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How Davos found God
January 28th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

How Davos found God

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

In addition to the corporate and political bigwigs leading talks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week is one not-so-usual suspect: an evangelical minister.

"There is some real soul searching going on here," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, an American Christian activist who is moderating sessions at this year's summit. "The question is how do you embed values in the culture of companies in a way that would change behaviors?"

The World Economic Forum's organizers appear to agree.

Since the banking crisis shook global markets more than two years ago and contributed to a worldwide economic slump, the annual Davos summit has invited dozens of religious and spiritual leaders to hash out issues like business ethics and the morality of markets in the company of presidents and corporate titans.

Besides headline grabbers like United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, attendees at this year's summit include the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the Anglican Bishop of London and the founder of a Zen Buddhist center in New Mexico.

Wallis, for his part, moderated sessions this week on "Defining Shared Norms" and "A Values Framework for New Realities." Another session, led by a Harvard Business School professor, offered instruction in "Mindful Leadership" and included a 40-minute guided meditation that leaned heavily on Buddhism.

Somewhat to the surprise of religious leaders attending this year's summit, many in the high-powered crowd appear to be genuinely interested in such topics.

"I've been pleasantly surprised by how full the faith and values sessions are, and with business leaders asking really searching questions," says Eboo Patel, a Muslim American youth leader attending Davos for the first time. "I think they get it."

The surge in discussions around faith and morality at Davos reflects a broader resurgence in interest in business ethics since the housing and banking crises of the late 2000s, which many experts blamed largely on greed and deceptive business practices.

"In the post-crisis environment, there's a general recognition that we all need to take time to reflect on what our values are," said Pierre Gentin, the global head of litigation for Credit Suisse, who has participated in the so-called faith sessions at Davos.

"How do we implement those values in our professional and personal lives?" he continued. "The status quo was shaken up in a very significant way, and we have an opportunity to focus on values to avoid a repeat of recent years."

In 2009, the World Economic Forum launched a Global Agenda Council on Faith and Values to wrestle with those kinds of issues.

"It was about how to correct the gap between our stated values and our actions," says Saadia Zahidi, head of special constituents for the World Economic Forum, who helps coordinate the council.

"We felt the voices of religious leaders could be important in issues like decision making and the economy," she said.

Wallis' recent book, "Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street," grew out of the council's early sessions.

As the chair of the group, now called the Global Agenda Council on Values, Wallis has spent a lot of time at recent Davos summits chiding titans of industry for operating in what he considers to be a values-free zone.

"You all thought you don't need to bring virtues or values to bear on economic decisions, that the invisible hand of the market will take care of itself," he said, recalling one of his presentations at last year's summit. "But what do you do when the invisible hand lets go of the common good? You could here gasps in the room."

As anti-corporate as that message may sound, Credit Suisse's Gentin says that there's been a fair amount of receptivity among Davos participants.

"It's important that people realize that businesspeople are part of a larger community and that there's a great deal of good will and effort into trying to do the right thing," he said.

Founded in 1971, the World Economic Forum first took serious interest in religion after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Davos conferences in the years that followed featured sessions on bridging the gap between the West and the Islamic world.

Among the participants in those discussions was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who attracted immense media attention last year after his plan for an Islamic center near New York's ground zero triggered a national controversy.

"The people who were there were from the business or political world," Rauf says of his first years attending the Davos summits. "Religion was not something they were equipped to tackle. In Europe, religion is considered something that's private. You keep it in the attic or the basement but you don't bring it to the dining room."

The post-September 11 sessions changed that somewhat, but Rauf stopped attending Davos summits in the late 2000s because he said the sessions didn't lead to actual initiatives that could translate discussions into action.

"In the beginning there was a lot of excitement around doing things, like an Islamic film project, but taking something from idea state to development stage takes a lot of effort," Rauf says. "Ideas were discussed, but there wasn't much in terms of projects."

