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December 2nd, 2010
06:18 PM ET

My take: Where's the outrage over Noah's Ark park?

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A four-minute video that includes an eleven-second depiction of a crucifix crawling with ants has been removed from the “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, but it is still stirring up controversy in Washington, DC.

First, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) blasted the National Portrait Gallery for its “obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season,” while the incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans threatened to scrutinize Smithsonian funding next year.

Then Martin Sullivan, who directs the National Portrait Gallery, said “it was not the museum’s intention to offend” but pulled the video anyway, which prompted the liberal group, People for the American Way, to accuse Republican critics of the exhibit of censorship: “This new GOP leadership wants a government that stays out of people’s lives when it comes to health care and unemployment benefits, but they show no scruples about using government power to censor the free expression of those they disagree with.”

I write not to raise First Amendment questions about elected officials transforming themselves into self-appointed curators, but to ask whether these officials are really concerned (as they claim) about the use of taxpayer funds to weigh on matters of the spirit.

In a press release yesterday, Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky announced that his state had entered into a deal with the folks behind the Creation Museum to break ground for Ark Encounter, a $150 million theme park complete with “a full-scale model of Noah’s Ark.”

Rather than speaking of his state's support of this group’s creationist agenda, Gov. Beshear spoke of employing 900 workers and drawing 1.6 million visitors a year. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, however, the tax breaks offered by the state to Ark Encounter, as the theme park is being called, “could surpass $37 million.”

The entire exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery (of which the brief clip by the late artist David Wojnarowicz was a small part), cost, by contrast, $750,000, and all of that from private donations.

So my question to Representatives Boehner and Cantor, and to Glenn Beck and others who are working themselves up into a lather over this supposed attack on Christianity, is this: Are you equally outraged over millions in tax breaks to a group promoting fundamentalism? 

Would you be outraged at all if the clip in question concerned not an "antsy Christ" but an "antsy Buddha" or an "antsy Christopher Hitchens"? And how loud would the outrage be in Washington if Kentucky's governor was offering millions in tax incentives to a Hare Krishna theme park? Or a Disney Land of Atheism?

Beyond these questions of basic fairness, I have a more practical question, this time for Belief Blog readers: Would you pay good money to see a 500-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark?

I hate to sound like one of Noah's scoffers in Genesis, but the last time I was at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, it wasn't exactly crowded. And that Bible theme park is in Orlando, Florida, not Grant County, Kentucky.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Art • Bible • Church and state • Culture wars • Fundamentalism • Opinion • United States

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soundoff (974 Responses)
  1. Bob

    And so it goes in America...the utter offensiveness of in-your-face Christianity (an oxymoron if ever there was one).

    Why don't you hypocrites go practice your religion in the privacy of your own homes like it counsels in that book you claim contains all knowledge?

    The sad truth is that Christianity in America would largely be abhorrent to Christ.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:46 am |
    • JPopNC

      Bob...where in the Bible does it say we should practice only in the privacy of our homes? The Great Commission states we should go to all ends of the earth to preach the Gospel.

      And I would agree that Jesus would abhor "most" of Christianity in America, but those are the "middle of the road" types, kinda like those who pay for Fitness Centers but never go workout.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:51 am |
    • Stosh

      " I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
      – Mohandas Gandhi

      December 3, 2010 at 1:54 am |
    • Brett

      Probably in that chapter where Peter wakes up and realizes it was ALL a dream! And Paul was there, and Andrew was there...and John, and Philip...

      But that chapter was mysteriously removed by the Vatican Counsel.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:58 am |
    • me

      As a follower of Christ and a pastor I find this theme park sinful. It is tough for me to imagine Christ being pleased with this 150 million dollar investment when 30,000 people die every day from a lack of clean water and food. Christ came to serve and he commanded us to do the same, he didnt command us to make goofy spectacles like this.

