home
RSS
Saving Thomas Jefferson's scrapbook Bible
Smithsonian paper conservator Janice Stagnitto Ellis displays the cover page from Thomas Jefferson's Bible.
March 11th, 2011
08:52 AM ET

Saving Thomas Jefferson's scrapbook Bible

By Sally Holland, CNN

Thomas Jefferson literally cut passages on the chronology and moral teachings of Jesus out of several Bibles and glued them into what historians have termed the Jefferson Bible.

The founding father completed the book that he called "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" during his retirement in 1820.

Conservationists at the National Museum of American History are currently working to preserve the almost-200-year-old book so it can go on display in November.

Paper conservator Janice Stagnitto Ellis said the main problem is the way the book was bound. Over time, the paper has become less flexible, and bending the brittle pages caused the paper to tear, she said.

"Without doing modifications to the binding, we could open the book [to] about a 30-degree angle before the paper would be required to bend, which it couldn't do," she said. "It became un-exhibitable."

The goal is to display the book opened to a 90-degree angle.

The 86-page book was bound in high-end red Moroccan leather with gold tooling. Inside, passages from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in English, French, Latin and Greek are pasted side by side so Jefferson could compare the various translations of the story of the life of Jesus.

"He puts them in chronological order and ... extracts those parts that can be identified through reason and thought," museum curator Harry Rubenstein said. "So out goes the miracles, out goes the resurrections and what remains is what he thinks is the life and morals of Jesus, the true teachings."

Jefferson used six different "source" Bibles to create his version: two in English, two in French and two that included both Greek and Latin. He needed two of each so that if he cut a passage out of one side of a page, he would still have the back side of that page in case he wanted to include a passage from there.

A curator handles one of Jefferson's source Bibles.

The museum also has the two English "source" Bibles which show the cutout holes of the scripture Jefferson included in his version.

Jefferson also changed the grammar. On one page, he apparently didn't like the number of prepositions in a verse from Matthew that started, "For as in the days that were before the flood ..." He cut out the word "as," changing the scripture to "For in the days that were before the flood ..."

The Smithsonian acquired the book from Jefferson's great-granddaughter in 1895 for $400.

In 1904, Congress authorized printed photocopies of the book that were given to all of its incoming members. This practice ended in the 1950s when they ran out of copies.

Currently, preservationists have removed the binding for the Jefferson Bible and are doing digital scans of all of the pages of the book to be included as part of the display later this year.

They are looking at various ways to provide more flexibility in the binding.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • DC • Politics • United States

soundoff (657 Responses)
  1. LoneZero

    Sorry try again Justina lol I can't believe you just said that

    March 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  2. Justina

    America has been good and great because she is founded upon the Bible! She is deteriorating like the ancient Israel...

    March 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      False. America was founded on no such thing. The US was founded on no such thing.

      Do you always make up crap as you go along?

      March 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • BB

      Did you bother graduating from High School? Look up some of the works from the Enlightenment. You'll see the Founding Fathers were more influenced by that movement than any religion.

      March 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom Tom is having one of his meltdowns.

      March 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Please check out this link if you are at all interested in the views of American's founding fathers on religion as it pertains to government. There is some conjecture here, but the important parts are the actual quotes of the men who risked all to create this nation.

      http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.html

      March 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  3. theoldadam

    I love that Jefferson felt free to cut and paste from the Bible. it's just a book, you know. A book that contains the infallible Word of God.

    March 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Observer

      Was it the infallible word of God when God gave all the commands that we should kill anyone working on the Sabbath and to kill unruly kids?

      There are plenty of private comments from Jefferson that showed he was not a Christian.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • stormsun

      What seems infalliable to one man seems extremely falliable to another.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  4. N. Peterson

    So Jefferson defaced and destroyed God's Word by cutting and pasting? Ha, some Christian.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • stormsun

      Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. He was not a Christian.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • N. Peterson

      "In private letters, Jefferson refers to himself as "Christian" (1803): "To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence....[131]"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson#Religion

      Not that I care, I am not a Christian, but there's conflicting information about Jefferson

      March 12, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Observer

      @N. Peterson,

      Based on many private notes from Jefferson, he apparently was not a Christian in the sense that most people think of being a Christian. There aren't too many Christians who don't believe that Jesus was the direct son of God and wasn't resurrected.

      March 12, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  5. Eugene Grubbs

    Charlie Sheen! Stop masquerading as Me so Holy!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  6. bman

    What a waste of time. What is the point here? That thomas jefferson could do paper machet, when he wasn't busy impregnating his slaves? Who cares?

    March 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Justina

      Americans freed slaves(especially women and children) all over the world! Long live (the former version of) America!

      March 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • False Reality

      "Americans freed slaves(especially women and children) all over the world! Long live (the former version of) America!"

      Which former version is that exactly? The 50s? When women and blacks weren't treated equally? Be careful of this revisonism, we should be moving forward not backwards.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Justina

      @F-R-, each era and each generation has its unique evil that needs combat. My beloved America is godly and strives after godliness, human rights, freedom, equality, and fairness for all. It's something America stands for and symbolizes to the world. Even with her troubles and shortcomings, America has been always the picture of liberation for everyone on earth, whether the villains are atheistic communists or domestic countrymen. In recent years the pollution got real bad, but there are still so many wonderful Christians in America. America has hope.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Justina, have you educated yourself about anorexia and other eating disorders yet?

      March 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  7. Me so holy

    Haw! The religious trolls are off their meds again! You guys need to quit feeding them. Give them the silent treatment!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  8. bong hitter hero

    I wonder how a Christian would feel after they died they enter the afterlife and they look up and say God where's your son Jesus. My name is Zeus and I don't have a son named Jesus, he never was a demigod. I wonder how that situation would work out.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Eugene Grubbs

      In that scenario you would have to realize that – although it was indeed the afterlife- the place that you were in was NOT heaven. That would explain the weeping and gnashing of teeth that you hear.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Medardus

      @Eugene

      Zeus is in hell? This is news to me. Does that mean Odin's in hell, too? Mithra? Zoroaster? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Invisible Pink Unicorn?

      Seems like a popular joint.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It must be blissful to be as simple-minded as Heaven's Stink. She always knows ALL the answers. She knows exactly what the Bible says and means. Never mind all the scholars who are theologians and have studied it for years, yet disagree about the meaning of many parts of it. Who are they? Nobodies! Heaven's Stink is the ONLY source of real knowledge.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      At least I read, study, comprehend His truth and apply His wisdom to my life. And you? What have you learned by reading the Bible? Oh, that's right, you don't read the Bible. As I stated before ... YOU, and YOU alone own your bad behavior (SIN).

      March 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhaha! Hit a nerve, didn't I? And not just once, either. You respond to my posts because they hit home. You're a hypocrite, HS.

      March 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  10. AnotherGuy

    You are all missing the point. In a mostly capitalist world what we should be discussing is whether TJ was ior is in violation of copyright material.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  11. Eugene Grubbs

    The very moral teachings espoused by Jesus which Jefferson held dear were not merely suggestions but commandments which Jefferson would be judged by according to Jesus. The high moral standard ( love your enemy and do good to those who do evil to you) was unattainable ( and obviously unacceptable as well) by Jefferson – who was in fact in rebellion against a government in which the Bible demands he should have been submissive and subject to. The high moral teachings that Jefferson delighted in were the very teachings which exposed him ( and us) as a sinner in need of redemption. The miracles of Jesus confirmed that He was the only one who was qualified to establish that redemption by enduring the wrath of God ( fulfilling the law) and appeasing His holy wrath. Jefferson didn't get it. He mocked the way of salvation and exalted the words which would ultimately condemn him due to his inability to live by them.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Medardus

      Can I have some of whatever you're having? Looks like a fun trip.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  12. False Reality

    "@ False Reality: There is a great difference between the commandments of god ( instruction if you will ) and Christian Theology that developed over these past few thousand yrs. It would help if you knew the difference."

