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February 21st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Prayers from the air

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Colorado Springs, Colorado (CNN) — They call Colorado Springs “Little Jerusalem” for good reason.

Christian churches from mega to micro dot this city nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and prayer is an integral part of the lives of many of the worshipers who fill those pews.

Most prayers start on the ground and are sent heavenward. But helicopter pilot Will Sanders is taking prayer to the air by flying pastors up to the skies to pray down on the people below.

“I believe prayer works, and I want to take prayer warriors up to pray for their community. Inspire them to see it from a different angle, from a different view,” he said.

Sanders earns a living running Colorado Vertical, giving tours of the area in his Raven II four-seat helicopter. About once a month he opens his chopper up to local pastors, who fly over their churches and areas of the city they think are experiencing hardship and pray for them.

“Pastors know their areas, they know where people are hurting, where people need prayer, where people need help, and I can take them over those areas,” Sanders says.

He says that flying is a profoundly spiritual experience.

Helicopter pilot Will Sanders takes local pastors up in the air to pray over Colorado Springs.

“I see God’s creation. I do believe God created this world, and I see that in nature. When I fly I see the fingerprints of God.”

On a sunny winter day, he meets two pastors from Vanguard Church, Alan Briggs and Jonathan Madrid. It’s Briggs’ third trip and Madrid’s first. As evangelical Christians, they said prayer is an essential part of their faith.

“I care so much for our city that I’ll do anything, and so just starting with prayer is what I think we need to do,” Briggs said.

“I think the first thing we need to be doing as a city, as a body of believers, is to get down on our knees and pray,” Madrid said.

Sanders with pastors Jonathan Madrid, left, and Alan Briggs of Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs.

The tower clears the helicopter for takeoff, and a few minutes later we are cruising over the city. The prayers fly over the tinny audio of the headset microphones, with Briggs and Madrid taking turns.

“We pray that you bring the needs of the city to these churches that they may be able to help.”

“We pray that you bring this city together.”

“We pray for the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson.”

“We pray over this land that it would be dedicated to you.”

“Lord I pray for the high schools in our city, that your light may shine in those schools.”

We bank to the left and pass over the offices of The Independent, an alternative free weekly newspaper that has been critical of the evangelical community.

“We pray for The Independent and particularly publisher John Weiss. We pray for a partnership between such a sometimes hateful organization,” Briggs says.

A minute later, after a bit of quiet, he adds, “That we would be marked by our love and not by our judgment.”

Sanders heads west towards Garden of the Gods - a stunning orange rock formation popular with hikers. Pikes Peak is clearly visible to the south.

“Lord, when people see Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, I pray we would see you.”

We head back toward downtown, and Briggs turns to me to ask if it would be OK if he prays for me. I give him the thumbs up.

“Lord, we pray for Jim and getting to meet him today. I pray that you give him protection, that you keep the hand of safety on him,” he said.

As the airport comes back into sight, the pastors get in as many prayers as possible before we land.

“I pray you would drive out the spirit of consumerism in our city.”

“Lord I pray for more Spanish speaking churches.”

“We pray for military families to be taken care of.”

The voice of an air traffic controller interrupts the flow of prayers and clears us to land.

The cockpit is quiet as we gently touch down.

Back on the ground, Madrid is smiling widely.

“It was great. A different perspective for sure. As I saw the city, so many things came to me,” he said.

“It just gives you a whole new perspective on people, I think. You see these different areas of the city that you never would have thought to even pray for before, so I think praying from a different view is huge. I think it’s awesome and we’re blessed to be able to do that sort of thing.”

The pastors head back to their church as Sanders shuts down the helicopter.

“I was given a gift. I’ve been so blessed. How many people have a helicopter?” Sanders said. “I do believe in the power of prayer, and I want to cover this whole community with it”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Colorado • Pastors • United States

soundoff (558 Responses)
  1. Sirena

    This is probably one of the dumbest things i have read in a long time. Wow....

    February 21, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Q

      Agreed. Prayer is a useless exercise of one's ego...

      February 21, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  2. MoreChoices

    Mary said: "First of all, God does not always answer in the way we may want him too."
    Right, and neither does a jug of milk. If someone were to pray to a jug of milk, the results of that prayer would be exactly the same as if they had prayed to any of the thousands of gods that have been discussed throughout human history, yes, even the god of the Abrahamic religions. Prayer has absolutely no effect on any situation. If you think a prayer to a god has been partly (or fully) responsible for helping to improve an illness or injury in yourself or someone you know, please answer this for me. Why has god never healed an amputee by regrowing a missing limb? After all, he's all powerful and can do anything, including cure cancer, heart disease, and the common cold, why not regrow a limb? Just think about it, folks. Stop and think about all of the hundreds of different relgions that exist on earth. Realize that they contradict each other, and therefore cannot possibly all be true or correct. It is highly likely that they are all man-made.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  3. Mary

    * and WHAT would be, that should read above

    February 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  4. Marsha

    If you could explain why God does everything He does, then He wouldn't be God...and no such thing as faith – believing in something that you cannot see. Ppl have faith in a car to get them from A to B or in a bungee cord to do some outrageous stunt...that is man made. FAITH – we all put it in something...some just put it into things more worthwhile than others.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • timetraveler

      Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!!! There you go displaying your ignorance once again. There is no need for faith in having a car get you from A to B, or in a bungee cord supporting your fall. It's called SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, and EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. Things you have absolutely no familiarity with.

      On the other hand, there has never been a shred of evidence to support any god or gods. This difference will always allude the uneducated and the intellectually bereft.

      February 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • J EX

      Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, don't me dismayed. They are just schoolyard bullies on a bigger play ground. They feel empowered by attempting to make you feel like an idiot. Just like voodoo and other smoke & mirror acts, it only works if you get caught up in it. Take a step back, a deep breath and then have a laugh.

      February 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @J EX

      You seem to be the latest self-appointed defender of the believers. I note that you say you are not christian, but you seem to dismiss voodoo as a valid religion – please explain why.

      February 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  5. Mary

    Skeptical Analysis

    When something is beyond medical understanding, it simply means that. It doesn't mean a miracle occurred. It can still have a perfectly natural explanation that we are unaware of. You have not said anything here. As for washing your hands being common sense. It is only common sense in the modern world. It was not common sense in biblical times and would have been incredibly useful information. Also, paraphrasing a bible verse that says you should pray doesn't make prayer any less of a paradox. The door isn't open any wider. If his plan was for you to pray in order that he could give, then that plan was already in motion and he knew you would pray, thereby removing the possibility of free will.

    Skeptical....You said:
    It can still have a perfectly natural explanation that we are unaware of. You have not said anything here.
    LIKE what? LOL..
    If you and I saw a big red ball sitting on a table before us, and while we were looking at it, it vanished....what would be that "perfectly logical explanation" that we are "unaware" of?, LOL! That is funny.
    Would it be something like "now you see it, Now you don't? And, what we be the logical explanation that we are unaware of?
    Geesh, talk about going out of ones way to explain away!

