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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. Gaunt

    Two men die.

    The first was an evil, man onsessed with casual brutality and violating young women. His body count was in the hundreds, and he was vain, greedy and delf-obsessed. In his final hours in old age, he realises the error of his ways, and seeks genuine repentance for his many thousands of misdeeds, and accepts JC in his last moments.

    Person two is a kind, geneour, forgiving, patient man, who dedicates his life to helping others. He gives all his money to the less fortunate, and aids anyone, no matter their beliefs or race, without seeking reward or even recognition. he is a Hindu.

    According to the bible thumpers, person one is in paradise while person two burns down below.

    And you Christians DARE call yourselves moral?

    April 18, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Peter F

      @Gaunt

      We call God gracious and forgiving. A genuinely repentant person with a changed heart and att*tude brings glory to God. How unlikely is that? How amazing is that? It is a demonstration of God's love for every individual on our planet.

      As far as the second person is concerned, you should check out Rob Bell's newest book, "Love Wins." He (person #2) may not know Christ nominally, but he surely seems to know the love and compassion of Christ. Who can condemn such a person? Which of us can cast the first stone since we are all sinners ourselves? In all actuality, he probably knows Christ without actually having read about or studied him in Scripture.

      I believe this actually demonstrates true love is from the Lord, not from humanity. We see that and live that out through Christ.

      Blessings!

      April 18, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • NL

      Theoretically, the first person could even be Hitler, basking in heavenly glory at this very minute, watching millions of Jews being tormented in Hell. All he had to do was repent in the bunker, and nobody can claim to have knowledge that he hadn't. Some justice!

      April 18, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Peter F

      The stubborn heart of humanity cannot even comprehend of grace. See, this is what I'm saying. Evil actions deserve death, for sure. But if God is able to truly transform the heart, mind and soul of an individual who has done so much wrong – that is miraculous! That is a testament of how good our God is. It is like bringing a cold, dead body back to life.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Gaunt,

      God will have the final word. Not man! At the same time understand rejection of Christ Jesus is not a prudent decision! You asked if christians dare call themselves moral.
      1. We made no rules, God did!
      2. If you believe what you wrote, are you still rejecting Christ?
      3. Morality is great, yet by God's standards it is not enough!

      April 18, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Peter F

      You said: "That is a testament of how good our God is."

      Hmmm...
      It is said: "By your fruit you will be known."

      Let's look at your god's "fruit".

      God directly or at His insistence, murdered men, women and children including babies. This isn't evil? Is this good?

      God killed every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah and his family, because man was wicked. Afterwards, He decides He won't kill everything again, because man's heart is evil from his youth. This isn't evil? Is this good?

      God had a man believe he was going to sacrifice his son to Him. Do you know how traumatic that would be for a father and his son?
      If you had the power would you do this? Would you be so insecure? This isn't evil? Is this good?

      There was a man who loved God. God made a bet with Satan that even if the man were tortured, his Possessions taken, and his children killed, he would still love God and never curse Him. God won the bet.
      Would you do that? Would you kill a man's children for a bet? This isn't evil? Is this good?

      God sent a bear to kill a group of children, because they had teased one of His prophets.
      Did the children deserve to die, because they teased a bald man? This isn't evil? Is this good?

      God allowed a man to sacrifice his daughter to Him, for giving the man a victory in battle. Human sacrifice! This isn't evil? Is this good?

      God created a place He can send people to be burned for all eternity. Could a god who is not evil do this?
      If a puppy wet on the floor, would you hold it over a burner? Even for a second?

      I call Jesus, Himself as a witness!

      Jesus had this to say:
      Matthew 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

      Luke 6:43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

      1. A god who is not evil, can't do evil things!
      This is established, by Jesus's testimony.

      2. The Christian god is guilty of horrid crimes against humans
      Evidenced by the atrocities recorded in the bible

      3. Therefore, god is evil. He bears bad fruit.

      Read the examples of god's behavior again. Tell me in what reality or under what circ_umstances, these actions would not be evil.

      Cheers!

      April 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve (the real one)

      You said: " Morality is great, yet by God's standards it is not enough!"

      Where do we get our morals from?

      Will look for your answer later.

      Curious

      April 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      The statements "God will have the final word. Not man!" and "We made no rules, God did!" are articles of faith, not facts. You seem to have forgotten that distinction.

