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April 15th, 2011
04:07 PM ET

What if there is no hell?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Michigan pastor Rob Bell recently appeared on CNN's "American Morning,"  speaking about his book "Love Wins" and the controversy surrounding it.  Many conservative pastors have accused Bell of misrepresenting the Bible's teachings on heaven and hell, with some going as far as calling him a heretic.

Bell reiterated to CNN that he very much believes in both heaven and hell.

Read more about Bell and the controversy from the Belief Blog:

Christian author's book sparks charges of heresy

Firestorm grows over 'Christian heresy' book

Rob Bell punches back against claims of heresy

Bell is also the subject of a cover story in this week's TIME magazine.

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Content Partner • Michigan • Pastors • TV-American Morning • United States

soundoff (419 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    The Believers

    [69:19] As for the one who receives his record with his right hand, he will say, "Come read my record.

    [69:20] "I did believe that I was going to be held accountable."

    [69:21] He has deserved a happy life.

    [69:22] In an exalted Paradise.

    [69:23] Its fruits are within reach.

    [69:24] Eat and drink happily in return for your works in days past.

    The Disbelievers

    [69:25] As for him who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, "Oh, I wish I never received my record.

    [69:26] "I wish I never knew my account.

    [69:27] "I wish my death was eternal.

    [69:28] "My money cannot help me.

    [69:29] "All my power is gone."

    [69:30] Take him and shackle him.

    [69:31] Burn him in Hell.

    [69:32] In a chain that is seventy arms long, tie him up.

    [69:33] For he did not believe in GOD, Most Great.

    [69:34] Nor did he advocate the feeding of the poor.

    [69:35] Consequently, he has no friend here.

    [69:36] Nor any food, except the bitter variety.

    [69:37] Food for the sinners.

    [69:38] I swear by what you see.

    [69:39] And what you do not see.

    [69:40] This is the utterance of an honorable messenger.

    [69:41] Not the utterance of a poet; rarely do you believe.

    [69:42] Nor the utterance of a soothsayer; rarely do you take heed.

    [69:43] A revelation from the Lord of the universe.

    Muhammad Forbidden from Issuing Any Religious Teachings

    [69:44] Had he uttered any other teachings.

    [69:45] We would have punished him.

    [69:46] We would have stopped the revelations to him.

    [69:47] None of you could have helped him.

    [69:48] This is a reminder for the righteous.

    [69:49] We know; some of you are rejectors.

    [69:50] It is but sorrow for the disbelievers.

    [69:51] It is the absolute truth.

    [69:52] Therefore, you shall glorify the name of your Lord, Most Great.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  2. HotAirAce

    Arguing about the existence of heaven or he'll or free will is just a stupid extension of "let's pretend god exists" and going on to discuss silliness as if it matters. Believers need to establish their basic claim before any right thinking non-believer spends any time in these debates.

    So, the better, more important, question is does god exist? Please note, *I* am not asking for proof – I have already determined that there are no gods. I'm merely pointing out the stupidity of arguing about the details when the main proposition has not been proven.

    April 16, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Steev

      @HotAirAce – An excellent point. To argue from a false premise is wrong...literally.

      April 17, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    OMG! Won't the likes of HeavenSent, CW, and Freddy be just incredibly disappointed!!!!

    April 16, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I'm not disappointed Tommie, Tom. The eternal flames are just what scriptures say they are. Flames so hot, they cook the soul from the inside out, destroying the soul. Poof. No eternity for anyone that doesn't love and follow Jesus' truth.

      Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

      Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

      Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

      Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

      Acts 3:23 And it shall come to pass, [that] every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

      Amen.

      April 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • bp

      HS – I'm not disappointed Tommie, Tom. The eternal flames are just what scriptures say they are. Flames so hot, they cook the soul from the inside out, destroying the soul. Poof. No eternity for anyone that doesn't love and follow Jesus' truth.

      Really? out of all those versus none of them you just mentioned describe hell the way you just did and as for a soul also complete nonsense. A soul is nothing more than a psychological state of being dictated by the social enviroment you were raised in.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Info

      congratulations HeavenSent you just condemned yourself

      Revelation 22:18

      In an nutshell anyone who adds to the Bible will be condemned.

      "Flames so hot, they cook the soul from the inside out, destroying the soul. Poof. No eternity for anyone that doesn't love and follow Jesus' truth."

      This claim is not supported in the bible you are breaking God's commandment not to add anything to God's Word, Have fun in Hell

      April 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhaha. Of course you're not "disappointed" yet, you moron. Did you fail to notice that I used future tense? Of course you did. You're an idiot who can barely read.

      You have no idea what happens after death. And if your nonsensical beliefs are proven to be nonsense, you WILL be disappointed, because those you hate won't suffer the fate you relish imagining, you perverted twerp.

      April 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  4. Evan

    I believe there is a Hell. Jesus said there was. However, my view of this place differs greatly from the modern dipiction of "the lake of fire".

    1) The only place where Hell is mentioned as "the lake of fire" is in Revelation. Pretty much everything in the Book of Revelation is metaphorical. Why do we treat "lake of fire" like it's not? While "flames" are used to describe Hell in other places, it is metaphorical as well.

    2) In the Gospels, especially in Matthew, Jesus refers to Hell in an interesting way, "the Outer Darkness". Jesus tells a parable where a man who came to a wedding unprepared, and was kicked out of the wedding outside. This is quite interesting. In this parable, "outside" represents "Hell". However, Jesus doesn't say "...and they threw the man into the eternal fire". Instead, He shows Hell as a place of sadness and seperation, not a place of torment.

    3) Eternal Seperation from G-d is a punishment in itself.

    In short, the Bible actually paints Hell as a place of seperation and sadness, not a place of eternal punishment.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Evan

      Hi -Evan...

      As soon as you stated..."I *believe* there is a Hell", etc... The rest of your assertion, while interesting, is just your personal 'opinion.'

      Of course, you may be right, I cannot deny that. I certainly don't know absolutely, and... neither do you.

      My point being, is that your assertion is *inferring* as if it is = to absolute *fact* vs. your personal 'belief' system.

      Anyway, interesting take on your interpretation of 'hell.'

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      April 16, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • Snaglepuss

      Evan,
      Jesus said nothing of the sort. Please quote for us, chapter and verse, exactly, where the ancient, Aramaic, apocaliptic, itinerant, iliterate preacher said there was a hell. That concept, "hell" did not exist in intelectual history in that culture, at that time. If he did say something like that, the apostles would have had no idea what he was talking about. Please explain. Thanks. .

      April 16, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      @Evan,
      I believe there is a Hell. Jesus said there was. However, my view of this place differs greatly from the modern dipiction of "the lake of fire".
      1) The only place where Hell is mentioned as "the lake of fire" is in Revelation. Pretty much everything in the Book of Revelation is metaphorical. Why do we treat "lake of fire" like it's not? While "flames" are used to describe Hell in other places, it is metaphorical as well.
      2) In the Gospels, especially in Matthew, Jesus refers to Hell in an interesting way, "the Outer Darkness". Jesus tells a parable where a man who came to a wedding unprepared, and was kicked out of the wedding outside. This is quite interesting. In this parable, "outside" represents "Hell". However, Jesus doesn't say "...and they threw the man into the eternal fire". Instead, He shows Hell as a place of sadness and seperation, not a place of torment.
      3) Eternal Seperation from G-d is a punishment in itself.