    You are nt-itled to your o[inion, as I am mine. Thats your version of what you believe. I have mine as well,. Its what makes us all different, I guess.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      But it wasn't a big red ball on a table in front of everyone's eyes. First, your story is hearsay and anecdotal as you can't provide anything but your word that she had cancer and went into remission at any greater odds than is predicted and is "in a book with cases that defied explanation". Second, even if the events were as you describe, you still haven't proven anything. How do you not understand that these things happen naturally. Our bodies have self repairing characteristics. The human immune system can and does, on occasion, disassemble and eradicate a cancerous growth. As for god's love, read your bible again. The character is a jealous, vengeful, murderous, maniac, bent on dishing out as much torture and punishment as humanity can stand. It's lucky for all of us that he doesn't exist.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Igor

      "You are nt-itled to your o[inion, as I am mine."

      There is a grave misunderstanding that somehow all opinions, especially ones based on testable facts, are equal. Imagine I told you I think You are a brainwashed alien set to activate in a near future and enslave humanity. Is my opinion just as valid? Should I act on it out of deluded hope to save humanity? See the problem with treating all opinions as equally valid? You may end up coming off as a crazy person, except that in cases of religiously motivated wishful thinking that is somehow justified.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Mary, the difference between your position and mine is not merely one of opinion. Your willingness to close your eyes to evidence that contradicts your beliefs, and your willingness to ignore reason that shows your beliefs to be invalid, is what is at the source.

      As has been said before, though, if religious folk could appreciate evidence and understand reason, there would be no religion.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • J EX

      Mary, Mary don't be troubled. I'm not a Christian but I hate to see people bullied. They demand so-called evidence, dates and facts. They don't really want any of that, they merely want you to open your mouth and say anything at all, so they can use it to springboard their next comment. So let them keep spinning like Einstein bobble heads on a shelf. Don't get caught up in it, just sit back and have a laugh because it really is humerous.....and if you get bored, just give one of the heads another tap and watch it go.

      February 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  6. Mary

    PeterVN

    Mary, can you describe any specific examples from your life of your prayers being answered?

    Many essentially good people pray to god but still suffer horrible misery from diseases and disasters anyway. Is your god deaf to them, does he play favorites, or does he just have limited bandwidth?

    Peter VN

    Yes, Peter, I can My mother in law, a woman of great faith, was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus, and also had a malignant growth within, that was described to us as being the size of a lemon . She was scheduled for surgery following the discovery of this, asap.
    She said she was not worried, because if it was the will of the Lord for her to suffer or die, she was willing to face it as bravely as she could, and still thanked God for any days she had left. She even told her doctor and surgeon this.
    When she went into the hospital, they took another MRI, before her surgery.
    The growth or tumor was not visible. There was no mix up in the MrI, it was hers. The doctor even showed us the MRI with the growth/tumor, and the one she had just prior to the scheduled surgery. There was nothing there. A biopsy of the utureus and tumor showed cancer present..malignancy.but the tissue taken during the exploratory, (biopsy) came back ok!
    They still wanted to go in and look around in there, and did so.
    She was clean as driven snow! No tumor, and no cancer. There was also no mis diagnosis, as other exrays and reports had confirmed and were witnessed by other medical doctors.
    She went down in a book that were cases of people that had ilness/disease that defied any medical explanation for the apparent "healing" or absence of same, not due to intervention by medical proceedure.

    they were calling her the miracle lady, and she had witnessed to alot of people about what God did in her case.

    I do not have all the answers to your questions, I am not God. Yes, sometimes people do suffer and do not get a physical healing.
    Here is an interesting note for you, my mother in law, many years later, fell and pulled some discs out of place in her back. But, her back, despite medical treatment, caused her horrendous pain, and effected her evryday life, as a result. Yes, she prayed,but this time she had to bare the pain and the condition.
    Sometimes he says yes, and sometimes he says no. But she still kept her hope and love and faith in the Lord. It helped her make it thru her worst days.
    It also inspired alot of people, to ask how she managed to stay focused, and her answers faith in God, gave them encouragement, in thier lives.
    .
    So, in conclusion, I believe God loves us and shows his mercy in different ways. Unlike some people, I love my mother in law. She is a good woman, and one who has certainly had a influence in my life.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I believe you do not have all the facts or are deliberately misrepresenting them. Please provide additional details (such as date/time, location, hospital, doctors involved, etc.) so that your claim can be verified.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Igor

      "Was your mother's tumor biopsied to determine presence of cancerous cells."

      I forgot to remove that question after I saw that you indicated that a biopsy was performed. The rest still stands.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Mary, the inconsistencies that you present are clear demonstrations that your god is neither perfect, nor omnipresent, nor omnipotent.

      The requirements for a god such as the Christians advertise are that stringent, and are not met in this case. Therefore, your god does not exist. Your beliefs might make you feel better, but they are not well-founded, and they are plainly absurd.

      You are also exhibiting behavior that falls within what is known as "confirmation bias"; you are selecting those parts of what you observe that you think support your belief, while ignoring the obvious facts that contradict it.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  7. Name*Jeff

    James 5:16. Amen!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      Really? You think a bible verse proves your point that prayer has any effect on gods plan?

      Isaiah 46:10

      February 21, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Pray for wholeness of soul….be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  8. David Johnson

    I have a theory as to why god never makes an amputee whole:

    Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever [he be] of thy seed in their generations that hath [any] blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. – Leviticus 21:17

    Handicapped people creep god out! What a wonderful god we have!

    Always trying to help!

    Cheers!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  9. David Johnson

    Jesus speaking:
    John 14:14 – If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

    Mathew 17:20 – He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

    Let's be honest. Don't be afraid. Jesus said the above, about prayer. Is it true? Can you post back to me and claim what Jesus said is true? Don't spin it. Don't add that god knows whats best for you etc.

    Jesus said what He said.

    Why has there never been a doc_umented case of an amputated limb being restored? Do you think an amputee never prayed or had faith?

    Why aren't Jesus's words true? Can you think of any possibilities?

    A fundie once told me, that god always answers prayers in one of three ways:

    1) God says, "yes". You get what you asked for immediately.

    2) God says, "to wait". You will get what you asked for at some future date.

    3) God says, "no". You will not get what you asked for.

    Hmmm.... But I can get the same success from the carton of milk I have sitting on the breakfast table.

    1) If I pray to my magic carton, some things will come true immediately, just by chance and coincidence.

    2) Some things will come true at some future date, for the same reasons.

    3) If I don't get what I want, then my magic carton said, "no".

    I think there is a problem, when there is no difference between praying to a god and praying to a milk carton.

    Prayer does not work. It should be resorted to in times of dire need, as a last ditch effort to control events.

