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September 17th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

How faith shapes politics - or doesn't

A national survey released today shows that while many Americans say faith drives their stances on social and political issues, there's little consistency on how and when it does.

Opinions on hot-button matters like abortion and same-sex marriage are more often influenced primarily by religion than are issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty, according to the Pew Research Center survey, "Impact of Religion on Political Views.”

Of the more than 3,000 adults surveyed over a two-week period this summer, 35 percent said religion mattered most for them on the issue of same-sex marriage. Of just those who oppose such marriages, 60 percent named religion as their top influence. On abortion, 26 percent named religion, with 45 percent of opponents weighing in this way.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said their clergy speaks about same-sex matters, and 59 percent said they hear from clergy about abortion.

But even though 88 percent of regular churchgoers said their clergy speaks about poverty and hunger, only 10 percent cited religious beliefs as their top influence when considering the government’s role in assisting the poor.

Clergy speaks about environmental protection to 47 percent of those surveyed, but just 6 percent said their positions were primarily faith driven. And while 24 percent said they hear about immigration in their houses of worship, only 7 percent gave religion top-billing when it comes to influence.

Education, personal experiences and media coverage often have more influence than religion on opinions about poverty, the environment and immigration, explained Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

He said it’s hard to know why people report the influences they do, but deciphering what issues have important religious links and what issues do not is key to understanding how faith factors into American politics.

Among the discoveries he ranked as most interesting was the realization that religion doesn’t necessarily push Americans in a conservative direction. A full 32 percent of those opposed to the death penalty (or 19 percent overall), for example, cite religion as the most important influence in forging their opinion.

Also outlined in the survey is a list of what issues are considered “very important” to voters. Ninety percent said the economy; 88 percent said jobs; 78 percent said healthcare, followed by other issues including terrorism, taxes, energy, Afghanistan and immigration. At the bottom of the list: 43 percent said abortion and 32 percent said same-sex marriage.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Abortion • Belief • Environment • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Politics • United States

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Tanya

    The three blogs I've posted here will be part of my book "1001 Naughty Jokes". Be sure to read it. I'm at 300 now, adding some every day.

    September 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • KneeDeepInDelusion

      ... then there's the one about the first Middle Eastern Prophet, "Ali Oop" [oop oop oop]. 🙂

      September 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  2. Tanya

    The tomb is empty, but given the fact that JC was heavily bleeding from his wounds, there might still be some traces through which His and the God's DNA could be reconstructed. Isn't it an awsome project for modern science? The churches might give away part of their huge proceeds to fund this project.

    September 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • KneeDeepInDelusion

      They don't know where the tomb is.

      You'd sure think that if this person was the "Son of God" and walked out alive from his tomb, that said tomb would have been better doc_umented and preserved.

      Believers say, "Oh they didn't want it desecrated, so they kept it secret", since the followers were a highly suspect cult at the time.

      September 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  3. Tanya

    JC was lucky to have been born at all, as Virgin Mary might have been easily convicted to stoning for adultery like Pericope the Adulteress-The Woman Taken in Adultery-and nobody would have come to he rescue then. It's not plausible people believed she had been impregnated by a dove.

    September 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Tanya

      And yet.... there are many 'believer's' in this..... What to say....

      Peace....

      September 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Tanya

    JC was lucky there was no McDonald's in his time. It would have been much harder for an obese person to resurrect.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • peace2all

      @Tanya

      Well.....possiibly, but given the alleged powers of JC.....he probably didn't eat much at all anyway. If.. he was obese.... lets say in the 500 lb range... still not too much for the person known as JC with the superpowers to overcome.

      Peace....

      September 19, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  5. ICEMAN

    had some type ;-0 in there hope you can make it out

    September 19, 2010 at 6:14 am |
    • peace2all

      @ICEMAN

      You are right.....not only typo's......but, mostly 'ramblings'..... You have made no cogent nor coherent assertion or argument.

      If you would like to reformulate your ramblings into something we can discuss.... I would be more than happy to debate/discuss anything you wish.

      However, at this time of the night/morning..... I would like whatever it is you have been smokin' dude...? 🙂

      Because, whatever it is that caused you to ramble into multiple tangents..... I want what you are smokin' (all due respect of course).

      I would advise you in the meantime to read some of the answers above about science and religion, if you haven't already...as a starter, and then, once you have a grasp on some sense of science vs. religion, then maybe we could have an intelligent and intellectual discussion....

      Unitl then... I wish you peace... and .... good night...

      Peace......

      September 19, 2010 at 7:08 am |
    • ICEMAN

      PEACE2ALL you had said Science can...and will eventually answer all questions. OK, how long are they going to take with the pyrimads? They still don't know HOW the egyptians built them. So Science has came so far but it's still doesnt prove alot, THERE JUST GUESSES. Science has been this worlds worst nightmare can you agree? Science isnt all good when you look at it that way? We are trying to reduce some things now that is a great thing for one but it just maybe to late. Before science Everyone could say that the people LIVING ON EARTH was more connected with nature than we are now. To me still the best theory out there is still like, ok an example..... a kid spills some milk on the floor, the mom comes and see it and says why did you spill the milk. The kids replys nothing was their and then it appered just like the big bang mom. You know what happens next? That kid gets his rump handed to him....I still think whoever came up with getting something from nothing was really messed up from all that good, good he been smoking. It's faith vs science, IN respect it's like thier the same but on different platforms cause with God we have different faiths leading to one or many Gods but science you have a question "THE QUESTION OF HOW THE UNIVERSE WAS MADE" and then you have different scientist with their answers.. So you'll pick ONE and go with it.. It's just the Big Bang is like Christianity, IT'S THE MOST POPULAR CHOICE. did i lose you? slow poke, lol just playing but really i think i just lost myself i'm stopping now. oh yea Black Energy, Black Matter oh the clash of the Gods. One is trying to pull the universe apart and the other is trying to keep it together. You know what i'm just now getting into this stuff cause i want to be a overall better person and i feel like knowledge is one thing that is lacking from men today. "when i say men i mean men and woman". but 4 out of 10 scientist believe in God. To me that's high for Scientist, and some now are just starting to believe in a higher power cause the universe they say is to complex, but jells together so good, it's like someone had this mapped out. DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY BUT JUST LIKE YALL CAN ATTACK MY FAITH I CAN ATTACK YOUR DUMB THEORIES ABOUT HOW THE UNIVERSE CAME ABOUT... TO BE HONEST BOTH SOUNDS CRAZY" HARD TO BELIEVE". BUT IN MY POST I WASN'T ATTACKIING YOU IT'S JUST THAT THEY HAD SCIENCE FOR SO LONG AND JUST HAVENT FIGURED OUT HOW THE PYRIMADS GOT MADE BUT YOU WANT TO TELL ME THAT THEY CAN GO BACK TO 1000S OF A SECOND AFTER THE BIG BANG? THAT DON'T ADD UP. I'M LEARNING BUT MORE AND MORE AND LOVE TALKING WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT FAITHS EVEN IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN IT..... I HAD AGREED WITH YOU ON ANOTHER TOPIC JUST A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO ABOUT A CHRISTIAN FLAG..... SO DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL

      September 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • peace2all

      @ICEMAN

      No problem ICE.... I am not taking it personally.... We are all here to discuss and debate with respect. So, I wouldn't talk with you, if I thought you were being anything but someone like me, who is sincerely stating an opinion....but, I also attempt to base my opinion's on as many verifiable and logical sound facts and arguments as possible.