      In short, the Bible actually paints Hell as a place of seperation and sadness, not a place of eternal punishment
      ------------
      I am not going to argue with you just show you what Jesus Himself taught. From Luke 16:
      The Rich Man and Lazarus
      19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
      20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
      21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
      22"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
      23In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
      24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
      25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
      26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
      27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house,
      28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
      29"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
      30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
      31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

      Pay attention to:
      23IN HELL WHERE HE WAS IN TORMENT....
      24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, BECAUSE I AM IN AGONY IN THIS FIRE

      IF you are a Christian and you doubt what Jesus said here, can you trust Him about anything else, such as your salvation?

      @Snaglepuss
      You said:
      Jesus said nothing of the sort. Please quote for us, chapter and verse, exactly, where the ancient, Aramaic, apocaliptic, itinerant, iliterate preacher said there was a hell

      Here is the Book chapter and verses!

      April 16, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Evan

      You guys may be correct (though I don't want to find out). But I figure that seperation from G-d is "torment" enough.

      April 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  5. stopblamingeve

    When God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat the fruit (which caused sin for us all) she already knew Eve was going to eat it. We do not have a choice to become Christian/Muslim/Hindu/etc because God is the Alpha and Omega; she already knows your choices before you are born. Revelation was written by a dude locked up in jail by the Romans and had an axe to grind with everyone (Revelation would make a great movie though).

    April 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • NL

      God in Genesis isn't nearly as powerful as in later incarnations. Remember that he has to ask Adam direct questions, walks around in the garden, and has trouble finding the pair after they dress themselves. Not much omni-ness at this early stage, just your typical anthropomorphic tribal deity. Probably had trouble finding his socks like the rest of us. 😉

      April 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      She.....?? Who is She???

      April 16, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • Peace2All

      @stopblamingeve

      Hasn't that been basically done (a movie about the book of 'Revelations') with the 'Left Behind' series with 'Kirk Cameron.'...?

      Peace...

      April 16, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • NL

      Muneef
      Would you prefer 'it'? That way you can avoid all discussion as to why a supposedly unique being such as God has a gender if procreation, or personal se.xual gratification are of no interest?

      April 16, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Snaglepuss

      @stopblamingeve,
      I do agree completely with your sentiment. I wish I could agree with the business about Revelation. I don't recall that text talking about the Garden of Eden stuff. I do find it fascinating that the long oral tradition that was probably written down around 1000-700 BC had such a view of women. Two interesting books on the subject are Martin Buber's book , (the Jewish philosopher), "Good and Evil", (it's absolutely THE best book on ancient archaic concepts of evil I have ever ran across), or Paul Tillich's book, "The Courage to Be". The Adam and Eve Mythology is certainly a fascinating construct, reflecting the views of it's writers and editors from a pre scientific worldview, to say nothing of the disparaging view of women.

      April 16, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  6. John Richardson

    He isn't the first from the Christian world to question the existence of hell as classically conceived. The Jehovah's Witnesses flatly deny it and have their favorite verses to cite in defense of their position. That's the main reason why, as annoying as the JWs are with their proselytizing, I find them a good deal less repugnant than most Christians.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Evan

      The interesting thing is the word "Hell" is not in the Bible. "Hell" is used in place of "Gehanna", which is a desolate valley outside of Jerusalem. However, other places make it clear that, after death, there is a "bad place" and a "good place". However, Gehanna isn't a place of torment, but a place of sadness, loneliness, and seperation. Based on my understanding, Hell is not an eternal pit of torture, but a "trash can" or "desolate valley".

      None the less, Hell is a place I do not want a single person to end up. Nor does G-d. However, Jesus makes it clear it's your choice: you can accept G-d's love for us or you could reject it.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • NL

      Actually, most of the words translated as 'hell' in the Bible appear merely to mean 'in the grave' or 'buried below'. Hades and Tartarus in the New Testament Greek bear the unfortunate baggage of have Greek mythical imagery attached to them. Greek ideas and not Jesus' then may be the whole source of the fire and underground realm of a death god in Christianity.

      April 16, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • JohnR

      The word 'hell' comes from Germanic mythology. In any case, I've heard others before describe hell as "really" being the eternal separation from god. If god is the one that christians worship, that doesn't sound like a bad deal at all. But at base this whole business of certain people deciding that those who don't believe as they do being consigned to an eternally nasty fate is simply real, real sick. I can't respect anyone who worships a god that would even consider such a move. If there were real justice, there would be a room in some version of hell reserved just for such people> I wouldn't want to see anyone spend eternity there, but wouldn't mind seeing some people sent there just long enough to see how sick it is to wish any such thing on others.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Buckminster Fullerene

      John,
      Agree completely. Last week I ran across a quote from (Saint) Thomas Aquinas, in which he asserted that one of the aspects of life in heaven, was the ability of the souls in heaven to see the souls in hell, suffering, "thus increasing their pleasure". I was stunned by the vindictive emotion behind that twisted one. Interesting. (OMG !)

      April 16, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  7. P Lawlor

    He Speakest some truth here..

    Hell is also referred to a resting place prior to judgement for the unrightesou spirits, wheras paradise ( Heaven) is reservedfor the righeous. Spirit paradise and spirit prison or hell are referred to the Bible – St. Luke 16:22 and St. Luke 23:43. After the final judgement we will be rewarded to a heaven by a Loving GOD, as the pastor so strongly believes with conviction to the place according to our desires, words, actions in this mortal life of probation. St.John 14:2 and I Corinthians 15:40-41. However, not all will recived a heaven or degree of glory. Those who are utterly wicked who have not repented fully wil not be redeemed. These also are those who have 'Denied the Holy Ghost, and have Shed innocent are Sons of Perdition and deemed to 'Outer darkness'-which can be referred as Hell.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  8. Muneef

    [7:157] "(4) follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in their Torah and Gospel. He exhorts them to be righteous, enjoins them from evil, allows for them all good food, and prohibits that which is bad, and unloads the burdens and the shackles imposed upon them. Those who believe in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that came with him are the successful ones."

    [7:158] Say, "O people, I am GOD's messenger to all of you. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god except He. He controls life and death." Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in GOD and His words. Follow him, that you may be guided.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • bp

      Muneef while I do not doubt your belief, nor do I doubt your a bad person cause of it you cannot quote scripture as truth without relvant outside information to correlate with your findings. You have to remeber us Atheist find the scriptures (whichever one it may be) to be suspect and full of illogical errors, tall tales, or simply moral analogies. Quoting scriptures prooves nothing to us other than that you can quote scriptures. Wheres the outside evidence/logic/proof that lends credence to those scriptures?

      Example: The boy who cried wolf teaches morality against lying, and deception.... no where in that story do I find anything that supports the existence of god

      April 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      bp.

