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February 25th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Your thoughts on 'The Adjustment Bureau' and fate vs. free will

Check out this preview of this week’s Faces of Faith segment about the new Matt Damon movie The Adjustment Bureau and let us know what you think on the question of fate versus free will, one of the movie’s big themes.

Watch the full segment this Sunday at 7 a.m., which will feature actor Anthony Mackie and director/screenwriter George Nolfi. We’ll read some of your comments on air.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Movies

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Justina

    David Johnson, your statment "Once the expansion occurred, only time, gravity and inertia were responsible for creating the universe. No god required. The Big Bang is not responsible for life. That would be abiogenesis. And once the spark of life occurred, Evolution explains the diversity of organisms on the planet. No god required."
    So an expansion happened and then time, gravity and inertia "created" universe? How did the original "hotness" and then sparks of life occur? What's responsible for the existence of time, gravity and inertia? Can you explain? According to you, "No god required," but you are requiring us to believe in a wonderland where things develop on its own will which has not been observed in reality at all. Our physical world develops according to programs as seen in the chains of proteins. David, don't expect to convince a single thinking individual to accept your theories. You atheists reject God simply because you can play god and continue the filthy lifestyles without thinking of consequences. You need God for truth.

    February 28, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • Yeah

      Justina,

      "You atheists reject God simply because you can play god and continue the filthy lifestyles without thinking of consequences."

      Atheists don't reject "God"... how can you reject something that is not there?

      As far as thinking of consequences, atheists are probably more aware of consequences, since they do not believe in second chances in the afterlife or someone else coming to save them.

      And, in my opinion, your vitriolic diatribes, condemning people for not agreeing with you, are examples of a 'filthy' lifestyle.

      February 28, 2011 at 3:54 am |
    • Justina

      @Yeah: If you really think God is "something that is not there," why don't you leave believers alone? No, you can't, because you must suppress the truth by attacking it; that's your nature. There is God, humans sinned and are in trouble because of sins, God loves us and sent us His Savior Jesus, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life; so those who know Him will continue to testify Him. We don't condemn people but tell the truth; you just don't like being told facts about yourselves that you are sinners in need of salvation.

      February 28, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Don

      Explain god, Justina, or be a hypocrite.

      February 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Justina

      Don, read the Bible.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Don

      That doesn't explain god. Explain god or be a hypocrite.

      February 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Reality

      One more time for Justina's sake:

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Justina

      I assume you would include abortion under "filthy lifestyle."

      Most (>75%) of abortions are for believers. Believers can dramatically reduce the number of abortions if they just follow their tribal rules. How about cleaning up your backyard before worrying about non-believers?

      February 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Steve

      " If you really think God is "something that is not there," why don't you leave believers alone?" Hmm...funny, I can't recall any time some atheist came knocking at my door to expound on the virtues of disbelief. No Justina it is we the non-believers who are bombarded constantly with faith based dogmatic clap-trap in almost every aspect of our lives. Personally I couldn't care less what you believe. You have every right to your own beliefs. What you don't have is the right to impose your beliefs on others.

      March 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Justina. I you took the time to understand nature and our place in it you would be in awe. The iron in your blood, and that of jesus , came from a supernova may eons ago and billions of miles away...it had nothing to do with the supernatural.. just supernovae.. and yes there was sun in our past that died to give us life .. but you have spelled it incorrectly..

      March 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Steve.
      We can call upon you to remind you but agree with you no one should impose a belief upon the other?
      Although to them that would look like as you are saying there should be no sanctions or wars against countries that have a believe/faith that most have imaginary fears of ?

      March 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Steve

      Justina

      "Don, read the Bible."

      What you don't seem to know or accept is that many of us Atheists have read the Bible and were once believers. For many of us our study of scripture far outways the common believer. Do you know how many atheists actually came to be that way by entering seminary and studying the origins of the Bible? Do you think the Bible was originally written in English?
      Take for example the prophecy refered to in the gospel according to Matthew 1-22,23 . You know the story...the author(who is of course anonymous) quotes Isaiah 7-14 as fortelling the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary 500 years later. Pretty amazing stuff...if it was actually true...which it isn't. The jewish old testament was written in hebrew and the text in Isaiah uses the word "almah" meaning young maiden or a woman of child bearing age. Not the word "betulah" meaning virgin. Certainly an "alma" could be a virgin but the passage isn't clearly stating that the mother of the child "is" a virgin. Matthew was written in Greek and the author deliberately misquoted Isaiah to make the prophecy fit the Jesus story. Remember Jesus was already long dead when Matthew was written. Also further in the passage of Isaiah the child refered to "Immanuel" was destined to depose a contemporary king in the land...at that time, not 500 years later. No virgin birth, no miracle child Jesus prophecised...big hole in christian faith IMHO.
      How about the fact that Nazareth, you know the town that depending on the source was either the town Mary and Joseph were from when they went to bethlehem for the census or the actual birthplace of Jesus didn't exist until 200 AD. There are no non-gospel references to the place until then. I could go on and on with inconsistancies, conflicts and outright historical errors but I'm bored. The Bible is nothing but myth and fiction and not very interesting fiction at that.

      March 2, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Muneef

      Justina.
      Don.

      The mother of Jesus was vowed by her mother to be a servant of God before and after was born ,she had been given a guardian who was the Father of the Baptist.
      She was brought up in a sanctuary as a pure virgin that spends her time in prayers only and serving the house of God (sanctuary).
      She was being supplied with food sent to her by the will of God...

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      (Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower! (35) And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female – Allah knew best of what she was delivered – the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast. (36) And her Lord accepted her with full acceptance and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth; and made Zachariah her guardian. Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food)? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will. (37).

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. (47).

      Maryam sura 19:
      She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? (20).

      Al-Anbiya sura 21:
      And she who was chaste, therefor We breathed into her (something) of Our Spirit and made her and her son a token for (all) peoples. (91).

      At-Tahrim sura 66:
      And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. (12).

      March 2, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  2. steve

    Subject: Adjustment Bureau of the new agers-attention. Powers that be,powers that be-do they cause you to flee-the powers that be. they tell you what to drive and when to arrive. What to wear and color your hair. Where to live and what to give. Powers that be-powers that be. Don't you see' it is he-the Bumble Bee. The fire will sizzle, the smoke will rise. The Lord hears not their pathetic cries-not for eternity. So much for the powers that be. So much for th powers that be- the adjustment brotherhood. Enigma! Proverbs 6 things God hates like winking eyes.

    February 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  3. steve

    In the bible there is no such thing as fate. You are either predestined and have eternal life already or you are of free will. If you are predestined you are here to help those of free will gain eternal life. You give those of free will the biblical truth of hurches of God. God's word, the bible is 100% truth. Truth is not taught in the churches of todays world. For the reali this life n truth go to Shepherds chapel .com. Truth brings blessings and rewards, not only eternal life. Truth also gives you Power over all your enemies, including Satan himself. Christians must put on the gospel at this time. There is great spiritual warfare going on right now. The flood is a flood of lies. Pick up your armour now at Shepherds Chapel .com. Thank you.