Wallis echoed some of that frustration. He says the Global Agenda Council on Values has begun work on creating actual tools for business leaders, companies and even nations to perform what he calls "values assessments."

"The next step is moving to what change will this make," he says. "None of us are content to have values seminars to just feel better about ourselves. This has to change behavior."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Economy • Leaders

« Previous entry
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Christian Terry

    Ahhh, the ridiculous and humorous battle between Christians and Atheists continues. Its quite entertaining watching the two sides battle out.

    January 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  2. basic psychology

    God is a jealous God, we are taught we need to fear and love God.
    I for one teach my children to run screaming from a relationship with someone jealous who requires them to love and fear them.

    January 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Know What

      Hooray! There is hope for a sane human race in future generations then.

      January 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      What is so laughable, is that a perfect god, as the Christians portray their god, would not need to be loved. They would not need to even create the universe or us. By being perfect, He would have no needs.

      Truly god was created by man, in our own image.

      Cheers!

      January 29, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • NL

      David-
      Without people to worship him God wouldn't be a god at all, just a very powerful being, and lonely it seems. All powerful except in the ability to find purpose in existence. For what did God do before he decided to create? Nothing, the bible says. Even believers would have to admit that they give God's life meaning just as much as they imagine he gives their lives meaning.

      January 30, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • David Johnson

      @NL

      You said: "Without people to worship him God wouldn't be a god at all, just a very powerful being, and lonely it seems. All powerful except in the ability to find purpose in existence. For what did God do before he decided to create? Nothing, the bible says. Even believers would have to admit that they give God's life meaning just as much as they imagine he gives their lives meaning."

      Damn! Some of the things you say, are so deep. I pondered what you said, for an entire day.
      I have so much respect for your comments. Please don't stop.

      One more time, I post your thought, to make sure people take note of it!
      "They give God's life meaning just as much as they imagine he gives their lives meaning."

      Live forever dude! Cheers!

      January 31, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Anglican

      David Johnson who says "vile and should be hated" I hope you will alter your course. Otherwise you may want to abandon "living forever"

      January 31, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • NL

      Anglican-
      "living forever" for what purpose? To worship a being that would just as easily torture you forever? What purpose does the perfect God need for millions to continue worshipping him after they have died? Does he need them for some kind of fuel, or just to keep him company?

      January 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • NL

      David-
      "Live forever dude! Cheers!
      Thanks, man!
      When I think about it I really wouldn't want to live forever though. Especially not the way some believers fantasize about it: Endlessly worshipping some being. It'd be like being on a perpetual LSD trip. Worse still, they imagine being so dispassionate about others that they could ignore the tortures of the damned, and even enjoy them! How utterly pointless, grotesque and dehumanizing heaven must be, eh?

      January 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  3. IceT

    It never ceases to amaze me the way religions are portrayed as the bringers of morality and ethics. Morality and ethics are natural and evolve as society evolves.

    January 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @IceT

      Bless you man! For you have spoken the truth.

      Cheers to you!

      January 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • NL

      Well, it evolves unless you insist on following the same morality for thousands of years simply because it's written in a book you happen to like. Then it's stagnant in every meaning of the word.

      January 30, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  4. religious sects

    Any economic summit should include the religious. Afterall, the religion industry is one of the most powerful economic forces on the planet today. Not to mention the influence religions have on their followers.

    January 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  5. Selfish Gene Simmons

    So these religious wacko's really are saying that evengelicalizing the business economics world will make better less-corrupt financial warriors.

    Thats like an oxymoronic thing isn't it? Hypocritical to the extreme. Almost all religious organizations are BIG business. They enjoy tax-free exemptions, they are RICH based on imaginary fairy tales and physiological control and political re-carpets.

    Goodness is inside you regardless of empty faith. You don't need that. Morality lies in the ego. You by NATURE, KNOW what is right and wrong. Being "godless" does NOT create a bad person who without a "god" thinks they can get away with criminality or has no one to answer to.