      Don't seem to understand what you are trying to project...but can say to you I can prove to you nothing because we believe in the unseen and the only reference of our belief is the Holy Book(Quran)...And if that does not mean any thing to you,it does mean the world to us....

      April 16, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Muneef

      Hello -Muneef !

      How are you doing...? Are you staying safe in 'Yemen'...? I'm hearing it's getting pretty rough over in your country, yes...?

      Anyway, take care...

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      April 16, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • bp

      Muneef- Don't seem to understand what you are trying to project...but can say to you I can prove to you nothing because we believe in the unseen and the only reference of our belief is the Holy Book(Quran)...And if that does not mean any thing to you,it does mean the world to us....

      Oh I'm aware the Quran means the world to you and other Muslims, I do not doubt that for one second. All I was trying to point out is that you cannot use scriptures as a source of proof to non believers such as myself since we view holy books to be suspect. I hope that clarifies.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  9. Muneef

    [67:6] For those who disbelieved in their Lord, the retribution of Gehenna. What a miserable destiny.

    [67:7] When they get thrown therein, they hear its furor as it fumes.

    [67:8] It almost explodes from rage. Whenever a group is thrown therein, its guards would ask them, "Did you not receive a warner?"

    [67:9] They would answer, "Yes indeed; a warner did come to us, but we disbelieved and said, `GOD did not reveal anything. You are totally astray.' "

    [67:10] They also say, "If we heard or understood, we would not be among the dwellers of Hell!"

    [67:11] Thus, they confessed their sins. Woe to the dwellers of Hell.

    [67:12] As for those who reverence their Lord, when alone in their privacy, they have attained forgiveness and a great recompense.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
      There never was and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror.

      Saving 2 billion lost Christians:
      There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity.

      Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
      Abraham and Moses never existed.

      Added details upon request.

      April 16, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  10. TheRationale

    What if there's no Hell? What if there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Such silly questions.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  11. alex

    I just absolutly love that people are able to truley express themselves over the internet.. It's my belief that probibly 90+% of the educated (i.e. you actually payed attention in highschool biology/science) people in this world understand that its rediculous to believe in a deity or god. Atheism is the wave of the future of philosophy and its nice to see that reason and logic are winning over our own self interest in mortality. Even though some people can only admit it over the internet.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • bp

      90%? Anyone could of paid attention in highschool/college and still ended up believing in god. Culinary arts (no offense) doesn't provide the nessesary information to make a conclusion about the existence/non existence of a diety. Yet you could of gone to highschool and college for the job and paid attention too. I think your claim is basically true but your swept out to big a gerneralzation there and over the top percentage was made up on the spot. But at least you said "it is my belief" before you threw those numbers out there.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Snaglepuss

      @ bp,
      psssttt,
      "Could of" is incorrect grammar. "Could have" may be what you meant to say. Details, details.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  12. Bibletruth

    There is no such thing as a torture chamber hell...there is definitely hell which is also called the Lake of Fire, which does its job of desroying Satan, his angel followers and all unrepentant sinners (i.e. human Satan followers) by burning them up, bringing them to ashes..and never shall they be anymore. God is a God of Love. The bible is very very clear about what hell is, that only God has immortality, that the dead know not anything (they have no thought, life, etc). It is extremely sad to hear professed Christians say things like "if there is no eternal torture chamber, then nothing can work". Jesus said if you love Me, keep my commandments.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Don

      Even after fifty years of paying attention, I've been unable to make sense of this sort of thinking. For example, the statement that unrepentant sinners such as myself will burn in a lake of fire is coupled with an assertion that God is love. What's the connection? And if you ask why I am a sinner, I only mean in the sense that I consciously do not try to adhere to the arbitrary rules. Of course I do follow the rules of all sane men, i.e. I do not steal (theft being at the root of most immorality). A mentally healthy person does not wish to harm anyone else. The lake of fire concept therefore is nothing but a confusing irrelevance.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  13. Reality

    Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian's take on Hell. He reasons that the Singularity aka God does not tolerate imperfection in his spiritual realm. Therefore, any soul dying in mortal sin will simply disappear since Hell the imperfect state does not exist. See his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Crossroad, 1993,

    April 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      With all due respect to the Father, there isn't exactly any evidence to back that up. Even in the Bible there are incidences where (or where implied) imperfect beings resided near or in God's spiritual realm for a time. Or even vice versa.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > With all due respect to the Father, there isn't exactly any evidence to back that up.

      With all due respect to the Father, there isn't exactly any evidence to back up God.

      Fixed it for you.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Bob- You forgot to put #Not a factual statement# after your last post. Just wanted to fix it for you 😉

      April 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > @Bob- You forgot to put #Not a factual statement# after your last post. Just wanted to fix it for you

      It is factual. There is no evidence for the supernatural. It doesn't exist. I challenge you to provide some.

      Otherwise, my statement is 100% correct.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I challenge you to provide some."

      Ah but you already limited yourself by saying that words do not prove the supernatural. I cannot prove it exists based on the criteria you put out.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      April 16, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Lycidas

      Plz take your copy/paste somewhere else reality.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  14. Snaglepuss

    This "who-ha" over this book is a "tempest in a tea pot".
    If you did a survey of the top 10 university Theology departments and Divinity schools in this country, you would find that maybe 40 % max of the professors and theologians actually believe in an after-life "place" or "state of being" which they would call hell. The interesting question is, as Dr. Bart Ehrman raises in his books, "Why is it, that the American public has so little knowledge of the current state of biblical/theological/religious scholarship ?" If the public were more informed, book authors like this, who basically have nothing new to say would have to find a real job, and this balloon would not fly.
    (Exit,.....stage left).

    April 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      One can look at our culture because it does not promote the idea of deep theolgical study. Not that it really promotes any deep understanding of anything beyonf pop culture it seems.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > If the public were more informed, book authors like this, who basically have nothing new to say would have to find a real job, and this balloon would not fly.

      If the publc were more informed, there wouldn't be religion.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I don't believe that for a second Bob. One can look at history of the last 500 years. Knowledge and the access to that knowledge has increased by huge amounts ever year. Especially in the last 50 years but has the % of atheism really matched the increased flow of knowledge? I don't think so.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I don't believe that for a second Bob. One can look at history of the last 500 years. Knowledge and the access to that knowledge has increased by huge amounts ever year. Especially in the last 50 years but has the % of atheism really matched the increased flow of knowledge? I don't think so.

      There are three points I'd like to make.

      1) Just because there were not atheists doesn't mean that the work done was by religion. False dichotomy anyone?
      2) As overall education has increased, so has atheism. Why is this the case?
      3) Religion is well known for halting any knowledge that is in direct conflict with it's teachings. You can see this going on right now with the Intelligent Design movement in the US.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "(1) Just because there were not atheists doesn't mean that the work done was by religion. False dichotomy anyone?"

      No one said there were NO atheists. I was implying that the % of atheists have not kept pace with the increase of knowledge.

      "2) As overall education has increased, so has atheism. Why is this the case?"