    February 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  4. Muneef

     ولقد يسرنا القرءان للذكر فهل من مدكر
    "And indeed We have made easy (yassarna: we made easy, facilitated) the Qur'an for understanding and keeping in mind (al-Dhikr= to keep in mind, the recollection, that which is thought over). So is there anyone who bears this in their mind?" (54:17, 22, 32 and 40)
     
     اولئك يسرعون فى الخيرت وهم لها سبقون
    "It is those who race with one another to improve the quality of life for humanity (al-Khayrat: to surpass in goodness), and it is those who are the forerunners (of mankind)." (23:61) 
    ومن احسن قولا ممن دعا الى الله وعمل صلحا وقال اننى من المسلمين
    Who is better in saying than one who invites to God, and perform deeds that create justice and peace (3milu saliha: works that reform and restore the balance), and says: "I am one of those who gives over to peace (al-Muslimin from salama: to give over to peace and welfare)." (41:33)
     
     يايها الذين ءامنوا كونوا قومين لله شهداء بالقسط ولا يجرمنكم شنان قوم على الا تعدلوا اعدلوا هو اقرب للتقوى واتقوا الله ان الله خبير بما تعملون
    "O you who acknowledge [Truth] and create security (amanu: trust, acknowledge, peace & security). Be steadfast & stand up (qawwamin from Qama: to stand up firmly for something) for God [on earth] bearing witness with justice, equity & fairness (al-Qist: to be fair and just even with people who do not deserve it) and let not be incited by hatred (shana'an) for a people, to not act with absolute equity, impartiality & justice (ta'dilu from al-Adl). To act with absolute equity & impartial justice (adilu) is the closest (aqraba from Qaraba: to be near, close) to the duty to guard against what harms mankind (al-Taqwa from ita'qu: to be on guard/aware of what harms, to be shielded). And be aware of God (atqu Allah). Surely God is aware of all your actions." (5:8)
     
     لكل جعلنا منكم شرعة ومنهاجا ولو شاء الله لجعلكم امة وحدة ولكن ليبلوكم فى ما ءاتىكم فاستبقوا الخيرت الى الله مرجعكم جميعا فينبئكم بما كنتم فيه تختلفون
    "For each [community] among you have We have appointed a way of progress (Shir'ah: a way to a watering-place, path where everything meets/gets nourishment)  and way of life (minhaj: open road, path of life). And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, you. So, outdo one another in doing good to the society. To God you will all return, and He will then make you understand wherein you differed." (5:48)
     
     والذين استجابوا لربهم واقاموا الصلوة وامرهم شورى بينهم ومما رزقنهم ينفقون   والذين اذا اصابهم البغى هم ينتصرون  وجزوا سيئة سيئة مثلها فمن عفا واصلح فاجره على الله انه لا يحب الظلمين  ولمن انتصر بعد ظلمه فاولئك ما عليهم من سبيل  انما السبيل على الذين يظلمون الناس ويبغون فى الارض بغير الحق اولئك لهم عذاب اليم  ولمن صبر وغفر ان ذلك لمن عزم الامور
    "They respond to their Maintainer of Evolution (Rabb: to sustain the evolution towards maturity) by establishing the movement towards [Peace] (Salat: to move towards something, i.e. we are guided to the state of peace 10:25), and conduct their affairs by mutual consultation [Democracy] (Shura: consultation, debate, counsel another), and they keep open for the welfare of others what We have given them. And whenever gross injustice is inflicted upon them, they defend themselves and stand up for their rights (yantasiruna: to defend or aid themselves). But requiting evil may become an evil in itself! (sayyi: to hurt or tyrannize others) So, whoever pardons and makes peace (aslaha: to restore the balance), his reward rests with God. Surely, He does not love the violators of human rights (alThzalimeen: Those that put themselves above others, from Thzalima=to displace something). Certainly, those who stand up for their rights, when injustice befalls them, are not committing any error. The blame is on those who oppress people and cause disorder on the earth resorting to aggression, unprovoked. They are the ones for whom there is an painful retribution. And for he who is patient, perseveres (sabara: to persevere and keep one's charachter) and forgives and protects (ghafara: to protect against consequences) then that is an indication of strength." (42:38-43).

    Research link for more resources or (Gems you will find it) Insha'a Allah;
    http://www.deenresearchcenter.com/ResearchLibrary/EnglishLibrary/QuranResearchTranslationsTafsirArabic/tabid/98/language/en-US/Default.aspx

    February 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Steve

      Cut and paste Qur'an passages do nothing to further this debate. Your holy book is just as full of mythical nonsense as the next.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Muneef

      I was not meant for the blind to read it...!

      February 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Muneef.. how did you know you were taking to Stevie Wonder?

      March 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Muneef

      E.DNA.

      Well at least Stevie wonder was with musical ear and can hear beside being wise once sang Ebony an Ivory living in perfect harmony? So was he right or Wrong? So why shouldn't we?

      March 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  5. Anglican

    The peace of the Lord be always with us.

    February 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Anglican..No peace with god..any of them...Only when we come together as a species, as Humans can there be peace.....You most likely dislike many of the other religions that have other gods..Just making inane statements are meaningless. sound nice but meaningless.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Nightmares of Pakistani prize-winning reciter of the Qur'an
    Former Guantanamo inmate Saad Iqbal Madni's 'agony'
    (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12566027)
    BBC, 25 February 2011 Last updated at 00:08 GMT
    By Orla Guerin BBC News, Lahore

    February 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Muneef

      Each soul earneth only on its own account,nor doth any laden bear another's load.
      No laden soul can bear another's load.
      And no burdened soul can bear another's burden.
      No laden soul will bear another's load.
      That no laden one shall bear another's load.

      Al-Anaam sura 06:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Lo! As for those who sunder their religion and become schismatics, no concern at all hast thou with them. Their case will go to Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do. (159) Whoso bringeth a good deed will receive tenfold the like thereof, while whoso bringeth an ill-deed will be awarded but the like thereof; and they will not be wronged. (160) Say: Lo! As for me, my Lord hath guided me unto a straight path, a right religion, the community of Abraham, the upright, who was no idolater. (161) Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. (162) He hath no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him). (163) Say: Shall I seek another than Allah for Lord, when He is Lord of all things? "Each soul earneth only on its own account,nor doth any laden bear another's load". Then unto your Lord is your return and He will tell you that wherein ye differed. (164) He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Lo! Thy Lord is swift in prosecution, and Lo! He verily is Forgiving, Merciful. (165).

      Al-Isra sura 17:
      And every man's augury have We fastened to his own neck, and We shall bring forth for him on the Day of Resurrection a book which he will find wide open. (13) (And it will be said unto him): Read thy Book. Thy soul sufficeth as reckoner against thee this day. (14) Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt."No laden soul can bear another's load", We never punish until we have sent a messenger. (15) And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation. (16).

      Fatir sura 35:
      O mankind! Ye are the poor in your relation to Allah. And Allah! He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (15) If He will, He can be rid of you and bring (instead of you) some new creation. (16) That is not a hard thing for Allah. (17) "And no burdened soul can bear another's burden", and if one heavy laden crieth for (help with) his load, naught of it will be lifted even though he (unto whom he crieth) be of kin. Thou warnest only those who fear their Lord in secret, and have established worship. He who groweth (in goodness), groweth only for himself, (he cannot by his merit redeem others). Unto Allah is the journeying. (18) The blind man is not equal with the seer; (19) Nor is darkness (tantamount to) light; (20) Nor is the shadow equal with the sun's full heat; (21) Nor are the living equal with the dead. Lo! Allah maketh whom He will to hear. Thou canst not reach those who are in the graves. (22) Thou art but a warner. (23).