    James 5:15 (King James Version)
    "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. "

    People have believed this passage, and they have died, because they (or their parents) chose prayer instead of science (medicine).
    Most Christians are smart enough to go to the doctor. When they get well, they still give the credit to god anyway. LOL

    P.S. – There is no Santa, either.

    Cheers!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      WHAT? NO SANTA? Now that is just going too far 😉

      February 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Joker

      NO SANTA!!!!! what next no toothfairy??????

      Interesting some people believe in a God but scoff at the idea of believing that a mythical creature flies around answering children's requests and gives them gifts. lol

      February 21, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Jorge

      There have been doc_mented cases of healing an amputee. Luke 22:51 is one example. Mark 2:1-5 is one about healing someone who was paralyzed. And don't try to spin it OR say God can't do that, etc (I'm just affording you the same latt*tude you're giving me).

      As far as healings go for today, believers do not perform miracles as they did in the times of Jesus or the apostles (althought some claim to [Binny Hinn, etc]. The signs and miracles Jesus and the apostles performed were to authenticate their ministry and once the church was established, they ceased.

      As far as using clinical trials to try and debunk prayer....haha....that's got to be one of the more ignorant things I've ever heard of. Why not just create a "science" experiment where everyone prays to win the lottery and then when only 1 person wins, we can say with scientific authority, "prayer doesn't work, therefore God doesn't exist." Yep, real brilliant. You guys may want to reread Luke 4:12 again. If you're correct and God doesn't exist, then you're correct about prayer too...it wouldn't work. However, if God does exist, then how can you say prayer doesn't work? Stop trying to argue from both sides of the board. Either he doesn't exist and therefore prayer is not meaningful OR He does exist and he certainly can answer prayer. You should work on your argument that "God can't exist" rather than focusing on prayer working or not.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Jorge

      Sorry to break the news to you but the bible is not a credible proof of anything other than bad fiction can hang around for centuries. Do you have any recent and verifiable examples?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jorge

      You said: "There have been doc_mented cases of healing an amputee. Luke 22:51 is one example. Mark 2:1-5 is one about healing someone who was paralyzed. And don't try to spin it OR say God can't do that, etc (I'm just affording you the same latt*tude you're giving me)."

      First, What I mean about not trying to spin the bible verses:
      Believer Rule of Thumb: If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is a translation error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernable by humans; or is just magic.

      I promise to do none of these things, as I respond to your comments.

      You have cited the passages from the Gospels, as proof of an amputee being healed. But, the Gospels were not written until at least 30 years after Christ died. There is no proof that the gospel writers were Mark, Mathew, Luke and John.

      We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

      The bottom line is we really don't know for sure who wrote the Gospels.
      -Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      So, there was no eyewitness accounts of the "miracles" reported in the Gospels. The Gospels are all written in the 3rd person. First person accounts always use first person (I, saw Jesus heal the man's ear).

      There are no secular writings about Jesus, that are not later insertions or hearsay.

      The very existence of Jesus, would not be possible to prove. Some think He was a myth.

      So, all the accounts, are hearsay. They would not be admissible in a court of law.

      You said: "The signs and miracles Jesus and the apostles performed were to authenticate their ministry and once the church was established, they ceased."

      Ummm... The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah and to establish Christianity.

      The author of Mathew even admits to Jesus riding on a colt for the sole purpose of fulfilling a prophecy.

      Mathew 21: 1-11
      Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
      All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
      “ Tell the daughter of Zion,
      ‘ Behold, your King is coming to you,
      Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
      A colt, the foal of a donkey."

      "The signs and miracles Jesus and the apostles performed were to authenticate their ministry" – Yep, I agree the miracles WERE "performed" to authenticate their ministry.

      Writers wrote about gunslingers of the Old West. The writers greatly embellished the gunslingers feats, in order to thrill their readers and convince them of the gunslingers prowess.

      You said: "As far as using clinical trials to try and debunk prayer....haha....that's got to be one of the more ignorant things I've ever heard of. Why not just create a "science" experiment where everyone prays to win the lottery and then when only 1 person wins, we can say with scientific authority, "prayer doesn't work, therefore God doesn't exist." Yep, real brilliant. You guys may want to reread Luke 4:12 again."

      Mantra II study
      The study of more than 700 heart patients, one of the most ambitious attempts to test the medicinal power of prayer, showed that those who had people praying for them from a distance, and without their knowledge, were no less likely to suffer a major complication, end up back in the hospital or die. – Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com

      To date there has not been a single good study showing that prayer has any value for helping sick people.
      Source: Source: http://www.straightdope.com

      Prayer for other people(when they don't know they are being prayed for) does not work.

      The believers MUST contest this. They must rent their clothes and Shout: "Do not put the lord your god to the test!" LOL!

      You said: "If you're correct and God doesn't exist, then you're correct about prayer too...it wouldn't work. However, if God does exist, then how can you say prayer doesn't work? Stop trying to argue from both sides of the board. Either he doesn't exist and therefore prayer is not meaningful OR He does exist and he certainly can answer prayer. You should work on your argument that "God can't exist" rather than focusing on prayer working or not."

      Watch:
      If god exists, prayer should be effective, as promised.
      Prayer is not effective.
      Therefore, god does not exist.

      Love and Prayers!

      February 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  10. Skeptical Analysis

    Have you noticed that while the non-believers lay out logical premises and discuss the issues, the believers lay out threats of eternal damnation, but "Jesus loves you" B.S. And there are plenty of secular charity groups. You don't need to preach lies at people to help the needy. I've given my reasons why "copter prayer" is a scam. Now come up with a rational rebuttal and stop trying to bully your way out of the corner you put yourself into.

    February 21, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • bloofer

      Good luck with that "rational rebuttal" you're waiting for. Excellent presentation on your part, by the way.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Irisrose

      Good posts SA.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Andy

      Let me first specify that I am a follower of Christ, therefore I believe in the God of the Bible. However, I will not be arguing for that belief, rather, my goal is simply to provide some basic information/thoughts as to why the existence of a higher being is not only logical, but probable. I will also do this without using any type of Scriptural reference because while believers take that as truth, any non-believers will undoubtedly discount those references.

      Firstly, let's take into consideration our limited understanding of the world/science. We know one thing above anything else, that something cannot come from nothing. Spontaneous creation is absolutely not practical, or at the very least, comprehensible by humans.

      Extrapolating upon this basic logic, it is discernible that there must be an eternal something. Since we know that we are not eternal, we know that we did not create everything. This leaves two options: the universe is eternal, or there is an eternal creator.

      The following is taken from a website, gotquestions.org. It explains why the universe cannot be eternal:
      (1) The universe is running down, and something that is running down must have started at some point. The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy and if you doubt this, look in the mirror (you’re aging and running down just like everything else).

      (2) The universe is expanding. This was confirmed through the Hubble telescope many years ago, and it is interesting to note that the universe is expanding from a single point, meaning the entire universe could be contracted back into a single point. Also, note that the universe is not expanding into space, but space itself is expanding.