      You make a few errors. The first is that you are not expressing by what % atheism has increased along with the increase in overall education. The other is that you are assuming that the increased atheism is a direct result of increased education. That can easily be false. Look at the 1600's. The % of Protestants were increasing at the same time that education and information was increasing. Does that mean education brought about more Protestants ot is it more likely that corruption within the Catholic Church of the time was the driving force.

      "3) Religion is well known for halting any knowledge that is in direct conflict with it's teachings. You can see this going on right now with the Intelligent Design movement in the US."

      Halting is a strong word but I can see why you might feel that way, However, with the advent of the internet I think they are not halting anything. I might remind you that such religious regions like Middle Ages Ireland and the islamic Empire of the 12th century kept knowledge alive and in fact increased it. To assume that religion= universal hinderance of knoweldge is faulty.

      Look at Dante in the Divine Comedy. He expressed science quite a bit in that religious work.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > No one said there were NO atheists. I was implying that the % of atheists have not kept pace with the increase of knowledge.

      So what? Why do they have to grow at a proportional rate? I think you're missing the point. Back when people weren't well educated, a good percentage of the population was religious, say 99%. Now as people are becoming more educated, we have more and more people becoming atheist. Furthermore, the farther you go up the educational tree, the more atheists you find as a % of the population. Why is that?

      > You make a few errors. The first is that you are not expressing by what % atheism has increased along with the increase in overall education.

      It's not a mistake, you haven't thought this through. There is no "this is where atheism starts" on the educational map. As such, % are meaningless because they'll have no context. I'll give you an example. I say "As cars speed increases, the chances of fatal accidents increases". Your objection to that is "Well, you didn't give me a %". But there isn't one to give, because increases of 20 – 40 MPH are not the same as increases of 60 – 80 MPH in terms of fatal accidents. You're assuming a straight line, which is almost never the case.

      > The other is that you are assuming that the increased atheism is a direct result of increased education. That can easily be false. Look at the 1600's. The % of Protestants were increasing at the same time that education and information was increasing. Does that mean education brought about more Protestants ot is it more likely that corruption within the Catholic Church of the time was the driving force.

      I'm not assuming anything. Atheism has been shown conclusively to increase as education does. You can view the papers yourself.

      3) Religion is well known for halting any knowledge that is in direct conflict with it's teachings. You can see this going on right now with the Intelligent Design movement in the US.

      > Halting is a strong word but I can see why you might feel that way, However, with the advent of the internet I think they are not halting anything. I might remind you that such religious regions like Middle Ages Ireland and the islamic Empire of the 12th century kept knowledge alive and in fact increased it. To assume that religion= universal hinderance of knoweldge is faulty.

      By it's very nature it is a hinderance to knowledge. Accepting concepts as correct when they might not be is a direct blow to knowledge. Furthermore, important questions like "Where do we come from" are answered with "God did it", which is simply replacing an unknown with another unknown, but closing the question. Thereby preventing knowledge in certain areas.

      But furthermore, we see what effect religion has on the middle east. The middle east used to be the center for scientific discovery. That is until it's culture adopted fundamentalist Islam. Look at them now.

      > Look at Dante in the Divine Comedy. He expressed science quite a bit in that religious work.

      So what, you can always have a shred of truth in anything. I could write a bit of scientific stuff into a zombie horror flick, doesn't make it any more true.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • bp

      I somewhat agree with you Lyc but if you do look the percent of highly educated people are in fact non believers. Scientist, physicists, engineers, etc. I do agree with you that more information is readily available but does that correlate to a low Atheist percentage? I'm not sure I agree with that. Vast amount of information available is not accessed from the internet. And most information on the internet is suspect at best. You really have to check your sources. So are people really more educated because they have more access to garabge information? Least the way I see it

      April 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • bp

      I meant to say "is accessed from the intrnet" NOT "is not"

      sorry about that

      April 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "So what? Why do they have to grow at a proportional rate?"

      "If the publc were more informed, there wouldn't be religion."

      The above quotes are in conflict. There is a level of absolutism with the second quote. It is implying that more education would eliminate religion at some unknown %. The claim is that eventually with enough education, religion would be gone.

      I would then assume there should be a manner one could measure this theory if it had any truth to it.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "As such, % are meaningless because they'll have no context."

      I agree, that's why I do not think your statement of; "If the publc were more informed, there wouldn't be religion." is accurate at all.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Oops, correction...meant *not* accurate.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Atheism has been shown conclusively to increase as education does. You can view the papers yourself."

      I haven't but would like to. Do you have any citation to recommend?

      April 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "So what, you can always have a shred of truth in anything. I could write a bit of scientific stuff into a zombie horror flick, doesn't make it any more true."

      I wasn't citing it to prove anything to you other than religion does not hinder science or the aquisition of knowledge.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "That is until it's culture adopted fundamentalist Islam."

      Ah, that is where you are wrong. It was a fundamentalist culture that adopted Islam. Though great discoveries came about when the region was fully Islamic. The religion did not hinder science at all, but the culture eventually did.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  15. Elisha

    What if there's no hell? What if there's no sky daddy? What if there's no devil? What if there's no angels or fallen angels (demons)? What if there never any unicorns? What if 11 ft giants never existed? What if the oldest person who ever lived didn't die at 969 years old? What if the world wasn't around 8,000 years old? What if the sun didn't rotate around the earth? What if we weren't put on earth before all other animals and we didn't co-exist with dinosaurs? Lies because we all know the bible is 100% fact.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Lycidas

      What if there was no you?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • bp

      Sarcasm?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • bp

      Lycidas. Ergo Cognito Sum (I think therefore I am)
      Your usually pretty logical hough I'm not sure where you stand on the god debate but claiming what if we do not exist is probably the most illogical comment I;ve ever seen you make.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I think therefore I am"

      That kind of criteria only works to prove to yourself that you exist. It doesn't prove to me that you exist.

      Use dreaming as an example. Ppl inside your dreams seem to think, act in a manner that seem to come from thought..but the origin of those thoughts are yours but you don't even realize it till the dream is over.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @bp- Forgive me, I am just having fun. I always like it when we have these types of debates through the use of threads. They open up different angles on what is fact, truth and reality since we are not debating ppl, but the words on a screen.

      To be clear on my position on God. I believe in God, though I am pretty sure I look at things a bit differently than some other Christians.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > To be clear on my position on God. I believe in God, though I am pretty sure I look at things a bit differently than some other Christians.

      Perhaps you can tell us why.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Perhaps you can tell us why."

      On such topics as to how Christianity views Judaism, suicide, baptism..etc. I tend to view those and other subjects differently thsn many Christians I know. Not saying I am unique, but I doubt I would fall into many mainstream denominations.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      I was referring to why you believe in God.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Ah, from personal experience, observation of history, Bibical research, archaeology, ethics...stuff like that.

      Why don't you?

      April 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Personal Experience
      Never had a personal expe-rie-nce with God. Makes me wonder if God exists, why would he choose to give pr-oof to an indiv-idual that will save his/her soul while not to som-eone else, lett-ing them burn in hell forever. Doesn't he love us equ-ally?