      Az-Zumar sura 35:
      If ye are thankless, yet Allah is Independent of you, though He is not pleased with thanklessness for His bondmen; and if ye are thankful He is pleased therewith for you."No laden soul will bear another's load". Then unto your Lord is your return; and He will tell you what ye used to do. Lo! He knoweth what is in the breasts (of men). (7).

      An-Najm sura 35:
      Didst thou (O Muhammad) observe him who turned away, (33) And gave a little, then was grudging? (34) Hath he knowledge of the Unseen so that he seeth? (35) Or hath he not had news of what is in the books of Moses (36) And Abraham who paid his debt: (37) "That no laden one shall bear another's load", (38) And that man hath only that for which he maketh effort, (39) And that his effort will be seen. (40) And afterward he will be repaid for it with fullest payment; (41) And that thy Lord, He is the goal; (42) And that He it is who maketh laugh, and maketh weep, (43) And that He it is Who giveth death and giveth life; (44) And that He createth the two spouses, the male and the female, (45) From a drop (of seed) when it is poured forth; (46) And that He hath ordained the second bringing forth; (47) And that He it is Who enricheth and contenteth; (48) And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius; (49).

      February 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  7. Geri

    Steve

    The universe is on average deterministic (cause and effect) but our independant actions and choices are based on too many variables to be considered predetermined. The polar opposites of fate and free will are each insufficient to account for an individuals choices. We all act according to tendancies with only the illusion of free will.
    @ TreSea Your analogy is flawed. Comparing the existence of God/Jesus or the veracity of the Bible to oxygen being real is laughable. We know oxygen exists. The fact that it's an invisible gas doesn't negate the evidence that it exists in reality. The same cannot be said of your God. And the Bible, well lets see. It's comprised of copies of copies of translations of copies of 3rd hand accounts by anonymous authors from primitive societies detailing events decades after the fact. Not exactly what could be considered a source of accurate information. GERI> I acn see you have not done your homework! Just another voice blowing wind around. No one knows where it comes and where it goes to. Circular, I Say!

    That a diety would rely on text to reveal itself to us speaks only to how idiotic said diety would have to be. Geri> How idioctic are you, that you can't see HE HAS revealed himself to you, but you are in denial, and refuse to to acknowledge such, O ye of no fath!

    For others who posted here claiming that science somehow has it out for religion, you've got it backwards. Science seeks to describe reality with testable results and when the results are at odds with religious doctrine it's they who scream foul.
    GERI> You have it backwards, you have denied the one who created both to begin with!

    What you don't seem to realize is that science is self-correcting and if say evidence to debunk evolution were to surface(albeit with devastating consequences to myriad scientific disciplines) a nobel prize would be the least of the accolades.
    Despite all the strawmen, ad hominems and logical fallacies put forth by apologists the most obvious reason to doubt the existence of God is obviousness. If God were real we would have no reason to believe otherwise. His divine existence would be readily apparent to everyone and consistant with the laws of nature.
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    His divine existence would be readily apparent to everyone and consistant with the laws of nature.
    It is...where is your faith? Do you have not eyes to see, and ears to hear? Get a clue!

    Science seeks to describe reality with testable results and when the results are at odds with religious doctrine it's they who scream foul. What you don't seem to realize is that science is self-correcting and if say evidence to debunk evolution were to surface(albeit with devastating consequences to myriad scientific disciplines) a nobel prize would be the least of the accolades............GERI> .But, evolution is still a theory.

    Despite all the strawmen, ad hominems and logical fallacies put forth by apologists the most obvious reason to doubt the existence of God is obviousness. GERI> You are obviously digging hard to justify your unbelief.

    February 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry if this is a double post.

      Geri:
      The more I look around at the world and the universe, the more that I learn from listening to those who have spent their lifetime studying these things, the less I find room for a supernatural ent-ity. Indeed, if there was a god, I think it would be Time, for with enough time and enough matter anything is possible. And we have had a LOT of time.

      February 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Don

      Geri, gravity and electromagnetism are theories as well (Quantum THEORY of Gravity). Does that mean gravity and electromagnetism are no longer facts? Of course not! So please disabuse yourself of the stupidity you've acc.umulated and understand that something does not progress from theory to fact/laws; theories explain facts.

      February 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Steve

      Geri In fact I have done my homework. Unlike you I care very much that my beliefs are true. Beliefs that are supported by evidence and reason. I don't have faith. Faith is the belief in something without evidence and is thus a terrible reason to believe in anything. I have trust and expectations. Like if I hold out an apple and let it go I expect it to fall to the ground. Why?..because of the theory of gravity. FYI the word theory in science doesn't mean "guess or speculation" A scientific theory is a model. We can use that model by plugging in data to make predictions that are reflected in reality. Gravity is a theory, modern medicine is based on cell theory and even your precious Vatican accepts evolution theory to be valid. You get a clue.
      I don't claim to know everything and many unknowns remain to be discovered. Indeed science may never find answers to some questions which at best leaves us saying "I don't know" but for you it's "God did it". How is that in any way useful? To answer an unknown with an unknowable is truly circular and does absolutely nothing to further our understanding.
      "Science has questions that may never be answered, religion has answers that may never be questioned."

      February 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Grri

      Like many believers, you do not understand the scientific definition and usage of words such as hypothesis, theory, fact, etc. If you did, you would know that an accepted scientific theory has been subjected to rigorous review and has substantial support within the scientific community. Unless a theologian is also trained as a scientist (in the area of concern) they cannot have a credible opinion on the science being discussed. That being said, anyone can propose a theory (such as the existence of god) but they should expect to have to support their claim and perhaps be ridiculed if they continue to hold to that which they cannot support. And yes, I realize that many scientists suffered ridicule (often by the religious) only to eventually be proven correct.

      You seem to like to use the word theory to dismiss what you don't understand or want to understand. The existence of god is a theory too, and as theories go, it's not a very good one. Other than books alleged to be the word of god, there is nothing tangible to support the theory. Evolution on the other hand stands up much better. Please note that an accepted scientific theory does not have to be perfect to be accepted. The theory of gravity is almost universally accepted but we do not fully understand everything about it. But again, no-one has provided anything nearly as convincing for the existence of god, as has been provided for evolution and gravity.

      So bleet away about god and science – you are fighting a loosing battle and each day your tribal myths become less relevant.

      February 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  8. Geri

    SeanNJ

    I'm an atheist, and I also think free will is a myth. Quite simple reason why:

    1) The universe is comprised of a finite number of particles.
    2) These particles can only exist in a finite number of states.

    Therefore, the universe is "computable." So, if you believe you have free will, it's because you had no choice but to believe in it. We all follow the proverbial "path of least resistance

    CAN you PROVE it?

    February 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      No, and even if I could, I doubt it would be to your satisfaction. I'm merely suggesting a hypothesis, and it's not a new idea. Smarter people than I have suggested it before.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • myklds

      @SeanNJ...and may I know how many people "smarter than you" making a logic as hypothesis?