    I am well aware of the difference. E.G. we really don't stone our first born to death if he doesn't obey us as the Bible suggests we should. What point are you making exactly?

    March 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  13. Larry

    @ False Reality: There is a great difference between the commandments of god ( instruction if you will ) and Christian Theology that developed over these past few thousand yrs. It would help if you knew the difference.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  14. april

    I think it's funny how everyone is so sure they know exactly what Thomas Jefferson believed or what label Thomas Jefferson would apply to himself. What is wrong with you people? The only person who could possibly know whether Thomas Jefferson is a Deist, atheist, Christian, Agnostic, etc, is Thomas Jefferson himself. Further, all of those labels could mean different things to us today than they meant to him back then. You assume a ton of things from what he wrote. But he's not here to ask for clarification of his opinions. Quit trying to attribute opinions to someone you never even knew.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • False Reality

      "You assume a ton of things from what he wrote. But he's not here to ask for clarification of his opinions. Quit trying to attribute opinions to someone you never even knew."

      Great point April! I'll take it a step further...whatever his beleifs are, they shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not we are a believer or not. It's like all the Christians are hoping he's a Deist and all the Atheists are hoping he's an Atheist as if it would be the deciding factor.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, no. I'm sure Heaven's Most Obnoxious can tell you. She knows what God thinks, after all.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @april

      And... at least one of the reasons to discuss these issues/opinions, etc... is here in the 'belief' blog, in relationship to this article, yes...?

      And you do make some good points, as I think it would be great for a lot of the fundamentalists to apply your mind-set to the Bible, that was written...oh....2,000 + years ago... by a muliti-tude of unknown authors with mixed agendas, yes...?

      Respectfully...

      Peace...

      March 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      It is through his writings and this work that we CAN get to know someone and understand how THEY perceived the world.
      I came to know Benjamin Franklin far better through his letters to his son than through ANY other text in the world.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommy Tom Tom, anyone who reads and comprehends Jesus' truth can tell you what and how He thinks. You get miffed because you want to stay clueless and not read His truth on your own. Not my problem. You own your sinful nature all on your own. Tell your complaints to God when you meet Him.

      March 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • MrEO

      You can't tell what Jesus thinks and feels by reading second and third-hand accounts written decades after his death.
      Total BS all the way.
      If you have a "personal relationship" with Jesus, why not ask him directly what he feels or thinks? Not working for you that way? Gosh, what a surprise. Let me know when he wants to party, okay? I'm not driving all the way to the church across the street for a "no-show" god or his "no-show" son.
      They have my address and phone number. Jesus can call me anytime. He could call anyone anytime.
      Does he ever do so?
      Nope. Nobody there I guess. Must be dead. Or maybe they never existed in the first place. All evidence is lacking for anyone trying to prove god exists. That is MY evidence that no god exists. And I have a lot of it. God has been ruled out and he has evidently (pun intended) pleaded "nolo contendre" to the charge of non-existence.
      But trying to tell me you know what Jesus wants and feels and what he thinks?
      Priceless.

      March 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  15. Lovin'Life

    Evan – I find your posts very interesting

    March 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Evan

      Thank you.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • hey evan

      talk to yourself much?

      March 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  16. Mike Brooks

    A lot of what has been written about Jefferson and his Bible is pure nonsense. Jefferson bequeathed funding for 12 Anglican churches after his death. He was very much a Christian and described himself as one, but he was a "libertarian" Christian who denied many, but not all, of the miracles attributed to Jesus. Jefferson both believed in God, the Christian God, and in the divinity of Jesus Christ and the purposeful misunderstanding of what this great man meant by calling himself a Christian is both reckless and denigrating.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Evan

      Actually, Jefferson was a Deist, meaning he did not believe God could be discovered through religion, only philosophy and nature. However, nonetheless, he agreed that Jesus' moral principles were nothing short of perfect.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Mike Brooks

      Just some information in reference to your 'Anglican' point:

      "Affiliations with Anglican Churches

      Jefferson was raised in the Church of England at a time when it was the established church in Virginia and only denomination funded by Virginia tax money. Before the Revolution, Jefferson was a vestryman in his local church, a lay position that was informally tied to political office at the time. He also had friends who were clergy, and he supported some churches financially. Following the Revolution, the Church of England in America reorganized as the Episcopal Church in America. During his Presidency, Jefferson attended the weekly church services held in the House of Representatives. Church services were held in executive branch buildings throughout his administration. According to one author, he attended these public services because he believed that religion was an important (prop) for republican government.[9] Jefferson also contributed to church endowment funds. However, in later years, he refused to serve as a godparent, because he did not believe in the dogma of the Trinity.[10] There is no evidence that he was ever confirmed or was a communicant.[11]

      Peace...

      March 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I, for one, would LOVE to be able to download the scanned book, once it's fully scanned in. It would give valuable insight into Jefferson the man, rather than revisionist versions of history making him into Jefferson the saint.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Cal

      @Wzrd1, the etext of the Jefferson Bible is available at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/JefJesu.html, and a printed copy can be obtained from Beacon Press, http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=1678 Enjoy!

      March 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. John

    Evan,
    I'll ask you again for chapter and verse on where Jesus advocates democracy.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Evan

      Sure. Matthew 5:43. Matthew 19:19. Matthew 22:37-40. Mark 12:31. Mark 12:33. Luke 10:27. Just to name a few.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      John, what are you complaining about? Non-believers in Biblical times ensured man would be king over them instead of God. God used to rule over everyone, until your like minds complained all the time that they couldn't see Him, couldn't touch Him, didn't know Him because they too, were too engrossed in the lust of their flesh, causing sin.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Medardus

      Matthew 5:43

      “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’"

      Democracy? Nope.

      Matthew 19:19

      "Honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’"

      Democracy? Nope.

      Matthew 22:37-40

      "Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      Democracy? Nope.

      Mark 12:31

      "The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

      I think I'm seeing a common thematic element here. You're saying "love your neighbor" is the basis for democracy? Not equality?

      March 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Mike from MN

      "Jesus" is a socialist, and "God" is a dictator. How else are they going to ensure everyone is equal? How else will they get rid of capitalism so that everyone no longer needs to compete to survive?

      March 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Evan

      Yes, I'm with -Medardus here in my take on your biblical verses in relationship to Democracy.

      I'm sincerely curious... please explain...?

      Thanks..

      Peace...

      March 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Evan

      Democracy is a form of government in which people can make their own decisions. However, Jesus makes it clear that "making our own decisions" has actually seperated society from God.

      However, Jesus did want a "perfect society". In this perfect society, the Kingdom of God, there are no rules or laws. There is no money. There is love. How we look doesn't matter. What we have doesn't matter. It's what we do that matters. In this society, evil does not have power over us.

      Jesus did believe in a perfect society. He just did not believe a "whatever goes, goes" society, like this one, was perfect.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Medardus

      @Evan

      So if I vote I'm going to Hell?

      March 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Evan

      Jesus did tell us to love each, even those who differ from. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-27, Jesus shows a Samaritan helping an injured Jewish man. What's the significance here? The Samaritans were a racial minority despised and hated by the Jews. In this story, three people walked by. First a Jewish priest walked by. He didn't do anything to help his injured brother. Another Jewish priest came by, and, again, did nothing. However, the Samaritan came by and helped the man. In his story, the person who was despised and hated did the good thing. Were the Jewish man and the Samaritans brothers? No, but they were neighbors. Jesus teaches us to love not just our friends, but our neighbors as well. Jesus tells us to love our enemies.

      Did you think the crusades match up with Jesus' teachings?

      March 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Evan

      Voting is not a sin. Loving your country is not a sin. However, it is loving your country more than God that is a sin. It is believing that "your way" is better than God's way that is a sin.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Medardus

      @Evan

      "However, it is loving your country more than God that is a sin. It is believing that "your way" is better than God's way that is a sin."