      Many Christians believe that all that is required to get into Heaven is a deathbed conversion, but does this make one moral? It would if good deeds flowed from the saved as is expected, but what if the newly converted dies before being able to demonstrate his newfound conviction? Is it possible that a person who was a horrible sadist throughout their life may yet be allowed into heaven as long as they accept Christ as their personal savior with their dying breath, even if they never lived long enough to do a single good thing for a fellow human? In your view, could Hitler right now be in heaven if he had played this card in the bunker, and now be gleefully watching his Jewish victims burn for not having done the same?

      April 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • NL

      Peter F-
      So, a cowardly Hitler begging to be forgiven as the allied shells rained on his bunker could be rewarded by God, but his Jewish victims, whose lives he cut short, could be tortured by God in your opinion. Thanks, but you can keep that kind of miracle.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      David Johnson
      @Steve (the real one)
      You said: " Morality is great, yet by God's standards it is not enough!" Where do we get our morals from?
      Will look for your answer later. Curious
      ---------
      Come on David, You have asked this before. Look I know atheists can be moral just like anybody else. I know that. I believe built in every human is the knowledge that killing, stealing, abuse, hurting others is wrong! I believe God installed in us (Notice I said God) I know you were expecting me to say the Bible, right? at the same time the Bible is clear that faith in Christ and not morality is what determines eternal life! As much as you disagree that is the biblical answer!

      April 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      NL
      Steve (the real one)-
      The statements "God will have the final word. Not man!" and "We made no rules, God did!" are articles of faith, not facts. You seem to have forgotten that distinction.

      Many Christians believe that all that is required to get into Heaven is a deathbed conversion, but does this make one moral? It would if good deeds flowed from the saved as is expected, but what if the newly converted dies before being able to demonstrate his newfound conviction? Is it possible that a person who was a horrible sadist throughout their life may yet be allowed into heaven as long as they accept Christ as their personal savior with their dying breath, even if they never lived long enough to do a single good thing for a fellow human? In your view, could Hitler right now be in heaven if he had played this card in the bunker, and now be gleefully watching his Jewish victims burn for not having done the same
      ----–
      NL, As much I think you hate the argument of morality and faith. Death bed conversions have a bible precedent.

      I am sure you know the story of Jesus on the cross. he is hanging between 2 thieves. One thief mocks him. The other while on the cross and awaiting death (a type of death bed conversion, if you will), confesses Christ as Messiah. Jesus promised thief he would meet Jesus in paradise! We are expected to LIVE for Christ and experience abundant life here on earth. Contrary to popular belief that does not necessarily mean money. While death bed conversions are biblical, they are not guaranteed. What I mean by that is we have no clue when death will come. We have no idea if we will even have time for a death bed conversion. We are to LIVE for Christ! That is what God expects! Morality while great does not equal eternal life! To all those who are concerned if Hitler made it to heaven. Stop worrying about that! If he is there, there is nothing you can do about. Live so YOU can make it in!

      April 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • NL

      Steve-
      I have no wish to share accommodations with Hitler, no matter how lavish they happen to be. Many good people died precisely because they chose the more difficult path in not siding with Hitler as one of his elite. If I believed in Heaven I doubt that I could stop worrying about who was allowed in at the last moment. If I saw him inside the pearly gates why shouldn't I feel that any place where he is, I do not wish to be?

      Jesus may have made an exception to that one individual on a cross, but aren't the 'saved' to be judged by their works? How can a last gasp conversion without any 'good works' to support it be judged as valid? Remember James 2:20?

      "Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?"

      April 19, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Evan

      Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not true.

      Besides, none of us are "good"; none of us are without sin. No sin is too great for G-d to forgive; you just have to ask. The "bad man" asked. The Hindu didn't. I don't necessarily like this, but it's not like G-d asks much from us when He tells us to trust in Him.

      "Good" by Human standards isn't "good" by G-d's standards.

      April 19, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      NL
      Steve-
      I have no wish to share accommodations with Hitler, no matter how lavish they happen to be. Many good people died precisely because they chose the more difficult path in not siding with Hitler as one of his elite. If I believed in Heaven I doubt that I could stop worrying about who was allowed in at the last moment. If I saw him inside the pearly gates why shouldn't I feel that any place where he is, I do not wish to be?

      Jesus may have made an exception to that one individual on a cross, but aren't the 'saved' to be judged by their works? How can a last gasp conversion without any 'good works' to support it be judged as valid? Remember James 2:20?