      Atheist like you, never ceased to amuse me.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @mykids: Unless I'm misunderstanding your question, and it's entirely possible because you don't express yourself particularly well in English, my answer is, "All of them."

      March 1, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  9. Steve

    The universe is on average deterministic (cause and effect) but our independant actions and choices are based on too many variables to be considered predetermined. The polar opposites of fate and free will are each insufficient to account for an individuals choices. We all act according to tendancies with only the illusion of free will.
    @ TreSea Your analogy is flawed. Comparing the existence of God/Jesus or the veracity of the Bible to oxygen being real is laughable. We know oxygen exists. The fact that it's an invisible gas doesn't negate the evidence that it exists in reality. The same cannot be said of your God. And the Bible, well lets see. It's comprised of copies of copies of translations of copies of 3rd hand accounts by anonymous authors from primitive societies detailing events decades after the fact. Not exactly what could be considered a source of accurate information. That a diety would rely on text to reveal itself to us speaks only to how idiotic said diety would have to be.
    For others who posted here claiming that science somehow has it out for religion, you've got it backwards. Science seeks to describe reality with testable results and when the results are at odds with religious doctrine it's they who scream foul. What you don't seem to realize is that science is self-correcting and if say evidence to debunk evolution were to surface(albeit with devastating consequences to myriad scientific disciplines) a nobel prize would be the least of the accolades.
    Despite all the strawmen, ad hominems and logical fallacies put forth by apologists the most obvious reason to doubt the existence of God is obviousness. If God were real we would have no reason to believe otherwise. His divine existence would be readily apparent to everyone and consistant with the laws of nature.
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    February 27, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Geri

      Don...You said, Nowhere in the bible is the Serpent the devil....'WRONG!

      Was Satan the serpent in Genesis chapter 3?"

      Answer: Yes, the serpent in Genesis chapter 3 was Satan. Satan was either appearing as a serpent, possessing the serpent, or deceiving Adam and Eve into believing that it was the serpent who was talking to them. Serpents / snakes do not possess the ability to speak. Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 both describe Satan as a serpent. “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2). “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation

      February 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Don

      Geri, I'm quite correct. Nowhere in the bible does it state that the serpent was "satan". Further, "satan" isn't some evil boogeyman. Read Numbers, Chapter 22, verses 20-26. Note that angel of the lord standing in Balaam's way. What's the word for that angel? SATAN! So how can satan be some evil boogeyman when satan was there in Balaam's way because Balaam was disobeying god? The answer, of course, is that satan isn't what christians think it is.

      As to the apocalypse of John, well-apocalyptic literature was the romance novel of its day. Dime-a-dozen. The apocalypse of John very nearly didn't make the voting cut, and it's still up for debate today as to whether it should have been included in the canon. It also doesn't state that the serpent was "satan".

      February 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Something

      Don,

      "As to the apocalypse of John, well-apocalyptic literature was the romance novel of its day. Dime-a-dozen."

      Yes, but more like science-fiction / horror / fantasy. The scenarios of these imaginative authors is dazzling to many. Why not believe just an intently in H.G. Wells or Stephen King or Anne Rice or H. P. Lovecraft or any of the mult!tude of other storytellers?

      February 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  10. TreSea

    I was delighted to see a movie that was created to allow each of us a chance to sit still in our busy lives and take notice of our "fate and our free will" that each and every one of us have. Whether someone believes in Jesus Christ, our Savior & the Holy Bible or not, doesn't change that fact that it is True & Real. God also created "oxygen" that we breath. Denying Fate &/or Free Will is like saying "I don't believe in Oxygen, yet You breath it every moment to exist, "it's there, whether you believe it or not". God does have a plan for each of our lives, however because he loves us, he gives each of us "a free will", he had the ability to create us anyway he seen fit, but because of His Great Love, he allowed us a choice/free will. I believe at the end of our life, God has had a Plan/Fate from the Beginning, however our Destiny eternally, is a Direct Reflection of Our Own Free Will.

    February 27, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Don

      Free will is logically incompatible with an omniscient creator of everything.

      February 27, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      Stromatolites create oxygen as well. They are some of the oldest known life forms on earth and they still exist today. Some scientists theorize that they were the first life form on earth. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in science look into stromatolites. They're fascinating.

      February 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • myklds

      @Don..Ironically it is, indeed.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  11. TJ

    Predestination (Fate) vs. Free Will (Your Choice)...when asked as a new believer in Jesus, "Did you choose God, or Did God choose you?" it really shook me up. I asked myself, "Why doesn't _________ choose to believe?" Did God NOT choose him? Will God choose him? If not, WHY?

    The Scripture (Holy Bible) teaches that both exist together. In my humanity, I cannot figure this out. I cannot reconcile the two. This being said, I believe...the gift of FAITH has been graciously given to, and accepted by me. This can't change...when Jesus Christ "touched" my life...I was mysteriously changed FOREVER. I cannot explain this...I just know it happened deep within myself...my heart, and soul.

    This being said, I will be asking my Lord and my God, "How does this work?" It will go right up there with "Who shot JFK?"

    Thank you for reading this...it's my first time ever "blogging"...

    February 27, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  12. justin noise debus

    the bible speaks clearly only one time about predestination or fate if you will... it states that we are all predestined, but what does that mean? does it mean that everything that happens to us or every choice we make has already been decided for us? no. God clearly tells us that it is his 'desire' for all to be in heaven with Him. but in reality that wont happen. we ARE predestined for either heaven or hell. that's it. but the choice is up to us. if we choose to deny Christ and His salvation then we can assume we are going to hell. that was pre-decided for us. think of life not as a straight line but a tire on a bike. and each spoke is the choices we make. they all lead to a different direction. God knows every decision we are capable of making. however He may not know exactly every choice we are going to make. thats where freewill comes into play.

    February 27, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Patti

      Justin, you are very clearly contradicting yourself, practically within the same breath.

      You say: "we ARE predestined for either heaven or hell. that's it. but the choice is up to us. if we choose to deny Christ and His salvation then we can assume we are going to hell. that was pre-decided for us."

      If we are predestined for heaven or hell, how can anything be our choice but the apparently (by your reasoning) inconsequential crumbs of our lives between birth and death? Or, to put it more accurately, how can any choice we make matter? How can anyone live like that?

      To say that, when I am born, the god has already decided that I'm going to one place or another upon my death, but that the choice is up to me...no... that's a contradiction. By your own argument it's NOT up to me. It's predetermined and I have no choice but to go to to the place predetermined for me upon my death, regardless how I've lived my life, especially as I have no clue before I die where God had decided he was going to send me. The only choice I have is the path I take to get there...and the path always leads to the same destination anyway. That makes me a toy, a pawn on a chess board, a rat in a maze.

      To me, predestination and fate are abhorrent thoughts, and the fact that so many millions and billions of people on this planet live their lives believing in them is probably half the reason this world is so incredibly screwed up.

      February 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @justin noise debus

      You said: " God knows every decision we are capable of making. however He may not know exactly every choice we are going to make. thats where freewill comes into play."

      Your argument, implies god has to learn. Being omniscient, rules this out. If god is truly all knowing, He must already know what your choice will be, even before you were born.

      Cheers!