      So the American Way should be God's way?

      March 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Medardus

      @Evan

      "Jesus did tell us to love each, even those who differ from."

      So... how is that exactly a basis for democracy? Even though the Greeks were practicing democratic principles before the alleged Jesus was even born?

      March 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Evan

      When did I say that? I said "Loving your country more than God is a sin". America's way is not God's way.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • hey evan

      putting your religion above our rights to worship differently....and putting your god above following the law and doing the right thing....and putting your faith above our freedom and our country.....
      ...makes you a TRAITOR!

      Looked in the mirror lately? That's what a traitor looks like. People like you should have their citizenship revoked by exile or death. Just my opinion.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Evan

      hey evan, (I like the name by the way) Jesus says it best: "...My Kingdom is not of this world..." (John 18:36). In other words, Christians are in the world, not of it. Our ultimate authority is G-d. If people in authority do what G-d does not want them to do, Jesus makes it clear it is much more important to continue doing to want G-d wants, rather than what men want.

      However, Jesus does indeed say it is not a sin to do what the government wants us to do, as long as it does not contradict what G-d wants us to do. In Luke 20:25, Jesus says "...Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's", which means if what a human wants and what G-d wants do not contradict, we should do both. Paul says in Romans 13:1 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities...". However, he later makes it clear we should submit only if they do not keep us from doing what G-d wants.

      March 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • MrEO

      Evan – Then the problem appears to be discerning what your god ACTUALLY wants and using that to determine how to be a good citizen while following what your god wants. Yes?

      But that, **IS** the problem here anyway! Your "holy texts" are CONTRADICTORY! How could anyone use these debunked and contradictory words as a guide for everyday living? As a guide to do ANYTHING?
      They can't. YOU can't. It's literally impossible for you to say what your god wants. You can't do it.
      There's no way for you to find out what your god wants in terms of politics, law, regulations, personal actions, etc.
      No way at all.
      You can pray all day. You can pray "without ceasing" all you want, but you will never get a clear, unambiguous response from your deity. All you can do is grab wildly at some small ambiguous thing or event and say "see? God wants us to do things this way!" without anyone being able to confirm your results, reproduce them independently, or anything like that to ensure that you are truly doing what your god wants.
      People twist the words of the bible to justify what they have already decided on doing, they don't use the bible to justify doing what is right, they don't use it to justify doing something they don't want to do or something they already want to do.

      Until you get a clear transmission from your "co-pilot", you have absolutely no knowledge of what your god wants in any particular situation. We're talking life and death issues here. We need absolutely rock-solid information upon which to base our decision-making.
      Your bible is anything BUT rock-solid. You have built your faith upon the sand of your contradictory "holy" texts.

      And without a clear, unambiguous, non-controvertible "command" from your god, your actions are more likely to be treasonous than not. Why not ask your god for clear directions on some topic or decision you need to make?
      Go ahead and see what you get. Nothing but static. Happenstance. Random noises and events. Nothing as clear as day I'll bet. Your inability to look at things objectively will ensure that you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

      March 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  18. Evan

    Kalam Argument: Infinity does not exist in the material world.
    1) If you had infinity CD's, and each had infinity songs, and you listened to every song on one CD, you would have listened to the same number of songs as if you had listened to all the songs on every CD.
    2) A dad in a racecar is doing laps around a 1 mile track. His son on the infield is riding in circles on his tricycle. For every one lap the dad does, the boy does 12. If the dad did infinity laps, so would the boy. X=Y even though Y is 12 times greater than X.
    3)"Now" would not exist it time was infinite. Picture "now" as a train station. The train tracks are infinitely long. Would the train ever get to you? It never would. Similarly, time would be non-exsistent if it were infinitely long, for "now" could not exist.
    Thomas Aquinas gave us 5 reasons to believe God exists:
    1)"All that is moved must be moved by another". Things moves when something causes it move to move. This pattern cannot regress infinitely because infinity cannot exist in the material world. The first thing, therefore, could not have been moved by anything else. We call this being God.
    2)"Everything that comes into exsistence owes its exsistence to something else". I was created by my parents, who were created by their parents, who were created by their parents, etc. We know this could not have continued forever. Therefore, something must have created my first descendant. We call this original creator God.
    3)"Not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary". In other words, things do not have to exist, but they do. The universe is not necessary for there to be "something". The Big Bang theory proves this. If the universe is expanding, it must be going somewhere. If it is infinite, it can go no where. Therefore, there is existence outside of this universe. Therefore, this universe is not necessary. A being who has always existed must have had a reason for this universe in order to feel a desire to create it. Without a desire to create, nothing would have been created. We call this creator God.
    4) We see things are "better" or "worse" than other things. When we say something is "hotter" than something else, we are saying it is closer to the "hottest" thing. When we say something was "nicer", we are saying it was closer to the "nicest" thing. Therefore, our "grading" of how good things are is based on the best it could possibly be. The being who is the best they could possibly be is called God.
    5) We see that natural bodies, most of which do not have any intelligence, work towards some goal. The sun, for example, is not intelligence, but it provides energy for plants to grow, even though it is not intelligent. These plants provide energy for us, even though they are not intelligent. As an intelligent archer fires and unintelligent arrow, so the creator we call God uses unitelligent things, such as the sun and the plants, to do things.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Evan

      God: The Moral Argument.
      Many people say "Morals are defined by the individual". There is a problem with this reasoning. If I were to hold a cup of boiling water above a puppy's head (forgive me if this image disturbs you), you could not tell me to stop me, if you were to remain consistent, because what if I think it is right. If I came into your house and stole everything, you would not tell me to stop, because what if I think I am doing the right thing? While this theory seems reasonable, it cannot be lived out consistently.
      Some people think society decides what is right or wrong. However, if this were true, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and other people like them would be the most evil people who ever existed. Their crime? They rebelled against society. They pointed out they saw wrong and fought against it. Another problem with this theory is it is based on observation. Observation is just observing things the way they are, but morals are the way things are supposed to be. Just because society does one thing does not mean it is the right thing to do (slavery, for example).
      Some peole think there is no right and wrong, because sometimes there are disagreements over morals. The problem with this theory is just because numerous people disagree does not mean both are right. Either one is right or they are both wrong. Also, if there is no wrong, why do Atheists say "There is so much evil in the world"? Saying you see evil means there must be a right or wrong.
      Therefore, morals are objective. They are universal. They have a sense of obligation that we all know. Morals are not "it would be good if you did this" or "it would be bad if you did that", but "do this" or "don't do that". These commands must come from a being. We call this being God.
      Where did these morals come from? Either God understands good because it is outside of him, or morals are the way they are because God says they are that way. However, there is a third option. Morals are based on God's character. The are based on God, and are therefore not external to Him nor changeable.
      What about morals that conflict? Morals that conflict are actually not arguments about morals at all. Just facts. With abortion, for example, the anti-abortion group declared "Killing an innocent Human is bad". Pro-abortion people do not disagree that killing an innocent human is bad. However, they just don't consider and unborn human a human at all.
      Have you ever felt guilty when you have done something wrong? To whom do you feel guilty? When you get angry at someone for something that wasn't their fault, it is obvious whom you feel guilty towards: the person you got angry at. However, have you ever thought something, wanted to do something, or have done something when you thought nobody was watching you that you felt guilty about? While you may deny it, you know in your heart that you have felt guilty about things that others didn't know about. To whom do you feel guilty towards? The being that gave us morals. God.
      We may deny it, but all of us know right or wrong. It is not a nagging feeling and a suggestion, but something we know we are obligated to do. While an atheist may claim they believe in subjective morality, they cannot live this philosophy out consistantly.
      There is overwhelming proof for the existence of God. Why is there something rather than nothing? If there were nothing, what would there be? Why is there something when it is not necessary? While atheists claim Christianity has no foundation, atheism has no foundation, for it fails to answer these questions. God exists, whether you want to believe it or not.
      (Note: Christianity is not philosophy, nor should it be treated as such. I merely use philosophy to get my point across.)