    Suggesting by these religious tyrants that without a "GOD" people will do evil things more easily just furthers their attempts at holding on to political-economical-social controls they have and continue an attack on people who do NOT believe.

    Atheists are always painted by these people as "evil-doers", thats got to stop. Its like an attack on atheists who to tell you the truth depend more on internal – REALISTIC – moral decision making than depending on some imaginary being watching over them. In other words – it takes a STRONGER person, a more INTELLIGENT person to listen to that part of their inner self and do the right thing without the help of religion.

    There are billions of GOOD people who do not believe.

    January 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • IceT

      Morality by choice -or- morality by fear, I know what I choose.

      January 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • hilltop

      Gene,
      Can an invalid or mentally underdeveloped person have the same moral navigation capability as a strong, intellectual person like yourself?

      February 1, 2011 at 5:13 am |
  6. YBP

    Science.

    January 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @YBP

      You said: "Science."

      Yes, and math. These should be our gods. Knowledge should be worshiped.

      I hope to live to see the day, when all the churches are convenience stores and burger joints. *sigh*

      Cheers to you!

      January 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • hilltop

      Dave,
      Voltaire had similar aspirations. You should research how he faired.

      February 1, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • NL

      "I hope to live to see the day, when all the churches are convenience stores and burger joints. *sigh*"
      Perhaps libraries, schools, and research labs would be more apropos, eh? 😉
      Actually, I read of a few churches that were converted into condos and private homes. All that beautiful architecture and stained glass sitting on prime locations, what an opportunity! I'd love to live in one, wouldn't you David?

      February 1, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  7. lance

    I find it interesting such a secular country is willing to engage with faith. Indeed, religion will always be part of the discussion when it comes to ethics, but I feel that most religions, at least consistent ones, will have a worldview far different than that of the corporate world. Changing those engrained ethics might literally be impossible. Utilitarianism doesn't fit within most religious systems.
    I also wonder how the word evangelical is being used. As in the contemporary American Christian movement? Or in reference to the Lutheran or Protestants in general? It changes the way this dialogue is viewed.

    January 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  8. Karen

    Nothing new. The religious "leaders" are attracted to money like flies are to excrement.

    January 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • YBP

      Which is the excrement...?

      January 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Religious leaders and religion, of course!

      January 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  9. Know 4 Change

    God speaks to the whole humanity through His book Quran..

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “…anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people....." Qur'an [5:32]

    Most exalted is the One in whose hands is all kingship, and He is Omnipotent.The One who created death and life for the purpose of distinguishing those among you who would do better. Quran [67.2]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    January 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Thanks for posting the same old tired crap. Please seek the assistance of a mental health professional to begin deprogramming and ultimately escape from the cult your are in.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Joe

      Could you clarify two issues with the Quran for me? First, how is it the religion of peace?

      Unbridled Hatred toward Jews, Christians and Infidels

      "Do not take the Jews and Christians for friends" (Surah 5:51)

      "fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness" (Surah 9:123)

      "fight those who do not believe in Allah" (Surah 9:29)

      "and fight them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah" (Surah 8:39)

      "fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace" (Surah 9:14)

      "Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them" (Surah 9:30)

      "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them" (Surah 8:12)

      Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 9:57)

      Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. (Koran 9:5)

      Take him and fetter him and expose him to hell fire. (Koran 69:30-37)

      I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them. (Koran 8:12)

      They (the unbelievers) should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides. (Koran 5:33)

      "Know that paradise is under the shades of swords." (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol 4 p55)

      Rabid Hatred Toward Jews

      And abasement and humiliation were brought down upon them [The Jews], and they became deserving of Allah's wrath; this was so because they disbelieved in the communications of Allah and killed the prophets unjustly; this was so because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits (Sura 2:61)

      Ignominy shall be their portion [the Jews'] wheresoever they are found... They have incurred anger from their Lord, and wretchedness is laid upon them... because they disbelieve the revelations of Allah and slew the Prophets wrongfully... because they were rebellious and used to transgress. [Surah 111, v. 112]