      "Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?"
      ---------
      1. NL, you assume we will entertain natural, secular thoughts in Heaven! I sincerely doubt that. All in heaven have experienced a grace of God that is matchless and one in which words cannot describe! God has washed away ALL their sins. Yes, that could include Hitler. The problem is even us Christians do not know the fullness of God's grace. The primary point I want to make is I don't believe anybody in Heaven thinks naturally. No revenge, not remembering evil!

      2. Again, I go back to grace. Yes God wants us to work. Yet God will not cast out "death bed" conversions if they are sincere. You are looking at this and attempting to debate this through natural means! Impossible!. God's Grace is supernatural! As I said before, As a believer, I do not understand the fullness of it. I am sure non believers don't either!

      3. Understand the judgment for believers is not what you may think. First, is it not a question of salvation but one of reward and position. Works will be judged. Last minute conversions have little if any works. I am more than comfortable letting God decide!

      April 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Peter F

      @David Johnson

      You always have some good and prying questions for us Christians. I appreciate the fact that you're willing to ask them because it forces us to think about our faith instead of blindly accept it. And I truly believe that the vast majority of Christians do not mind checking their brains in at the front door of the church. In any event, let me address some of them from my own perspective. I don't expect that all Christians will agree with me. And that's perfectly fine by me!

      First off, one of the main fallacies of your point is that you flip open to a chapter and verse and see a few words and use them to support your point. We call this "proof texting". And by proof texting, one can prove pretty much anything they want from Scripture. This is one of the main reasons I am at seminary at this point. Those who are really attempting to understand the message of Scripture need to come to it responsibly, looking at the historical and literal context as well as the intended message of the author before jumping to any hasty conclusions about the morality that the text is preaching (if there even is one). In other words, all of us need to think a bit more critically. For example, why might God have told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Is it likely that Abraham went through a lot of emotional torment in taking Isaac up the mountain and tying him up in preparation for the burnt offering? Yes. But might he have trusted that God had his best intentions in mind? Was he being tested? Was he recognizing it as an opportunity to show his obedience? Quite possibly. If you try to sum up the story in a couple of bullet points you are going to miss some valuable insights from it.

      Also, you allude to hell. Did God create hell? Really? If so, where does it say that and what is the context? If you are trying to argue for the Christian God being malevolent for creating such evil and torment in the world, let's address one issue at a time. And let's really get into the text and try to take out of it what the author is communicating instead of what we want to read. Going back to that idea of proof-texting, if you're trying to prove God is evil you can certainly point to these disconnected verses to show how God has caused people to be killed for different reasons. I believe God is active in creation to create and sustain life and to judge and destroy the sin and evil that corrupts it.

      @NL

      You're changing the scenario here. If a "cowardly Hitler" comes to God begging for his grace and mercy without a real change of heart I don't think he will find God's mercy. I'm referring to a powerful transformation that causes someone to be truly repentant of his or her actions and seeks real forgiveness from God (and others) instead of this "I'm about to die, I need some life insurance" reasoning.

      April 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • NL

      Peter F-
      I meant cowardly as in so afraid of death and judgment that he should seek forgiveness from God. Less brave than surviving and facing trial for his crimes, giving his victims the justice they deserved. He could still have a powerful transformation, but without any opportunity to set things straight how is he to be judged as being saved? As repentant as he could have become, would this help ease the suffering he caused if he took this to his grave? In any event, any circ.umstance that would see Hitler being forgiven and rewarded in Heaven while those he killed are sent to the fires is without any justice, and any system that allows such is basically immoral, IMHO.

      April 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Peter F

      @NL

      And that's exactly why I say that the grace and mercy of God is limitless because of his amazing love for humanity. He is powerful and loving enough to be patient with the worst and most evil dictator of the modern world even to the point of forgiveness and salvation. That is love, let me tell ya. I highly doubt there is any way I could ever forgive Hitler... but then again I'm not God. I'm human. And humans operate in a world that does not really comprehend the idea of full love and mercy.

      Then again only God could judge the heart of Hitler. Do I think it is likely that he was truly repentant of his crimes upon death. No. But what do I know. He lived in an evil and hardened state, and he probably died that way as well. I think he killed himself to escape the oncoming wrath of the Allies... so that should tell you something.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      "The primary point I want to make is I don't believe anybody in Heaven thinks naturally. No revenge, not remembering evil!."
      Not being able to reason or feel any compas.sion for those suffering in Hell either, I suppose. No free will in Heaven either then. God isn't about to make that mistake twice.