      March 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Evan

      God: The Design Argument
      1) There are many parameters in the universe that, even if changed minutely, would destroy existence as we know it. Some include: The strong nuclear constant, the weak nuclear constant, the gravitational force constant, the electromagnetic constant, Ration of electron to proton mass, ration of protons to electrons, expansion rate of the universe, entropy level of the universe, mass density of the universe, velocity of light, etc. These are all very specific things.
      You may be thinking "Well, if they were different, that doesn't mean things couldn't exist. It just means that different things would exist". That isn't true. If any of these parameters were slightly different, not only would life as we know it not exist, but nothing would exist. Take the expansion rate of the universe: if it was faster than one part in 10^55, galaxies could not have formed. If it were any slower, the universe would have collapsed.
      These extremely specific parameters indicate someone intelligent set them up. We call this intelligent being God.
      2) Information is communication between minds. Is there information on this page? The answer is "no". There is no information on this page, just lines (in a specific order) that are used to signify sounds, which we use to communicate thoughts. Let's use another example: we have infinity monkeys with inifinity type writers. If we gave them infinite time (note: I am not contradiciting the Kalam Argument, as this situation is merely hypothetical), would the monkeys ever type Hamlet? The answer is no. Even if one of the monkeys somehow hit the correct string of letters, it would not be Hamlet. Why? Because the monkeys were not trying to give information. They were not trying to communicate with our mind. What is knowledge? A collection of information. What is information? A communication between minds. Therefore, we know what we know because somebody gives us the information.
      Sometimes it is obvious who give us the information. I learned math from my math teachers, I learned English from my parents, etc. However, some things are much harder to determine how we learned it. Breathing, for example: who taught me how to breath? If I didn't learn fast, I'd be dead. However, it was something I did naturally. An atheist may now be saying "You breathed because it is an instinct". Well, who gave us that instinct, my friend? Because knowledge is information, and information is the communication between minds, something intelligent and transcendent must have taught me how to breath. We call this being God.
      DNA contains information. But where did this information come from. Somebody didn't just sit down with the DNA and say "Look, here is what you are supposed to do". The DNA recieved the information not from something of the universe, for it is not intelligent. However, even though it is not intelligent, it still does things. Atheists are now in a difficult position, for they have to explain how DNA got its information from something that exists in the universe.
      3) Let's use William Paley's argument. If you are walking through the forrest and you find a watch on the ground, you are immediately going to think "Somebody dropped their watch". You are not going to think "Wow, look at this watch plant". You know the watch was made by someone intelligent. In the natural world, there are plenty of things even more complicated than watches, such as DNA, rotation of planets, weather patterns, evolution, etc. (Yes, I do believe in evolution–microevolution to be more specific). Why do we treat the universe any different than we treat the watch in the forrest? This argumemt shows that atheism is actually against human nature.
      4) What could we remove from a mouse trap and have it work the same way? The answer is: nothing. It is irreducibly complex. You can't remove anything from the mouse trap and have it still work properly. The mouse trap could not have evolved over time because its mechanics could not be simplified any further. Similarly, if we find an example of irreducible complexity in nature, we find an organism that did not evolve. If we find an example of irreducible complexity in nature, macroevolution (Darwin's theory) is disproved. Darwin himself admitted this. The book "Darwin's Black Box" argues that organisms like cilium, bacterial flagellum, animal cells, and antibodies are irreducibly complex. The human eye is also something in nature that is irreducibly complex. If one of the eye's millions of parts fails, we lose our vision. DNA is also irreducibly complex. If one single strand of coding is removed, it messes up the whole cell.
      These arguments put atheists in a difficult position. Logic, science, and reason, the thing they use to try to defend themselves, have turned against them. Not only are logic, science, reason, and God compatible, God is necessary for these things to exist. Ultimately, atheism is trying to attack the source of reason with reason, the source of science with science, and the source of logic with logic.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Evan

      The above theories prove that God exists. Now, the is "Which God exists?" The theories above have given us qualities God must have. God must exist. God is necessary, for God can exist without the universe, but the universe cannot exist without God. Clearly, He is powerful, because if he were not, he couldn't created anything, and then nothing would exist. God must exist outside of the universe, for it is His own creation. God must be non-contingent, as Aquinas' arguments and the Kalam argument show us that God was the "first cause", and therefore could not have been created (note: God did not need to be created because he has always been. While this may seem difficult to picture, this is also proof that God is transcendent, for He exists beyond our knowledge and understanding). Clearly, He is intelligent, for He knows how all things work. However, despite the fact that God is transcendent, God is personal, as the moral argument shows, as He gave us morals to show us how to live. Because we are given morals, He cares about what we do, and is therefore personal. He is moral because our morals are based off of his personality. Because He gave us morals, He has a will for us, and because He cares about we we do, he is engaged and active in his creation. Finally, He is unique, and there can not be anyone like Him, for there is nothing He could not create.
      Atheism: Atheism states that God does not exist, or that we can know nothing about Him. Not only does this view contradict all the above theories, but it fails to give any theories of its own. Someone who is truly an atheist would not be arguing with Christians over the exsistence of God, for what do they have to defend? Also, it takes as much, if not, more, faith to be an atheist than it does to be a theist. We don't know everything about the universe. Saying that "God doesn't exist" is basically like saying "I know everything about the universe". The only being who can make such a claim is God, the very being an atheist is trying to disprove. At this point, atheists will say "Maybe God does exist, but we can know nothing about him". Where did you get that information from? This view ultimately fails to meet any of the necessary criteria.
      Atheism says:
      Exists:No
      Necesary:No
      Powerful:No
      Transcendent:No
      Non-contingent:No
      Intelligent:No
      Personal:No
      Moral:No
      Engaged:No
      Unique:No
      Agnosticism, while it doesn't flat-out deny God, ultimately is no better than atheism. It is simply an individuals description of their own current lack of knowledge than the way things are.
      Pantheism: Pantheism says the everything that exists is God, similar to the Force in Star Wars. It believes only nature is real, and that material reality is just an illusion. In this view, opposites cannot exist. Good and evil cannot both exist, which is clearly not true. In this view, logic and reason are illusions. The problem with this view is that is says God is not personal, therefore not engaged, and therefore not intelligent. Also, God could not be transcendent, for everything is God. ALso, this God is not just, as, in this view, Hitler and Mother Theresa share the same fate. Also, in this view, God is unchanging. However, if we have changed and we part of God, God has changed. Pantheists will now claim "Logic is just an illusion". What about that statement itself. It uses reason and logic to say reason and logic do not exist. Ultimately, this view in unlivable, for we cannot live without logic and reason.
      Pantheism says:
      Exists:Yes
      Necesary:Yes
      Powerful:Yes
      Transcendent:No
      Non-contingent:Yes
      Intelligent:No
      Personal:No
      Moral:No
      Engaged:No
      Unique:Yes.
      Panetheism: Panetheism says God is both the tree and the seed at the same time. He is both dependent of the world and distinct from the world at the same time. It says we are part of God, but we are not God, and as we change, He changes. In other words, "God is to the world what the soul is to the body". However, the main problem with this view is it says God is always changing. the "current state" of God is always lacking something. That means that God would have to be bound to time, yet eternal, meaning infinity would have to actually exist, which is clearly not true. There would also be no right or wrong, because right or wrong could change too, which is also not true. In short, this view fails to explain anything.
      Panetheism says:
      Exists:Yes
      Necesary:Yes
      Powerful:Yes
      Transcendent:No
      Non-contingent:No
      Intelligent:Yes
      Personal:Yes
      Moral:No
      Engaged:Yes
      Unique:Yes.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Evan