      They [the Jews] are the heirs of Hell.... They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is clear from what they say ... When evil befalls you they rejoice." Ibid. [Surah 111, v. 117-120]

      And thou wilt find them [the Jews] the greediest of mankind....[Surah 11, v. 96]

      Allah hath cursed them [the Jews] for their disbelief. [Surah 4, v. 46]

      They [the Jews] spread evil in the land .... [Surah 5, v. 62-66]

      [The Jews] knowingly perverted [the word of Allah], know of nothing except lies ... commit evil and become engrossed in sin. [Surah 2, v. 71-85]

      And they [the Jews] took riba (interest on loans) though they were forbidden to do so, and they devoured the wealth of mankind wrongfully – We have prepared for those among them who are rejecters of truth, a grievous chastisement." (4:161)

      Second, How The Koran Contradicts Itself

      The Koran says about itself: "Will they not ponder on the Koran? If it had not come from Allah, they could have surely found in it many contradictions."

      Heavens/Earth came together at creation. (Surah 41:11)
      -
      Heavens/Earth were ripped apart at creation. (Surah 21:30)

      --------------------------–

      Creation took six days. (Surah 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59)
      -
      Creation took eight days. (Surah 41:9-12)

      --------------------------–

      Earth created first. (Surah 2:29)
      -
      Heavens created first. (Surah 70:27-30)

      --------------------------–

      All angels obey Allah. (Surah 16:49-50)
      -
      Not all angels obey Allah. (Surah 2:34)

      --------------------------–

      Pharaoh drowned. (Surah 17:103, 28:40, 43:55)
      -
      Pharaoh did not drown. (Surah 10:92)

      --------------------------–

      All of Noah's sons were aboard the ark. (Surah 21:76-77)
      -
      Not all of Noah's sons were aboard the ark. (Surah 11)

      --------------------------–

      One angel spoke to Mary. (Surah 19:17-21)
      -
      Several angels spoke to Mary. (Surah 3:42-45)

      --------------------------–

      Paradise has one garden. (Surah 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41)
      -
      Paradise has many gardens. (Surah 18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32)

      --------------------------–

      Allah can have a son. (Surah 39:4)
      -
      Allah can't have a son. (Surah 6:101)

      --------------------------–

      Face Mecca while praying. (Surah 2:115, 144)
      -
      Face Jerusalem while praying. (Surah 2:115, 144)

      January 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  10. CoderJones

    why would any god have a need for money?
    for that matter
    why would any god have a need for humans period?

    January 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • hilltop

      CoderJones,
      You are getting closer. You're right, God does not need human beings or money. Keep digging!

      February 1, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  11. gerald

    "If god is all knowing, there is no free will."

    How do you figure Davey boy? If he knows everything and yet does not prevent what is contrary to his will, as the God that Christianity has defined clearly does not stop everything, then that is clear evidence that there is free will. Only the god that "should be" according to your own personal definition of him would not be all knowing if there were free will. He is a straw man god Dave.

    January 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @gerald

      You said: "gerald
      "If god is all knowing, there is no free will."

      You said: " If he knows everything and yet does not prevent what is contrary to his will, as the God that Christianity has defined clearly does not stop everything, then that is clear evidence that there is free will. Only the god that "should be" according to your own personal definition of him would not be all knowing if there were free will. He is a straw man god Dave."

      if God knows the future, that means that the future is predictable and immutable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. If god is all knowing, free will is an illusion.

      This also binds god, in that He knows what he will do in the future, and He must do it.

      Cheers!

      The 6 point Calvinists believe our fates are sealed, even before we are born. This would mean that god allows humans to be born, knowing they will someday burn forever. Seems wrong to me, somehow.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @gerald

      Another tidbit for you Sparky:

      If god has a "plan for each of us", then that pretty much screws up your free will. LOL

      Jeremiah 29:11
      For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

      Let's look at Jesus and his predictions that Judas would betray him and Peter would deny him. Those were future events. Do you think Judas could have used his free will to opt out? Not if Jesus/God was omniscient. Same goes for Peter.
      The actions of Peter and Judas were predestined. They had no choice.