      >>> Segmenting due to moronic swear filter on CNN. <<<

      April 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Observation of History
      Depends on what you're using it for. History establi-shes facts, not the superna-tural. Just because Jesus might have exi-sted (I could care less either way), it doesn't prove his superna-tural abil-ities no more then a David Bla-ine magic show proves that he's superna-tural.

      >>> Seperating due to moronic swear filter on CNN <<<

      April 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Bibical Research
      Biblical research like history doesn't prove the superna-tural. It proves that people reco-rded stories that may share a va-gue representa-tion of what actually occ-ured, but it's not really evid-ence. My major complaint with biblical research is that you're often told "how" to read things. And if that's the case, anything can be seen to be plau-s-able. The Qur-an, the Bible, the Tor-ah, you name it.

      > Archaeology
      Like history it will prove that there may have been a man named Jesus who lived in the time fra-me, but it wouldn't prove he's superna-tural. There's archaeological proof for John Smith, actually quite a bit more then Jesus. Why aren't you a mormon?

      > Ethics
      Now you've lost me. Why would ethics prove God?

      See, it depends on what you're looking for. To this date, I see no proof for the superna-tural. No one has it. No one. So faith in a particular God is ba-seless. The proof for your God is just as strong for other Gods. So do you reject those?

      Sorry for the seperators, damn crappy cnn filter.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Doesn't he love us equ-ally?"

      Yes, but who we are is not equal. You have your own will and persoanl history that is unique to mine. How God interacts with his creation and vice versa is different depending on the situation.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "History establi-shes facts, not the superna-tural."

      Sort of true, but it is the reactions of those to supernatural events that I am talking about in history. Both minor and huge.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Biblical research like history doesn't prove the superna-tural."

      Less on the facts in the Bible and more on the truth in the Bible is what I meant by referring to it. The purpose and essence of what the Bible is trying to convey is what is vital to me. The pathos of God through his followers.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Like history it will prove that there may have been a man named Jesus who lived in the time fra-me, but it wouldn't prove he's superna-tural."

      Archaeology isn't the beginning or end all of it. It adds to my religious experience. Off the topic a little bit, but I have always enjoyed the Biblical Archaeological Review. Some good science and history in it's pages.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Why would ethics prove God?"

      In of itself it doesn't....it all goes together to form the tapestry of my faith. I would think it would be odd if anyone would base their entire faith structure on one and only one aspect. But in the ethics, one can see through the Prophets (Amos and such) God's unique dealings with his ppl. It just speaks to me.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I see no proof for the superna-tural."

      I do not require outwardly acts of the supernatural for my faith. It's how my faith directs who I am on the inside that is proof for me.

      From my studies on other faiths, I have not been shown any reason to believe in any other gods. That is my decision to make as is every person's right that should be respected as should every person's choice on faith. As so much one does not infringe on another person's rights. Do you not agree?

      April 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • bp

      @Lycidas
      I left that open see if you would catch that. Yes though you are right, I can only proove that I exist, you could be nothingmore than an illusion created by my synapses, (obviously untrue) but a valid argument nontheless. Good catch happy you caught that. usuually the normal response i get would be how I burn in hell etc.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Yes, but who we are is not equal. You have your own will and personal history that is unique to mine. How God interacts with his creation and vice versa is different depending on the situation.

      So, you are saying that God will in fact let people burn in hell for all eternity despite loving them, even when they're acting according to his own will.

      "History establi-shes facts, not the superna-tural."
      > Sort of true, but it is the reactions of those to supernatural events that I am talking about in history. Both minor and huge.

      No, it is true. You cannot prove a supernatural event by historical means. If you're going to judge reactions, will you conclude David Blaine is supernatural? Did you read and appreciate my objection?

      "Biblical research like history doesn't prove the superna-tural."
      > Less on the facts in the Bible and more on the truth in the Bible is what I meant by referring to it. The purpose and essence of what the Bible is trying to convey is what is vital to me. The pathos of God through his followers.

      But the bible has been demonstrated to contain flaws as I've shown you in another post. So how do you know the truth is really truth? How do you verify the contents?

      "Like history it will prove that there may have been a man named Jesus who lived in the time fra-me, but it wouldn't prove he's superna-tural."
      > Archaeology isn't the beginning or end all of it. It adds to my religious experience. Off the topic a little bit, but I have always enjoyed the Biblical Archaeological Review. Some good science and history in it's pages.

      So what you're saying is that your personal belief frames the facts that come in. Don't you think that's dangerous? Akin to saying "here's what I believe, let's see what evidence I can find for it" instead of "here's the evidence, what does it tell us?"

      "Why would ethics prove God?"
      In of itself it doesn't....it all goes together to form the tapestry of my faith. I would think it would be odd if anyone would base their entire faith structure on one and only one aspect. But in the ethics, one can see through the Prophets (Amos and such) God's unique dealings with his ppl. It just speaks to me.

      Well clearly it was worth mentioning. How does it contribute to your faith? Is this like the above? That is to say, you take things that you know and try to mold them to what you want to believe?

      "I see no proof for the superna-tural."
      > I do not require outwardly acts of the supernatural for my faith. It's how my faith directs who I am on the inside that is proof for me.

      Ok, so you don't need proof to have faith. I have this to say. Muslims have faith. Christians have faith. Both have no evidence. Both are mutually exclusive. That is to say, Islam and Chistianity cannot both be correct at the same time. Therefore, one is wrong. And if one can be wrong with the same level of evidence, both can be wrong.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > From my studies on other faiths, I have not been shown any reason to believe in any other gods. That is my decision to make as is every person's right that should be respected as should every person's choice on faith. As so much one does not infringe on another person's rights. Do you not agree?

      No, I don't agree. Ideas are not to be respected. They are to be critically examined and if they stand the critical eyes and careful examination they get added to our collective knowledge. That's how we grow as a species. You can believe anything you want. You don't have a right not to be mocked for it.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Good catch happy you caught that. usuually the normal response i get would be how I burn in hell etc."

      Lol...thank you. Oddly enough you can thank Brahma and the Matrix for such thoughts from me.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "So, you are saying that God will in fact let people burn in hell for all eternity despite loving them, even when they're acting according to his own will."

      If one believes in the concept of free will..yes. But if one is acting accordingly to the will of God, I do not see hell would be in their fuuture.

      To be honest, when it comes to topics such as heaven and hell I try to stay clear from absolutes. Mostly because the Bible doesn't talk a great deal on those subjects in the manner that ppl want to discuss about them. I always feel you are either with God or with something not of God. The results will reveal themselves with the passage of time.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "..you conclude David Blaine is supernatural?"

      Of what I have observed about the man and all that is about him, supernatural? No...a good showman...yes.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "But the bible has been demonstrated to contain flaws as I've shown you in another post. So how do you know the truth is really truth? How do you verify the contents?"

      Through additional studies by experts in the field, say Rabbi Heschel as an example. Additional resources like the Dead Sea scrolls, Codex Siniactus, Coden Vaticanus, Gospel of Thomas...etc and personal insight. After all, faith resides in that which makes up hope.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "So what you're saying is that your personal belief frames the facts that come in. Don't you think that's dangerous?"

      No one ever said that the rights of man were always safe. It is a risk we must live with if we are to be free.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "How does it contribute to your faith?"