      February 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  13. Patti

    There is no fate. And if there was, this would not be a world in which I wished to live. If fate was real, it would make us no more than rats in a maze. If fate was real, we would be no better than toy cars on plastic tracks, watched over by a juvenile "god" with so little faith of his own in his own creations that he would not give them the freedom to determine the paths of their own lives. The very concept of a god that would plan out the path of every life, every moment of every inanimate object, every turn of weather or natural occurance... I don't accept it. Never have, never will.

    February 27, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Patti,
      The only fate or plan is God’s plan of giving us all that we need to make right choices instead of wrong choices. The reason being, He loves His creation and would like for us to spend eternity with Him….but it is our choice.

      February 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      Good for you, Patti. There are always people and organizations within a society that try to force individuals into certain roles, sometimes in the name of "god". It takes strength to travel one's own road.

      February 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Patti

      You said: "There is no fate. And if there was, this would not be a world in which I wished to live."

      If god is all knowing and has a plan for you, your free will is an illusion.

      I looked in my shirt drawer this morning. I chose my blue one, 'cause it brings out the darker blue of my eyes.

      But, god being omniscient, already knew I was would choose the blue shirt. So, did I really have a choice or did I just think I did?

      The 6 Point Calvinists, believe that god knows whether we will be save or damned, even before we are born. Yet, He lets us be born, knowing we will someday burn forever.

      Cheers!

      February 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Something

      CatholicMom,

      "He loves His creation and would like for us to spend eternity with Him..."

      If that were the case, "He", being omniscient and all, would have given better evidence... would have 'written' a better book ... one that couldn't be mistaken, mistranslated, mistranscribed, misunderstood, misinterpreted and just about any other 'mis' you can think of. Or is "He" just a big, sadistic game player or mad scientist, watching humans struggle through a maze? Love? Really?

      February 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  14. Katlaya

    I believe there is a certain "order" to the universe. I also believe that the theory of "everything" will some day explain why certain things happen and why there appears to be a universal "intelligence" of sorts. My personal belief is that there is "something" that reaches out to all of us if we listen. I am NOT Christian and tend to believe they have it wrong on many levels, but I do think there is a sort of divine intelligence leading our lives to a degree, though also believe with have individual will. More like our lives are driven by "probabilities". With all of this said, I also do not believe that I have the market cornered on God or any other theory and think it the highest form of arrogance to force that belief on anyone else. If there is a "God"... I sincerely believe that he is NOT a mysterious man in the sky with the personality of a jealous child.

    February 27, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  15. Sam Kannappan

    Providence or Fate is a belief to comfort you when you can take the down fall. Faith gives you strength to climb back. Free will or sustained work is required make the come back.

    February 27, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yes. If you have faith in yourself, very little can knock you down for good.

      February 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • myklds

      @tallulah13..get on you feet now or you'll be on a stretcher.

      February 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  16. SeanNJ

    I'm an atheist, and I also think free will is a myth. Quite simple reason why:

    1) The universe is comprised of a finite number of particles.
    2) These particles can only exist in a finite number of states.

    Therefore, the universe is "computable." So, if you believe you have free will, it's because you had no choice but to believe in it. We all follow the proverbial "path of least resistance."

    February 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Scrufulous Toad

      I don't think "particles" is quite the right word there. And "states" may not exist as such. And you can't explain "finite" any more than you can "infinite" in this context without taking dimensional energy into account. Your physics is fail.

      February 27, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • myklds

      @SeanNJ..are you saying that what you are enjoying and practicing right now is a myth? And how genius you were, comparing (free will) intangible from (universe)tangible thing.

      Do you really know what free will is? FYI...just in case you don't know, FREE WILL, although is used as religious terminology but it's basically against religious principles.

      Religion in nature has a lot of restraints specially on doing things that considered devilish or bad. On the other hand free will has no restrictions, it allows you to do anything you chose.

      Religion adopts free to show how God loves us all, that all He can do is to teach us all godly priciple that none of us will get astray to the suffering but to guide us the right path to the glory eternal.

      He wants us to do things that we should do to be saved but He doesn't want to shove it down to our throath (as what Atheists are thinking about Religious people are doing to them) that's why He gave us FREE WILL. And that is what you and all Atheist like you have been enjoying and practicing all your God-hateful lives.

      It never ceases to amuse me how Atheists who proclaimed themselves as more educated, intelligent, rational, scientific etc. but the way the see and say things proved otherwise.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well, you can't decide to be a cloud of plasma or an eggplant, but you can decide whether or not to be a decent person. Perhaps you can't choose your physical state, but you do have the ability to choose your metaphysical one. Unless, of course, you're insane. Then indeed you are subject to the constraints of the chemical reactions occurring within your brain.

      February 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @myklds

      Christians claim their god is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.
      Actually, nobody's god could be all three of these at the same time. But that is not the conversation.

      omniscient – Having total knowledge; knowing everything. Past, Present and future.

      If god knows the future, if the future can be known, then humans do not have free will. Everything is predetermined.

      If god has a plan for each of us, which He manages, then humans do not have free will.

      A child who is attacked by a monster, does not have free will. The child did not make the choice to be harmed.

      Cheers!

      February 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Scrufluous Toad: You've provided no alternative in your response, except for "you're wrong." So I guess yours is a "fail" as well.

      @mykids: I don't hate god. I don't think it exists, so to hate something that's not there is beyond silly.

      Of course, this thread is progressing just as it should. Just as it must.

      February 28, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Muneef

      SeanNJ.

      [11:120] We narrate to you enough history of the messengers to strengthen your heart. The truth has come to you herein, as well as enlightenments and reminders for the believers.

      We have a free will and a choice;
      Either to stick to good teachings.
      Or do Evil acts,corruptions.distractions.
      Our moves of choice pre plans our ends...have chosen for you a simplified English Quran source which might help you much read the chapter 11 from sura 112 to 123.

      February 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Muneef

      SeanNJ.

      [11:120] We narrate to you enough history of the messengers to strengthen your heart. The truth has come to you herein, as well as enlightenments and reminders for the believers.

      We have a free will and a choice;
      Either to stick to good teachings.
      Or do Evil acts,corruptions.distractions.
      Our moves of choice pre plans our ends...have chosen for you a simplified English Quran source which might help you much read the chapter 11 from sura 112 to 123.
      http://www.masjidtucson.org/quran/noframes/ch11.html

      February 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • myklds

      @tallulah13..All you have is chemicals but they are not reacting anymore and you don't have that something that supposedly would contain them.

      February 28, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Scrufulous Toad

      SeanNJ, thanks for the laugh. I was not aware that I was required to provide a complete and error-free Grand Unified Theory as well as pointing out what I saw as gaping holes in your ideas about physics. I was just being critical without providing a solution. So?
      I happen to agree that free-will is somewhat doubtful, but with anywhere from six to sixteen different dimensions postulated by real physicists, I cannot see how anyone can definitively say one way or the other. Information itself may be a form of dimensional energy. That would throw a bit of a monkey-wrench into many arguments about free-will.
      We might have an illusion of free-will, or an illusion of predestination for that matter.
      But please don't ask me to describe my whole take on cosmology, as this would take many hours and pages without having the math with which to formulate the proofs. I am not Einstein. I didn't even stay at a Holiday Express recently.
      I wasn't saying "you're wrong" so much as I was saying, "you forgot to consider all these other things...."
      I'd say you're probably on the right track, just not with particles and not with states unless you factor in everything else.
      And we're still working on the "everything else", so you need some disclaimers in there at least. Okay?