      As you can see from my postings with Peter F... we often debate on science and religion with respect, and I believe while we are not only having fun attempting to *out do* each other..... we are also, at least i can speak from myself, attempting to *learn* from each other.

      As to your comment about my post regarding science will eventually explain virtually everything in our universe. That is certainly my opinion....but, it is based on the fact of watching the ever evolving discoveries that are happening on a daily basis. Religion provides no 'fact' based verifiable discoveries.

      So, as to your question as to the 'pyramids'.... again, there are a lot of things that science has *yet* to discover and uncover the mysteries of things in life. The 'pyramids' just happen to be one that they have not *officially* decided on yet, although as I understand it, they are making strides in that arena(the pyramids) as well. So.... as to 'why' they have not come out officially yet, I don't know.....however, being intellectually honest here....again, it doesn't mean that they won't know the 'how'..etc... and going back to my original assertion, science and time are on our side....'Most likely'..... they *will* find out... why would I say that...? Because of the continued track record of science learning more and more and picking up *steam* in their knowledge and results.

      You know....just 200-maybe 300 years ago..... No one would have ever thought, we would or could actually get into space...as that was considered as something that was just not achievable.... that was 'god's domain' as it was said.

      You certainly are welcome to keep your beliefs about your God..... I believe that science will at some point make even greater discoveries into this 'concept' of God.... and we may even have a closer marriage between Science and Religion.

      Science today....in the realm of Quantum Physics is already proving that everything is absolutely connected and we are all *one* That is a start isn't it...? You might want to re-read some of the other posts above mine on science, as Reality, and Eric G. and Critter, have provided some very insightful and thought provoking facts regarding science.. and... You can see all of the postings I made in regards to science.

      What i will say is this.... With science making these discoveries..... it is getting harder for some in the religious community to keep and maintain their belief systems, in regards to 'a God' as described in the bible. Science, may be actually discovering something maybe far greater than you have even imagined...! I believe the bible stories as written, were written for a variety of reasons, but one... was certainly man's attempt to understand and make sense of his world at the time.

      Anyways, ICEMAN..... food for thought... and I appreciate our discussions.

      And yes, I remember, you *did* agree with me on my assertion regarding the article of the *christian flag*... thank you... glad we can be of like minds.

      I wish you peace on your journey.....

      September 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  6. ICEMAN

    PEACE2ALL you had said Science can...and will eventually answer all questions. OK, how long are they going to take with the pyrimads? They still don't know who the egyptians built them. Science has been this worlds worst nightmare can you agree. Science isnt all good when you look at it that way? We are trying to reduce some things now that is a great thing for one but it just maybe to late. Before science Everyone could say that the people in it was more connected with nature than we are now. to me still the best theory out there is still like ok an example..... a kid spills some milk on the floor, the mom comes and see it and says why did you spill the milk. The kids replys nothing was their and then it appered just like the big bang mom. You know what happens next? That kid gets his rump handed to him....I still think whoever came up with getting something from nothing was really messed up from all that good, good he been smoking. It's faith vs science, i respect it's like thier the same but on different platforms cause with God we have different faiths leading to one or many Gods but science you have a question and then you have different scientist with their answers.. So you'll pick on and go with it.. It's just the Big Bang is like Christianity, did i lose you? slow poke, lol just playing but really i think i just lost myself i'm stopping now. oh yea Black Energy, Black Matter oh the clash of the Gods. One is trying to pull the universe apart and the other is trying to keep it together. You know what i'm just now getting into this stuff cause i want to be a overall better person and i feel like knowledge is one thing that is lacking from men today. "when i say men i mean men and woman". but 4 out of 10 scientist believe in God. To me that's high for Scientist, and some now are just starting to believe in a higher power cause the universe they say is to complex, but jells together so good, it's like someone had this mapped out.

    September 19, 2010 at 6:11 am |
  7. Xtiansrcrazy

    muneef...?!?! can't tell right and wrong if not an xtian?!? really? oh wait...being an xtian allows you to decide what is moral. so anything your people decide on make up that rule book...wait, I thought the idea of god was inate...but you are making up your own rules...inate, made up, inate, made up...aaarregghhh – yeah, too confusing, no wonder you just tow the line of your corrupt leaders...peace zombie man. this non xtian is out the door to do amoral things like volunteer special needs teaching, using my turn signal, and not cheating on my partner.

    September 19, 2010 at 6:02 am |
    • Muneef

      @Xtoanscrazy, slow on me man I am your guest here and not familiar with your tune of language therefore do not know if can understand what you want to say but seems you are upset about some thing I said about non religious, I find here you are right there is a big difference between uneducated non religious and those that are educated...so don't be mad about the issue please.

      September 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  8. Xtiansrcrazy

    morality is a social construct...why must xtians keep trying to argue that their version is inate and proof of god? ideas about morality are variable depending on space and time...

    September 19, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  9. Santa Claus

    Regarding believing in Santa Claus: my legal name is Santa Claus, and I'm a full-time volunteer child advocate. I'm also a Bishop and Monk, as St. Nicholas was many centuries ago. Please visit TheSanta dot im. Blessings to all, Santa Claus

    September 19, 2010 at 2:56 am |
  10. Muneef

    @Iqbal khan, did you mean to show me this singer or TheDeenShow that Dr.Jerald F.K. Because if it it sound fine and good, but seems that most who wrote are stating they are not Jews and not Christians .
    So you see there no use to talk or convince a non believe because he has no religous background so would not be able to tell right from wrong so save your energy brother.