      December 10, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  2. sjenner

    To the extent that State funds are going to this "Noah" land–as it sounds as though they are–it is a clear violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. It simply amazes me how much trouble politicians have with the idea of adhering to their oaths of office. By the way, I am a Catholic, and I resent my tax funds going to pay for some fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible that is not only out of sync with my religious beliefs, but also basic science. (Why we are having this debate in this day and age amazes me. There are multiple ways to read the Bible–a way that comports with objective observable data, and a way that forces you to reason backwards in an attempt to justify a literal interpretation of texts that obviously have to be false if so read–unless you really do believe the sun revolves around the earth, which is the only way to justify a literal reading of Joshua 10:13. Also leaves the question of why dinosaurs and their predecessors weren't also saved on the Ark, as the Bible is very clear that all animals went on the Ark. There was no excluded class.)

    December 3, 2010 at 1:45 am |
  3. Jonathan F

    Those who believe literal 6-day creationists are without education or scientific intelligence should read, 'Starlight and Time", by Russell Humphreys. In it he proposes a theory based on the concept of a 'white hole', where energy and light are spewed out, as opposed to a 'black hole' where light is sucked in, as the possible explanation for the vast expanses of time in a universe created only 6000 literal earth-years ago. "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" 1 Corinthian 3:19.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:40 am |
    • Brett

      You should also read my book where I propose a theory that religion is a big fat lie.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:53 am |
    • Q

      There are certainly educated and intelligent creationists. However, they abandon any semblance of science when they begin with the conclusion and then desperately seek to confirm it. Humphrey's cosmological model and other apologetic efforts have been found severely flawed to the point of receiving criticism from other creationists.

      December 3, 2010 at 2:18 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Jonathan F

      Is Russell Humphreys a credible scientist in the subjects of the creation of the universe and evolution? Would Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking invite him over for a serious scientific discussion in these areas? I could find lists of a few accomplishments during his carreer but nothing indicating that other scientists support his young earth view – can you provide a few references supporting his work in this area?

      An article ti-tled "A Review of Dr. Russ Humphreys’ A Young-Earth Relativistic Cosmology" and copyrighted by the The Biblical Creation Society says "The claim that this is a biblically-based cosmology must also be addressed. Does the biblical history really provide this framework for cosmology? Christians should be cautious about the reception and use of these ideas until scholarly debate has taken place."

      Are you a christian and if so, are you being cautious?

      December 3, 2010 at 2:22 am |
  4. $arter

    If the park is built on private land with private funds and meets local codes, why complain? This is the US of A, and they can do what they want with their money. Disney does not have a lock on Fantasy Land.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • Brett

      I know. Kind of like that Mosque in NYC! Go figure.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:36 am |
    • Stosh

      Re-read the article. Your "if" statement doesn't apply here.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:39 am |
    • JPopNC

      Brett...that mosque in NYC isn't just being paid with private money. They only came up with a small portion. Now they're trying to get taxpayer dollars to help build the rest. Now go and figure that!

      December 3, 2010 at 1:47 am |
    • Brett

      Well if it's ok for this project to receive $37 million in tax breaks, then I see no reason why the Islamic Community Center shouldn't receive $37 million in tax breaks as well. I would personally like to see NEITHER of them get tax breaks, but that is just me.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:51 am |
    • stan t

      jponc – they arent trying to get public money to 'come up with the rest' the center has a proposed budget of 100 million. they are applying for 5 million and MOST grants are expected to be 1million or under. thats a drop int he bucket.

      December 3, 2010 at 2:10 am |
  5. MJB1160

    The creationist should stop sponging of secularist and live in stone huts. They reject science but love love those high tech goods!

    December 3, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • Stosh

      They should also refuse to take antibiotics and other modern medicines, since the were developed through the science of evolution. Those medicines arent reall, according to their beliefs.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  6. john316

    The Republicans have become our own "Taliban" moral police.......and yet they talk about government intrusion...what nonsense....why Americans allow a minority of fanatics to tell everyone else what to believe and how to behave is astonishing and sad.....

    December 3, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • Amused

      The Repugnantcans are mostly sheep who NEED to be told what to think and how to behave. They become scared and insecure if they are forced to use science and logic... or if they are forced to use their own pea sized brains... Reality can be terrifying for those who have spent their entire lives believing in delusional idealogies. Truth is a brutal shock to their system!

      December 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  7. Stosh

    I want the government to fund the shrine I want to build to His Noodliness, the FSM!