      (3) The radiation echo was discovered by Bell Labs scientists in 1965. What is it? It is the heat afterglow from the Big Bang. Its discovery dealt a death blow to any theory of the universe being in a steady state because it shows instead that the universe exploded.

      (4) Galaxy Seeds. Scientists believe that, if the Big Bang is true (first, there was nothing, then, BANG, something came into being), then temperature “ripples” should exist in space, and it would be these ripples that enabled matter to collect into galaxies. To discover whether these ripples exist, the Cosmic Background Explorer – COBE – was launched in 1989 to find them, with the findings being released in 1992. What COBE found was perfect/precise ripples that, sure enough, enable galaxies to form. So critical and spectacular was this finding that the NASA lead for COBE, said, “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.”

      (5) Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity means that the universe had a beginning and was not eternal as he had previously believed (Einstein was originally a pantheist). His theory proved that the universe is not a cause, but instead one big effect—something brought it into existence. Einstein disliked his end result so much that he introduced a “fudge factor” into his theory that allowed for an eternal universe. But there was only one problem. His fudge factor required a division by zero in his calculations—a mathematical error any good math student knows not to make. When discovered by other mathematicians, Einstein admitted his error calling it “the greatest blunder of my life.” After his acknowledgment, and upon confirming further research that showed the universe expanding just as his theory of relativity predicted, Einstein bowed to the fact that the universe is not eternal and said that he wanted “to know how God created the world.”

      Based on this knowledge, we can arrive at only one conclusion: the universe isn't eternal so there must be an eternal creator, aka, God.

      I could argue now for the Christian God being the God of the Universe, the eternal creator, but that's not what I set out to do. I simply want to supply some food for thought/rationale for everyone as to why the belief in a higher power is perfectly logical and legitimate.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Andy

      Nice try... In addition to misrepresenting Einstein (none of his mentions of "god" can legitimately be used to imply he believed in your sky daddy god) you have made a huge logical error. That is, even though we do not yet, and may never know, what happened before, and immediately after, the big bang, there is no reason to create a god. It is OK to say "we don't know – yet!" Given the lack of proof of any god(s), the probability of a god creator is virtually zero. Like many believers, you should spend more time truly understanding science, instead of trying to twist into your faulty religion-based world view.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Chase

      Decent post Andy...
      But, if what you say is correct and spontaneous creation is impossible, than how was the creator created.

      And, I believe most people that post on these boards will agree with you that their could be a creator or higher power, but he did not have a son that died for our sins. He did not create rules that we were supposed to abide by, nor is any religion true. If there is a creator that is it. He created all existence and that is it. Anything else is fiction created by man...that includes prayer.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Cridd

      "Have you ever noticed..."
      how generalizations don't carry much weight in an intellectual discussion?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      The Kalam Cosmological argument is old and tired despite William Craig's attempt to revive it. There are far too many sources that show why this premise fails. Your "god of the gaps" is not convincing.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      @ Cridd – Thank you for calling me on the generalization. My posts should have content unlike those of most believers <<< oops I did it again 😉

      February 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • J EX

      Hot Air you may not believe in a god but you sure believe in this skydaddy you mention in EVERY post. Its like hearing a comedian repeat the same one-line zinger again and again and again and again.

      February 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @J EX

      Exactly the same as believer's repit!tious mentions of their imaginary beings...

      February 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • J EX

      I'm glad we agree....go get a new schtick dude

      February 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @J EX

      You say we agree, but you don't chastise, even in a general way, the believers for committing the same offense nor do you suggest they find a new schtick – somewhat inconsistent behaviour I suggest. And you stressed *EVERY* – I assure you, I have, and use, many discriptive phrases for believer's imaginary friends and their books of tribal mythology. I will endevour to be less repet!tive, but not less assertive. Thank you for your constructive feedback!

      February 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Cridd

      HotAir – Please correct me if I'm wrong: You use the "skydaddy" reference to belittle religious beliefs. You have a sincere disagreement with those who believe in the Divine Creator, and the term "skydaddy" is your way of referring to the way in which religious people view God. This term has a functional purpose for you – it allows you to refer to the God that you do not believe in, and at the same time, mock those who do believe.

      Now let me tell you a little about my use of the word God. I believe that the way that we observe and participate in the universe around us has everything to do with interaction and communication between the elements. Life has evolved on earth because matter and the energy from which it is derived have been made to interact in specific ways. From disorder has risen order (Please don't try to call me out on some thermodynamic technicality here – I am aware that physical laws demand that all systems tend towards a net disorder. When I refer to order, I refer to what is collectively known as "life."). This order has taken many forms, and these forms continue to interact with each other and with the universe around them. I believe that there is a plan behind this order, a Hand that guides the evolution of the universe. It is my belief, and the belief of many, that this Hand belongs to God. Because He has shaped the processes that have brought me into being, I feel a shared awareness with Him. Obviously, I cannot be aware of the entire universe at once, as I believe He is, but my personal awareness is part of the universe, and therefore I believe that my awareness connects me with Him. When I remember this connection, I am taking part in what I call prayer. Keep in mind, this is simply a brief articulation of several of my core beliefs – a summary, if you will – and is by no means a complete and sufficient description.

      My beliefs, and the beliefs of those like me, are what differentiates our references to God from your references to an imaginary "skydaddy." It is clear that many of the people posting here have very different beliefs from my own. It is not for me to say who is right. My beliefs concerning religion, like yours, have been enriched and changed by my experiences and perceptions.

      When all is said and done, it is impossible for me to prevent people like you from continuing to slander my religious beliefs. Good night.

      February 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Cridd

      You accuse me of slander. I am not a lawyer but I understand that truth is the perfect defense to a charge of slander. It is a fact that no one has successfully shown that the extraordinary claim that god(s) exist(s) is true, therefore the obvious reality (truth) is that there are no gods. Your charge of slander is as false as your tribal supernatural manmade skydaddy.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  11. Mary

    Skeptical Analysis

    If there is a god... and he has a plan... and that plan is unchangeable... then isn't it a little insulting and futile for humans to ask him to change his plan. When you pray, you must understand that you are telling god that he was mistaken in his plan and that he should consider your plan instead. This is a great example of ridiculous paradox that the religious don't seem to be able to grasp. The only thing that prayer can logically be good for, if there is a god, is to help the individual praying deal with whatever plan god has already set in motion. If god is all knowing, he doesn't change his mind, because he already knows how everything will play out and the "best" way for it to play out.

    you also said:Skeptical Analysis

    @ Mary – I think it is interesting that biology is a field of study filled with atheists and yet god chooses to give those heathens this medical "knowledge" you speak of. And why didn't he mention any of this "knowledge" clearly in his book? Something as simple as: There are these tiny animals that you can't see... they make you sick... wash your hands.