    September 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Muneef

    @Iqbal Khan, Sorry Brother time does not allow me to read or hear or even understand but can tell you one thing if it is bad and burn your heart for Islam and Muslims well then (Do not waste your time or burn your heart with the bad things that are being said or told and do not share it but look for the good things that are being said and told and share it). Reading Listening to bad things fuel hate burning your heart that leads to hate all every one guilty or non guilty and that is not fair but the fair is to tell and share the goodness of Islam that leads to believe.Try fighting Rudeness with Goodness and you will feel deep in your heart how peaceful you would feel and make others feel.Wa Alsalam..

    September 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  12. Iqbal khan

    Want to know more about Islam check
    http://www.911Bible.com also see what he is saying

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjRtT7GsJFs&feature=related

    September 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  13. Muneef

    @Reality, About your (The Universe just is!!! It simply reorganizes itself every 20 billion years or so as it continues to recycle itself in periods of expansion and shrinkage) I am not sure if you mean the Natural disasters that are happening or mean what is happening to Human movement ?? But about this issue can find a mention of that in the Quran Sura 2 Verse 251 and Sura 22 Verse 40...

    September 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • Reality

      Muneef,

      Using the koran for science is to say the least not scientific. Better you spend your time reviewing the foundations of Islam. Actually, this has been done for you and can be found in the following Five Steps to Bring Islam Into the Modern World:

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
      alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave attended to by his wives before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Now you can put the koran on your fictional book shelf and get out your books on astrophysics found under Science.

      September 19, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  14. ICEMAN

    ok there is no God right OK then i look at all the different animals and think to myself....well the universe started with a big bang...... then crazy stuff " lil bangs, dying stars and years of what? then we have life but then what everything evolved from what one thing or was different life forms just shot around the world? NOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE SOME BULL. LOL A SQUIRREL NEEDED TO GET NUTS IN THE SKY SO THEY GREW WINGS AND BECAME BIRDS....." i guess that sounds better than my flying fairy...... science these people find ways to make 2×2=5, and have different theories that is correct leading up to a answer? there was nothing NOTHING then a big bang.......how you get something out of nothing? there had to be something there to begin with. sounds like someone fell and bumped their head when they was a child to come up with that. Lol hey i tried to make money from nothing it didn't work.....I had to get up and go to work.:-0

    September 18, 2010 at 5:09 am |
    • Reality

      ICEMAN,

      The Universe just is!!! It simply reorganizes itself every 20 billion years or so as it continues to recycle itself in periods of expansion and shrinkage.

      September 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Peter F

      @ Reality

      Prove it.

      September 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      Hi Peter.... How are you...?

      How is evangelical seminary going...? Hope that you are well....

      As for your post....... We have been here before....... Please provide said proof of God....especially the literal interpretation of God in your bible......?

      I know what your answer will be, but I will ask it anyway....... What sounds more "reasonable" a god that has emotions, hurts people, damns them to eternal fire, you have to believe in his 'son'...who is really actually himself, etc...etc...

      Or....... scientific explanations that are more and more being proved......? What it seems is that the more science increases its facts about the world, universe and reality, the more the christian fundamentalists have to come up with 'new' models...like
      intelligent design'....etc.....

      And you know......40% of christians believe that the actual JC *is* coming back within the next 50 years.....and in the book of revelations.....JC is not coming back as Mr. Love & Light this time....

      Really.....? How can you *honestly* say that you believe that malarkey....(no disrespect intended)...

      Peace to you Peter F......

      September 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • Peter F

      @ peace2all and Reality

      Thanks for remembering, peace. I just started an intensive class this past week, and have a couple more weeks of that before really getting underway with the first quarter.

      Notice I was asking Reality to prove his assertion rather than making the claim myself this time. I say that because I more and more frequently get the distinct impression that most atheists gain truth solely from scientific fact. Even if that isn't true for the two of you, it's true to a lot of atheists... and that is why I asked the question. Can science explain what happened in our universe billions of years ago? Well, since it can't be recreated in a laboratory (too large scale) I don't know how it can ever be proven... in which case, maybe science isn't our method of understanding EVERYTHING. See where I'm going?

      Here are a couple of things regarding God for you to think about. First, I believe that existence itself is evidence of God – and before you bash that claim, let me explain. Was there a beginning? Or has the universe always existed? If it always existed, where did the elements come from? Matter doesn't exist without a creator... or look at it this way, if the universe did just always exist then there is a logical contradiction here. That would suggest there has been an infinite amount of time behind us, but there cannot be an infinite number of events when we're dealing with time.

      Many believe the Big Bang is the origin of the universe (which occurred 15 billion years ago approx.). Something out of nothing, huh? Well, I would suggest that the origin of the universe, or time itself, would have to be the product of a thinking, personal being. The lack of progress or change to this crazy thing we call time is not something that happens at random. TIME is evidence of God in that sense. Now, I believe the Big Bang was the means by which God created the universe, so I don't think science and God are incompatible by any means... there are just logical contradictions if you try to explain the origin of something without a creator.

      But that's only a small portion of my argument for God. I'm curious as to your reactions.

      Blessings!

      September 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      No problem..... Good to hear from you...... and good luck with your classes..

      Yes, I was aware that you were posting to REALITY......., I just hadn't debated/discussed/posted with you in awhile, so I thought i would jump in and say hello....!

      I will keep it short...as my fingers are getting tired. I have been posting a lot today.....

      1)Just because science hasn't *yet* been able to do something...... Does not mean that it won't in the future. More and more discoveries are happening and being proven and testable. Look how far science has exploded in it's discoveries, especially in the last 50-100 years. Imagine what will be discovered in the next 50-100-200-500 years.....? Science *will* bring about the answers. Just because 'you' can't see how.....anything will be proven or not, has no bearing on the actual discoveries and facts of science.

      2)Equating Existence or Life itself *is* evidence of God----Please re-read Professor Hawking's research. Cosmologists and Quantum Physics are getting closer and closer to answering those very questions you posed...

      It is very hard for a lot of people to think that there had to be something....an 'intelligent designer'(latest theory to try and keep up with science) that came 'before'. Then you get the 'god of the gaps' argument. Well, what happened before.....? Well, what happened before God...?

      3)Your *suggesting* that the origin of the universe whether there was a big bang or something out of nothing as you say......Does not make it an actual fact that there is a God. Just your speculation. Scienctist are into proving and testing and verifying.

      There is more to comment on, but i did notice Peter that you did not respond ...you basically deflected my questions to you regarding the God of the Bible.....which, if I am correct, you as an 'evangelical minister' would have to interpret literally.

