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September 2nd, 2010
12:18 PM ET

God didn't create universe, Stephen Hawking argues

God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book that aims to banish a divine creator from physics.

Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.

His book - as the title suggests - is an attempt to answer "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything," he writes, quoting Douglas Adams' cult science fiction romp, "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

He co-wrote the book with science writer Leonard Mlodinow.

His answer is "M-theory," which, he says, posits 11 space-time dimensions, "vibrating strings, ... point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space."

He doesn't explain much of that in the excerpt, which is the introduction to the book.

But he says he understands the feeling of the great English scientist SIr Isaac Newton that God did "create" and "conserve" order in the universe.

It was the discovery of other solar systems outside our own, in 1992, that undercut a key idea of Newton's - that our world was so uniquely designed to be comfortable for human life that some divine creator must have been responsible.

But, Hawking argues, if there are untold numbers of planets in the galaxy, it's less remarkable that there's one with conditions for human life.

And, indeed, he argues, any form of intelligent life that evolves anywhere will automatically find that it lives somewhere suitable for it.

From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours - and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing.

Therefore, he concludes, there's no need for God to explain it.

But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed  the point.

"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator  God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why  there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander.

"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our  scientific knowledge.

"Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may  happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative," said Alexander,  director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.

And Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history  of science, said that it's not the existence of the universe that proves the  existence of God.

But, he said, "a creator God provides a reasonable and credible  explanation of why there is a universe, and ... it is somewhat more likely that  there is a God than that there is not. That view is not undermined by what Hawking has said."

Hawking's book will be published on September 7 in the United States and  September 9 in the United Kingdom.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Culture wars • Europe • United Kingdom

soundoff (730 Responses)
  1. Gregory D. MELLOTT

    As Jesus said, He will follow the Him who sent me. So I guess I can say, Each will follow the one who sent us. And may our hearts sort that out for the sake of our full posterities health leaning to the biggest and healthiest One infinity has ... That solve a whole lot of confusion right there when it comes to focus and attitude. Only One ends up glorified. So I guess we best through in our spiritual hand of support while we can; though it does not make any creature appear better in their own eyes (or Gods) without the full flow (life / blood) and physical presents (body / bread) bearing it rewards for God's glory. Who is without sin among us. God help us build One's health as best we are able. Were the matter Billy Graham struggled in more pertainent to the subject at hand I wonder more about what God has to say in it.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      [Boy my grammar today. [Mom's was hollering about something I'm supposed to do.] I'll try again:]

      For NL:
      As Jesus said, I will follow Him who sent me. So I guess I can say, Each will follow the one who sent them. And may our hearts sort that out for the sake of our full posterity's health leaning to the biggest and healthiest One infinity has ... That can solve a whole lot of confusion, when it comes to focus and attitude. Only One ends up glorified.

      So I guess we best throw in our spiritual hand of support while we can; though it does not make any creature appear better in their own eyes (or Gods) without the full flow (life / blood) and physical presents (body / bread) bearing it rewards of One's Son (or Builder) for God's glory. (An ever presents of that Builder seems possible under the present Physics. At least there is avenue for infinite communication without time delay necessary for a mind to have synaptic links. And since the entanglement is situational based, and not spatially [space] determined. It may well fit the primary needs of spiritual entities as they are also situationally focused. Though the higher level of analytical processing the entity is involved in, the healthier the spiritual entity will likely be. And since, for God, His Builder is already where ever the creature trying to relate is; there is no added burden in that relationship. He's there, knows, and is already doing everything. The relationship is His gift to our open heart He made to receive it.)

      Some may think, that such a way of functioning is as good as nothing when it comes to checking things. May God be able use each individual to help the checking processes occur. So the more independent each is to do so, the better that process is likely to occur. Will things run smooth? Likely what happens is a balancing of what is going on. So, in a rough environment, the balancing may not to be a smooth running situation. Reasonable civility and a building toward God's ways should be at the heart of any endeavor, though.