      What about the child who is murdered by a monster, or a people slaughtered by a stronger opponent (or a god)? Did they choose to be harmed? Where was their free will? These acts show that the strong or the people in power have greater free will than their victims. Hmmm...

      I think we have free will (to an extent), but it is not given by a god. There is no evidence that a god gives or safeguards human will.

      Your god does not exist.

      Love and Prayers!

      January 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Free will is just an elaborate theory to support the unprovable theories of god and religion. Once god and religion are dismissed, the arguments built up over centuries to support them are revealed for what they are – pure manmade crap to explain the then not understood and to control others. Religion is no different than astrology and role playing games, except that the fairy tale started centuries ago, became deeply engrained in many societies and disputing it was severely punished. Nothing in the history of religion makes it true. Time to replace faith in imaginary beings with faith in your fellow (wo)man.

      January 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  12. gerald

    "Believers do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it."

    "Dave Johnson does not believe in atheism because it is true. To him Atheism is true because he believes it".

    Dave, what was the point of the first statement....You cannot and have not proven Christianity false except by being a legend in your own mind. Making such statements as you have is pretty much a waste of time, promoting self superiority over rational and respectful dialogue.

    January 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      No religious cult has ever proven and cannot prove the existence of their imaginary beings or the validity of their book of magic. Atheists are on much more solid ground than believers because we are not making an extraordinary claim. The burden of proof is on the believers! Note, I am not asking for proof of anyone's imaginary friend(s) – I'm 100% comfortable that none exists. If anything, an acknowledgement by believers that there is room for them being wrong would be a good first step, just as many atheists, including me, have admitted there might be a 0.0000001% chance we are wrong.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  13. hombre8

    I also found god, this morning. On my burnt toast. Amen!

    January 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  14. David Johnson

    @Steve (the real one)

    If god is all knowing, there is no free will.

    I'm curious... Do you think god really, really wants everyone, or almost everyone, to believe that he exists?

    hmmm...no limit on the beer tonight! Yahoo!

    January 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Answer Yes I do!

      I know we go back and forth and both stubborn in our stances! But in all seriousness I wish you a great weekend. And if you don't think I wish you a great believe me, "Prove me wrong"! (as in your words, often directed to me) 🙂 Talking with me turn you to alcohol? Take care and see you on the blog!

      January 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Anglican

      Dave. Drink a pint for me. Be careful and, of course, do not drink and drive. Peace and rest.

      January 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Reality

      Schillebeeckx speaks from his book:

      Church: The Human Story of God,
      Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

      "Christians must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history" .

      "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human
      activity there is possibility of free choices.

      Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

      (Assuming there is a god)

      January 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Know What

      "Therefore the historical future is not known even to God;..."

      Ok, they we can scratch All-Knowing (Omniscient) from 'his' resume of perfections. Next...?

      January 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Know What

      *they = then

      January 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • hilltop

      Dave,
      Sounds like you have conceded the existence of God argument? Good for you. Grasping His omniscience and navigating man's free will are concepts greater minds have stumbled over. Don't oversimplify it's complexities.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Hilltop

      Believers do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

      I concede nothing.

      God does not exist. The argument is sound. You yourself admitted the conditions for the existence were not met.

      God is all good AND God is all powerful AND God is just (Yours criteria). In order for this AND STATEMENT to be true, each operand must be true.

      I showed that god is not all good. And I showed that god is not just. Evil /suffering is all around us.

      God, logically does not exist.

      Cheers!

      January 29, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • hilltop

      Dave,
      Good try, but your arguments are shabby at best. To emphatically declare that God does not exist requires omniscience. You nor I qualify. We can only offer a reasonable opinion and leave it at that. Don't flatter yourself. Diogenes? Come on.