      Again, what makes more sense....the god as written in the bible which 'needs' worshiping and 'needs' to execute himself(as son) to save his creations...from the original sin(talking snake), etc.... and ....again, 40% believe that JC is 'actually' coming back within the next 50 years....

      I am curious, given your seemingly well-thought out postings on science.......how do you reconcile your evangelical views with the literal interpretation of the bible, which knowing several fundamentalists....there is 'no' wiggle room on that.

      Please .... I am interested......

      Peace to you....

      As to your posting:

      September 18, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • Peter F

      @ peace2all,

      I did not deflect, I just wanted to work on one thing at a time. There is a lot of "evidence" for a creator, so we cannot discuss it all in a single post. I will get to that. Science cannot prove primeval history though, peace. They can come up with theories and explanations, but there is no way that any of it will be proven since it is so far behind us. Chances are they will be right about a whole bunch of it, but how can we know? Does anyone have a time machine? Or how about this: morality. Can science tell us what is right and what is wrong? I assert that it cannot. Morality is yet another part of my argument for the existence of God. Without morality, there is no absolute truth (right/wrong), which contradicts what our consciences tell us on a day to day basis. So then are we even able to tell the rapist that he ought to be locked up? Should we tell the murderer that he did something wrong? If there is no God, on what basis can we do that? He did what he thought was right for him, so can we really condemn him for that? Science gets us no where when it comes to morality.

      As far as the Biblical references you were making, I wouldn't say it's mularkey (though I'm sure you expected that). The majority of New Testament historians agree on three basic aspects of New Testament claims: Jesus' tomb was empty. Austrian New Testament scholar Jacob Kremer tells us "by far, most [scholars] hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb." That is a fundamental piece of the Christian faith, mind you. Secondly, believers and non-believers alike claimed to have seen Jesus post-resurrection. This wasn't just one or two Jews who were close followers of his, but numerous Jews from Israel (some who did not believe previously). Lastly, the Jews were expecting a political messiah, but they got a spiritual one instead. Yet many followed him anyway. Not only did they follow him, but they wrote letters, gospels and historical narrative about him. There is no doubt Jesus existed. And his claims were quite extraordinary. If he did, in fact, die and rise again... that is a life-changing realization.

      God did not NEED to execute himself, nor did he. It was a willing self-sacrifice to redeem his fallen people from their bondage in sin. That is love, not hate. Non-believers always point to hell as the breaking point of Christianity: "why would God condemn people if he is good?" Well, I believe he doesn't. I believe we condemn ourselves by rejecting the grace he freely gives us. So then whose fault is it that we are apart from God? Ours or his. He created us, gave us life, sent us his son to fix the brokenness we live in. So many say that they must find their own way, not realizing that is rebellion and avoidance of what God has FREELY done through Jesus.

      As to whether or not I believe Jesus is coming back in the next 50 years, my answer is "who knows?" When 50 years roll around, we'll know... lol. However, Jesus himself said it was not up to him upon when to return, but the Father in heaven. So why are we guessing about all of this? Leave it up to God. He's better at planning than any of us.

      Blessings peace.

      And as always, nice talking.

      September 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      O.K.....Ya' keep hooking me back in....:-)

      1)Science can...and will eventually answer all questions. The answers are coming hard and fast...and you 'believers' need to keep re-adjusting 'your' models to keep your beliefs. But you know, ii is getting harder and harder to maintain those old outdated beliefs. You know it... I know. it... and the 'honest' fundamentalists, in moments of honesty and candor are starting to admit it. Science is *not* adjusting its models to fit religion because is is all based on ....nothing... (no offense).

      2)Morality---Latest scientific research is showing morality as an internal trait. Not something that was brought to us from God... I would point you in the direction of the latest primate research and infant research in these areas. Heck, anthropologists and sociologists have already *proven* that early man realized the need to *cooperate* in order to survive and thrive. This happened well before the 10 commandments came into being. We don't need the 10 commandments to decide what is moral or not. The first 4 or so of the commandments talk about worshipping god, etc.... Never has there been any proof that we 'needed' a God-being to tell us what is moral. We form 'objective morality' through societal decisions and norms. It doesn't make sense to go out and hurt someone..... We don't need a God to tell us such.

      3) I noticed you 'totally' bipassed the old testament.... There are more and more historical and religious scholars 'doubting' that a Jesus even existed....(at least the one as described in the bible). Empty toomb...? Really....? That already presupposes a real JC...who live and died as such, and now we *know* the place of the toomb....? How exactly....?

      I like you Peter...always good talking.....but, you know you're going to have to up your game.... 🙂

      Maybe seminary will help..... Again, enjoy your classes, and look forward to more talks....

      Peace to you....

      September 18, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • Peter F

      @ peace2all

      Up my game? You didn't even answer all my questions – you also partially misinterpreted them. Let's get back on the same page, shall we?

      First off, tell me what models we believers have adjusted. I'm confused as to what you are referring to. Jewish scholars over the past CENTURIES have not been attached to the traditional fundamental definition of creation. Keep in mind, friend, evangelicals do not insist the Bible is our key to all scientific interpretation. So what "occurred" in Genesis 1 and 2 was not meant to be a historical representation of scientific history... you can accuse fundamentalists of doing just that, but the point is that we (secular and religious scholars) need to look at the Bible the way it was meant for us, including the genres, the purposes of each text, etc. So let's get into the text! Woot!

      Science will prove everything? Prove that. Can you? I don't think so. You're missing the point here, sir. There is an infinite number of things (often quite fundamental things) that science cannot prove. I can name them, and I have. You say science will be able to prove those things. Prove that. You can't. No offense, but science is a tool... not the template. I love how extreme your assertion was to start that whole thought... yet you cannot prove that very first point. I'm not trying to attack you, I just want you to realize that you're contradicting yourself.

      And the issue on morality. I think you misunderstood my assertion to be that human beings NEED the OT laws to recognize right and wrong. That is not my assertion at all... I believe God wrote his laws on our hearts so that we know them. What I was asserting is, WITHOUT God, can there be such thing as right and wrong? As you seem to have alluded to, many a naturalist sees morality as a set of recommendations for the advancement of humanity. So then what about Nazis, rapists, Darfur, etc.? If we're just talking about recommendations, then why is it necessary to obey them. If I think I have a better way than you, what can you say to stop me? IS the rapist really wrong? You can say what he does is unconventional and contrary to what we've evolved to adhere to, but that doesn't assert that raping is wrong. And we all know raping is wrong. Just like 2 + 3 does not equal 10. I hope you follow that. I tried to make it as basic as possible.