      Stopping fighting may happen; yet it is much better to get the focus on a healthy, check-able building endeavors from the start. Competition is almost a default necessity given the independence necessary to have the healthiest checking going on. Frankly what every human words are used to name a faith, process, goal, etc. may be, ultimately it is irrelevant. What is actually being generated in the fullest sense is.

      As for (I assume your re-analysis on Billy Graham). Who is without sin among us. God help us build One's health as best we are able. Were the matter Billy Graham struggled more pertinent to the subject at hand I may wonder more about what all God is trying to say in it.

      September 11, 2010 at 1:24 am |
    • NL

      I really can't pretend to follow most of what you are saying here, but I'm assuming that you are rationalizing your relationship with God, right? Problem is, you approach this taking it as a given that God actually exists where some of us don't think so. Not believing that God exists creates a kind of firewall to what you are trying to infect our minds with and, I'm afraid, it all becomes gibberish without this "I believe in God" filter already in place. Maybe your fellow believers can follow what you are saying, but I can't say that I can. Sorry!

      My point about Billy Graham is exactly that Christianity and the highest level of belief still do not appear to cause the advertised result of making people behave better. I know many atheists, and not one of them is anti-Semitic. It appears that that is a religious position, and I am glad that such mind viruses don't affect me anymore.

      September 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  2. YouDoNotExist

    @NL
    I agree that he probably didn't think that would come out. I know people are human, and make mistakes. However, again, I am in agreement that it sounded like a half baked "sorry". It almost sounds like he was asking for them to balance it out (more then an apology) against what he has done (positive towards them) .
    It does make you wonder. ...thing that gets me is why do people do these things? Don't thier concsience bother them? Mine would. Particularly being in a position where he is representing Jesus Christ and the Gospel. That really is wrong.
    See, this is why I don't get myself wrapped up in following anybody. Men can lead you astray. Not saying all do it, but I have seen my share of it enough not to want to chance it.

    That being said, what the heck is Mr.Mellott talking about????
    Totally confused on that post from him.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • NL

      I think that Graham, like many fundamentalists, tolerates Jews and the state of Israel only because they see them as necessary components in securing Jesus' return. So, all talk of being a friend to Jews and Israel will go out the window should that happen. Then the Jews will be expected to convert, or suffer the consequences. That's where he's coming from, I think.

      Thanks, I thought it was just me not understanding Greg there for a while.

      September 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  3. Complicat

    Maybe the professors in physics complicate to much. Maybe the picture is more simple than they want.

    http://c-and-gravitation.blogspot.com/

    September 10, 2010 at 6:32 am |
  4. YouDoNotExist

    @NL
    A Christian should always make amends to the party they of-fended, and then go to God in prayer. If we won't forgive someone that we have wronged, he won't forgive us.
    I would have to question a person profes-sing to be a Christian, that does not do this. Yes, it would be a act of convience, but it would also say something about the so called "Christian"
    Always better to make amends, its called love and yes, everyone does benefit.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • NL

      AgainI' reminded of Billy Graham and his remarks about Jews. He was accused of making antisemitic remarks back in the 90s, and he flat out denied it. Then, a number of years later there's his voice ranting to Nixon about “total Jewish domination of the media”, "They're the ones putting out the pornographic stuff" and that the Jewish "stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain." Perhaps Nixon could "do something" about them if he got reelected.

      Obviously, the man didn't think that he'd still be alive when these tapes saw the light of day, but there they were and you would expect America's most beloved Christian to do the right thing and own up to his words, right? Well, he released this statement

      “I go and I keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know. And all I mean, not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine, they swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country. And I have no power, no way to handle them, but I would stand up if under proper circumstances.”

      Later he said

      “I don’t ever recall having those feelings about any group, especially the Jews, and I certainly do not have them now. My remarks did not reflect my love for the Jewish people. I humbly ask the Jewish community to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.”