      Look at the concept of fogiveness. Normally it is a ethical concept that Christians tend to do easily. But from my study (reference "The Sunflower" by Weisnethal) it is a concept that requires a level of soul searching if both the wronged and one who did the wrong are to be "fixed" as it were. Without my faith and ongoing study of that faith, I would not have came to that conclusion. I really recommend the book, it's hard to break such a interesting concept in a few sentences.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Ideas are not to be respected."

      Well I was talking about faith and not ideas per say. But faith should be respected in that it is something dear to the person who holds them. Now I am not saying that goes beyond someone else being critical if a person throws their belief in the other person's face. That crosses a certain line.

      But if someone on here says that Zeus is real and it was their genuine belief...ok. But if they start saying it was the only way and everyone else is wrong. Then there should be some level of relevant discussion then.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      B: So, you are saying that God will in fact let people burn in hell for all eternity despite loving them, even when they're acting according to his own will.
      L: If one believes in the concept of free will..yes. But if one is acting accordingly to the will of God, I do not see hell would be in their fuuture. To be honest, when it comes to topics such as heaven and hell I try to stay clear from absolutes. Mostly because the Bible doesn't talk a great deal on those subjects in the manner that ppl want to discuss about them. I always feel you are either with God or with something not of God. The results will reveal themselves with the passage of time.

      The bible is conflicted on free will. It says free will exists, yet it's definitions for God do not allow free will to occur.

      B: "..you conclude David Blaine is supernatural?"
      L: Of what I have observed about the man and all that is about him, supernatural? No...a good showman...yes.

      That was in context of historical evidence. People wrote that Jesus did amazing things. Do does David Blaine. So if you accept the bible as Jesus' supernatural powers, you must also logically accept David Blaine's as supernatural. That's the point.

      B: But the bible has been demonstrated to contain flaws as I've shown you in another post. So how do you know the truth is really truth? How do you verify the contents?
      L: Through additional studies by experts in the field, say Rabbi Heschel as an example. Additional resources like the Dead Sea scrolls, Codex Siniactus, Coden Vaticanus, Gospel of Thomas...etc and personal insight. After all, faith resides in that which makes up hope.

      Expert opinion cannot verify the occurance of the supernatural, which is what they're claiming to know. Furthermore, there is no single unifying methodology to looking at the bible, meaning it's subjective, hence the over 4,000 different types of Christianity. So you're accepting basically the opinion of someone who may or may not be correct about the most important question in your life. That sounds reasonable.

      B: So what you're saying is that your personal belief frames the facts that come in. Don't you think that's dangerous?
      L: No one ever said that the rights of man were always safe. It is a risk we must live with if we are to be free.

      Do you make it a habit of not reading what people write? I'm asking you if you think it's dangerous to frame facts in perspective of what you have already accepted, rather then using facts to come to a conclusion.

      B: How does it contribute to your faith?
      L: Look at the concept of fogiveness. Normally it is a ethical concept that Christians tend to do easily. But from my study (reference "The Sunflower" by Weisnethal) it is a concept that requires a level of soul searching if both the wronged and one who did the wrong are to be "fixed" as it were. Without my faith and ongoing study of that faith, I would not have came to that conclusion. I really recommend the book, it's hard to break such a interesting concept in a few sentences.

      Sorry, research isn't really finding out what someone else asserts and then claiming it as true. But let me turn it back around on you. Christians don't have to feel bad about the people they've wronged either. They can go and ask for forgiveness and presto bango, everything is fine, the slate is wiped clean. Me, I feel bad about wronging someone and I'd consider it a further insult to apologize to a mystical being who may or may not exist, who may or may not care, instead of directly making amends to that person.

      B: Ideas are not to be respected.
      L: Well I was talking about faith and not ideas per say. But faith should be respected in that it is something dear to the person who holds them. Now I am not saying that goes beyond someone else being critical if a person throws their belief in the other person's face. That crosses a certain line.

      What do you think faith is? Faith is accepting a concept without evidence. A concept is an idea. Let's say you see me walking down the street and I'm wearing a pair of green and purple pokadot pants. You say "Hey, what's the deal with the pants?"

      I reply "It keeps the space aliens from abudcting me to work in their cafeteria where they call me Suzanna Banana. I'm trying to get everyone to wear these so we're all protected."

      What would your reaction be. Would it be "Well, I resepect you for your belief and I think you should try to do it." or is it "That's insane, this guy is off his rocker!" Respecting the rights of others to believe what they want is something totally different then respecting the belief itself.

      L; But if someone on here says that Zeus is real and it was their genuine belief...ok. But if they start saying it was the only way and everyone else is wrong. Then there should be some level of relevant discussion then.

      No there really isn't any relevant discussion, because you're both arguing a position from no evidence. It's just as likely that a celestial prankster pink unicorn name "Fredzilla" exists as our God as the Christian God from a stance of evidence.

      What does that say about your position? What do you think about that?

      April 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "The bible is conflicted on free will. It says free will exists, yet it's definitions for God do not allow free will to occur."

      There is no conflict at all. Ppl choose their destiny. The fact that God knows the outcomes does not change how one makes their choices.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "So if you accept the bible as Jesus' supernatural powers, you must also logically accept David Blaine's as supernatural. That's the point."

      You are assuming my belief is based on Jesus's supernatural powers....they are not. Therefor no matter what Blaine does, it has no merit in my soul.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Expert opinion cannot verify the occurance of the supernatural"

      You again are making the flaw in assuming my faith is based on the supernatural events in the Bible. Also, the references I gave are intuned with the historical nature of the Bible and it's background. It was not an attempt to prove anything supernatural.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I'm asking you if you think it's dangerous to frame facts in perspective of what you have already accepted, rather then using facts to come to a conclusion."

      Do you make it a habit of not explaining yourself clearly?

      But this second attempt you make works better. I have a belief, I base that belief on various things as I have already explained. When new information comes forth, I examine it and adjust my belief system as needed. Quite similiar to scientists that begin with a working model and adjust it as time moves forward. Nothing dangerous with that, it's rather a natural process.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Christians don't have to feel bad about the people they've wronged either. They can go and ask for forgiveness and presto bango, everything is fine, the slate is wiped clean."

      I don't know how you are turning this whole thing back at me. I agree with your overall comment here except that we need to clarify that not all Christians are the way you describe them above.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "research isn't really finding out what someone else asserts and then claiming it as true."

      In no way was I implying that. Truth must be sought after by using research. Research made by others does not immediately mean they are correct or that the person citing it is correct. You seem to have a very low opinion on how ppl, maybe just Christians, rationlize their beliefs. I for one do not believe anything just because a Pastor says so, or a scientist. I would hope you wouldn't either.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Faith is accepting a concept without evidence."

      Again you are assuming those that have faith are following something blindly. That is quite faulty, funky pants or not.

      A person's faith has evidence to back it up...but faith does not require for you to believe in the facts that bring forth their faith.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Respecting the rights of others to believe what they want is something totally different then respecting the belief itself."