      Finite Godism: Finite Godism says that while God was the "first cause", He is not all-powerful because evil exists and He can do nothing about it. This theory may seem appealing to some because it describes how the universe was created and why evil exists at the same time. However, this theory has its major flaws. If God is finite, what created God. In Zoroastrianism, God can be defeated by too much evil. The problem with this is if God can be defeated, then the universe can exist without him, and He would therefore not be necessary, which is clearly not true. If He cannot defeat evil, He could therefore not be powerful, and therefore not personal. God would not be non-contingent because our evil could destroy Him. Again, this theory ultimately brings up more, and harder, questions than we started with.
      Finite Godism says:
      Exists:Yes
      Necesary:No
      Powerful:No
      Transcendent:Yes
      Non-contingent:No
      Intelligent:Yes
      Personal:No
      Moral: Yes and no. Yes, because God does want good to happen, but no because He cannot do anything about it.
      Engaged:Yes
      Unique:No
      Polytheism: Polytheism says that there are multiple Gods, and that he universe has always existed. Many of the world's religions are polytheistic (Mormonism is a form of polytheism called "henotheism", which means that while it believes in multiple Gods, only one should be worshiped). However, the problem with this view is it believes in actual infinities, which the Kalam argument proves do not exist. The universe could not have always existed. Some polytheists will then say "Gods created other gods". The problem is if the universe can exist without these "gods", they are not necessary. Besides, this chain of "gods" could not regress infinitely, because polytheism states that these "gods" are from the universe, and are therefore neither transcendent nor non-contingent. God could obviously not be unique. God couldn't have morals either, because sometimes these "gods" contradict each other (note: in Christianity, the Devil is NOT a god. The Devil is just the leader of those who oppose God, and is not all-powerful like God is). Because they had to be created, they are not powerful. In the end, explaining how this view works is harder to understand than the creation of the universe.
      Polytheism says:
      Exists:Yes and no. God does exist, but there are multiple "gods".
      Necesary:No
      Powerful:No
      Transcendent:No
      Non-contingent:No
      Intelligent:Yes
      Personal:Yes
      Moral: Yes and no, as the different "gods" conflict.
      Engaged:Yes
      Unique:No
      Deism: Deism says that God is not known through religion, but logic, reason, and science. In other words, it says that God is not engaged in his creation. Therefore, miracles do not exist. This view is similar to agnosticism, except it accepts that God exists. However, if God is not engaged, that means he does not intervene. If God never intervened in anything, the universe would never have been created. If this is how God were, the universe would never have been created. This view fails to explain much.
      Panetheism says:
      Exists:Yes
      Necesary:Yes
      Powerful:Yes
      Transcendent:Yes
      Non-contingent:Yes
      Intelligent:Yes
      Personal:Yes
      Moral:Yes
      Engaged:No
      Unique:Yes.
      Monotheism: Monotheism (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) says that there is one, and only one God. God is involved with His creation, moral, intelligent, unique, necessary, powerful, and transcendent. Ultimately, monotheism is the only theory that explains why things are the way they are.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Medardus

      Congratulations Evan, you've discovered how to cut-and-paste.

      High five!

      March 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      God made all, as He did us, made in His imagine? Why? For His pleasure. To be perfect, like Him. Do the non-believers make the grade? LOL.

      Simple deduction 101.

      Amen.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Mike from MN

      Nice try Evan. There is ZERO valid logical argument for this thingy "God" that you claim to exist. Nobody knows WTH is "God"!? Why do you think intellectual theists still have jobs?

      March 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Evan

      Is there some fault in this reasoning? The truth doesn't care whether you believe it or not.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Evan

      Actually, God does want us all to believe in Him because He wants us all to be saved. God does indeed love everyone. However, it is ultimately your choice whether or not you wish to love Him back.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Mike from MN

      Evan, the people who need your "love" are the religious masters who need 10% of your income. You know, like Pat Robertson and Ted Haggard. Religions like Christianity are a social welfare program for the religious masters. Your money first goes to pay for these losers before any "humanitarian good" is done with it.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Medardus

      "Is there some fault in this reasoning?"

      Well, let's see: Argument from Design, argument from morality, false equivalence, wild assumption, blind watchmaker fallacy, the ridiculousness that is irreducible complexity... I stopped reading at this point.

      So, short answer: Yes. There is fault in your reasoning.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • False Reality

      Evan Said: "1)"All that is moved must be moved by another". Things moves when something causes it move to move. This pattern cannot regress infinitely because infinity cannot exist in the material world. The first thing, therefore, could not have been moved by anything else. We call this being God.
      2)"Everything that comes into exsistence owes its exsistence to something else". I was created by my parents, who were created by their parents, who were created by their parents, etc. We know this could not have continued forever. Therefore, something must have created my first descendant. We call this original creator God.
      3)"Not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary". In other words, things do not have to exist, but they do. The universe is not necessary for there to be "something". The Big Bang theory proves this. If the universe is expanding, it must be going somewhere. If it is infinite, it can go no where. Therefore, there is existence outside of this universe. Therefore, this universe is not necessary. A being who has always existed must have had a reason for this universe in order to feel a desire to create it. Without a desire to create, nothing would have been created. We call this creator God.
      4) We see things are "better" or "worse" than other things. When we say something is "hotter" than something else, we are saying it is closer to the "hottest" thing. When we say something was "nicer", we are saying it was closer to the "nicest" thing. Therefore, our "grading" of how good things are is based on the best it could possibly be. The being who is the best they could possibly be is called God."

      The first four are all arguements from ignorance and immediately invalid–just because we do not know the answer to these questions does not mean they immediately equal GOD. This a logical fallacy and one that simply does not hold water.

      "5) We see that natural bodies, most of which do not have any intelligence, work towards some goal. The sun, for example, is not intelligence, but it provides energy for plants to grow, even though it is not intelligent. These plants provide energy for us, even though they are not intelligent. As an intelligent archer fires and unintelligent arrow, so the creator we call God uses unitelligent things, such as the sun and the plants, to do things."

      This is also to some degree an argument from ignorance but is also just untrue. Just because SOME unintelligent things come from an intelligent designer does not mean ALL things do. This is similar to the Watchmaker arguement or Teutology, it infers that something typically comes from a MORE POWERFUL source, but does not necessitate an Intelligent One and therefore does not prove GOD.

      "There is overwhelming proof for the existence of God. Why is there something rather than nothing? If there were nothing, what would there be? Why is there something when it is not necessary? While atheists claim Christianity has no foundation, atheism has no foundation, for it fails to answer these questions. God exists, whether you want to believe it or not.
      (Note: Christianity is not philosophy, nor should it be treated as such. I merely use philosophy to get my point across.)"

      This is all again..Arguement from Ignorance and not proof of God, Atheism does not need to prove anything. It simply states that God has not been proven. Atheism is a belief in the same sense as bald is a hair color..it is the opposite of faith, it is lack of faith in the hyposthesis that Theists have put forth.

      "God: The Design Argument
      1) There are many parameters in the universe that, even if changed minutely, would destroy existence as we know it. Some include: The strong nuclear constant, the weak nuclear constant, the gravitational force constant, the electromagnetic constant, Ration of electron to proton mass, ration of protons to electrons, expansion rate of the universe, entropy level of the universe, mass density of the universe, velocity of light, etc. These are all very specific things.
      You may be thinking "Well, if they were different, that doesn't mean things couldn't exist. It just means that different things would exist". That isn't true. If any of these parameters were slightly different, not only would life as we know it not exist, but nothing would exist. Take the expansion rate of the universe: if it was faster than one part in 10^55, galaxies could not have formed. If it were any slower, the universe would have collapsed.
      These extremely specific parameters indicate someone intelligent set them up. We call this intelligent being God."