      March 1, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Scrufulous Toad

      mykids, your posts are a bit strange. You don't seem to understand that you cannot make real choices without free will.
      You jump at condemning other people, yet acknowledge that their brain chemicals may affect their thinking and their choices, removing the "free" aspect from any activity.
      When mentally ill people "choose" something, is it the chemicals in their brains that is making the choice? What about the person?
      If those chemicals did nothing, that person would be brain-dead.
      Maybe we are just dancing bunches of chemicals that display the illusion of free-will and self-awareness.
      But arbitrary values should not a condemnation make.

      March 1, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Scrufulous Toad: Fair enough. I would've thought your biggest complaint would've been with how Bell's Theorem kinda throws a wrench into any hidden variables; and I think that's what really wrecks my idea in the near term.

      @mykids: You are incomprehensible.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • myklds

      @SeanNJ...No surprise..as what I've said, "you don't have that something".

      March 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  17. Upperhand

    @ Ryan So says the atheist with the faith to believe that no God exists.

    February 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Don

      It takes just as much faith to acknowledge that there is no god as it does to acknowledge that there are no square circles and married bachelors. That is: it takes no faith whatsoever. It is apodictic (big word; look it up).

      February 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why should it take faith to believe in god? Why isn't your One True Belief self-evident? if god was a communication skills student, s/he would be given an "F" at best, if not thrown out for not showing up. There are no gods!

      February 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      1. If God existed, this fact would be more obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true god.

      2. God's existence is not, in fact, as obvious as we would expect, if he existed.
      This fact is evidenced by all the different religions, plus us nasty atheists.

      3. Therefore, God does not exist.

      Cheers!

      February 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hud sura 11:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful 
      And there is not a beast in the earth but the sustenance thereof dependeth on Allah. He knoweth its habitation and its repository. All is in a clear Record. (6) And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days – and His Throne was upon the water – that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct. Yet if thou (O Muhammad) sayest: Lo! ye will be raised again after death! those who disbelieve will surely say: This is not but evident magic. (7) And if We delay for them the doom until a reckoned time, they will surely say: What withholdeth it? Verily on the day when it cometh unto them, it cannot be averted from them, and that which they derided will surround them. (8) And if we cause man to taste some mercy from Us and afterward withdraw it from him, Lo! he is despairing, thankless. (9) And if We cause him to taste grace after some misfortune that had befallen him, he saith: The ills have gone from me. Lo! he is exultant, boastful; (10) Save those who persevere and do good works. Theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward. (11) A likely thing, that thou wouldst forsake aught of that which hath been revealed unto thee, and that thy breast should be straitened for it, because they say: Why hath not a treasure been sent down for him, or an angel come with him? Thou art but a warner, and Allah is in charge of all things. (12) Or they say: He hath invented it. Say: Then bring ten surahs, the like thereof, invented, and call on everyone ye can beside Allah, if ye are truthful! (13) And if they answer not your prayer, then know that it is revealed only in the knowledge of Allah; and that there is no God save Him. Will ye then be (of) those who surrender? (14) Whoso desireth the life of the world and its pomp, We shall repay them their deeds herein, and therein they will not be wronged. (15) Those are they for whom is naught in the Hereafter save the Fire. (All) that they contrive here is vain and (all) that they are wont to do is fruitless. (16) Is he (to be counted equal with them) who relieth on a clear proof from his Lord, and a witness from Him reciteth it, and before it was the Book of Moses, an example and a mercy? Such believe therein, and whoso disbelieveth therein of the clans, the Fire is his appointed place. So be not thou in doubt concerning it. Lo! it is the Truth from thy Lord; but most of mankind believe not. (17) Who doeth greater wrong than he who inventeth a lie concerning Allah? Such will be brought before their Lord, and the witnesses will say: These are they who lied concerning their Lord. Now the curse of Allah is upon wrong-doers, (18) Who debar (men) from the way of Allah and would have it crooked, and who are disbelievers in the Hereafter. (19) Such will not escape in the earth, nor have they any protecting friends beside Allah. For them the torment will be double. They could not bear to hear, and they used not to see. (20) Such are they who have lost their souls, and that which they used to invent hath failed them. (21) Assuredly in the Hereafter they will be the greatest losers. (22) Lo! those who believe and do good works and humble themselves before their Lord: such are rightful owners of the Garden; they will abide therein. (23) The similitude of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal in similitude? Will ye not then be admonished? (24).
         

      February 28, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • Muneef

      Words of pearls well gathered in lovable design! No one earth can arrange it better...for those who know in words secrets of poems and knowledge are the best judges of existence... Read with you hearts slow and deep..only those hearts hardened as rocks and harder;

      The similitude of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal in similitude? Will ye not then be admonished? (24).

      February 28, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  18. soulbro

    The "free will" discussion only matters if the person believes there are consequences for the choice of free will vs. fate. If there are no "consequences" for choosing one path over another, "free-will" vs. "fate", then the choice does not matter. Of course many religions, Christianity amongst them, teach that if one makes the "wrong" choice they will suffer (or be punished). There is nothing to talk about if an individual cannot know or determine the difference between "free-will" and "fate". That is to say, wherever a person "ends up", is there really any way to determine whether this was their "fate" or was it a case of "free-will"?

    That does not mean that when a person actually "experiences their fate" or "experiences their free will" they will be able to tell the difference and therefore be happy or not happy. "Choice", it seems to me, is a component of both "free-will", and "fate". When Jesus experienced his "fate" in one (some) version(s) of the gospel he cried out on the cross. Basically, the bible teaches that that was his "fate". Was he happy, unhappy, neither, or some version of both? It seems to me the real issue with "free-will" vs. "fate" is that it sets up a calculation that no one can complete, no one can ever truly know. In order to cross over this impenetrable barrier of not knowing (ignorance?) the final construction is that the difference can be determined when actually it cannot.

    And I have to mention that the whole matrix (excuse the term!) of this is set up on the idea of "divine intervention". So the fate vs. free will thing is predicated on belief in a greater something. Greater power, greater reality, greater plane of existence, God, something like that. This thing looks like it goes toward alot of situations, things, phenomena that people cannot accept emotionally and sentimentally about the world. So for this thing that cannot be explained within this world, we set up a greater world, an emotional world, spiritual world which we also occupy and we are able to explain, explicate this immensity there. "What happened to him, what happened to her, what will happen to me, why did that happen to him, (just simply) Why?" These are powerfully emotional and sentimental and important questions to people that involve deep areas that are not wholly visible to the eye or "touchable" to the hand. And there must be an answer to these. There must. And this is part of the way we go about to get that answer.

    February 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  19. tallulah13

    Of course we have free will, at least within the constraints of the society we live. We are (hopefully) taught fundamental right from wrong by out parents and there are the rules unspoken and codified that create boundaries within our social groups. Religion creates another layer of constraints to those who follow those religions, but for the most part those are the same rules that have allowed humans to live in social groups since the dawn of humanity: I.e. don't kill, don't steal, don't lie. Religion adds important things like "don't eat bacon", or "always wear a beard."