      January 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      You said: " To emphatically declare that God does not exist requires omniscience."

      The god that the Christians propose, does not require omniscience on my part, to falsify.

      Christians describe their god as being simultaneously omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent.
      No god, Christian or otherwise, can be all three of these at the same time. They are not compatible.

      1. If god were omnibenevolent, he would want to do away with evil.

      2. If god were omnipotent, he would be capable of doing away with evil.

      3. Evil exists

      Therefore, the Christian god cannot exist.

      We can actually do away with your contribution of "all just" since it is implied in the omnibenevolent attribute.

      The fact that evil exists is enough to falsify the Christian god, given the "3 O attributes" that the Christians claim for their god.

      But I went further still, giving evidence that the Christian god was not good or just.

      I even had Jesus as a witness to the fact that the Christian god was not moral/good. LOL

      You posted this:
      "If God exists, then He would have to be all good, all powerful and also all just. He couldn't just be good and powerful without being just or He would not be trustworthy. Do the math and share your conclusions.
      January 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm "

      In a later post you said:
      "You made the case for the existence of God by your questioning His nature. I am responding to your perception of His nature. I agree with you.
      I don't want a god who is only good and powerful to exist. I want a God who is not only all good and all powerful but who is also all just ...
      January 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      You now try to wiggle out. We are done.

      Cheers!

      January 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • hilltop

      Dave,
      I am a terrible wiggler. The God of the bible makes the best case for justice that I have found. He does not distinguish between small evil and big evil. Evil is evil regardless of the camouflage. He is commited to addressing the evil hidden in men's hearts as well as the evil actions that are obvious. That fairness resonates with me. I want so badly for humanity to function compassionately and fairly for all people, but history reveals our utter failure. If you think that humanity is going to produce that kind of justice, then you have more faith than I do. Your dream of a perfect human society is statistically more unlikely than my belief in a all good, all powerful, and all just God.

      February 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  15. David Johnson

    Hear me my fundies! I feel like the reincarnation of Diogenes of Sinope. I go from blog to blog in search of a wise fundie!

    So far, my search has been in vain...

    Love and Prayers!

    January 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Hello DavId,

      I can match that! The FOOL has said in his heart there is no God! SOOOO wise atheists? Not according to the Word of God which I know you disbelieve! Keep looking David! We are here and not invisible you just choice not to see! Its a little something we call FREE WILL! Have a great night!

      January 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Even if you buy the free will argument, you don't get two books into the Bible before you encounter an example of its god explicitly taking away a man's free will, and then using the actions that he forced that man to commit as an excuse to kill thousands of people and torture thousands more.

      January 29, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  16. 2 Peter

    This is very meaningful discussion steeped in deep logic and insights. Two nanoseconds after we expire from this world, we will know the answer to these questions. Either God exists or we expire into nothingess. If the latter, then these arguments won't matter. If the former, then these arguments are primal in importance. And our logic won't help us by then. As a betting man, I would say the odds are stacked in favor of taking that leap of faith now.

    January 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @2 Peter

      Hi Peter...

      'Pascal's Wager' is often used by believers to justify their thinking as to why it's better to believe vs. not. It's kind of like saying..."I'm going to believe...(just in case)."

      The problem/s with the 'wager' is that 'should' there even be a soul, and then some kind of after-life, people that believe in the wager as a way to live their beliefs by, typically don't realize that there could be 'many' possibilities should one survive bodily death, yes...?

      It could be the Muslim's version, the Buddhist's version, Reincarnation, or even God, might be so pi-ssed at certain people for distorting It's message that It sends the 'believers' to 'hell,' as they were so often sanctimoniously rude and intolerant to others.

      So, nothing wrong with hoping or even fervently believing in an afterlife of some kind, however my point being is that you 'may' want to reconsider your 'reasons' for 'choosing' to believe the way you do.

      That's it.