    God loves the athiest, period. I think he has mentioned things that people just overlook or choose not to believe anyway.
    I guess God figured we should have enough common sense to wash our hands, as most prefer cleanliness to dirtiness..forget the "little animalls" that make you sick.

    First of all, God does not always answer in the way we may want him too. So, in that regard, I understand what you mean , That is why some prayer may not be answered, as it is not his plan. We should always pray in his WILL.
    He did say however, you have not, because you ask not.. that leaves the door open. What if he see's fit to give you a "miracle" which glorifys the Father? Knowing this thing would defy normal results, medically understood, but medically, has no answer..except that something out of the realm of medical science cannot answer/

    February 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      When something is beyond medical understanding, it simply means that. It doesn't mean a miracle occurred. It can still have a perfectly natural explanation that we are unaware of. You have not said anything here. As for washing your hands being common sense. It is only common sense in the modern world. It was not common sense in biblical times and would have been incredibly useful information. Also, paraphrasing a bible verse that says you should pray doesn't make prayer any less of a paradox. The door isn't open any wider. If his plan was for you to pray in order that he could give, then that plan was already in motion and he knew you would pray, thereby removing the possibility of free will.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Skeptical Analysis,

      Isn’t this interesting….the incorruptible….

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7uPLx8PM8c

      http://www.overcomeproblems.com/incorruptables.htm

      February 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      So, are you trying to say that mummification, embalming, the use of adipocere, and saponification somehow prove something? Those are natural events understood by science. Even ruling out those few known methods of preservation, it is not beyond possibility that some less known method was used. Saying these bodies are incorruptible and limiting any real forensic access to the bodies is more religious deception. Saint's bodies supernaturally preserved because of "holiness" = FAIL! But thanks for bringing my attention to yet another religious hoax...

      February 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  12. tyrone

    I wonder what you people read in this story that made you so angry? these people are exercising their right to freedom religion and last I checked he wasn't using tax dollars for this. we volunteer and give to shelters, what do you complainers do? just sit on cnn and complain about what others can do.......by the way, I guarantee when something tragic happens, the first words out of your mouth is Oh God!

    February 21, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  13. Mary Martinez

    What I don't understand is why non-believers insist on ridiculing believers when it won't change anyone's mind. I am no more inclined to abandon my beliefs than those non-believers are to adopt belief-so what's the point in even reading articles on topic that have no value to a non-believer? I often wonder if non-believers just want permission to lay down their grudge and finally believe but are just too proud to admit they need help and instead wander around the comment sections of these stories like lost children who don't know how to find the truth they seek. Sad really. My advice to believers-lets just pretend non-believers don't exist; just like they believe G-d doesn't exist and maybe they will grow tired of lying to themselves in public and just go back to their empty existence of lying to themselves in private and wait for their death to nothingness. I mean there is nothing there right? So why do you people care what anyone thinks? Well see who has the last laugh when the end comes. Remember Jesus Loves You!

    February 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Jorge

      I couldn’t agree with you more Mary. And to me, it just shines more light on the truth of scripture (Romans 1: 18-19). However, I don’t think we’ll have the last laugh per se. However, we’ll all agree that we all deserve justice, yet those in Christ will also receive his mercy.

      T*tus 3:3-7 “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and ensl*ved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spir*t, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

      February 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Irisrose

      Wow, Mary. Project much. Empty existence of lying to themselves in private? You write with the particular nastiness associated with fundamental Christianity. Unless you have EVIDENCE that there is something beyond death other than the big sleep, you are blowing smoke out of your rump.

      Ah, it's all about the Christian love, isn't it when "Well see who has the last laugh when the end comes." Whilst all of us heathens are burning in your make believe hell, right? Nice.

      "Remember Jesus Loves You!" And the Easter Bunny loves you!

      February 21, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • QS

      "I often wonder if non-believers..."

      Of course you often wonder, because we offer you a perspective bereft of religious guilt and fear which beckons to you like a bright, shining beacon of reality that you long for yet can't reconcile with your religious indoctrination.

      But since you "often wonder", maybe I can help answer at least that one particular question for you: we non-believers read these articles and comment on them because we feel an almost uncontrollable urge to do what we can to counter the complete and utter lunacy that comes from the keyboards of the religious.

      If we sometimes come across as seeming to ridicule or mock, it's only because we tend to see religious people as we would see an adult who still believes in Santa....and really, could even you take somebody like that seriously? So really, who are the ones being more childish here?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Mary Martinez

      Why does anyone care if it's lunacy. Considering no one "knows" the truth until the end there is no proof it is lunacy other than just opinion. It's the opinion that scares people because the chance that there might be something on the other side is too compelling. Hey if there is nothing than I have nothing to worry about either way because I never doubted nor tried to sow seeds of doubt but if there is something and it was denied or abandoned than it is for the worse for those who chose to deny it. You can have belief and still be educated and successful; there is no rule that states that only stupid people believe and only smart people don't. It's not a compromise except for the laying down of pride. Why is it that people are so obsessed with proof when love can't be proven but yet even unbelievers believe a person (gf/bf/spouse) when they say they love them. What proof is there that love exist? There isn't proof for every last thing that people believe in but still some people choose to believe in things such as love which has no religion so why is it so difficult to accept faith? Faith is frankly, just another kind of love and it demands the same level of trust. Or do unbelievers not feel love for themselves or anyone? Maybe that's what it is? It's not a unbelief in G-d it an unbelief in love disguised as atheism because to admit that you just can't love-anything at all is much too hard to take. That would basically mean that there is nothing in a person at all. And things such as Santa Claus etc those were invented by people who wanted to replace the truth with a fairy tale. And I'm a Catholic so now you can attack me on a whole other level when this first one gets old! Either way you think I have nothing and I think you have nothing so we are even-stalemate. The only guilt I feel is in knowing that there is nothing I can do about the fact that people will live and die without the chance to change.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • QS

      Aww, poor Mary...so racked with guilt because she knows she can't get others to believe the same thing she does. Must be a horrific way to live.

      Seriously, believe what you want, as you say we are at a stalemate. But don't confuse my non-belief in a fantasy of your choosing for not knowing or understanding love. If anybody doesn't understand love here it's you.

      I am a gay man, and I love my partner. Can you understand that kind of love? Probably not.

      So just keep your delusions of superiority to yourself and I'll leave you to worship, in private, to whatever god your particular god fetish requires.

      February 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Cridd

      I am a believer, and I can definitely see how Mary's words would be offensive to those who do not believe. Encouraging others to pretend that a group of people with a different set of beliefs does not exist is a very disrespectful thing to do.

      However, because I can identify with the emotions of the believers who are reading this thread, I understand her point to some degree – this article was written to reach out to believers, and enrich their religious experience. It was not composed to be posted as fodder for militant non-believers to attack and distort. However, that is exactly what you see happening here, and what you see happening in every religious article that CNN posts.

