        • LaBella

          Gadfly,
          If you are talking about Sir Thomas More, he was not a member of the Church of England. Ever. He lost his head because of it. He remained, up until his death, a staunch Catholic, who refused to recognize Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the CoE.

          September 1, 2014 at 11:21 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.