      Hmmm... Not exactly on his knees in apology, was he? Would that qualify as making amends, or was that even his intention? Then there's the matter of his lying about saying those comments in the first place. Millions of Christians in America have modelled their faith on this man. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

      September 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      for NL:

      I cannot make a response with the precision you might wish; yet one might note that the Hebrew text in its discussion of creation does make some biological statement that can be rather broadly taken. But, I guess, if you are going to talk about the subject rather fully it is hard to avoid some of it. It is fully relavent to the discussion, at least. There well may have been some of the same tendency in the media at the time with is desire to talk about sexual matters, perhaps more than necesary though. It is not impossible, having to deal with such low level analysis so much that he sucker punched himself by fully mixing it and willfull pornography fully together. Given that there were 'too often' those in the willfully un-necessary realm pushing the matter to be mixed up as much as possible.

      September 9, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • NL

      Gregory D. MELLOTT-
      Sorry, I'm still not following. ;-(

      September 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      Hum. Please say where.

      September 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  5. YouDoNotExist

    Hi NL..Your most welc-o-med!
    Absolutely not!
    We are told to ask forgiveness of the one we have hurt, or actually, God will not forgive us for our own wrong doing.Yes, it would indeed be an act of convience. I would have to question a "christian" who acted in that fashion. (You shall know them by thier fruits) The work of the Holy Spirit in us, is to help us walk in our new life in Jesus .Yes we are still sinners by nature of the flesh, but those sins should be less as we strive to do Gods will. Otherwise I would be highly suspicous that a person doing as you say, were professing to be what they are not. Like the Pharisee.
    I certainly would answer yes to your last question. I would expect that would be the way a Christian should act.
    Everyone does benefit when the wrong doer makes up for the offense which he caused someone. If he/she don't, they are wrong, and God will not here them either in thier time of need.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  6. YouDoNotExist

    @NL

    You said:
    NL

    Nice post, thank you.
    Your opinion, please.
    I have heard Christians go so far as to say that redemption is only owed to God. Somebody hurts somebody else, and the Christian need only ask for God's forgiveness? Doesn't that seem suspiciously convenient? I mean, wouldn't the lives of everyone concerned be enriched with a sincere attempt by the wrongdoer to make up to the victim for the offense? Certainly these should be amongst the good works that one would to expect to flow openly from one who has been saved, right?

    Hi NL..Your most welcomed!
    Absolutely not!
    We are told to ask forgiveness of the one we have hurt, or actually, God will not forgive us for our own wrong doing.Yes, it would indeed be an act of convience. I would have to question a "christian" who acted in that fashion. (You shall know them by thier fruits) The work of the Holy Spirit in us, is to help us walk in our new life in Jesus Christ.
    Yes we are still sinners by nature of the flesh, but those sins should be less as we strive to do Gods will. Otherwise I would be highly suspicous that a person doing as you say, were professing to be what they are not. Like the Pharisee.
    I certainly would answer yes to your last question. I would expect that would be the way a Christian should act.
    Everyone does benefit when the wrong doer makes up for the offense which he caused someone. If he/she don't, they are wrong, and God will not here them either in thier time of need.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  7. Gregory D. MELLOTT

    "Lucifer" in Hebrew comes from 'brightness' and was used also as a name for the morning star. "morning" in the "son of the morming" (scripture [Isaiah 14:12] clarifying its usage of the name Lucifer [which physically at the time was talking about fallen Babylon]) ("morning" again) comes from the language 'root' meaning "to howl" or "yell boistrerously". This likely was to note Babylons way of attacking its weaker neighbors to take them over. Though the scriptures say God gave them over to them for their failing ways.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      Spelling error: "boisterous" is the valid spelling.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      I'd strongly suggest that should you not have such help to analyze the Bible's original script, that you get an aid like "The SWORD Project (Can't say the name for it gives the best clarity of God's nature itself). Anyway, King James Version (which may be one needs it the most) allows one to turn on the Strong numbers option. Then pointing at the number a window comes up an gives a better breadth of meaning in the original tongue for the word used before it. You will likely be able to dig up a much more even handed translation that what is given in the English.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  8. Artemis

    What a sad bunch of ungrateful egomaniacs. My dad will strike a lightning over your houses. LOL

    September 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  9. Where are the debaters...