      That is where you are wrong. One can show respect for a person's belief without having to believe in it. What you are respecting isn't that you have faith in that peticular belief, but that peticular belief is importsnt to the other person. It could sacred to them and that aspect alone should garner some level of respect.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "No there really isn't any relevant discussion, because you're both arguing a position from no evidence."

      You are assuming again. You assume I am saying that Zeus does not exist because I am a Christian. What I said could have just been easily said by an atheist. Does an atheist speak from a position of no evidence too?

      April 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Dave

    I am an athiest.
    I don't believe in Heaven, Hell, G-d, JC, or the FSM.
    I follow the law because it's the right thing to do and I fear going to prison and being pubically shamed. It's not because an all powerful daddy in the sky is going to send me to a punishment room for all eternity.

    I don't cheat on my wife because I love her, it's the right thing to do and I don't want to hurt her feelings. It's not because if I do commit adultery, Sky Daddy is going to bop me on the head.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Dave

      OOps I meant publically shamed.
      Pubically shamed-LMAO, WHAT a Freudian slip that is!

      April 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      I agree, I'm a non believer (in a deity) but I think its wrong to steal, kill, or any of the other "sins" that hurt others or society.

      You don't have to believe the unbelievable to be a good and moral person.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Varangian

      If you don't believe in God, why do you bother censoring His name. I was under the impression that generally Jews are the ones who do that.

      So tell me David, are you a jew who's lieing to himself?

      April 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • bp

      Agreeded Dave, the misconception is that some Christians seem to think is that there can be no morallity without teir god. Impossible to believe when Christianity was not even the first religion on this planet and incorporated various other beliefs into their own. Regardless morality was most likely developed because of social complexities and interaction.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Jesusfreakazoid

      I agree with you Dave, but I think most atheists follow the law and are moral because it's the right thing to do, period, and not for fear of being locked up.

      Religion on the other hand can be a very dangerous influence. Christians are more concerned about the afterlife. This life is a nanosecond compared to the afterlife. Murder someone. No problem. Just ask God for forgiveness and all is forgiven and you will be just fine in the afterlife. The afterlife is all that matters. Right?

      April 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Dave

      @ Varagian
      I'm a former Catholic. It's just my way of referring to GOD.
      I have no qualms about writing the word, "God." However, some people are offended and I am not the type of atheist who stomps on other faiths in order to further my beliefs.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Snaglepuss

      @ bp,
      Wrong.
      It's "Cogito ergo sum". Details, details.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Yolo

      Those are god laws.

      April 30, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  17. The Bobinator

    If there is no hell, the Christian God suddenly takes a step towards being more moral.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • bp

      Claiming hell doesn't exist is an admission that something in the bible is wrong and needs to be removed...I'm not suprised this guy has been called a heretic. Remove the source of fear and you loose your source of control. I'll just stick to being the best person I can be simply because I can.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      There's lots of stuff that is in the bible that isn't true. 🙂

      April 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • bp

      I realize that I'm no believer. Im just saying christians cant pick and choose.. If they srat doing that then there whole argument about the bible being failproof is thrown out the window

      April 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "There's lots of stuff that is in the bible that isn't true."

      Interesting belief you have there Bob.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Interesting belief you have there Bob.

      It's not a belief. It's demonstratable fact.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Plz Bob..demonstrate that fact. Make sure you cite your evidence.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Now while I am not a literalist, I due believe that Bob wants to say that if he can show that even .9% of the Bible is inaccuarte then he can say it is all wrong. I might be mistaken and if I am I am sorry. But there have been many that used that flawed logic before.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Creation and the Garden of Eden.

      This is directly contradicted by the following...

      Genetics: Genetically speaking, we have been shown to share a common ancestor with the other Great Apes. Which contraidcts the story of Adam and Eve. Also genetics shows that the human population has not had any recent near extinctions by looking at the differences in the genes of current humans, proving that the Adam and Eve is wrong and also the flood is wrong.

      Archaelogy: The story claims that all creatures were created at the same time, however sedmentary layers show this isn't the case. Fossils of dinosaurs are not found mixed with the fossils of humans or rabbits. This shows that the description of one of the days of creation is simply false.

      Dendrochronology: The study of tree rings has recently been traced back 26,000 years, which well exceeds the outer timeline given by the bible. Clearly the bible is wrong about the date of the creation of the world.

      Radiometric Dating: Radiometric dating techniques (there are many) show a world that is older then what the bible claims. Again, proving that the bible's timeline is wrong.

      Astronomy: We are having light hit our earth that is far, far older then 6,000 years. This also disproves the date given by the bible.

      Anthropology: Studying the remains of humans has revealed many cultures that go well past the 6,000 year timeline given by the bible.

      I could keep on going. But that should be enough for a while.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Now while I am not a literalist, I due believe that Bob wants to say that if he can show that even .9% of the Bible is inaccuarte then he can say it is all wrong. I might be mistaken and if I am I am sorry. But there have been many that used that flawed logic before.

      I said it had lots of things wrong, not that it was entirely wrong. There's a difference.

      However, if you accept that parts of the bible are wrong, then you have to question EVERYTHING. Because how do you know what you're reading about Jesus, Paul or Satan are true? Once you break perfection, there's no coming back. You need evidence for everything.

      Well, you do if you actually care if what you believe is accurate and true.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • airwx

      Dear "The Bob"...your comment as to the age of the earth is based on a traditional (not based in knowledge) translation of the word YOM in Genesis. Yom can mean a literal 24 hour day or an unspecified amount of time. The original translaters stated that they only used the 24 day because anywhere else in the O.T. Yom preceeded by a numerical adjective usually meant a 24 hour day. You might also wish to read Henry Morris's works on Genesis, which sends most traditional translations into oblivion. The translation I learned from him has been confirmed by professors in OT language at a famous seminary

      April 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Genetics: Genetically speaking, we have been shown to share a common ancestor with the other Great Apes."

      Theory not fact. The two may contrdict each other but one does not immediately cancels out the other. Watch your terminolofy. Also, from the Bible point of view, it never says that Adam and Eve are Human-Prime. Note that there were other humans outside Adam's immediate realm.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Archaelogy: The story claims that all creatures were created at the same time..."

      You are getting anthropology, archaeology and palentology mixed together.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Clearly the bible is wrong about the date of the creation of the world."

      The Bible makes no statement on the creation of the world. If it does, plz cite us the verse.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "show a world that is older then what the bible claims."

      Again, the Bible makes no claims as to how old the world is.

      I never understood why this bothered ppl. Persoanlly how old the earth should hardly have a thing to do with one's faith but ppl make it out as if it should.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "We are having light hit our earth that is far, far older then 6,000 years."

      Yeah...science would make it out that way. Again, the Bible never gives a date on how old the world/universe is and I just don' see the big deal.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Studying the remains of humans has revealed many cultures that go well past the 6,000 year timeline given by the bible."

      Did you know that a great deal of the oldest human bones and even Neanderthal bones were found in the Mount Carmel region in Israel? I always thought that was cool.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "However, if you accept that parts of the bible are wrong, then you have to question EVERYTHING."