      Regardless of what you say scholars conclude about Jesus, there is a ton of historical evidence for his existence found in Roman records, Josephus, parts of the Talmud, and most importantly the gospels. You seem to be overlooking the fact that nearly all the New Testament was written 30 to 40 years of Jesus' death. That being so, how come so many people came to follow Jesus in that time? Why was nothing written at that historical time period doubting Jesus existence. The scholars you are referring to are confusing the "gap" to be 30BC to 2000BC, when the real "gap" is 30BC to the dating of the original manuscripts. No one was doubting Jesus' existence back then, so why should we? I see that as a very flawed argument.

      I look forward to seeing your response, peace.

      PS. If you are actively interested in considering the existence of God, look into some of these ideas. Simply finding a way to counter them suggests you don't really care all that much. Just sayin' (Sorry, Kate, lol)

      September 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      Hey my friend..... getting a bit tired... You almost had me hooked back in again..... But, I am going to call it a night, and maybe we can pick up this and other discussions in the future.... I always enjoy our debates.... I think it leads to further insights for the both of us...

      I will say this however before i sign off....... I am going to getcha' on some of what you posted at some point......! Do you play chess..?

      Some of your assumptions and reasoning, as chess pieces moved on the board, left you open for further attacks (metaphorically speaking of course). Or, on a more positive metaphor....learnings...

      BTW.... I was a christian for 25 years.....and have studied world religions and philosophies for a long, long time.... so seeking...God as you say.. been there done that....

      Also, only Kate's 'real' friends get to use the .....just sayin'... I have been so indoctrinated into using just sayin' wth my family and friends from chatting with Kate so much, I am going to need a deprogrammer...! 🙂

      Anyways, have a good night Peter .......Take care of yourself..

      Peace.........

      September 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • Peter F

      @ peace2all

      I look forward to your "attacks." Bring it on! 🙂

      I mean no offense by what you've said so far, trust me, but your description of the Christian faith seems to be missing some of the most important values/beliefs/understandings. If you ever want to talk more about Christianity in general, I'd absolutely love to talk about it. It's what I live for!!!

      Blessings!

      September 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      Well.... You know, we seem to get along and have mutual respect......My hunch is we could talk for days on end...helping each other to learn and grow.....

      Typing takes toooooooooo long.... I don"t know where you live, but possibly a cup of java or some phone calls at some point..

      Otherwise, my fingers will fall off...

      Peace......

      September 18, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Reality

      Peter,

      Big Bang Abandoned in New Model of the Universe

      A new cosmology successfully explains the accelerating expansion of the universe without dark energy; but only if the
      universe has no beginning and no end.

      As one of the few astrophysical events that most people are familiar with, the Big Bang has a special place in our
      culture. And while there is scientific consensus that it is the best explanation for the origin of the Universe, the
      debate is far from closed. However, it's hard to find alternative models of the Universe without a beginning that are
      genuinely compelling.

      That could change now with the fascinating work of Wun-Yi Shu at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Shu has developed an innovative new description of the Universe in which the roles of time space and m-ass are related in new kind of relativity.

      Shu's idea is that time and space are not independent ent-ities but can be converted back and forth between each other. In his formulation of the geometry of spacetime, the speed of light is simply the conversion factor between the two.

      Similarly, mass and length are interchangeable in a relationship in which the conversion factor depends on both the
      gravitational constant G and the speed of light, neither of which need be constant.

      So as the Universe expands, mass and time are converted to length and space and vice versa as it contracts.

      This universe has no beginning or end, just alternating periods of expansion and contraction. In fact, Shu shows that
      singularities cannot exist in this cosmos.

      It's easy to dismiss this idea as just another amusing and unrealistic model dreamed up by those whacky comsologists.

      That is until you look at the predictions it makes. During a period of expansion, an observer in this universe would
      see an odd kind of change in the red-shift of bright objects such as Type-I supernovas, as they accelerate away. It
      turns out, says Shu, that his data exactly matches the observations that astronomers have made on Earth.

      http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25492/ + many other web sites with the same news

      September 19, 2010 at 12:48 am |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      Well..... It looks like my friend, REALITY beat me to some of the latest in science..... glad that I don't have to type all of that.

      Curious as to your response to Reality's post on science.......

      Peace.......

      September 19, 2010 at 3:10 am |
    • Peter F

      @ peace2all and Reality,

      I'll be the first to tell you I don't know squat about the latest developments in science (or even the more basic stuff that most people my age do know, lol). I've always been more of an English and history fan myself. However, I think writer Michael H. Benton sums it up pretty well. This may also relate to what you said, peace, about Christians who "give ground" on their interpretation of creation:

      "Now, it seems one of the most popular theories of the 20th Century stands challenged, the Big Bang Theory. Georges Lemaître, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, professor of physics and astronomy at the Catholic University of Louvain, first put the theory forward. As observations supporting the theory have multiplied, the scientific community has generally accepted it. Still, problems with the theory do exist. Recently, an associate professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, Wun-Yi Shu put forward a new model that has no bang at all[iv]. Time will surely tell if Professor Shu is right but at the very least, his work does deserve to be explored without the prejudice received by the scientists that disputed Clovis.

      Regardless of its source, an irrational belief that suppresses observations, discoveries, or rational thinking is dangerous to the progress of humanity. It is arrogant to place limits on subjects not understood. We do it anyway. In religion, we place restrictions on God based on our feeble ability to understand God. In science, we restrict possibilities to well-defined parameters and dismiss data that does not fall within. It is only when a genius, like Galileo, dares to contradict, our preconceived notions change. Even then, that change can take years, even centuries.

      It is best to accept that the knowledge we have not discovered is infinite and our understanding is limited to the small bits we think we know. We are better off understanding that new information does not diminish the truth; it only changes our perception of it. It is not an insult to God to place our planet within a solar system and not at the center of the universe, nor is it an insult to understand the method by which our existence took place. In the end, everything we know, understand, or believe is simply a theory based on the best information available. Always keep an open-mind and put aside prejudice in all forms. This way you will improve your personal theories."

      Remember, many Christian scholars are just as interested as you are in learning about the origin of time/matter/our universe, etc. Additionally, we are not proposing it is God VERSUS Science, but God THROUGH Science. And as Benton points out, the knowledge we do not have is infinite. So trying to explain something so complex (either the existence of matter and energy, and/or God) with what we have is certainly impossible.

      Blessings, y'all!

      September 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Eric G.