    Free will of course doesn't protect us from consequences. For instance, a person may murder their spouse, but will pay the penalty decided upon by their particular society.

    February 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  20. Justina

    For those who never heard about Jesus and perish in their actual sin with lack of the presence of Gospel – I think they are the "small" ones who'd reject Jesus even if they'd have heard. Babies, small children, heavily mentally challenged or lost – anyone who cannot take moral responsibility yet exists with original sin and die without showing faith in Jesus... I think they will not be punished in a sense, as punishment is according to the individual's ability(Gospels) and what he/she has actually done(Revelation). An Epistle mentions children being marred, but it doesn't mean indiscriminate punishment awaiting. I think God is silent on little children's fate so that we will never neglect saving them physically on earth. God is good and Jesus loves little children; it's absolutely illogical and impossible He would do anything but be fair with them and everyone else.

    February 26, 2011 at 5:23 am |
    • Reality

      Justina,

      What I and most of the other hominids to include yourself suffer from is the Three B Syndrome i.e being Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religions that are based on hallucinations, myths, embellishments and lies. And what is almost hilarious about this is how we have bought into this mumbo jumbo for so long.

      February 26, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • eric

      How about the idea of Original Blessing. I can't in good faith or conscious believe that we are 'fallen' right from birth. I've read about the 'Fall', but I don't believe it. I can only believe that God is an amazing, loving being.

      February 26, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Reality

      Since many have reiterated their previous thoughts about Adam and Eve and original sin, let me reiterate what is being taught in some Catholic university theology classes.

      "The story of Adam and Eve is only symbolic.

      This story was composed in the 900s BCE and functions as an etiology (explanatory myth) . In the 900s Israel was self ruling, under King David and Solomon. The people were no longer at war and the question" Why are we not happy?" may have been asked. The short answer is sin. (Look at 1 Kings 11 for some clues into why the story depicts Eve sinning first and then tempting Adam [Solomon]).
      .
      Baptism does not erase original sin since the sin does not exist. The old "laundry of the soul," approach to Baptism is no longer accepted.

      Infant Baptism is only a rite of initiation and commits parents and godparents to bringing up the child in a Christian home.

      February 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @eric

      The Christian belief system is based on original sin, and the need for a redeemer.

      This is why the Evangelicals fight so hard against Evolution. If Evolution is true, then there was no Adam and Eve. If there was no Adam and Eve, then there was no original sin. If there was no original sin, then there is no need for a redeemer. If no redeemer, then Christianity is invalid.

      Because Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, Saint Augustine said all descendants of Adam (that being the entire human race) were created with fundamentally flawed semen and inherited the Original Sin from all of their descendants through their father's semen.

      So, to be a Christian, you must subscribe to a god that created man and woman imperfectly and then applies tons of suffering to "fix" the problem. Go, God!

      Cheers!

      February 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • myklds

      David Johnson...It's not only that you've took it in the wrong way but had just turned everything upside down completely.

      Since Atheist's premise (as what they have been claiming)is always be based and backed-up with evidence, can you give me a name or names of evangelist(s) that "fight so hard against evolution" and quote a statement from them?

      It is Science that has been fighting so hard to disprove and nullify Religious Belief and Religion itself. On the other hand, what evangelists have been doing is defending it.

      God made Adam and Eve perfect, it was the devil in a form of (serpent)
      animal who tempted them to become imperfect. And the devil wanted to do more damage and humiliate humans to convince us that we are not created from the wonderful image of God but from the (hideous) image of an (ape) animal.

      Scientific studies found that dogs has an intelligence near to humans than of apes.

      Darwin should have done more research on animals than their looks and characteristics before using it to defy creationism.

      February 27, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • Justina

      Eric, God is holy. He already blessed us with life and the presentation of truth fit for each human being. Humans destroy without being taught; Humans are born-sinners.
      Reality, Pope and the Bible-literate Catholics don't take such unbiblical liberal theology.
      David, the possibility of big bang or life by chance is 0, therefore your point has no meaning.

      February 27, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Don

      mykids, nowhere in the bible is the devil named as the serpent. Further, the fact that theists are asked to back up their claims isn't part of something evil against theism; it's simply proper. Theists make (supposedly) testable ontological claims. They are expected to back those claims. Especially your claim wrt intelligence of dogs vs apes. Name the study. Now.

      The upshot is the science hasn't been trying to disprove "religion", but a lot of theists have been bawling their eyes out when some scientist dares to not mention "god" in an explanation.

      February 27, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Reality

      Justina,

      Your obvious future:

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      February 27, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • David Johnson

      @myklds

      You said: "Since Atheist's premise (as what they have been claiming)is always be based and backed-up with evidence, can you give me a name or names of evangelist(s) that "fight so hard against evolution" and quote a statement from them?"

      The Discovery Inst_itute, a pro-intelligent design lobby group located in the United States, funded heavily by Howard Ahmanson, Jr., a right wing Christian reconstructionist millionaire.

      And here, is evidence that my statement about why fundies fight Evolution is true:

      The first eleven chapters of Genesis set the stage for the rest of the biblical story. You can’t understand the unfolding narrative of Scripture without Genesis 1–11. There is so much foundational material in these chapters for the rest of the Bible—e.g., creation, the fall, sin, the certainty of judgment, the necessity of a Savior, and the introduction of the gospel. To ignore these foundational doctrines would render the rest of the Bible as unintelligible and irrelevant.
      Source: http://www.gotquestions.org/creation-theology-beliefs.html

      The fact is that a rejection of the Genesis account will naturally lead to a rejection
      of the entire Bible, since the Bible tells us again and again that Genesis is true.
      Source: http://www.christianlibrary.org/authors/Grady_Scott/.../creationman.htm

      At one seminar, a lady told me that evolutionism had destroyed her faith in the Scriptures. She had such an emptiness in her life that she cried to the Lord and prayed for a solution to this problem. She was finding it impossible to trust the Scriptures.
      Source: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/the-lie/chapter10.asp

      You said: "It is Science that has been fighting so hard to disprove and nullify Religious Belief and Religion itself. On the other hand, what evangelists have been doing is defending it."

      Actually, even in the Evangelical ranks, the idea of a literal interpretation of Genesis is waning. The fundies are losing their college educated members. The scientific evidence is too great, even for Jesus to overcome.

      Christian churches are rapidly accepting alternative positions, in an effort to comply with the findings of science. Examples are: The literary-framework view, revelatory-day view, alternate-day-age view, and gap theory. For them, God’s creative days recorded in Genesis may well have been eons of time. Take your pick and believe! They are all loony.

      The believers who fight for the literal interpretation of Genesis are right to do so. Once you admit that Genesis, as written in the King James, is bogus, you open the flood gates.

      Your god is drowning in a sea of scientific discoveries.

      The remainder of your comments are not worth my time to answer.

      Cheers!

      February 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Justina

      You said: "the possibility of big bang or life by chance is 0, therefore your point has no meaning."

      The big bang (more like expansion instead of bang) is the most popular theory. The theory fits the evidence.

      The red shift supports the expansion of the universe.

      Cosmic Microwave Background radiation shows the universe was originally very hot as it would be if the expansion occurred.