      It would seem that many (perhaps not all, but many) of the people who post after these articles have invested a lot of time considering their own beliefs. When posters are so bold as to shame these people outright, and compare their beliefs to childhood fantasies – well, I suppose most people can see why that is insulting. But to act as though there is a legitimate reason to taunt and mock someone else because of their beliefs, like QS seems to have done here, seems to me to be another thing altogether. You have to realize – when you taunt my beliefs, you taunt me – the very core of my being. I have done you no wrong. I have done you no disrespect. Yet, rather than explain your views in the proper place at the proper time, you have the audacity to shame me in public – because I possess a belief that you do not identify with.

      I read these posts to gain a broader understanding of the beliefs of others, and to enrich my own beliefs. It is appalling to me how disrespect and mockery are present in nearly every post that I read.

      February 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  14. alberich

    This only goes to substantiate what we in Europe have long held as a basic given – Americans AS A WHOLE are SO uneducated that they actually believe this garbage. No wonder the world despises all things American. The IQ level of most of its citizens is so abysmally low that they are regarded as virtually mentally retarded by most Europeans.

    February 21, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Joker

      Cant blame them....driving through the bible belt is like going back in time...caveman like

      February 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • J EX

      Then why is it religion came to us from the Middle East via Europe? We were just fine until you decided to see if the world really was flat. If the entire world hates America and everything American, then why do three quarters of the world do anything they can to get themselves to our little plot of earth? If you don't like us then by all means stay right where you are and please don't call us the next time the boogy man sticks his head out of the closet.

      February 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  15. Skeptical Analysis

    @ Mary – I think it is interesting that biology is a field of study filled with atheists and yet god chooses to give those heathens this medical "knowledge" you speak of. And why didn't he mention any of this "knowledge" clearly in his book? Something as simple as: There are these tiny animals that you can't see... they make you sick... wash your hands.

    February 21, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Skeptical Analysis,

      You perhaps didn’t read the Bible passage….John 14:26 But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. [This is what Jesus said to His Apostles and their successors].

      John 16:12-13 I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.

      You see, Skeptical Analysis, Jesus knew we could not bear all theTruth immediately but we need to grow in it, to be brought to the fullness of it. Science and religion are bound by Truth…one does not bear false witness to the other.

      There are things yet unknown by man but it will be shown to us as we can bear it. I find it completely a blessing from God every time Science makes a new discovery! I am certain that each new discovery is made as we can accept it. Who would have thought that the telephone could be possible in the year 300? The one who discovered it would have been called insane and perhaps killed.

      So you think the Bible is not valid because it doesn’t give directions about bacteria on your hands? Did not having that information in the Bible prevent you from learning about bacteria? Have you not considered, ‘Fullness of Truth in all things…in due time’?

      February 21, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      @ CatholicMom – Thanks for regurgitating what your priest has explained to you. Unfortunately, it holds no water (holy or otherwise). The god of the bible goes to great lengths to lay out "laws" that are of no consequence and not even followed in modern times and yet you propose that he wanted humanity to "learn" the important information for themselves? That is nonsense. The reason that the priests of Judaism and Christianity only presented laws that were self serving and lacked any true benefit is that they were in fact, not divinely inspired. Religion is not bound by truth. It is instead bound by contradiction and irrational paradox. Read your bible again. This time, take notes and pay attention. If you fail to see the obvious lack of consistency with regard to its opinions on science and philosophy, you are a sheep and lack the ability to think for yourself.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Skeptical Analysis,

      You offered ‘nothing’.

      I would much rather be reminded that I am a sheep and I have a Savior who loves His flock. So, go ahead, call me a sheep. It was way better than being a lame duck.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Catholic Mom

      Skeptical Analysis presented rational arguments why your religious beliefs are bunk, and you replied with name calling. Well done.

      As to any discipline of science that the bible purports to present, it is actually the case that the bible gets a lot of science wrong, including much of biology. The bible does not even locate the brain correctly, gets the function of various organs wrong, and contradicts itself on the shape of the earth.

      So you would prefer to believe obvious falsehoods under the guise of your faith, than look at evidence and reason. That's sadly typical of religious types.

      February 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  16. johnmike10@ymail.com

    ssss

    February 21, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  17. Skeptical Analysis

    If there is a god... and he has a plan... and that plan is unchangeable... then isn't it a little insulting and futile for humans to ask him to change his plan. When you pray, you must understand that you are telling god that he was mistaken in his plan and that he should consider your plan instead. This is a great example of ridiculous paradox that the religious don't seem to be able to grasp. The only thing that prayer can logically be good for, if there is a god, is to help the individual praying deal with whatever plan god has already set in motion. If god is all knowing, he doesn't change his mind, because he already knows how everything will play out and the "best" way for it to play out.

    February 21, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Kieran Murphy

      do some analysis then, point of view and personal conjecture are not. There are passages in their books that show fighting with god to "change his mind".

      February 21, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  18. Mary

    Well, he is using his own personal helicopter. That is like saying, Truth, if you own a car, think of what the cost of that could have done to help the hungry that you mention, is it not?
    Just because some studies were done, that says prayer don't make a difference, I can show you lmedical facilities as well as specialists in Cardiovascular disease and others that say it DOES work.
    I know personally it does work, I have had some things in my llife answered directly by prayer, and yes, one that specifically had medical doctors baffled! You need to back up your prayers with belief in the one you pray to, and faith.

    Also, do not think that God does not work thru medicine and medical knowledge, after all, where do you think it all came from? God created man and breathed breath on man. Any "knowledge" man has came from God, like it or not.

    February 21, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • PeterVN

      Mary, can you describe any specific examples from your life of your prayers being answered?

      Many essentially good people pray to god but still suffer horrible misery from diseases and disasters anyway. Is your god deaf to them, does he play favorites, or does he just have limited bandwidth?

      February 21, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Prayer does work, but not any better than any other placebo.

      The cures attributed to prayer are merely the positive extreme of the cure rate for that medical conditio. The human body does "self heal" in rare and not well understood conditions, but there is no reason to credit an imaginary sky daddy. There are also some number of extreme negative outcomes – cases when the patient dies for no explainable reason, despite the best efforts of perhaps the very same doctors that couldn't explain a cure. Shouldn't we attribute these events to "he who lives in the clouds but is never seen?"

      February 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • bloofer

      @ Mary

      The fact is, there is no credible evidence for the existence of any god, much less the god of a tribe of desert nomads. Zero. Zip. Nada. That said, they have every right to pray to this god if they wish. Personally, I think they'd do just as well praying to Bigfoot or the Tooth Fairy.

      February 21, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • The Truth

      ***Mary writes: "Well, he is using his own personal helicopter. That is like saying, Truth, if you own a car, think of what the cost of that could have done to help the hungry that you mention, is it not?"***

      It is. Yet as a Christian, shouldn't that money be going to better use? A helicopter is more like a high priced toy. How many lives in Africa could he save if he sold that helicopter or sent that fuel and maintenance money to Africa?