      Peace...

      January 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @ 2 Peter

      Wikipedia:
      There are numerous accounts of Diogenes' death. He is alleged variously to have held his breath; to have become ill from eating raw octopus; or to have suffered an infected dog bite. When asked how he wished to be buried, he left instructions to be thrown outside the city wall so wild animals could feast on his body. When asked if he minded this, he said, "Not at all, as long as you provide me with a stick to chase the creatures away!" When asked how he could use the stick since he would lack awareness, he replied "If I lack awareness, then why should I care what happens to me when I am dead?"

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • NL

      2 Peter-
      It won't matter to you, but if you're wrong then it will matter to those still living who have to live with your supersti.tion-influenced decisions. It may matter to one of your grandchildren who could have been saved by stem cell medical treatments that would have been available had you not supported politicians that blocked it's development. It may matter to your niece who would not have been beaten to death for being gay had more folks like you not been so biased in life. It may matter to the thousands of American youth who cannot compete with graduates who actually learned about evolution and got a world-class education. It may matter to your own children who could have used all the money you gave to your pastor to actually save their house from being foreclosed upon.

      You won't care, because you'll be dead, but the people you leave behind may end up caring quite a bit, right?

      January 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @NL

      VERY well said, pal...

      Peace...

      January 29, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • hilltop

      NL,
      If 2 Peter is wrong, then your scenario is plausible. If he is right, then it behooves you to embrace and propagate his "foolishness".

      January 29, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • NL

      hilltop-
      Seriously, how is the choice to abandon reason for the possibility of God being real not a self-centered one? If there is a chance that 2 Peter is wrong, then choosing to act as though God does exist at the cost to others and yourself I outlined is a selfish act, aimed at saving your own skin from a remote possibility, right? So, wouldn't a compassionate person be fully justified in choosing not to act as though the remote possibility of God was worth more than the likelihood of harming others and being intellectually dishonest?

      January 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • hilltop

      NL,
      You should do some research on the percentage of charity work done around the world that is Christian based. The numbers may surprise you. The very people who claim the existence of God are also by far doing the most good for humanity. (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, rescuing the oppressed, housing the homeless, visiting the prisoners, etc...).

      February 1, 2011 at 4:44 am |
  17. hilltop

    Anglican,
    Thanks for your courage! Happy trails!

    January 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Anglican

      Hilltop. The peace of the Lord be always with you.

      January 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  18. 2 Peter

    (3:3) Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.
    (3:4) They will say, "What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created."

    (3:5) They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.
    (3:6) Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood.
    (3:7) And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

    (3:8) But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.
    (3:9) The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

    (3:10) But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

    January 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Hilltop

      Peter 2 is a perfect example of what I meant about just blathering dogma. Posting verse after bible verse. Be proud you didn't do that! A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      Cheers!

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  19. 2 Peter

    (3:3) Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.
    (3:4) They will say, "What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created."

    (3:5) They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.
    (3:6) Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood.
    (3:7) And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

    (3:8) But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.
    (3:9) The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
    (3:10) But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

    January 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  20. hilltop

    Dave,
    You asked if God was all good and all powerful then why doesn't He eradicate evil? My response to your inquiry was simple: If God exists, then I would want Him to be all good, all powerful, and all just. My emphasis here is on the nature of God as oppose to the existence of God. You made the case for the existence of God by your questioning His nature. I am responding to your perception of His nature. I agree with you. I don't want a god who is only good and powerful to exist. I want a God who is not only all good and all powerful but who is also all just so He can rightly judge all the evil in the world including the evil that persists in my and your heart. I don't want to believe that all of the injustice in the world is going to go unanswered. Is there a God out there who can do that?

    January 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      You seem like a good person, who actually is able to think. You don't just vomit dogma. I respect you for that. If I offended you, in our exchange, I apologize.

      You asked: "I don't want to believe that all of the injustice in the world is going to go unanswered. Is there a God out there who can do that?"