    I am waiting to see what the athiests have to say to Gregs post????

    September 8, 2010 at 7:42 am |
    • NL

      Could you translate his thoughts into something, ah... coherent for us? That might help.

      Lucifer as a black hole?!?

      September 8, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Velveeta

      I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because uh some…people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh I believe that are at education like such as in South Africa and the they Iraq everywhere like such as and.. I believe that they should uh our education over HERE! in the US should help the US or or…or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we would be able to build up our future for our children.

      September 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • Kate

      @Velveeta

      Wow, you should see if you can win a beauty contest!

      Just laffin'

      September 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • Velveeta

      I've spent hours on here this morning reading through posts from both sides... I'm personally an atheist, and butt heads with people only on a semi-regular basis... One of my biggest headaches stems from the duplicity in fundies in thinking that something couldn't have come from nothing without a Creator, and yet, a Creator coming from nothing makes perfect sense to them... I've enjoyed reading many logical arguments made by The Jackdaw, USN Atheist, David Johnson, and some of the more sly ones from you Kate (Just readin' :D)... They create a nice juxtaposition alongside the matter-of-fact-with-no-factual-basis retorts of (what I shall now also affectionately refer to in real life as) the flat-earthers... I'm afraid it's probably going to take me until well into the evening to read through the rest of these, but I like being thorough in my contempt, so I will press on 😀

      September 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Kate

      @Velveeta

      Sly? Moi? Surely you malign me!

      Well, maybe a few of them were.

      I have to admit, the black holes theory made even me blink. It was loaded with buzzwords but was semantically null. Greg needs a refresher course in what creates singularities and the information paradox for starters.

      Although I'm not sure what I think about being called a flat-earther. Everyone knows it's really a dodecahedron that looks like a sphere due to gravitational lensing!

      Hmmm, dodecahedronists ... now there's an idea!

      Just rollin' them dice

      September 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  10. Greg MELLOTT

    Does this web site fear the words quantum entanglement?

    September 8, 2010 at 2:43 am |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      This came up as every post that I tried that mentioned it was not going through the moderator's acceptance. While others were. So anyway, they are apparently on the blog now. Thank you.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  11. Greg MELLOTT

    There is someting of a spiritual dichotomy going on in the whole matter. Christianity talks about the need for a being a new creature and that a new creation is to come wherein we can be at one with God. Saying that it is fallen in its nature. The body as both carnal in nature, and also being the temple of God. This can be unified if one defines this worlds material state as expressing incompletely (at any point in time ans space) God's fuller nature. The wholesome spiritual nature of God completes all the reationships in all its needs for balance, or justice. I do no know if this is precisely the Tauist view; though should it find some hormony with it, the ratio of full expression one nature to the other ismore like 2 to 1, rather than 1 to 1.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • Greg MELLOTT

      You'll probably now note the spiritual 'conversation' going on as Jesus conquered the division, death and sin of the physical world and carnal self to gives us a way to touch God through His Spirit. That entity means of expression might now be understood a dab more when we note the physics of quantum entanglement. The instantanious communication ability it displays may give means for a synaptic connection between spiritual 'brains cells', if you will. Of course, if valid, lesser spiritual entities would function the same way.

      September 8, 2010 at 1:54 am |
    • Greg MELLOTT

      The dichotomy may be in the creaton process itself, also. With both the Word of God creating the universe and Lucifer and a third of the angels falling from heave to (be?) the earth. This may have a potential in Physics by having two quiescent [nothing falling in anymore] blackholes colliding at a relativistic speed, destablizing them enough that (mast?) all their energy is released. That would also fit the description of the universe (apearing) to be created out of nothing. As the quienscent blackholes would be so small as to be an infinitesimal knot of a stupenduous amount of energy so strong that cannot be contained by even another similar blackhole.