      NO they do not! Just because life is a delicate balancing act does not PROVE there is an intelligent designer, it ONLY PROVES THAT LIFE IS A DELICATE BALANCING ACT. This AGAIN is arguement from ignorance..you can not assert your belief into something just because there is not an answer..you can propose a solution but you must THEN PROVE IT.

      "The book "Darwin's Black Box" argues that organisms like cilium, bacterial flagellum, animal cells, and antibodies are irreducibly complex. The human eye is also something in nature that is irreducibly complex. If one of the eye's millions of parts fails, we lose our vision. DNA is also irreducibly complex. If one single strand of coding is removed, it messes up the whole cell.
      These arguments put atheists in a difficult position. Logic, science, and reason, the thing they use to try to defend themselves, have turned against them. Not only are logic, science, reason, and God compatible, God is necessary for these things to exist. Ultimately, atheism is trying to attack the source of reason with reason, the source of science with science, and the source of logic with logic."

      Again the Watchmaker Arguement has also been disproven multiple times...please see Talkorigins.Org it goes into explicit detail as to how all of these arguements do not hold water. Just because something is complex does not mean it has a creator. The human eye has evolved over thousands of years and has adapted to it's enviroment little by little. None of these arguements use reason, logic or make sense when placed against reality. Stop trying to make faith into science because it does not work. If ALL you needed to beleive something was faith you wouldn't resort to such things.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • stejo

      I think the Jefferson Bible is shorter than Evan's posts.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Evan

      1) "The first four are all arguements from ignorance and immediately invalid–just because we do not know the answer to these questions does not mean they immediately equal GOD. This a logical fallacy and one that simply does not hold water".

      If they do not equal God, what do they equal?

      Also, God is the creator of the universe. Therefore, what created the universe is God. The "first cause", the reason things are, is God. Your definition of God is incorrect.

      2) "This is also to some degree an argument from ignorance but is also just untrue. Just because SOME unintelligent things come from an intelligent designer does not mean ALL things do."

      And if some things do come from an intelligent designer, that means God exists.

      3)"Atheism does not need to prove anything"

      Then why are you being so defensive, my friend? Clearly, you have motivation behind defending atheism. If you were truly atheist, nothing would matter to you because it is all we see is all there is. If you were truly atheist, you wouldn't spend so much time thinking about God.

      4)"Just because life is a delicate balancing act does not PROVE there is an intelligent designer, it ONLY PROVES THAT LIFE IS A DELICATE BALANCING ACT."

      ...which proves that something intelligent must have set these parameters. Besides, you missed the whole point of the argument; if any of these variables were different, the universe would not exist. But something does exist, so the universe could not have gone through a period of "trial and error", or else it would have imploded on itself and failed to exist.

      5)"Again the Watchmaker Arguement has also been disproven multiple times...please see Talkorigins.Org it goes into explicit detail as to how all of these arguements do not hold water. Just because something is complex does not mean it has a creator."

      In the watchmaker example, the watch would not exist unless someone created it. Besides, you missed the point of this argument. This argument does not say "Because it is complex, something created it", but "You know a watch was created by someting intelligent. Why do we treat something as complex as nature any different?".

      If DNA didn't "get itself right" the first time, there would be no evolution, because nothing could have originally existed.

      Besides, you failed to explain to me where nature gets its information from.

      6) "The human eye has evolved over thousands of years and has adapted to it's enviroment little by little".

      So where did the human eye get information on how to evolve from? Besides, this "adaption to enviorment" theory is called "Microevolution". Ultimately, microevolution needs an intelligent creator to make things know how to change.

      7) I noticed you did nothing to explain the Kalam argument, the moral argument, and the information argument.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Ron

      Evan,
      You believe in Monotheism because it works for you and you have found reasons to rationalize it. That's it. Monotheism is not superior to other 'ism's' it's simply makes for sense to you and choose to believe in it.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Chris

      I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

      Stephen Roberts

      March 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Evan

      Ron, I was once an atheist, you know. I was not born into a Christian family in a Christian setting. I am not Christian because it "works for me", I am a Christian because it is the very truth of God's love for us.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Brandon

      @ Evan: If god wants us all to believe in him, yet we don't, is he really all powerful? If he chooses for some of us to not believe in him, and therefore not get "saved", is he really all-loving? If he has not the ability to be all-loving as well as all-powerful, why do we call him god?

      March 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Evan

      You Said to @False Reality: "If they do not equal God, what do they equal? Also, God is the creator of the universe. Therefore, what created the universe is God. The "first cause", the reason things are, is God. Your definition of God is incorrect.

      It appears you are deflecting the salient point/s that @False Reality is making here by your statement/question above. You are absolutely assuming that...'God' is a 'fact.' Especially, your brand or version of it, which appears to be (from what I'm seeing in your postings) the God of the Bible.

      You are filling in any unanswered questions by science, at this point... using the 'God of the Gaps' argument. And, in addition, when they, (scientists) do figure something out, you are additionally using the 'self-sealing' argument... as in anything that does get proven by science, just becomes 'more' reasons to 'validate' the existence of God.

      And lastly your statement ..."God is the creator of the universe...therefore, what created the universe is God" is not only 'self-sealing' but completely 'circular' in structure.

      You certainly 'may' in fact be right, in your assertion. I will concede to that. But, unless you have access to some 'absolute/unequivocal *proof* that I'm not aware of, respectfully, your postings are coming across 'as if' you *know* *absolute truth.*

      And... you and I, being honest here... 'both' know that while you 'may' be right... you 'may' be wrong, you don't *know,* as there is a 'big' difference between having a strong and fervent 'belief' and ...'fact.'

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      March 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Rich

      You need to understand the concept of infinity. Infinity is a concept not a number so infinity songs on one CD does not equal infinity songs on all CDs. I understand what you are trying to state but very poor examples. Please understand infinity before you try to use it again.

      Some of the other arguments are flawed as well such as there must have been something with the desire to create or nothing would have been created. If that is the case then what or who created the creator? You will get into a chicken and egg argument and never have an answer. We are fairly certain that this universe was created by the big bang but even that is uncertain. Likewise we cannot say with 100% certainty that God exists or does not exist and anyone who says one way or another is clearly not thinking period. Personally I believe God exists because when you understand that universe did not need to exist at all or provide conditions to create matter or anything else the more difficult it is to believe this is all happened by chance. I also know that it is quite possible that everything was created by chance so I cannot criticize someone who does not believe in God. Likewise I think it is foolish and dangers for anyone to state that their beliefs are the only correct ones and that every other religion or belief system is wrong an inferior. I think God instills in all of us to find him and there are different paths to have a relationship with God and no ones path is more correct than anyone else's path. The only exception may be those who refuse to listen to him and reject him outright but that is a problem between them and God not with them and anyone else.

      BTW: I wish the government would quit allowing the atheists to make atheism the official religion of the United States! They have the right to not believe in God but they should not be using the separation of church and state to their perverted use to shove atheism on the rest of us! I could see some of their arguments if there were mentions of Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, or any other religious figure which endorses one religion over another but there is not. The closest may be the Ten Commandments however the laws of the United States are based in large part on the Ten Commandments so I do not see it as an endorsement of one religion over another. As a matter of fact the laws of many religions are based on the Ten Commandments. The reason is many religions have roots in Judaism. Even religions which are not based on Judaism have a similar set of laws or guidelines so what is the problem. If you don't believe in God, I would hope you would agree that the laws set out in the Ten Commandments are good rules to live by.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Sharon

      "Is there some fault in this reasoning? The truth doesn't care whether you believe it or not."
      Evan meet Heaven Sent you to should become one...or maybe you already are one.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Julie in Austin

      @Evan:

      I'm both a Theist (Jew) and very well educated. Most of your arguments, as others have pointed out, are bogus. Mostly because the scriptures don't describe =how= anything happens. In other cases, it assumes (as often do the arguments of Atheists) the very conclusion it is trying to reach.