      How shall we think of this? God removes the 'human' parts from our personalities. A kind of brainwashing, or lobotomizing, or some other procedure that renders people similar to the drooling vegetables of psych wards, or old-age care facilities?

      A question for you, if we are not thinking 'naturally' in heaven how is it that we can be happy there, or blissful? If we should be how would we know that we are? It sounds more like an eternal LSD trip than anything I would find appealing. More a nightmare, actually.

      "As a believer, I do not understand the fullness of it. I am sure non believers don't either!"
      First, if you believe in the 'supernatural' where do you draw the line, and why? Do you believe in ghosts, magic, elves, the Easter Bunny,...? If you believe in some things to which there is no evidence then you have no logical reason to dismiss any of the other things that fall in that category, right?

      Furthermore, you say that you do not even understand it. Has it ever occurred to you that it cannot be understood because it isn't actually real? Real things, things that actually function, tend to be comprehensible given time, and theologians have had considerably more time that science has even existed to figure out how this works.

      "I am more than comfortable letting God decide!"
      As funny as it sounds, so am I! Still, there are many out there who appear not to be as comfortable as expressed by all the debate over the existence of Hell, the damnation of gays, if Jesus is the only way to salvation, and so on. I'm sure you'll say that all of this is answered in the Bible, and the Bible actually is God's word, but there are may varied opinions on this, mostly coming from other Christians.

      Then, what if the Bible is just a book? What if it's just a book and the real God bares little resemblance to how that book depicts it, or is a different familiar god? Then we'd all be in the same boat, right? Does this worry you? No? Then you know how we atheists feel.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      NL,

      I have said many times before, you can believe what you will. "Furthermore, you say that you do not even understand it. Has it ever occurred to you that it cannot be understood because it isn't actually real? "
      Has it occurred to you that it is real? Perhaps we cannot fully understand it because God's thoughts are higher than ours? You are trying to understand with a natural mind something beyond natural! I will not change your mind, nor will you change mine. At least we disagree in a civil manner!

      April 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • NL

      Peter F-
      "He is powerful and loving enough to be patient with the worst and most evil dictator of the modern world even to the point of forgiveness and salvation. That is love, let me tell ya."

      Yet, not patient enough to limit the sentence of Hell, right? Not enough love to allow for rehabilitation in Hell either.

      It's true that you're human, but could it be possible that the very human writers of the New testament could not imagine a Heaven without a Hell to punish their enemies. Human senses of justice clouding perhaps what a truly loving God, one with compas.sion, would do?

      You speak as if all this is really true, but don't confuse what all of this really is, just details in a book. Plenty of authors have created worlds within literature that are as nonsensical as this, but without the pretext that they're actually real. Without evidence to the contrary I see no reason to separate this from any creation of known fiction.

      I don't believe it likely either that Hitler would have repented, but the shocking fact remains that within the Christian system he may have achieved a last minute glorious afterlife while many of his victims are condemned to suffer in Hell, right? If you believe in this system then you can't be sure that this isn't the case, and I can't help but feel sickened that anyone would think that this is fair treatment. Sorry, but as my nephews would say, that's really messed up!

      April 20, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      "Has it occurred to you that it is real? Perhaps we cannot fully understand it because God's thoughts are higher than ours? You are trying to understand with a natural mind something beyond natural! I will not change your mind, nor will you change mine. At least we disagree in a civil manner!"
      So, basically, you are saying that part of the definition of God is 'that He cannot be understood' which begs the question of how you can claim to know what you do about Him?

      Getting late here, so see you in the AM.
      Nice chatting!
      TTFN

      April 20, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      NL, Stevie makes those claims out of the same arrogance displayed by HS and Adelina. All of them make statements as if they "know" something about God, but when asked for proof or evidence, their only response is a Bible verse. Or in Stevie's case, a bunch of exclamations-because he's "so enthusiastic".

      Laughable at best. Disgusting and disingenuous at worst.

      April 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  2. Usaywha?

    Rob Bell should have known better. Asking questions will get you labeled as a Heretic and excommunicated. You must only follow and obey! Do not ask questions. Do not have opinions. Freedom of Religion does not mean you are allowed to think freely about religion. God chose the Jews as his people 5000 +/- years ago and through them and Christianity he would save his people from the world that he placed us on. He just neglected to tell the rest of the millions of people on the planet at that time that the Jews were his chosen people and through Christianity they could be saved. So through invasions, death, slavery and destruction of people in foreign lands, his words of love could be spread around the world to those that weren’t informed. He did the same thing with the Prophet Mohammed with Islam but only with a different twist to keep us all on our toes. Rob Bell, do not follow what you feel God has placed on your heart, you must follow what you have been taught by man.