    December 3, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  8. MJB1160

    American' ; s ne sont pas les ampoules les plus lumineuses

    December 3, 2010 at 1:19 am |
    • sjenner

      Yes, well, you might say that, but American's have built the oldest and most successful democratic system on the face of the earth, which has generated more wealth, scientific advance and peace than any other civilization in the history, while at the same time promoting a scope of diversity in cultures and religion that is simply unprecedented. Last time the French tried a revolution it resulted in baskets filled with heads in la Place de la Revolution. By the way, writing your snide comments in French is neither an indicator of good manners nor intelligence.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:36 am |
    • jmb2fly

      Thanks sjenner! Here Here!

      December 3, 2010 at 1:40 am |
    • New Wicca

      Yeah...I have that English to French translator on my computer, too! Pretty cool (**sigh**)...

      December 3, 2010 at 9:05 am |
    • MJB1160

      Your right it was a snide comment. I did make a sweeping generalization of americans which is incorrect. And I did need help with the translation. Sorry.

      December 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • SigmundFreud

      Sjenner

      And during the decades before the Civil War, tens of thousands of fugitive slaves found refuge at the end of the underground railway under Queen Victoria's rule in Canada. And yes, the former slaves had voting rights in Canada too.

      So please don't get too smug about that oldest democracy.

      December 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  9. jmb2fly

    Actually a retired gentleman in Norway( I think, somewhere close to there) has built a replica of the Ark from the instructions in the Bible. No public funds. It's pretty cool.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  10. Ronno

    Fine if they want to build their ark, but not with ANY taxpayer money. I'm all for freedom of religion, but, come to think of it, why is ANY religion tax-exempt? American citizens are already suffering and we're going to have to sacrifice more. Why shouldn't churches sacrifice, too?

    December 3, 2010 at 1:16 am |
    • New Wicca

      I Agree! I think you'd see a lot fewer 'churches' fleecing their flock if you took away the tax-exempt status for ALL religions!

      December 3, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  11. ThirstyJon

    Just give all businesses across the nation in every city, county and state the same tax break.

    Problem solved and economy boosted.

    🙂

    December 3, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  12. Doug

    Not to pick a nit with the author, here, but the Noah story is as much (or more) of a Jewish story as it is a Christian one. Yet I'd doubt he'd ever dare blasting government funding for a Jewish cause, lest he be branded an anti-Semite. Why not question the funding of the Holocaust memorial? I have no problem with funding for any of these, because the root of the issue is inflamatory speach–you're free to have it, but don't expect your government to pay for it. A park with a positive environment–regardless of the affiliation–that provides jobs where there were none is worthy of the same tax breaks any new business of that consequence deserves.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:09 am |
    • Sydney Australia

      Well said Doug!

      December 3, 2010 at 1:13 am |
    • Stosh

      " Why not question the funding of the Holocaust memorial?"

      Because the Holocaust actually happened.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:14 am |
    • Jeff

      ... and it's Stosh For the Win!

      December 3, 2010 at 7:03 am |
    • Chase Dorway

      Jeff, you would make a good sports announcer if you talked more.

      December 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  13. jmb2fly

    Brett, just curious, on your agnostic days what do think "set God into motion"?

    December 3, 2010 at 1:08 am |
    • Brett

      On my agnostic days, I try not to ask such questions. But not to dodge the question: I really don't know what set God into motion. Maybe God always exists, but how can something always exist? We can't even fathom the idea that the UNIVERSE always exists. Something has to have a first cause, doesn't it? But obviously there was at least one cause way back when that didn't need a first cause....maybe that was God, or MAYBE it was the Big Bang.....

      or maybe the Universe is cyclical instead of linear and the last cause sets in motion the first cause, and the cycle starts again. In that case everything has already happened and we're just replaying it....sometime in the future, I might be typing this message again, and again, and again....

      It's fun to think about though.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:23 am |
    • jmb2fly

      Brett,
      Thanks for the reply. The problem with belief is it all comes down to what we believe. (except on the atheist days:) The question about a prime cause is one that I find fascinating as well. Keep thinkin'!