      On the matters of Science, you're just as wrong as can be. Since the scriptures don't explain how G-d created life, I'm going to use the Science version and describe one possibility - Evolution. We think of "eyesight" as this magical thing because it's pretty magical, yet all it is is the result of photons striking chemicals that are in physical structures within the retina and cause a nerve impulse. It's just some photon strikes a chemical in a "rod" or a "cone" and a nerve impulse is produced. The same as with any other nerves and their impulses and being recognized by the brain and the brain reacting.

      If you take a pin and you stick your finger, you know it was your finger, not your toe, and you even know which finger and where. This kind of response works all the way down to some pretty basic organisms. Some of those organisms even have pigmented regions on their bodies that react to photons and cause reactions.

      None of this means G-d doesn't exist, only that the scriptures don't say =how= G-d did any of this. And I submit this for your consideration - G-d gave us a brain. When I look at Nature, I go "Wow! That is so cool! Look at what G-d created!" I don't go "It can't have happened that way because the scriptures say G-d did it some other way" because the scriptures don't. They just start with "G-d said 'Light, exist!' and light existed". Coincidentally, the Big Bang starts the exact same way.

      And for that reason, I thank G-d that I was created with a brain, that I can marvel at G-d's creation.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Free Thinker Seeking Reason

      My goodness, you certainly are obsessed with your devotion to a book of allegorical stories written with the intent to entertain and provide a moral compass in their day. You could write (or copy and paste) a thousand pages of self-validation, but it won't change the truth one iota. Not even a little, tiny bit. That's because the god(s) that people are so reverent to are created in the minds of those people. Therefore, there is no god(s) without the universe since you need human imagination for god(s) to “exist” in those people’s minds.

      Oh, and please don't bother trying to define atheism. You don't have a clue.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Heavensent.. if we are made in gods image then he has some prostate issues I would assume. So he has eyes.. how do you think he could before he created light? flashlights? he must have arms so he has to some lifting.., and legs does he not teleport?

      March 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Evan

      Brandon, "If god wants us all to believe in him, yet we don't, is he really all powerful? If he chooses for some of us to not believe in him, and therefore not get "saved", is he really all-loving? If he has not the ability to be all-loving as well as all-powerful, why do we call him god?"

      God does want us to believe in him. However, He also gave us free will (ultimately, denying free-will would be evil, for it would destroy good). While He does have a plan for our lives, it is ultimately our decision whether or not we allow that plan to take affect.

      The Bible makes it clear God desires all to be saved. It makes it clear God loves all of us. However, God gives us free will (which, remember, is ultimately good) and we decide whether or not we are to love God back.

      The problem with your theory is it denies that free will exists. If free will does exist, my arguments are true. If free will does not exist, God must exist to enfore his will on our lives. Also, if we do not have free will, why are you even arguing on here if what will happen will happen?

      Peace2all, "You are absolutely assuming that...'God' is a 'fact.'"

      Yes, that is a method of Christian Apologetics called "Presuppositionalism". It assumes the existence of God to prove that God exists, and shows the poverty of views that claim God does not exist.

      "And lastly your statement ..."God is the creator of the universe...therefore, what created the universe is God" is not only 'self-sealing' but completely 'circular' in structure."

      Yes, but you are forgetting all the information in between that proves that God exists.

      "And... you and I, being honest here... 'both' know that while you 'may' be right... you 'may' be wrong, you don't *know,* as there is a 'big' difference between having a strong and fervent 'belief' and ...'fact.'"

      First off, I would like to thank you for being very respectful. Second, you are correct. We really don't know. However, the way I see it, if I am wrong, we both lose. If I am right, we win everything and you still lose.

      Rich, "You need to understand the concept of infinity. Infinity is a concept not a number so infinity songs on one CD does not equal infinity songs on all CDs. I understand what you are trying to state but very poor examples. Please understand infinity before you try to use it again."

      You are contradicting yourself. By saying that "Infinity is a concept, not a number...", you are basically saying infinity does not exist in the real world (which is basically my argument). Also, you are being anti-science, my friend. Science declares that if something behaves certain way once, it will always behave that way. If infinity cannot exist in one situation, it can exist in no situation.

      "If that is the case then what or who created the creator?"

      God exists outside of the universe. He is not bound to time as we are. The above arguments demonstrate that he is the "first cause" and needed no cause to be. God has always existed. In other words, God never needed to be created.

      "We are fairly certain that this universe was created by the big bang but even that is uncertain".

      Actually, the Big Bang theory is proof for God. It proves that, because the universe is exanding, it is not infinitely old because it has not infinitely expanded. Because it is expanding, that means it is going somewhere. This means that things can exist outside of the universe. Also, the Big Bang theory fails to explain why we are here. Nothing in this universe has to exist, but it does, because someone (whom we call God) had the will to create it.

      "Likewise I think it is foolish and dangers for anyone to state that their beliefs are the only correct ones and that every other religion or belief system is wrong an inferior. I think God instills in all of us to find him and there are different paths to have a relationship with God and no ones path is more correct than anyone else's path. The only exception may be those who refuse to listen to him and reject him outright but that is a problem between them and God not with them and anyone else".

      Actually, Jesus teaches us to be respectful to people who have other beliefs. Did Jesus lead an army to kill all the pagan Romans? No. Instead, he told us to love our enemies. Jesus teaches us that God loves everyone (John 3:16: "For God so loved the world...).

      You are correct: we don't really know. However, that is why it is called "faith".

      March 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • BB

      Evan,
      How about you defend your "reasoning" by calling into the "Atheist Experience"?

      March 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Evan

      Julie in Austin, (I actual used to go to school at the Jewish temple in downtown Austin) "In other cases, it assumes (as often do the arguments of Atheists) the very conclusion it is trying to reach".

      It is actually a method of Christian apologetics called "Presuppositionalism", which assumes the exisistence of God to prove that He exists and to point out the poverty of other views.

      "And for that reason, I thank G-d that I was created with a brain, that I can marvel at G-d's creation".

      I wish I could be like you, my friend. I find it incredible how strong your faith is, that you do not even need proof to know that G-d exists.

      I admit, I have done wrong by thinking I could prove God through my own logic. "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand..." (Job 42:3)

      Free Thinker Seeking Reason, "My goodness, you certainly are obsessed with your devotion to a book of allegorical stories written with the intent to entertain and provide a moral compass in their day. You could write (or copy and paste) a thousand pages of self-validation, but it won't change the truth one iota."

      Actually, I couldn't. First off, there are many prophecies in the Bible that were fulfilled accurately (such as the destruction of Tyre in Ezekiel 26). Second, yes I could write a one-thousand page book. But could I write it well enough that it would be considered authoritive by billions of people two-thousand year after it was created? No.

      "Oh, and please don't bother trying to define atheism. You don't have a clue".

      All respect intended, but you atheists don't seem to agree on what "atheism" is either. One moment it is a "scientific explanation of the universe", the next moment it is "proof we do not know how the universe works". One moment you claim right and wrong are subjective. The next moment you declare Christians are "evil". Atheism's postion "changes" depending on who is speaking, what is being said against it, etc. Ultimately, your view are not consistent.

      EvolvedDNA, "if we are made in gods image then he has some prostate issues I would assume. So he has eyes.. how do you think he could before he created light? flashlights? he must have arms so he has to some lifting.., and legs does he not teleport?"

      First off, G-d is not of the universe. He is competely outside of it. G-d could exist without the universe, but the universe couldn't exist without G-d. Second, scholars are not sure what "...in God's image..." means. Some think it refers to morals. Some think it refers to actual appearance. But we are not really sure. All that we know is disrespecting a Human is disrespecting G-d.

      March 11, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Medardus

      An omnipotent god precludes free will. I really don't know how many times I'm going to have to repeat that to you, Evan.