      Believers continue to think that science is trying to disprove their religion. Science is trying to explain the natural world by examining verifiable evidence to gain a better understanding through the development of theories. These theories can then be tested and verified by others through the examination of the evidence provided. The believers need to provide their own evidence to support the claims they make. Disproving any theory does not prove another. For example: If you can disprove the "Big Bang" or "Evolution" theories (and yes, they are two different theories), you will still need to provide the motherload of evidence necessary to prove that your god did it. I would settle for verifiable evidence that your god exists, then you can provide verifiable evidence that your god created the universe. After that, you can provide verifiable evidence that your god created the universe just for humans. Then provide verifiable evidence that your god did all this because he loves you and craves your affection.... and so on, and so on. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves..... How bout this for an assignment? Science will continue to gather evidence to explain everything in the universe. Believers just need to provide verifiable evidence that their god exists. Which one gets done first?

      September 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Eric G.

      Well said.......Good to hear from you... haven't seen you posting in awhile...?

      Peace.....

      September 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Peter F

      What would you guys take for verifiable evidence? I keep giving evidence and you guys keep rejecting it. Existence is evidence. The fine tuning of the universe is SO unlikely to have life (advanced life at that) is incredibly, incredibly unlikely. You have to say that creation occurred by chance (which seems unlikely given the numbers), or a creator. I would take that as evidence. Morality? You guys never really addressed that after I countered your point. There cannot be any rights or wrongs without God... recommendations that accompany evolution, maybe, but absolute truth on right and wrong? No. Evidence. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ depicted in the gospels and epistles. Evidence. You may not find the evidence sufficient... and you that is your God-given right (no pun intended), but saying there is absolutely no evidence is silly.

      So let me hit the ball back into your court... what would you take for evidence? Would God have to come knock on your door, claim to be God, perform a bunch of miracles with angels all about for you to believe him? Just something for you to think about... evidence is everywhere!!! 🙂

      Blessings, friends!

      September 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • Critter

      @Peter F

      If you consider that "God" as you describe him is able to do even these "simple" things, then "He" knows what evidence would convince everyone that he truly exists.
      I know that sounds a bit funny, but the problem of evidence becomes one of availability. Is God able to do everything in a physical sense? If He is, and if prayer works, then the thing is simple: just ask Him to provide us with the physical proof we require.
      Or perhaps He only works on a "spiritual plane", in which case all we would need is spiritual proof that is repeatable and verifiable. In other words, if prayer works, then ask Him to give us this evidence, for he surely knows what would work for each of us...unless he is not all-knowing, all-powerful and does not listen to prayers...or unless he is deliberately making sure that there is no proof of his existence – why hide from us? Where is He and why isn't he doing ANYTHING in the world these days?

      Why does evidence of His existence elude one and all? Why hide from those who seek him?
      I look through holy books and see a con-man's game all set up – written by men to control others. I seek to eliminate human fraud from the equation and find myself with no holy books to read.

      You understandably look upon the Gospels as evidence, but they were written by men. If all it takes is for any man to write that "God exists" on a piece of paper to prove that he exists, then you have rejected our reasonable expectations of actual evidence and have gone down that slippery slope of casuist sophistry and circular arguments.

      A con man can get his forgery-minded friends to write you an epistle and a new hidden Gospel, age it convincingly so that our scientists can not tell the difference, and then submit it to the world.
      Guess what? I would not believe it because it was written by men in the first place, whether or not it was "historically accurate or ancient in origin".
      There were liars in the old days, Peter. Bad men who wanted to lie and did. I just want to rule out the possibility that one of them (or lots of them) wrote your "holy words".
      In order to do this, we must look beyond the Gospels and avoid them entirely. This is the sort of problem I encounter with every docu-ment based religion. Your docu-ments, written by men, regardless of what they say or who "inspired" them, are NOT credible proof and never can be proof of the existence of "God" – because they were written by men!!!

      And, I am sorry to say, that as long as there are other, more likely causes to your "proofs", then they are not really evidence that can be considered credible. There are too many other possible interpretations as to how they came to exist.

      Your "intelligent design" arguments are also unusable as evidence, as there are too many other explanations, most of them quite sensible, articulable, and logical, that address the amazing complexity of the universe.

      I find it disquieting that a student such as yourself would credit the "intelligent design" argument as being valid when it has been debunked from here to the moon. I invite you to look at some of these debunkings and wonder anew at the complexity of simpleness that the universe really is.

      This complexity is merely tiny bits of simple physics piled high and wide.
      And you look at this humongous pile of complexity and say "oh, God, thank you!" but the physics are straightforward and essentially simple in effect, yet the statistical randomness appears as "deliberate" complexity and occurs everywhere in the universe.
      Statistical events will tend to form clusters (bad things "happen in threes"), but as ignorant and badly-evolved yet intelligent beings, we look for patterns and will insist on these statistical clumpings as being "messages" or "signs from God" or other errors in perception and logic.

      You look at the night sky and see stars, yet they were not built or grown on purpose. They clumped together and burst into atomic flame because of the heat and pressure.
      The first bits of life were just atoms forming molecules that formed larger molecules.
      Chemicals on this planet are like chemicals on other planets. There is life elsewhere, I believe, for it is a statistical certainty.
      Where is the hand of God? He has hidden it from everyone in the scientific community.
      Did he do this on purpose?
      And if he did, why try to prove he exists if it is his will to stay hidden forever?

      God knows he does not have to knock on my door, yet I do not think he is capable or willing if he truly exists.

      Please examine with logic the attributes you use to describe God, and then start from scratch and come up with a list of things you DO know from what you can see happening in the world and in your own life.
      Compare the two lists and then tell me again how the Gospels are absolutely and literally true in every respect from start to finish and that your interpretation of them is logical and intellectually honest.
      For I do not think this is possible to do if you are truly honest with yourself. That part is going to be up to you, of course.

      (If you like reading there are some good articles at plato(dot)stanford(dot)edu ...I have only just started reading in there. It is a huge place to study philosophy and religion, among other things...)

      I have seen Jesus in a dream and a vision by day. I have heard words out of the air, and muffled voices at the edges of my hearing. Did I hallucinate? I asked God that question. What do you think he told me?

      If God is truly merciful, I do not fear for my soul. And if he is love I have him with me now. But proof? Ahhh, Peter, it does not seem to me like God wants us to have that. On the other hand, I do NOT believe he wants me to be defrauded into believing a lie, either. So you have your work cut out for you, or maybe you should try something more honest in its dealings with the public than religion. Those religious colleges are nasty expensive....