      September 8, 2010 at 2:05 am |
    • Greg MELLOTT

      Please forgive my spelling errors: heave = heaven, mast = most, apearing = appearing; And grammer: 'strong that cannot contain' = 'strong that it cannot contain'.

      September 8, 2010 at 2:11 am |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      Quantum entanglement's evidence of timeless connectivity suggests that physica may have supporting evidence to spiritual entities ability to exist as a cognitive being that has no space limitations defining it. God of course, would be any wise entities focus of relationship, yet lesser ones are just a possible (though much more imcomplete in their 'focus' of being) by the same means. They are by definition a lesser nature that God has fully contained, though it may be given some autonomy to a full purpose we may only speculate about.

      September 8, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • Greg MELLOTT

      Spiritual entities are by definiton relationally, and not in itself physically focused. Though admittedly, physical relationships are a factor in the functionality of a spiritual expression in this world. So a mind, if you will for a spiritual entity needs only be one that relates to situations at some level of existence (ideally for our health, the higher the better) to be functional. Where in infinity does not matter.

      September 8, 2010 at 2:56 am |
    • McCluck

      hmmm, i dont know what greg said because it didnt make a whole lot of sense.

      Go to min 32 and hear an elegant explanation for the "something out of nothing" thing. If you watch the whole thing you will probably start to realize how much you dont know.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo&w=640&h=360]

      September 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      Theoriously, not knowing is the norm for creatures. Well, I'll give it a looking at. Though I can say right off that one can have inifinite space and enerry [power.God] in it what is not expressing itselt physically and Physics will say it is nothing.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      Sorry spelling err: "energy" is the valid spellling.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Michael

    Science itself is always in flux, Newton was a genius, then Einstein showed some holes in his theories, etc. Theories have changed dramatically over the last 300 years, and will change again..the Graviton still hasn't been found...I'm trying to figure out how a prophecy written 700 years before a man is born can come true to the time of His birth and the very specific way of His death. I'd like for Hawking to spend time on that one......in the end, I guess that's why it's called Faith.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:10 am |
    • Greg MELLOTT

      Though astrology, among other studies at the time, leaned to finding order in what reality THEY could find to relate to. The fact that Israel was at the crossroad of many cultures interacting at the time. Should what was spiritual light was wished to be hidden, it may have tried switching cultures to do so. This probably was an upsetting state unless one put one focus on God's full nature, as the prophets of the time did. Finding God to be the quiet in the midst of the storm. Being thus settled, they were given to recieve that One's enlightenment, even though they might not fully grasp it at the time. God doesn't change; nor does the full nature of His order. Just the situations we relate to that One through. [Why does One get used so much? Perhaps it helps me to remember how much I am in One's relating, quite poor even in generating much unity.]

      September 8, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  13. Gregory D. MELLOTT

    The basic physics behind this is that energy travels relatively slower when in another energy field than when in 'empty' space. With any lumpiness in the energy released by the 'big bang' it would enhance itself with more time and space, until it formed into the particles that physics notes today. Part of the reason you can have an inflation episode, as I see it, is that there is a great slowing of time in the high intensity energy field while it is still moving as fast as possible (light speed) realtive to it neighbor.

    WITH God anything is possible. It is not impossible that the foundation for creation were already present when it was triggered by a lesser 'entity', if you will (God giving that allowance, of course). I lean to the notion that two quiescent blackholes (apparently non-existing as they where an infnitesimal knot of energy that remains after nothing more falls into one) collided at a relativistic speed would destablize them to release the energy (perhaps with some gravity if the release was incomplete) and so create the universe.