      December 3, 2010 at 1:30 am |
    • JPopNC

      of course God always existed. He's the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:44 am |
    • jmb2fly

      JPopNC, I agree with you but it still comes down to personal belief. Just because I believe it, that doesn't make it true.

      However, yes, I find that a Being who has no beginning and no end, who is the Creator of time and space(the physical universe), who transcends the physical universe(to God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day). does an amazing good job of answering the question of a prime cause.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:51 am |
    • Brett

      @jmb2fly You've got to be kidding!! That sounds like that answer parents tell their kids about how Santa Claus is able to stop time so he can visit every household on Christmas Eve Night. It's a convenient "fill in the logic gap" lie!

      December 3, 2010 at 2:32 am |
    • NL

      JPopNC-
      But who, or what was God's " Alpha and Omega"?

      December 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Chase Dorway

      Brett, the more I read what you say, the more I like you, then the more I hate you. Hate is a strong word. I agree with somethings you say, but not all. The word Atheist does generates a lot of hate... the word "Deist" generates confusion. Try that, it's even funnier.

      December 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  14. debbie

    I think it's blasphemes and I'm shocked that religious people don't think so. It's a gross commercialization of something that should be sacred, at least to those who say they believe.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:07 am |
    • dwighthuth

      Sacred you say? How is nailing a man to cross scared? How is renacting three days of his life with nails driven through his wrists and ankles sacred? The only type of people who think that such an effigy is sacred are those the revell in another's pain and suffering, bloodlust and death. If this is sacred then you are a sociopath and delusional person.

      Sacred is they who do not condemn a person for their own sins but owns up to their mistakes without being levied against by another to confess mistakes that have drawn the person's true demonic nature out from them.

      Sacred and Cherished is they who cut a cross down and burn the parts and then bury the burnt parts of the cross deep in the woods so that the parts will never be found again.

      December 3, 2010 at 5:56 am |
    • NL

      debbie-
      Sacred? As in something that can never be questioned, or debated? Sorry, but I don't believe in sheltering any topic from discussion or criticism. There are people out there, for example, who would like to open a discussion on the validity of having se.x with children. Granted, it would be a distasteful conversation to take part in, but ignoring them by simply saying that children's rights are 'sacred' and not up for discussion does nothing whatsoever to actually discredit what they believe. Silence and topic dodging merely encourages them into thinking there is no valid argument against what they think, and they will happily go on living in their delusion, correct?

      Atheists, being rational thinkers, would have no problem with setting these folks straight about how indefensible their belief is. Sorry that we don't play favorites when it comes to other people's indefensible beliefs.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  15. Stosh

    “a full-scale model of Noah’s Ark.”

    Are they working from the original blueprints?

    Will it have all the creatures of the earth on it?

    December 3, 2010 at 1:07 am |
    • JPopNC

      "will all the creatures of the earth be on it"....what you have to realize is that the Ark didn't have two mature adults of every creature...that would be impossible. Majority of the animals were young so they wouldn't take up much space, wouldn't eat much, and would sleep most of the time.

      And there are plenty of references to dinosaurs in the Bible. The key thing to realize is that the word "dinosaur" wasn't coined until 1842, so naturally there wouldn't be referenced that way in the Bible. You may want to search for "dragons". That's how they were referenced in EVERY culture in the past. And the reason they all disappeared is because it was everyone's drive to "slay dragons". Ever heard that phrase? It wasn't mythical....knights literally slayed dragons...till they were all gone.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:19 am |
    • Q

      JPopNC- While the authors of the OT were primitive by modern standards, they would have likely been decent naturalists. To assume that an entire group of animals ranging in size from chickens to city buses and occupying virtually every known ecological niche would be summarily described as the herbivorous behemoth is truly ridiculous. So too is the idea that referencing mythological "dragons" somehow lends credence. Even if one accepts "kinds" and the requisite "hyper-evolution" following their departure from the ark, there simply wasn't enough room to accommodate the diversity of forms which are clearly evident in the fossil record. Furthermore, that all dinosaurs are found in geologic strata far, far below Pleiocene mammals (still further biological diversity which must be accommodated on the ark), not to mention humans, destroys the pre- and post-flood coexistence required of literal creationism. One would think that given all those knights slaying dragons, one or two would have kept and mounted a T. rex or Velociraptor skull...