      Abundance of Hydrogen and Helium found in the observable universe. Light elements, as the theory indicates.

      Once the expansion occurred, only time, gravity and inertia were responsible for creating the universe. No god required.

      The Big Bang is not responsible for life. That would be abiogenesis. And once the spark of life occurred, Evolution explains the diversity of organisms on the planet. No god required.

      Cheers!

      February 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Justina

      Don, it's atheists who rage in fits when a word of "God" is mentioned in science. They start out in the premise of "no-God" which is unscientific at all. Atheists are thieves who ignore the existence of God who is the Creator, Sustainer and Owner of everything; thieves behave like kings only until the real King arrives.
      Reality, you're free to imagine up things, but true reality is that Jesus God's Son came to our time frame, into our dimention. God made a billions-year-old looking universe in 6 days to crush your self-smartness. There are other universes God made that you have no idea about. You missed it all because you kept day-dreaming and never read the Bible.

      February 28, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Justina

      David Johnson, your said, "Once the expansion occurred, only time, gravity and inertia were responsible for creating the universe. No god required. The Big Bang is not responsible for life. That would be abiogenesis. And once the spark of life occurred, Evolution explains the diversity of organisms on the planet. No god required."
      Time, gravity and inertia "created" universe? What's responsible for the existence of time, gravity and inertia? How did the original "hotness" and then sparks of life occur? Can you explain that? According to you, "No god required," but you are requiring us to believe in a chaos where things physically and freely develop on its own will which has not been observed in reality at all. Evolution explains not a thing, not on a cell especially. You typically want to deify nature, but our physical world of living organisms develops only according to pre-set programs as seen in the formations of proteins. David, don't expect to convince a single thinking individual to accept your theories. You atheists reject God simply because you can play a god and continue the filthy lifestyles without thinking of consequences. You need God for truth.

      February 28, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Reality

      Some added reading for Justina:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/

      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter
      100-200 Odes of Solomon

      101-220 Book of Elchasai

      105-115 Ignatius of Antioch

      110-140 Polycarp to the Philippians

      110-140 Papias

      110-160 Oxyrhynchus 840 Gospel

      110-160 Traditions of Matthias

      111-112 Pliny the Younger

      115 Suetonius

      115 Tacitus

      120-130 Quadratus of Athens

      120-130 Apology of Aristides

      120-140 Basilides

      120-140 Naassene Fragment

      120-160 Valentinus

      120-180 Apocryphon of John

      120-180 Gospel of Mary

      120-180 Dialogue of the Savior

      120-180 Gospel of the Savior

      120-180 2nd Apocalypse of James

      120-180 Trimorphic Protennoia

      130-140 Marcion

      130-150 Aristo of Pella

      130-160 Epiphanes On Righteousness

      130-160 Ophite Diagrams

      130-160 2 Clement

      130-170 Gospel of Judas

      130-200 Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

      140-150 Epistula Apostolorum

      140-160 Ptolemy

      140-160 Isidore

      140-170 Fronto

      140-170 Infancy Gospel of James

      140-170 Infancy Gospel of Thomas

      140-180 Gospel of Truth

      150-160 Martyrdom of Polycarp

      150-160 Justin Martyr

      150-180 Excerpts of Theodotus

      150-180 Heracleon

      150-200 Ascension of Isaiah

      150-200 Acts of Peter

      150-200 Acts of John

      150-200 Acts of Paul

      150-200 Acts of Andrew

      150-225 Acts of Peter and the Twelve

      150-225 Book of Thomas the Contender

      150-250 Fifth and Sixth Books of Esra

      150-300 Authoritative Teaching

      150-300 Coptic Apocalypse of Paul

      150-300 Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth

      150-300 Melchizedek

      150-400 Acts of Pilate

      150-400 Anti-Marcionite Prologues

      160-170 Tatian's Address to the Greeks

      160-180 Claudius Apollinaris

      160-180 Apelles

      160-180 Julius Cassianus

      160-250 Octavius of Minucius Felix

      161-180 Acts of Carpus

      165-175 Melito of Sardis

      165-175 Hegesippus

      165-175 Dionysius of Corinth

      165-175 Lucian of Samosata

      167 Marcus Aurelius

      170-175 Diatessaron

      170-200 Dura-Europos Gospel Harmony

      170-200 Muratorian Canon

      170-200 Treatise on the Resurrection

      170-220 Letter of Peter to Philip

      175-180 Athenagoras of Athens

      175-185 Irenaeus of Lyons

      175-185 Rhodon

      175-185 Theophilus of Caesarea

      175-190 Galen

      178 Celsus

      178 Letter from Vienna and Lyons

      180 Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs

      180-185 Theophilus of Antioch

      180-185 Acts of Apollonius

      180-220 Bardesanes

      180-220 Kerygmata Petrou

      180-230 Hippolytus of Rome

      180-250 1st Apocalypse of James

      180-250 Gospel of Philip

      182-202 Clement of Alexandria

      185-195 Maximus of Jerusalem

      185-195 Polycrates of Ephesus

      188-217 Talmud

      189-199 Victor I

      190-210 Pantaenus

      193 Anonymous Anti-Montanist

      193-216 Inscription of Abercius

      197-220 Tertullian

      200-210 Serapion of Antioch

      200-210 Apollonius

      200-220 Caius

      200-220 Philostratus

      200-225 Acts of Thomas

      200-250 Didascalia

      200-250 Books of Jeu

      200-300 Pistis Sophia

      200-300 Coptic Apocalypse of Peter

      203 Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas

      203-250 Origen

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
      10. 7. The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html
      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      religion-online.org/
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      ntgateway.com/
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      February 28, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Justina

      What this commentor Reality needs to read: the full text of the Holy Bible.
      He writes on things which he never read himself therefore have no authentic idea about, just like his favorite authors.

      February 28, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Don

      Utterly false, Justina. Atheists do not start out from the premise of "no-god". Since you have borne false witness, you need to repent, SINNER!

      And you're free to live in your land of make-believe, where fairies and pixies make magic. But here in the real world there simply is no god. Period. And none of your hatred for those who don't believe as you do will change that.

      February 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Justina

      Don, atheists repeat their non-sense rant without being able to either explain or prove. Communists did that all the time.

      February 28, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Magic

      Justina,

      "atheists repeat their non-sense rant without being able to either explain or prove."

      Atheists do not believe in a "God"... period. End of "rant".

      Explain or prove it? Proving a negative cannot be done. It is the burden of the one making the claim to prove it.... and your extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof - you have not provided it.

      February 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Don

      Justina, you keep triggering my irony-o-meter.

      And as to your not-so-sly attempt to link atheism with communism: I'm an anarchocapitalist. I'm far more free market than you could ever hope to be. So how about to try to actually discuss things, rather than spewing hatred.

      February 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • myklds

      Don..HERE!

      "Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

      Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,"

      read and be informed and quit advertising you ignorance here.

      @ Justina, Thank You.

      February 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • myklds

      @David Johnson, I asked you for a name of those who opposed evolution and you gave me those who stood and defend creationism using the word from the book of genesis. How informative!

      Just a couple of question for you.

      Which of the two existed first, the book of Genesis or the Big bang theory? And......

      Isn't it silly to "fight hard" to disprove something that does NOT existed yet?

      February 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.