    If one wishes to relate it to scripture, the nature of that lesser 'entity' may most readily match Lucifer and 1/3 of the angles that fell to (be?) earth [that firm, or having mass, or otherwise dominating a spot in space in a rather poorly connecting way with the rest of reality for the most part]. Lucifer may have had his apple situation with Satan and so comes to say "I am God". Though in reality, more accurately, just opening the 'libury' of the existential knowledge of good and evil.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  14. Gregory D. MELLOTT

    If one has an field of intense energy mixed in with areas of a great lack of energy (empty space) then it can form into particles that have mass and they will then of course generate gravity. The primary ingredient needed is energy or power which happens to be the meaning of the Hebrew word EL in ELOHYM, or God [which is tend to translate as Our Strength or Power, or Strength of Us-ing.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
    • Greg MELLOTT

      The physics principle behind the ability for energy to become matter is the fact that energy travel realtively slower through an intense energy field than it does through empty (low energy) space. Any lumpiness in the release of energy by the 'big bang' allows the energy to start bending in curves, making it even more lumpy until it finally (with enough time and space) generates knots of energy that physics would recognize as particles. The mass then, of course, generates gravity.

      September 8, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  15. Church

    GOD IS REAL

    September 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • NL

      Can you prove that, or are these just words?

      September 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  16. YouDoNotExist

    Hi Peace to All

    Which ones? I am sorry, I have posted back to NL and Eric G..and then had 3 seperate posts. If you let me know, I will answer,
    Peace to you also!

    September 7, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  17. YouDoNotExist

    @Bowb.....
    Sorry, I was going to add J/k..red face here. It was meant to be a joke..as in caught between unbelief and belief..athiest-christian. No offense meant!

    September 7, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  18. YouDoNotExist

    Hi NL..
    Again Thanks for your post.
    You said:
    Another problem is that religious leaders can still rally anyone who "believes in God" to their cause. I haven't met many Christians who strictly stick to just their own beliefs as derived from the bible. Many American protestants criticize Catholics for following the Pope, yet very few of them actually stick to their own, personal rendering of what the bible teaches. You see, they read Christian writers, and follow favorite pastors, or televangelists, and adopt these people's teachings as their own. It's easier to get along with fellow Christians this way because few Christians actually like a believer who strikes out on their own. Let's face it, most of you are sheep and innovators of belief are identified as leaders, gathering their own flocks. If you don't gather your own flock, then you are really a "lost sheep" and people will question your beliefs as "mutant," as one tread here has stated. Heretic, is more like it. Most, then, really follow another acting as their "Pope."

    Great Point! I could not agree more with you on this. I have been in churches of few denonminations in my years. I honestly have seen what your saying, more then to my liking. Some teach from books written by others, and not from the word of God itself. A dangerous thing, as you have pointed out, it teaches what THEY want you to have, thier ideas and thoughts.
    I personally do not attend church, or belong to any church because of it.
    Yes, I have some christians point me out for it, too. I don't particularly what they say, or what scripture they produce, to sshow me that I need to be there or else. If God leads by his holy spirit, to an honest heart or prayer for interpetation of his word, I will go to him directly for my answers, not those of men, If they deem me "lost", then so be it, I could care less. If I find I was wrong, then I guess I will pay the penalty of it, I earned it on my own, and solely on my own.
    I do believe the intent that comes from the heart is what God is looking for, not outward signs, even the Pharisee did that.So, in conclusion, yes, I do agree wholeheartedly with you on these things.

    Next of your comments:
    It seems that any movement that claims to be following some convoluted rendering of a bible verse just sweeps the vast majority of you up. When asked to explain your reasons for believing this mass teaching few of you can, which if understandable as you did not form them in your own minds, and this frustrates you, as is evidenced by the often rude responses posted to atheists here. Some atheists get rude here too, and probably for the same reason that they really haven't thought through the reasons for their position well enough. Everyone should be versed well enough in their faith position to be able to take either side in a debate, wouldn't you say? Rudeness never won any argument. Christians consider all of the arguments for atheism completely taboo, so they usually fumble their defence without any effect while many atheists were once believers, consider no topic taboo, and know exactly how you believe as you do.