      ***"Just because some studies were done, that says prayer don't make a difference, I can show you lmedical facilities as well as specialists in Cardiovascular disease and others that say it DOES work."***

      I just cited you 4 of the premier groups on the planet. Not only did it not make a difference, in one study it actually made it worse.

      ***"I know personally it does work, I have had some things in my llife answered directly by prayer, and yes, one that specifically had medical doctors baffled! You need to back up your prayers with belief in the one you pray to, and faith."***

      I was literally dead for a brief amount of time in a bad accident and was brought back to life. I should have more insight than most wouldn't you think?

      Why doesn't God cure ANY amputees?

      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm

      ***Also, do not think that God does not work thru medicine and medical knowledge, after all, where do you think it all came from? God created man and breathed breath on man. Any "knowledge" man has came from God, like it or not.***

      This is where the argument always gets interesting. Religious people like some medicine but not others and this is where the cherry picking begins again. So therefore God is for abortion. God is for stem cells. God is for euthanasia. God is for transplanting animal parts into humans. God is for cloning. Etc, etc, etc.

      Here's the reality: My state put in BILLIONS of dollars in tax payer money into stem cell research because the religious right wouldn't allow federal funding at our public inst-itu-tions. Yet here's where the hypocrisy lies... when a Christian who is against stem cell research now has a child that can be saved by it or else the child will die, that same Christian will be the first in line to let science save their child's life.

      Or what about euth-ana-sia: Think about it, when your dog or cat gets too old, we say it is the "humane" thing to do by putting them "to sleep." How can we as a society possibly allow our pets not to suffer, but force our elders to suffer immense pain and humiliate them? The irony of taking your pets to a "Humane" Society to put them to sleep is mind-boggling.

      We can say, "Fido is in a lot of pain. It is wrong to let him suffer any longer. Let's do the right thing and put him to sleep." That is 100% perfectly acceptable. In contrast, what if someone said, "Great Grandpa has terminal cancer. He can't eat, he vomits from the morphine and he is in unimaginable pain. He told me he doesn't want to be alive any longer. Let's do the right thing and honor his wishes and let him rest in peace by eut-han-izing him." In that case, we would be looked down upon by society as cold-hearted killers. However, if we said, "The doctors think Great Grandpa can only live 6 more months. Let's hope he passes away quickly so he is not in pain anymore." then that would be completely acceptable. Thus, we as a society deem it OK to let a human being suffer when there is absolutely no hope, but it is the right thing to do to put a flea-infested pet to sleep if it is dying to prevent it from suffering.

      So in reality, Christians pick and choose when to use medical science and when not to. When it involves something like brain surgery, it is OK and God's doing, but when it is stem cells then it is the Devil's work. It's mindboggling.

      Peace!

      February 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  19. Reality

    Why prayer is futile!!!

    Inherent Free Will and Future belong to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, god (if there is one) is not able to alter life and requests/prayers will not be answered. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variabiliy/randomness of Nature.

    So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping cows and bowing to Mecca five times a day. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the commandments of your religion or any good rules of living as gracious and good human beings.

    February 21, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  20. The Truth

    I wonder how many homeless and hungry the cost of that helicopter fuel could feed and provide shelter for? But hey, I'm sure Jesus would have used that money on the helicopter instead of helping the poor.

    I'm not going to get into the whole "Does Prayer Work" debate as I'll leave that up to you guys, but here's a handful of studies that state the abundantly obvious:

    ***Mayo Clinic Study:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=11761499
    "CONCLUSIONS: As delivered in this study, intercessory prayer had no significant effect on medical outcomes after hospitalization in a coronary care unit."

    ***Duke Study:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16023511
    "INTERPRETATION: Neither masked prayer nor MIT therapy significantly improved clinical outcome after elective catheterisation or percutaneous coronary intervention."

    ***American Heart Journal Study:
    http://www.ahjonline.com/article/PIIS0002870305006496/abstract
    "Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications."

    Thus, to assume that prayer really does work, then I guess that the Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center and the American Heart Journal have no idea of what they are talking about. Never to mind such highly regarded places as Harvard also worked on the studies.

    So if any of you think you know more than these guys do (some of the premier medical facilities on the entire planet), then more power to you. If you do think that you are correct and they are incorrect, then the next time you need a doctor badly in a life-threatening situation, you might as well just stay at home and pray instead. Meanwhile, I'll be at the hospital allowing science to help save my life.

    Finally, we can prove it right now: Matthew 19 explicitly states – "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it WILL be done for you by my Father in heaven." OK, so myself and my friend with me are now asking for World Peace and for all hunger to eradicated instantly... WHAT? We are still at war? There are still hungry? Who would have thought?

    Peace.

    February 21, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Rick

      Think about what prayer really is. It's thinking that one can send private telepathic messages to an invisible god who lives in the sky. That's insane. Religion is make-believe. God is imaginary. People need to grow up and stop behaving like immature children.

      February 21, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Rick

      Prayer is nothing more than the person, talking to themselves.

      Note that society is fine with that. But, when the person reports that god is talking them, society considers them mentally ill.

      God told Abraham to kill his boy. Abraham was a hair's-breadth away from doing this, when god stops him. The story leaves little doubt that Isaac wasn't going to see another birthday. Abraham is a hero! How much he loved god!

      On mother's day weekend in 2003, Deanna Laney received a message. The message she received was a command for her to kill her three sons, Aaron, Luke, and Joshua.

      That message came from none other than God Himself.

      Being a woman of faith, Deanna Laney could not resist following God's command.
      Source: Kill The Afterlife Thursday, March 01, 2007

      Hmmm... Why was Laney not a hero, like Abraham? She proved her love for god, by doing what He commanded.

      Abraham was well on his way to killing his son.

      All five mental health experts consulted in the case, including two for the prosecution and one for the judge, concluded that a severe mental illness caused Laney to have psychotic delusions that rendered her incapable of knowing right from wrong during the killings – the standard in Texas for insanity.

      Laney was insane for following her god's command. Abraham is a hero.

      Oh yeah, believers of the Book, aren't a bit deluded. LOL

      Cheers!

      February 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,

      There are three voices we can hear; our own voice, the voice of evil [satan], and the voice of God.

      In the case of doing a wrong act:

      My own voice tells me…. ‘it is wrong but I won’t think about that now because I have freewill and so here goes….’

      The voice of evil… ‘it is not wrong…many do it…it is fun…why should you have less fun than others and how can it be wrong if so many enjoy it?’

      If the voice says, ‘no, it is wrong, you will regret it.’ That is the voice of God.

      In the case of some right act….

      The voice says, ‘It is wrong because it will take your time, your money, and make you unhappy if you do this act…..that is the voice of evil.