      December 3, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  16. Sydney Australia

    I'd pay to see an antsy Stephen Prothero.

    December 3, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  17. Robert

    Just tell me where the water drained off to in a round world. And are they going to include ALL dinosaur species, all prehistoric reptiles, and all 2 billion living species? I might pay to see that one.

    December 3, 2010 at 12:54 am |
    • Brett

      Why didn't Noah save the Dinosaurs...surely some of God's most magnificent creations, and he just left them for dead. Confound him!

      December 3, 2010 at 1:00 am |
    • jmb2fly

      Brett,

      They were supposed to stand on their tippy toes.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Brett

      LOL...! Actually, when it came time for Noah and crew to gather up 2 T-Rex and 2 Velociraptors, I think they just said to themselves..."Ugh, I think the Dinosaurs, capturing them... and ... then having them on the Ark...*Bad Idea*. 🙂

      Peace...

      December 3, 2010 at 1:15 am |
    • NL

      Peace2All-
      Ever watch Jurassic Park 2? T-Rexs on a ship really is a bad idea.

      December 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @NL

      Yep... It really *was* a bad idea in the J. Park movie. And that was with a bit more modern day and updated technology.

      Well, must have been God, who didn't allow T.Rex, and the wonderful and cute... Velociraptors to not eat every species of the Earth on the Ark...eh...? 🙂

      Peace...

      December 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  18. jmb2fly

    Would Bugs Bunny be at the "Hare" Krishna theme park or at the Disney Land of Atheism? And to answer the author's question, probably not; I'm pretty cheap......

    December 3, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  19. Svana

    I live in Kentucky. Not very far from where the Ark Park is supposed to be built. It's not really the construction of the project that digs at me. I'm an atheist, but I'm not one of those that are "anti-Christan". If something like this would go anywhere, it would go here. Kentucky is a part of the "bible-belt" after all. And it's not like I have to go see it, so it has no effect on me.

    That being said, it does bother me that this company generating revenue from other people's beliefs. It feels a bit like exploitation to me. I'm a student fresh out of high school. I had Spanish with a self-described "Jesus Freak" who was all to happy to share with the rest of the class the details of her trip to the Creation Museum. She had brought back books and toys for everyone from the gift-shop. Not to sound cold, but this girl was not very accepting of others. She would blatantly ask others their religious views and call them out on it, preach to them, and tell that person how hard she prays for them. People like this can sometimes exhibit a certain naivety that I can't help but think that these museum type businesses take advantage of.

    December 3, 2010 at 12:51 am |
    • dwighthuth

      Just wait until it is built. Everyone who is not of the Notion of the Ark will be forced to move away. That's how Christian's are. If you are Muslim they do not hate you except in the shadow's of their homes. If you are an atheist then you are worse than the Muslim's. If you are not any of these then you are the devil himself.

      The only mentality that the effigy is going to produce is a new center for the religious right nutbags such as Glenn Beck to gather round during political politicking so they can vomit from their mouth their lies and discrimination's of confuscification's while American's pay money to listen to their idealology or the idea behind those that speaketh will be made into and idol which violates the bible of having no graven images before thee, while they rake in millions of dollars from the tax free park so that they can live lavishly in their houses on high while their very own flock sleeps in the cold and wolve trodden fields below them.

      December 3, 2010 at 6:05 am |
    • Frogist

      @Svana: So your Spanish class amiga preys then she prays? LOL! That's the kind of thing non-believers and tolerant believers refer to when they speak of someone "shoving their beliefs down my throat". It's unfortunate that she doesn't recognize she is doing more harm than good. And I do agree with you that the "museum" and its owners etc seem to have that certain predatory aspect, much like your amiga.
      The issue I have is one that the article does a good job of pointing out – the outcry and support seems hypocritical and biased depending on what religious position you take. A lot of people are only pro-religious funding if it funds their religion, and separation of church and state when it's someone else's. It is hypocrisy that the Christian right would call separation of church and state to condemn an inst!tution, like the Smithsonian, that is renowned for its importance and relevance, while at the same time turning a blind eye to a project condemned by religious scholars, scientists, and much of the public for its ridiculous nature in the name of freedom of religion. Freedoms only matter when it supports their religious point of view.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  20. Jeremy

    After reading through most of the posts...I am amazed at how mean people can be. There are alot of people on here that speak like they are "open-minded" and tolerant of everyone's religious views even if they are not religious or atheist....but in the next sentence say some very cruel things. I wonder if the people I am talking about ever read over their post and realize how hateful they sound.