    The problem with grabbing the scripture out to use in defense of proving points, as I see it, is that some do not the complete context of thier own verse. I think its called cherry picking by some. I have seen it happen alot under these blogs. I agree that everyone should be well versed in thier faiths enough to debate. If that only entails delivering your thoughts at how you arrived at your own conclusions, as you understand them for the faith in which you profess. Arguing is pointless, gets no one anywhere.

    I may engage in debate with an athiest, and I may present my view on things, but I will respect thier decisions for themselves. I will not get into the name calling or belitting comments I have seen, as you said, on both sides. If the intent of the christian is to plant a seed ( as many claim to be following the gospel and spreading the good news of God), I will leave it there to be sown or not to be sown. Not going to try and cram it down somebodys throat, as I don't want that kind of thing done to me either.

    Last of your comment
    You don't live your life in fear, but any belief that includes eternal hell and a God being sole judge of salvation must include fear, I think. "Born Agains" usually appear so smug in their certainty of being the ONLY folks going to heaven that they come off as elitist, and sometimes even Fascist. If they truly believed that God alone awards salvation they should never feel confident of their individual salvation, right? How could anyone assume to know God's mind, after all?

    I think fear would be based on the decisions we make in every day life, as in fear is the beginning of wisdom. From that standpoint, I would hope to have wisdom enuff not to let my actions on any front place me in a situation, which would be negative and cause me to fear the consequences.
    Now, in relation to that as a condition for which I would desire to be born again or saved, from a logical standpoint, yes. However, the desire (again looking at heart intent) when we accept Gods personal invite to Salvation,it must be with a sincere heart, and not because we fear going to hell.
    I know I would probably be hit over the head for this statement, but I am gone to say it anyway.
    I don't believe that we can point a finger at anybody and declare you are going to hell because..."fill in the blank". God specifically said NOT to do that.
    The reason I can feel confident of my salvation, is because although it cameby the grace of God, Jesus Christ said, Behold I stand at the door and knock, if you answer I will come in. (believe in your heart ) Next, confess your a sinner and ask Gods forgiveness (Salvation) then be baptised. Of course, from there you are to do good works in Jesus name (works don't earn Salvation, as some think, lest they boast) Those who think they can earn salvation by works, that is who I think you are speaking of about "awarding" salvation. Again, these are just my own thoughts and beliefs. I am sure some would debate them, so be it, for I am confident.
    Last, no one does know the mind of God....we can't box him in. He could choose to make exceptions to his laws and things, who are we to question that?

    September 7, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • NL

      Nice post, thank you.
      Your opinion, please.
      I have heard Christians go so far as to say that redemption is only owed to God. Somebody hurts somebody else, and the Christian need only ask for God's forgiveness? Doesn't that seem suspiciously convenient? I mean, wouldn't the lives of everyone concerned be enriched with a sincere attempt by the wrongdoer to make up to the victim for the offense? Certainly these should be amongst the good works that one would to expect to flow openly from one who has been saved, right?

      September 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  19. Jason

    Lets make this simple,

    1) God doesn't exist

    2) God does exist

    3) Do a barrel roll

    4) <- Troll

    September 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  20. TMS

    Most all of these comments miss the point of Christianity completely. Not one post that read (only about half as the repetition grew) Christianity and with it God the father and creator requires FAITH not scientific proof. It is faith that God has rested the eternal condition of every human being now and who has ever lived since the world was created and Adam and Eve became the first human beings, both being made by the very hand of God.

    It is through "faith" that we are saved or condemned, without faith, there is only death. The cost of being wrong about God and the teachings of His word is eternal, just as it is for having faith in Him and His word. It is simple, a person can choose eternal life or eternal death.

    There will always be those who will not believe or accept God even when the evidence is undeniable to the eyes and the soul, some will always reject, this has always been known since before the foundation of the world-not all will be saved-not even close. To go on any further would be moving into Theology, and clearly this is not the place for that.

    God bless you all.....

    September 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.