      September 20, 2010 at 3:21 am |
    • peace2all

      @Critter

      Again...well very said...

      Peace.....

      September 20, 2010 at 3:32 am |
  15. Calma Lou Miller

    President Obama needs to take away the annual CDC report on abortions from the Congress. The only thing that it is used for is to slur the other side. It is protected medical data and should be that. How about that diabetes report how far up the political road would that get these Congressmen? Not politically charged enough is it?

    September 18, 2010 at 3:59 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    How about "shouldn't". Remember.....separation of church and state. We need to be sure that we do just that.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Rick

      Not following your comment .....? We 'should' remember separation of church and state. Or.... we "shouldn't remember...?

      Peace....

      September 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  17. peace2all

    I have posted this very assertion before.......'religious beliefs' can and quite often will shape one's 'politics.'

    A number of 'fundies' have tried to deny this fact, and have tried to discount this, however, as noted above in the article..... It is pretty much a given that it(religious beliefs) can and do shape one's politics. The only inconsistencies seem to be on the 'how' and 'when.'

    Let me help....

    Step 1) Admit you are powerless about your 'denials' and 'beliefs' in your mythical sky-f*a*i*r*y... and the book the big G supposedly wrote. Once you accept that you *were* powerless, then hopefully you will be empowered to 'think' about things, and issues and people, instead of believing in an old predominantly violent book, that has been used to justify... slavery, k*i*l*l*i*n*g*s, keeping women subservient, etc......

    The rest of the steps..... keep up the wall between church and state.... you can keep your personal 'beliefs'
    (remember- beliefs do not = absolute facts, especially when it comes to 'religion') to yourself, but when you start trying to enforce them in our public school systems and in our government, then you have definitely *cross...ed*(ooops JC would be laughin' at that one) the line.

    Allow women the right(as it is the law) to 'choose' what they do with their own bodies.

    Also, pick up a science book please........ I am tired of seeing and hearing about all of the 'fundies' teaching and demonstrating all of the blue-eyed and blonde haired people popped into existence 4,000 years ago and were playing along with the dinosaurs, because the big G created everything all at once.

    And..... in the field of evolution, cosmology and quantum mechanics.... Please stop trying to use 'complexity' to be interpreted as 'creationism.' or Int. design. Religion is *not* science....

    Just because science doesn't necessarily have an answer yet.... please stop trying to use the 'god of the gaps' argument. Everything that isn't explained by science yet, = God did it... I understand your need to immediately fill 'in the gaps' with god, but science is further testing and verifying more and more in our universe and our world. I know it is getting harder for you 'fundies' to keep up with your god of the bible..... but give it up.

    And.....Morality didn't spring into being because of the big sky-f*a*i*ry. The latest research in certain primates is already showing an internal sense of morality that gets expressed. Also, young babies are also showing the same.

    So, no we did not, and do not need the 10 commandments to act 'morally' Heck the first 4 or so of the commandments have nothing to do with morality.... the first 2 have to do with sky-god needing to be worshipped and don't say god-d*a*m*n, otherwise 'he' will somehow be displeased.

    I will have some more steps for you 'fundies' in the near future.... but for now, work on these.

    And.... Yes I am quite aware that 'my beliefs' shape my worldview on pretty much everything. No denial here..... I was saved....! By Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Professor Stephen Hawking among others.....

    And... I wish you Peace.......

    September 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • brad

      peace2all, it is very easy to mock religious people who have only a remedial understanding of their faith. From the comments above, seems there are some very sound, reasonable, Christians on this page. Secondly, ridiculing peoples' beliefs does not suggest "peace". Perhaps a change in the tone of your comments, or a change of moniker is in order?

      September 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • peace2all

      @brad

      My debating of others opinions, and asserting my own opinions and.......still wishing 'you' peace in your life or to everyone are not mutually exclusive.

      I truely do wish you Peace.... Even if, I may come across in a way that does not meet your standards or please you... but again...

      I do wish you and anybody else who may disagree with me......Peace.....

      September 17, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Reality

      peace2all,

      As you know once a woman becomes pregnant, there are now two bodies with the smallest being protected and nurtured by the provider as she will be doing during the small body's expanding life into adulthood.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Reality

      And your point.....?

      Peace....

      September 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • peace2all

      @brad

      Oh....I forgot.....Please point me to the postings by the 'sound and reasonable christians' on this article..

      Peace...

      September 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • Andrew

      Peace2all
      You seem to have locked onto the behavior and beliefs of a very small but very vocal minority of Christians. As an engineer and as a Christian, I do not agree with them and know few Christians that do. I suggest that if you can suspend the prejudice pertaining to them for a moment, perhaps Brad makes some valid points. Have you studied the work of the scientist William James "The Varieties of Religious Experience"? It is a systematic psychological study of the God urge within numerous individuals. Do you not know that the urge is certainly very real in the experience of many individuals? I tell you that, I too, am among those with this urge. My religion teaches that "God is Spirit...." and in my experience this is truth. Though it is subjective truth, what would be truth in the experience of your life? Would you belittle what my experience has shown to me as truth? What do you think of when I write the word spirit? I happen to live in a college town and today is game day. School spirit is readily apparent, and it affects and motivates many people to obvious manifestations of same. Just so the God Spirit motivates man and the manifestations are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." Again this is the teaching of my religion (and my experiences correspond). Similar teachings are found in many religions, because "God is One". The Spirit finds expression in the material world through all of man, regardless of what religion or lack thereof an individual may ascribe to. As it is taught, "The Spirit of God dwells within you." So I would expect that the manifestations of the Spirit of God to occasionally display even in Peace2all. It is that Spirit within Peace2all that I would appeal to and magnify within his experience. Certainly, you have urges for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fathfulness, gentleness and self-control within your experience. How well do you know yourself? Have you traced these urges back within yourself to their ultimate source? Focus on this source and magnify it within your experience and you, too, can come to know a living God. Ignore the few and ignorant with loud voices, for God stands at the door of your conciousness knocking, He does not break it down and force His way in! These things are truth to me because I have tried them out and in some small ways lived them in my experience. My answers come from that. The knowledge and opinions of others may help or hinder, but ultimately you must discover for yourself what is truth in your life. I would challenge anyone to determine how these things can be tested in their life and experience to find out for themself through their own experiments and experiences what holds water and what does not. Am I offensive to you because of my beliefs? Do you see in me and other Christians the faults of our religion? Or do you wish us peace as well? Have you honestly and carefully considered this man Jesus? Have you actually tried out his teachings? Do they hold water? What will you do with Him?