    Its kind of funny because the very people that claim to be open-minded and accepting of all lifestyles would never vote for a Republican because they foolishly stereotype them ALL as being Right-wing conservative Christian fundamentalists....and in return you become very close-minded by thinking so. You do realize that not all Republicans are like that don't you? You do realize that there are moderate and even liberal Republicans don't you? Much like there are conservative democrats.

    I just know that I would never bash someone for their religious or nonreligious views. But somehow others feel like it is okay to do so. So much for tolerance.

    I, however, am a Republican. Yes I am Christian. Not a fundamentalist. I have a biology degree and chemistry minor. A master's degree in secondary education. Just finished another graduate degree and entered the work force as a Physician Assistant. And as rare as I may be, I believe in both God and evolution (including the Big Bang Theory). You probably didn't think we existed. 🙂 I guess my point is I wish people wouldn't get so wrapped up in political parties. Vote for the person that best represents you.

    And for those that are still curious about how I can believe in God as well as evolution, etc. I simply see the profound evidence of evolution, natural selection, etc as profound evidence of God's hands at work over long periods of time. You can't deny the science and you most certainly cannot deny the possibility of something or someone greater setting everything in motion. But the dinosaurs and people together in one museum even makes me laugh and role my eyes a little. Ha.

    December 3, 2010 at 12:50 am |
    • Brett

      Listen, I'm an atheist, (actually I'm agnostic most days, I only turn atheist when I'm spoiling for a fight because that word just makes people so angry it cracks me up, but anyway) And yes, there may be a possibility that a divine being exists, but there is also a huge possibility that one doesn't. But if God set everything in motion, then what set God in motion?

      December 3, 2010 at 12:57 am |
    • Jeremy

      Brett,
      Haha. I'm glad you choose when to drop the "a" word. That really does make me laugh. I completely agree with you. There is a possibility that he does and a possibilty that he doesn't. That is where faith comes in from both sides. I have faith that he does and you have faith that he doesn't (i know that sounds bad...i don't know how else to word it). And as far as setting things into motion....who knows. Maybe God has a mom and dad. Haha. Again I think that is where faith comes in. But then again, you really can't be sure that God did or did not start it all. How confident are ya? Ha. I'm not willing to take that chance. 🙂

      December 3, 2010 at 1:24 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Jeremy

      Hi Jeremy...

      What an interesting dude you are with that background...!

      You Said: "You can't deny the science and you most certainly cannot deny the possibility of something or someone greater setting everything in motion."

      Notice, certainty in the first part of your sentence concerning "science" and... notice the difference when you switch by using the word "possibility" in the second part of the sentence concerning your statement, of someone or something 'greater' setting everything in motion.

      So, I would agree, science–it's methods, reproducible experiments, and conclusions are undeniable. A 'Creator'... 'Possible.'...yes...?

      You Said: "But the dinosaurs and people together in one museum even makes me laugh and role my eyes a little. Ha."

      Agreed...! 🙂

      Peace...

      December 3, 2010 at 1:54 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Jeremy

      Follow-up: You talk about (paraphrasing here)... 'maybe-maybe not about a creator or god for lack of better words here. And, about believing yes there is, or no there isn't.

      My question to you is about your statement, about not willing to take the chance that there isn't a God...

      What do you mean exactly...?

      Peace...

      December 3, 2010 at 1:58 am |
    • Jeff

      I don't understand why it is that if I were to look at an infant and say "What a beautiful child! We should mutilate its genitals!" I would be considered a creul and heartless villain, but if I say "What a beautiful child! We should mtuilate its genitals IN THE NAME OF GOD," suddenly everything is fine. Obviously this is only one example of a cruel or stupid practice that people try to justify by hiding behind religion, but the principle applies broadly.