      "God exists outside of the universe. He is not bound to time as we are. The above arguments demonstrate that he is the "first cause" and needed no cause to be. God has always existed. In other words, God never needed to be created."

      Ah, special pleading. How I loathe thee. "Everything has a cause. Except god. He's special."

      "Nothing in this universe has to exist, but it does, because someone (whom we call God) had the will to create it."

      You know this how? That's one giant assumption you have there.

      You're a poster child for logical fallacy. It's absolutely amazing how blind you are. You say you used to be atheist? I say no. Perhaps you were agnostic. Maybe you were just on the fence. You certainly were not atheist.

      March 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Evan

      Medardus, "An omnipotent god precludes free will".

      Where did you get that information from? We can have free will, and G-d can still be omni-potent. While G-d ultimately knows what choices we will make, the decisions are still ours.

      ""God exists outside of the universe. He is not bound to time as we are. The above arguments demonstrate that he is the "first cause" and needed no cause to be. God has always existed. In other words, God never needed to be created."

      Ah, special pleading. How I loathe thee. "Everything has a cause. Except god. He's special.""

      Yep, pretty much. How can we, as finite humans, fully grasp the concept of G-d's eternal nature? We live in a world where things are "cause and affect". We think that things can only work in this way. However, is this really so? Basically, this is merely a case of using human observations and philosophy to define G-d.

      "You know this how? That's one giant assumption you have there".

      I believe you have your definition of "G-d" is incorrect. G-d is the creator of the universe. The Being who created the universe is G-d. Unless the universe is eternal (which it is not), it must have been created by the Being we call G-d.

      "You're a poster child for logical fallacy. It's absolutely amazing how blind you are".

      Blind to what?

      With all respect intended, I notice atheists are not consistent in stating what they believe. One moment they say "Atheism is using science and reason to explain things", the next moment it says "we don't know what the universe is really like". One moment you say you have nothing to defend, but the next moment you declare you do have something to defend. One moment you say reality is an illusion, the next you say the universe is all there is, and it therefore matters.

      "You say you used to be atheist? I say no. Perhaps you were agnostic. Maybe you were just on the fence. You certainly were not atheist".

      I was an agnostic. However, does that really change anything? The point is I only started believing in G-d a few months ago.

      March 12, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Medardus

      You only started believing a few months ago and you're already an expert on apologetics?

      It appears I spent the past few hours being entertained by a rookie. Seriously, Evan, if you're going to keep trying to do this kind of thing do a few other things first:

      1) Take a logic class. Remember where I told you that you're a poster child for logical fallacy? Yeah, your last comment is full of it.

      2) Pick your arguments with greater care. You did okay for a bit but then there was a copy-paste explosion. You tried to use just about every argument I've ever seen including, again, those that have been repeatedly disproven.

      Come back after a few books and we'll talk more.

      March 12, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Evan

      "You only started believing a few months ago and you're already an expert on apologetics?"

      I'm not. I admit, I am not very good.

      "Take a logic class. Remember where I told you that you're a poster child for logical fallacy? Yeah, your last comment is full of it."

      How? G-d has made it clear that He exists, just we can't understand his ways through our own knowledge (the Book of Job says this poetically).

      Also, I noticed that you attacked me, not my claims.

      "Pick your arguments with greater care. You did okay for a bit but then there was a copy-paste explosion. You tried to use just about every argument I've ever seen including, again, those that have been repeatedly disproven."

      Which of my arguments have been disproven. I bring these same points up, but you guys seem to ignore them. When you do point out "logical fallacy" in my arguments, there is always something to say about them. I'm not sure how you've "disproven" anything.

      Have you read the Bible? Saying things like "The God of the Bible does not allows for free will". The Bible makes it clear that we do have free will. It makes it clear G-d wants us all to be saved. But He give us free will at the same time.

      March 12, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Sharon, just because other Christians that read the Bible offend your beliefs to keep your sinful nature flowing doesn't mean I switch handles. That belongs to the non-believers backing up their belief in lies.

      March 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Evan

      Hi -Evan...

      I Said in my posting to you: "And... you and I, being honest here... 'both' know that while you 'may' be right... you 'may' be wrong, you don't *know,* as there is a 'big' difference between having a strong and fervent 'belief' and ...'fact.' "

      YOU Said in response: "First off, I would like to thank you for being very respectful. Second, you are correct. We really don't know."

      **Thank you** for acknowledging that I was in fact, 'correct' in our discussions. Also, I wanted to -thank you- for being respectful as well. And thanks for taking time to chat with me.

      Again, I will acknowledge, in the world of (absolutely reality)... 'maybe' you are correct, if so... maybe you can put in a good word with St. Peter at the Pearlies... and JC, for me, o.k...? 🙂

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      March 13, 2011 at 3:44 am |
  19. nope

    He could have, but God knew that he wouldn't, and it was written that way. In spite of that it still happened. Pilate even tried to resist his fate, but just as God knew man, Pilate sealed Christs fate, according to what was already written, with the people freeing a murderer and sentencing Jesus to death.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Evan

      The problem with atheist arguments is they deal with what could have happened, not what actually happened, like "What would have happened if Pontius Pilate did not choose to send Jesus to the cross?". The problem is Pontius Pilate did choose to send Jesus to the cross. Does that mean he did not have free will? No, it doesn't. He could have set Jesus free, he chose not to. God ultimately knew Pilate would do that. However, Pilate still had free will, for the decision was his. In other words: we make the decisions, we cannot control the results, but God uses the results to help his creation.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Non-believers back then, with the vipers, killed Jesus. All because the false preachers back then were loosing money from their churches.

      Same ole, same ole, different day-oh!

      March 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Guest

      @nope: The question of free will has nothing to do with atheistic arguments. If God knew what Pilate would do–because past, present, and future exists simultaneously in his mind (philosophical view of eternity)–then the problem of free will becomes an issue, one that Christians, philosophically minded ones anyway, worked to resolve. Or are you of the old-fashioned (like before 1700) opinion that all who do not blindly accept what you have accepted from your religious teachings is an athiest. After all, if we don't believe what you believe, which will surely get you into heaven, then we mustn't be afraid of, in effect not believe in, hell and therefore must be athiests.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Loosing money"? Ahahhahhaa! I think your mind is what "loose", bozo.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Julie in Austin

      @Nope: Pilate was a horribly brutal ruler who was actually recalled to Rome for executing TENS of THOUSANDS of Jews.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I see that you are still holding on to that bad behavior Tommy Tom. Stroke, stroke, stroke that ego ...

      March 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  20. Intel

    could pontious pilate have refused......did he have free will?

    March 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • tired of this

      Here's what we know. God is sovereign and we are accountable for our actions.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Julie in Austin

      There is a difference between saying "this will happen" and making it happen.

      If you take a child who is a spoiled brat, and you happen past their favorite store, it's a safe bet that they will throw a fit if they don't get to buy a toy or a snack or something.

      Pilate was a brutal and ruthless leader, Jesus was apparently a very popular speaker (even if you ignore the miracles and claims to deity) with a following, the outcome was pretty easy to guess - either Jesus shut up and went along with Rome (not likely) or Pilate was going to have him killed (very likely). No one "made" Pilate have Jesus executed, it was just his nature.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Pilate did NOT want to put Jesus to death because he knew it was evil. Even his wife knew (Matthew 27:19). The religious people at the time cried out that he’d be crucified (John 19:6). Pilate then (Matthew 27:24-25, Isaiah 53:3-4, Luke 23:34). Jesus recited the 22nd psalm which was a whisper a 1000 years before he walked this earth. John 19:30, Luke 23:34, Mark 15:37-38, Romans 8:38-39.

      March 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • MrEO

      Heavensent -How could it be evil to put Jesus to death? I thought that his death was the "greatest good" ever done for christians??????

      March 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6
Advertisement
About this blog

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.