      September 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Andrew

      *Christians-- You say they are a 'minority' as described. However, almost every christian denomination....and ....every christian that I know(and yes, I do know a lot of them) believe:

      1)Believe in the bible as the true and inspired(literal) word of God....all of it....not just some.

      2)Believe that God is actually 3 in 1(trinity).... so, god the son came down and had himself executed because humans were all bad(original sin) and somehow we needed some kind of 'saving.'

      3)In order to get to some kind of 'heaven' in the supposed 'afterlife' one 'must' believe in JC as their saviour, repent of all sins, believe that JC died on the cross for us because we were all destined to the fiery hot place. And....If you 'don't' believe in all of this malarkey, you will, because you have pi*s*s*e*d god and Jc off and you will go to Hell....where there is this fallen mean guy named satan...... and you will burn in torment with gnashing of teeth forever.

      Don't try and tell me this is a small *Minority* of Christians that believe this, that is intellectually dishonest and fallacious.......

      Recently studies just came out that stated (40%) of christians believe that JC is coming back....literally in the next 50 years...! That is crazy....! And some christians... are 'happy' about anything that is going on in world that is 'bad' because that means= we are gettting closer to the 'rapture' of JC coming back.

      I *was* a Christian for a long, long time growing up....... saw the bull in all of it and now have different beliefs.

      William James-More Psychologist than Scientist...... I could cite a number of scientist's that would call that 'urge' a lot of other things. As a matter of fact, the organization of scientists.... 97% are predominantly atheist, with some being agnostic.

      Your urge......... Just because you have said urge.....That is *your* interpretation and choice of what it means to *you*....

      And as an engineer... I know you know that .. .... your belief's are just that...belief's.... they do not = FACTS.

      You said....."My religion teaches that God is Spirit...and in my *experience* this is *truth*.......

      Well, Andrew, I have no problem with you.... But, please do tell of your *experience* of "God is Spirit" I am sure we all would like to hear about this one.....!

      Please..... I am an open vessel of learning

      Peace to you...

      September 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  18. Reality

    For new members only:

    Essential reading to understand why people think the way they do when it comes to religion:

    From James Somerville, professor emeritus, Xavier University:

    John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Reality

      Well said buddy....

      Peace....

      September 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • brad

      You make a valid point. But it needs to go a step deeper. What is that impulse in humanity that tends toward God? People have always known of God through intuition and made a response to that impulse. But since the object of that response (God) is infinitely lofty and abstract, we can only put an insufficient name and face on it. It should come as no surprise that there are many names for God and responses to Her/Him. Unfortunately, because of human inadequacy in expressing God, religion can be made to look silly.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • peace2all

      @brad

      Your post..."What is that impulse in humanity that tends toward God.? People have always known of God through intuition, etc..etc...

      brad---Since time began, we humans have had an 'impulse' to 'understand' ....well, life. Our ancestors used to believe that if there was not enough rain and there was a drought, somehow, we displeased the rain god's. If someone died, they may have believed that they displeased god somehow, when now, through, science we now know of disease, etc....

      We (humans) have had a strong tendency and impulse to describe a super natural power outside ourselves to help 'explain' things. We ended up calling it God, or as you said....called many names. But, your statement unquestionably(if i am understanding your post right) assumes and presupposes that there *is* a God. It is just a matter of different names to call this intuition or impulse.

      It is always an impulse to *understand*.....life. It is *not* an impulse to God.....

      Peace....

      September 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • brad

      @peace2all: "But, your statement unquestionably(if i am understanding your post right) assumes and presupposes that there *is* a God. It is just a matter of different names to call this intuition or impulse."

      The point I would like to make is that it would never have occurred to early man that the meaning of existance could be found outside the material world. He was too unsophisticated for this. He would have been ruled entirely by his senses. The presence of this impulse in such an immature being suggests that the source of this impulse comes from "beyond".

      Peace to youself.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Brad

      Re: impulse and beyond, I read your post to say that what you describe as an impulse to god, is a proof of god. Isn't there a chance (a really big chance) that whenever early man could not easily observe "cause and effect" they simply created a story to fill their knowledge void? How does making up a stories lead to god(s)?

      September 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
    • peace2all

      @brad

      You said......."The point I would like to make is that it would never have occurred to early man that the meaning of existence could be found outside the material world. He was too unsophisticated for this. He would be ruled entirely by his senses. The presence of this impulse in such an immature being suggests that the source of this impulse comes from "beyond."

      Again, you are missing the point.....'early man' as I have understood it, thought that they were dependent or were offending or pleasing a God or God's or Goddesses.... Depending on what phenomenon was happening...i.e...(see my original examples offered to you in my post above).

      So, that corrects your assumption concerning early man. They *were* seeking the meaning of existence, life, events, reality, things...etc... They attributed them to some kind of super natural ...lets call it God for now.

      Another point I would am taking issue with you on her is....Somehow, I am paraphrasing your comment about early man and 'sophistication.'

      To me you are assuming or presupposing again that .. being "Sophisticated= being a more 'mature' being, which suggests that an 'impulse' comes from 'beyond.' Again, early man had impulses about the meaning of existence....

      But, I have to say, I am getting that you are a 'believer', possibly a christian....? Which makes your whole argument biased.

      Anything....an impulse, an intuition, things that are not yet fully understood by science =(means) there is a God. Something from 'beyond' as you said..... that is fallacious thinking. That is the 'god of the gaps' argument.

      And yet science continues to make it harder and harder for 'believers' to hold on to their fairy tales. It is kinda' like Santa Claus. Prove to me there is no true Santa Claus..... The burden of proof is on the one making the assertion, and you, I believe are asserting that there is a *God*... I think that is what your whole point about impulses...where did they come from etc... means...

      Am I correct...? If not, my apologies for my assumptions......if I am right(about you and believing in God), then please offer proof of claim of said impulses from........'beyond'... beyond what ....? How do you know....? Proof please...

      Peace to you....

      September 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • peace2all

      @HotAirAce

      How are you my friend...?

      Darn, you seem to have an uncanny ability to sum up my assertions and points in a couple of sentences.... I have to learn to put my brain on 'time saver' mode....:-)

      Peace to you....

      September 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  19. amy

    That's great, now tell us something new. If you wanna emulate Harper's then do it right

    September 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  20. Critter

    Looks like Reality needs to hook up with this Jessica Ravitz...so they can make beyootiful statistics together... 🙂

    September 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Critter

      LOL...!!!! 🙂

      Peace.....

      September 18, 2010 at 5:30 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.