      The voice says, ‘It is right, but I don’t feel like working that hard and it will lessen how much time and money I have for myself.’ That is your own voice.
      .
      The voice says, ‘It is a right and just act that you should do out of love for your neighbor.’ That is God’s voice.

      With a clear mind and heart, a person can join his own voice with the voice of God and find that it is an easy Path to follow.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • The Truth

      @ David: Excellent comparison. Well said!

      February 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • The Truth

      ***** @ Catholic Mom: There are three voices we can hear; our own voice, the voice of evil [satan], and the voice of God. In the case of doing a wrong act: My own voice tells me…. ‘it is wrong but I won’t think about that now because I have freewill and so here goes….’ The voice of evil… ‘it is not wrong…many do it…it is fun…why should you have less fun than others and how can it be wrong if so many enjoy it?’ If the voice says, ‘no, it is wrong, you will regret it.’ That is the voice of God." ****

      With the utmost respect, do you realize what you are describing is straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon with a devil and an angel sitting on Bugs Bunny's shoulders? It is fiction. Those "voices" you hear to do the right thing are engrained in us through the human condition. To illustrate that, here is the Golden Rule in various religions all around the world formed both before and after the Bible and formed with and without knowledge of the Bible:

      The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you."

      Bahá'í Faith: "And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself."

      Brahmanism: "Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you."

      Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."

      Confucianism: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."

      Egyptian: "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do."

      Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you."

      Humanism: "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you."

      Islam: "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."

      Jainism: "In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self."

      Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary."

      Native American: "Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself."

      Shinto: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form."

      Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend."

      Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."

      Yoruba: "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."

      Zoroastrianism: "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."

      In the end, it is obvious that all religions share this theme. That is the rule to follow, not because it is in some book, but because it is shared across religions and humanity. If you were born in Tibet or Iran, you'd still be following that rule. Logic dictates this is FAR more sensible.

      **** "With a clear mind and heart, a person can join his own voice with the voice of God and find that it is an easy Path to follow." ****

      My parents are staunch Catholics and one of my brothers is a born-again Christian. Let me ask you the same question I ask my parents: How can you possibly justify supporting an evil Church? Do you know why children continue to get mole-sted and why the perpetrators aren't being promptly removed by the Church? It is because people like yourself are part of the problem by not forcing the Church to do the right thing. I guess the Church doesn't have that angel on their shoulder like Bugs Bunny, just the Devil on the Church's shoulders and that's who is spiritually guiding you and millions of other Catholics. And while there are many great priests who are extremely good people, they are every bit as guilty as well by not joining together and forcing the Vatican to do the right thing.

      Let's look at who you are supporting:

      - A group that covers up the ra-pe of children.

      - A group that is currently under investigation of money laundering for the mafia.

      - A group that had the audacity to declare bankruptcy to further try to scew over (pun possibly intended) the moles-tation victims from getting their monetary payday in court.

      - A group that paid off child moles-tation victims to stay quiet about the abuse.

      - A group that says they are against hom-ose-xuality and yet somewhere between 35%-65% of all priests are gay (according to their OWN accounts).

      - A group whose leader lives in a mansion with perhaps trillions of dollars in artwork alone that they hoard while Jesus' children are starving to death all around the world. I'm sure Jesus would have done the same thing. What was the name of that mansion that Jesus lived in again?

      - A group who charges admission to get into the Sistine Chapel when visiting the Vatican (I know because I've been there)... I'm sure Jesus would cool with that. Oh yeah, no taking pictures in the Chapel either because they sold the rights to that to another company so you are forced to buy their pictures instead while the Vatican makes money off of that as well.

      - A group that allowed Cardinal Law from Boston to have the honor of being one of a select few to say the final mass for Pope JP II (this was after they "promoted" him to Rome as to evade US authorities).

      - A group where the Pope is actually now hiding behind his diplomatic immunity as head of the "country" of Vatican City so that he doesn't have to testify in court about child mole-station (that he OBVIOUSLY knew about). How pathetic is that? Jesus and the Church preach about telling the truth, yet they go out of their way to try and hide it.

      - etc, etc, etc, etc, etc....

      Catholics should be standing up and fighting for the children who can't fight for themselves instead of enabling perverted criminals to mol-est more children! This should be common sense... people should be rioting in front of the Vatican, but instead have been conditioned into supporting them unequivocally by putting more money in the basket.

      Speaking of money in the basket, this is a perfect illustration as to where YOUR MONEY gets spent (besides the billions they are paying out for mole-sting kids):

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/LA_Cathedral_cathedra.jpg

      In that picture, notice the chairs in the middle. The big chair is the archbishop of Los Angeles' chair and the smaller ones are for other Church Hierarchy.

      The big chair... cost them ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
      The smaller chairs cost them $250,000.00 EACH.
      The altar there cost them FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.

      Who spends a million dollars for a chair? Bill Gates, Oprah, etc don't have million dollar chairs. In fact, that chair is worth more than Warren Buffett's house!!! How many people would that money have clothed, housed and fed??? The chair isn't even that nice. Would Jesus spend a million dollars on a CHAIR???

      Putting this into perspective: The husband of one of my friends is a fighter pilot. He had to eject one time & he is now nearly two inches shorter due to the massive spinal compression force. So he was in a highly advanced jet whose chair allowed him to open the canopy, rocket out of a moving plane at 12-15 G's (the space shuttle at launch is about 3 G's), employed a parachute and took him to safety.

      The pilot's chair doing all that is around $100K... the Catholic Church's stationary wooden chair is $1M.

      These people are nothing at all like Jesus. Jesus is your savior, not the Pope. Jesus in his day rebelled against the corruption in church instead of just accepting it and it seems like common sense that he'd support rebelling against this Church instead of just going along with the flow.

      Child ra-pe/abu-se/mol-estation is about the worst thing possible and yet Catholics are just allowing the Church to "get away with it" like they have done countless times in the past. Even the Mafia and convicts in prison won't put up with child ab-use, yet the "moral" Church knows they can get away with it as people won't leave them almost regardless of what they do.

      The irony is that "fixing" these problems is easy... all they need to do is come COMPLETELY clean, tell the WHOLE truth, let a third party go through their files to make sure that ALL the "dirt" is cleaned and ask for forgiveness, but they can't even do that. The "good" priests and "good" followers are the ones giving the Vatican power by not rebelling back against them. If every "good" Catholic priest and layperson went on "strike" so to speak, it would quickly force the Vatican's hand to make instantaneous positive change. But of course that doesn't happen.

      So perhaps you should think long and hard about who you are supporting. If this EXACT same group was a local company like Wal-Mart, you'd be up in arms about it, perhaps picketing them and boycotting them for being a morally corrupt company who abuses children, but when it comes to your Church who does the EXACT same thing, you have no issue with supporting them and therefore becoming part of the problem. Food for thought.

      Peace.

      February 21, 2011 at 5:31 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.