      I have and I do. Faith, truth, facts, discipline, theories....all should go into the study of one's belief system.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • bp

      @Lycidas
      The bible never does menton a specific age for the Earth true. But going back through the geneologies the standard teaching of christianity claims the world is approx 6000 years old. PLus/minus 1000 years. You may not agree with this assessment but it is taught mostly as the standard acceptable truth by christianity. For example this nonsense was taught to me in my religious class ass I went to a private school. I've heard it argued in church as being true. The Catholic church held it as true (I'm not sure if they do any more) and I would say most protestant churches hold that figure to be true as well. So yes the bible never clearly states it but the religion actively teaches this.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • bp

      "However, if you accept that parts of the bible are wrong, then you have to question EVERYTHING."

      I have and I do. Faith, truth, facts, discipline, theories....all should go into the study of one's belief system.

      @ Lycidas
      Commendable. more believers should argue and study this like you do. Your a much more effective of arguing against when it comes to the existence of god. I disagree with you considerably but you have valid arguments at least.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "it is taught mostly as the standard acceptable truth by christianity."

      And that is one reason why I do not always toe the line with standard Christianity.

      Though I will say that the concept of a Biblical year has never been hammered fully. Just saying.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I disagree with you considerably but you have valid arguments at least."

      Thank you...same to you. Good grief why come on here if we all can't be interesting at least eh? Lol.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • NL

      bp-
      "Claiming hell doesn't exist is an admission that something in the bible is wrong and needs to be removed...I'm not suprised this guy has been called a heretic."

      Abolitionists must have been heretics too, then, because they argued that slavery was wrong even though the Bible clearly condoned it.

      Heh, this actually reminds me of when River was ripping pages out of Shepherd's bible on Firefly. Too bad there isn't a Hell for the execs who decided to cancel that show.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Every word of Jesus is true. Just because some people don't know what they are reading only proves them to be fools.

      Here are some of the first age scriptures and # 5 and 6 are referring to the flood that destroyed the first earth age, not Noah's flood which was regional, not global.

      2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

      2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

      2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

      2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

      2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

      2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

      2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

      2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

      2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

      2 Peter 3:11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,

      2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

      2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

      2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

      2 Peter 3:15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

      2 Peter 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

      2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

      2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

      April 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      "Theory not fact. The two may contrdict each other but one does not immediately cancels out the other. Watch your terminolofy. Also, from the Bible point of view, it never says that Adam and Eve are Human-Prime. Note that there were other humans outside Adam's immediate realm."

      LOL! The real bible thumpers will have issue with this logic since they are opposed to gays. The famous line "its about Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Well if we use your statement then there could have been an Adam and Steve! What a great thing for gays!

      April 18, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • The Bobinator

      I wrote: "Genetics: Genetically speaking, we have been shown to share a common ancestor with the other Great Apes."

      You replied: Theory not fact. The two may contrdict each other but one does not immediately cancels out the other. Watch your terminolofy. Also, from the Bible point of view, it never says that Adam and Eve are Human-Prime. Note that there were other humans outside Adam's immediate realm.

      The only thing that is fact is that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Theory and fact are not mutually exclusive. You have the theory of gravity, you have the laws of gravity and you have facts of gravity.

      Facts abound in science and are generally rather boring. Cells have a phospho-lipid bylayer with hydrophobic ends turned inward and hydrophillic ends turned outward. It's when you take in all these facts to form a comprehensive explanation that you have a theory.

      The theory of evolution has been proven independantly by many different branches of science and observed fact. The reality is that there isn't any "scientific conspiracy". The reality of the situation is that your presuppositions are incompatable with evolution so you dismiss it offhandedly without actually knowing anything about science or the evidence for it.

      April 18, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Lycidas

      @The Bobinator- Did I anywhere say that there was no evolution at all? No..I did not. Thank you for making another generalization.

      And plz keep in mind that how we define what makes up gravity and the definitions surrounding it does not mean you can slide that kind of thinking right over to genetic theory.

      April 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Did I anywhere say that there was no evolution at all? No..I did not. Thank you for making another generalization.

      I didn't say you did. I was correcting your ignorance on what a theory was. I felt I had to explain it fully to show you why what you said is sillly. I'm not making generalizations, I'm taking what you're saying and replying to it. Reading comprehension on your part would be good though.

      > And plz keep in mind that how we define what makes up gravity and the definitions surrounding it does not mean you can slide that kind of thinking right over to genetic theory.

      You have no idea what you're talking about. The application of a theory is consistent through all theories in science. If you knew what a theory was, you'd understand this.

      April 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Lycidas

      No Bob, I understand theory and fact fine. You however are trying to use them in a manner not correct.

      April 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "The theory of evolution has been proven independantly by many different branches of science and observed fact."

      There is a problem here. But I will try to get to the bone of it by asking you to plz tell us of when we have observed a species evolving to a brand new distinct species. I do not deny that changes occur within species, but I will argue that we have not observed the evolution of a distinct species from another one.

      Let me ask you not to be rude because I do not agree with you and you try to nitpick over your inrepetation of terminology.

      April 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Yolo

      Hell is nothing but the common grave.when you die you don't burn forever.This is for those who feel hell is a place of torment.Its not.It dose not make since to burn forever in ever in ever.

      April 30, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  18. Rainy

    What if there is no Hell????? Does this mean there going to outlaw marriage?????

    April 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  19. Doc Vestibule

    If there's no hell, then mere anarchy shall be loosed upon the world!
    Without fear of eternal pain and torment, every single person on the planet will immediately begin fornicating, killing, pillaging, cannibalizing, spraying graffiti, slow dancing, eating shellfish, wearing poly-cotton blended clothing, working on sunday and, worst of all – start reading books other than the Bible!

    April 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Oddly, I think there are a few religions without a "hell" incorporated in them and they can be quite moral.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Lycidas
      C'mon now – we all know that Rabbis are the devil's mouthpieces.
      Those poor Jews – trying to get through life with only half a bible.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Actaully, they would call it a full Tanakh.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Robert

      "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. " Steven Weinberg

      April 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  20. Peter Gusterman

    CNN pimps another idiotic Christian product.

    April 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Plz take note that you are commenting in the "faith now" section of CNN. What kind of idiot is surprised that Christianity would be here?

      April 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • ScottK

      What kind of idiot is surprised that Christianity is not the only claimant on faith.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Wouldn't have the foggiest notion..probably the same type going on here like you and making something up no one was talking about.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Lycidas – "Plz take note that you are commenting in the "faith now" section" & "making something up no one was talking about." Ah yes, i guess you were not talking about faith.As Peter pointed out CNN is pimping another "Christian Product" which you called him idiotic for pointing out. The fact that his point of CNN offering up yet another article which was more of a sales pitch than a new article seems to have missed you, as did my comment about faith. There are lots of faiths, so why should you assume it has to be a Christian faith sold on this site. The Christian presumption that they have some sort of patent on true "faith" is what disgusts me, and the arrogance of their ignorant faithful is what prompts my response.

      April 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "it has to be a Christian faith sold on this site."

      Plz go over to the thread about Passover if you feel that way.

      April 18, 2011 at 2:57 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.