      I have no idea why I should be able to rail against and fight cruelty, barbarism, ignorance, and outright stupidity until they wrap themselves in the cloak of religion, whereupon I am suddenly expected to respect and tolerate them.

      December 3, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • dwighthuth

      But if God set everything in motion, then what set God in motion?

      The actual question should be. If a god did create all then in order to create god would had have been first created by another god. God could not have created all including humans without first having been created. One cannot create without first being created. So who created god? If you answer this question with another god created god and so forth does that not prove that the Universe is indeed infinite based on the infinity of the notion of god being infinite?

      So who holds your god responsible for sending his son to be murdered before you upon the cross? Do you hold yourself responsible? Why do you hold other's before the cross blaming them for the problems that you have created just so they will cower before you like frightened sheep before the slaughter?

      You call other's demons and of satan for not falling upon their knees for not worshipping the most sacriligous effigy known to man. Why do you worship a god that cover's himself in light but is only ever been bathed in and of the blood of man?

      Why do you persist in sending your rumors through your network of familiarity of conjectures as an act of your gods venegance upon those who do not bathe theirself in his blood? Does your god enjoy the sadistic bloodbath rewarding his 'faithful' with bounty of wealth and material while you steal from your own flock?

      If you have placed him or she upon the cross you have not passed any test of faith but have failed the test. The test of faith was not believing in that he died for your sins but a test in that his faith was in you not to use his death as a burden to others. His faith was that you would not discriminate, hate, persacute out of want, ridicule out of desire or so nail to a cross another of difference. His loss was the door that was opened to purge the Earth of all that was vile. Murder for greed, Murder of the child, murder, theft, lies, rumor's all of which was the very notion that put him on the cross to begin with.

      There is no other way for the end of the reign of the underworld to come to an end unless he is taken down from the cross and laid to rest. Once laid to rest the evil's of the world will end and the Earth made a new for you have even broken the Commandments upon which your god gave to Moses and failed the test of your god by bloodlusting after his son.

      The test was that he was not be put upon the cross for the sins of all but all those that did not heed his words would feel the torment of the chest of gossips for eternity as he hangs there nailed to the cross upon which you put him.

      December 3, 2010 at 7:31 am |
    • New Wicca

      Jeremy, it would find it more difficult to stero-type Republicans as "ALL ...being Right-wing conservative Christian fundamentalists" if the ones that ran for public office representing Republicans weren't pretty much in that category. Most people are intelligent enough to know that ALL members of any group don't act exactly the same, but's its difficult to supress frustration at a particular group when their elected leaders, you know....the ones that an obvious MAJORITY of the party elected to REPRESENT them,...act the way they do. (BTW, I also think that most people are also intelligent enough to realize that this pertains to elected officials on BOTH sides of the aisle!)

      December 3, 2010 at 8:55 am |
    • science-religion-areOne

      I think that Jeremy shows a fine example of how we can begin to harmonize these two aspects of human life. I suspect that Jeremy was making a strong effort to find common ground and not inflame by stating his complete devotion to his education in the sciences and softened his description of personal faith. I'm willing to wager that his faith is actually quite strong, but being in the rare group that reconciles faith and reason certainly produces a sense of being on the outside.

      As to the creation of all things, we know that everything we can see needed a predecessor, but we have to be careful to not create an infinite logical argument. Certainly the human intellect cannot fathom a "First Cause" that preceded all causes, but if such a reality exists and has brought into being the Universe, and probably infinite worlds, then any attempt to describe or label, or prove, or discredit such a reality would be a fruitless endeavor. But it can be fun, so here we are – all trying to put our finger on it.
      As to faith, I think a personal experience can help. When I get distracted and caught up in the day to day grind and I fail to develop and strengthen my spiritual qualities, I feel more remote, and I don’t see any special force at work in the world or my life.
      When I come back to home base and deepen and pray with constancy and read the writings of the God I begin to see things with a different eye, I can see the handiwork of the creator in all things and every sight becomes a new wonder. I become more patient with people and recognize the virtue and qualities they posses.
      That’s just my own experience. As I heard once before the question “How many paths are there to God”? – One path…for each human being.

      December 4, 2010 at 11:00 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.