      For the past 2 years, I have sought the answer to that. It has led me to atheism. The god that the Christians posit, is very unlikely. The attributes accorded Him, are contradictory. I see so much suffering...

      I do not believe there is a god. I wish there were.

      Cheers to you. I am leaving work now.

      January 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      There are no gods, not even just one, therefore discussing their attributes is pointless. Playing "just pretend for a moment that gods do exist" is what led to the creation and evolution of the twisted manmade tribal myths society is saddled with. Time to shed them all and move on!

      January 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Anglican

      HotAirAce. Faith, Hope, and Love is the only way to move on. Peace.

      January 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Bob

      > HotAirAce. Faith, Hope, and Love is the only way to move on. Peace.

      Only way for you. Probably because you haven't tried anything else. For me, faith seems a bit off, because faith can lead me to make mistakes. Like believing that there's a sky daddy who loves me and will protect me from death because I don't like the concept of one day not existing

      For me, what moves me on is joy, love and the excitement of learning.

      Problem for you is that requires reading more then one book. 😀

      January 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Anglican

      Bob. My faith has never led me astray. I promise you that for every degree you hold, I hold three. How many doctorates to you hold. I am no idiot. I am not bragging.; your post assumes my lack of education.

      January 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • hilltop

      Dave,
      Thanks for the exchange. I am choosing to believe because the alternative, as I have observed from my admittedly limited perspective, offers very little hope. I am well versed in many disciplines, but by no means omniscient. The most reasonable argument regarding origin of life and meaning of life still requires a leap of faith. Christianity and Atheism are no different.
      Cheers

      January 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • hilltop

      Ace,
      As a morally relative person, are you making an absolute statement? Or did I peg you wrong?

      January 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @hilltop

      Are you referring to my absolute statement about the existence of gods? If yes, then yup, I did make an absolute statement, but what does an absolute statement about an alleged object have to do with relative morals? If you are referring to some other statement, pleae indicate same.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • hilltop

      Ace,
      Moral relativism is anchored in the idea that there are no absolutes. To absolutely declare that God does not exist is to contradict your argument. You can't have it both ways.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @hilltop

      Thanks – I think you are stretching *your* definition of moral relativism to defend your belief that there is a god. I see no connection between statements about objects, real or imagined and including their (non)existence, such as a house or a god, and statements about behaviors or morals. Objects are not "good" or "bad" – attributes such as these are usually determined by how the object is used, which brings us to behaviors and morals. Society does not need an imaginary friend/higher power to determine acceptable behaviors – society can self-regulate without reference to a god, at least as well as with a god, as history has shown and because there are no gods!

      January 29, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • hilltop

      Ace,
      Who determines what morals are acceptable and unacceptable? Is it good because the majority says it's good? Does might make it right? If that's the criteria you want to use to regulate society, then I pity the minority in your world.

      January 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @hilltop

      Western liberal (small "L" intentional, no political party affiliation meant) democracies have done a pretty good job of deciding what is acceptable, what punishment should result if societal norms are violated, and ensuring the rights of all, including minorities and those who insist in believing in manmade supernatural beings and associated tribal myths, especially after we corrected (got rid of) religion-approved practices such as slavery and stoning.

      You're not seriously suggesting that the legislatures and laws of countries such as the USA, UK, France, Germany, etc. be replaced by your book of magic and a bunch of "doctors of divinity" are you?

      January 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Bob

      > Bob. My faith has never led me astray. I promise you that for every degree you hold, I hold three. How many doctorates to you hold. I am no idiot. I am not bragging.; your post assumes my lack of education.

      Your faith has never led you astray because you are unable to see where it has. That, or are unwilling to see.

      And I hate to point this out, but holding a PhD doesn't mean you're smart. It means you're willing to work hard. Usually when people hold up their education as proof of their intellect they're morons or they're lying.

      I'm too smart to be a poor and underemployed grad student. 😀

      January 31, 2011 at 9:11 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.