    April 18, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  3. Gaunt

    Dialogue with a Creationist:

    Zealot: Evolution is a myth, Creationism is the only way.

    Thinker: How can you propose creationism as an alternative to anything? It is a fairy tale, just another in a long line of hundreds of creation myths from hundreds of religions, all without a single basis for resonable discussion.

    Zealot: Thats not true, there is lots of evidence for Creationism.

    Thinker: There is? My apologies. Please supply me with an example of this evience.

    Zealot. Evolution is false because of Irreductable complexity.

    Thinker: OK, two problems. Firstly, you are wrong. No proponent of Intelligent design has ever been able to find any biological component with is 'irreductably complex'. It is a myth. But, if you will forgive me, thats is entirely beside the point. I asked you for evidence of creationism, and you turned around and gave me (false) evidence against evolution. Thats not what I asked for. You are proposing Creationism as an alternative, therefore please supply me with a SINGLE example of actual evidence for Creationism.

    Zealot: ...

    Thinker: I thought not. So here is the problem. Even if these 'gaps' in evolution DID exist (and they do not, most of them are just your basic lack of scientific knowledge), then wouldnt a theory with some positive evidence still be vastly more reasonable than your theory with NO positive evidence?

    Zealot (Puts hands over ears and walks away loudly singing 'onwards Christian soldiers...')

    April 18, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  4. Muneef

    The Commandments
    [2:83] We made a covenant with the Children of Israel: "You shall not worship except GOD. You shall honor your parents and regard the relatives, the orphans, and the poor. You shall treat the people amicably. You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat)." But you turned away, except a few of you, and you became averse.

    [2:84] We made a covenant with you, that you shall not shed your blood, nor shall you evict each other from your homes. You agreed and bore witness.

    [2:85] Yet, here you are killing each other, and evicting some of you from their homes, banding against them sinfully and maliciously. Even when they surrendered, you demanded ransom from them. Evicting them was prohibited for you in the first place. Do you believe in part of the scripture and disbelieve in part? What should be the retribution for those among you who do this, except humiliation in this life, and a far worse retribution on the Day of Resurrection? GOD is never unaware of anything you do.

    [2:86] It is they who bought this lowly life at the expense of the Hereafter. Consequently, the retribution is never commuted for them, nor can they be helped.
    ---------
    Major Commandments
    [4:36] You shall worship GOD alone – do not associate anything with Him. You shall regard the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the related neighbor, the unrelated neighbor, the close associate, the traveling alien, and your servants. GOD does not like the arrogant show-offs.

    [4:37] The ones who are stingy, exhort the people to be stingy, and conceal what GOD has bestowed upon them from His bounties. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution.

    [4:38] They give money to charity only to show off, while disbelieving in GOD and the Last Day. If one's companion is the devil, that is the worst companion.

    [4:39] Why do they not believe in GOD and the Last Day, and give from GOD's provisions to them? GOD is fully aware of them.
    ----------–
    [16:90] GOD advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed.
    ----------–

    April 18, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Eric G

      @Muneef: "[16:90] GOD advocates justice, charity, and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice, and transgression."

      If your god forbids evil, why did he, (and more to the point), why would he create it?

      "[4:38] They give money to charity only to show off, while disbelieving in GOD and the Last Day."

      This statement is immoral. There is no defense of it.

      April 18, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Muneef

      Eric G.

      Not sure what you meant...but Man has made a choice for that he is being tested as to taking the path of rightous or others... So if there was any evil it is because man chose it over the righteous paths that in many verses God has given his commandments as to what is that considered Rightous and that is considered Evilest,leaving it to us to chose which path we chose to follow towards which we either be punished or be rewarded...

      April 18, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  5. Evan

    A Dialouge Against an Atheist

    Theist- How did the universe, "something", come from nothing?

    Atheist- Scientists don't believe the universe came from nothing...

    Theist- Yes, you do. There can be no states between "something" and "nothing". Either something is, or it isn't. Something cannot be, yet not be. Therefore, if there was never a time when there was nothing, there was always something. Therefore, if the universe did not come from nothing, it must have come from something. But what is this "something"? There are two options here: this "something" is either transcedent or non-transcendent. Theists believe this being is transcedent, and exists completely outside of the universe. We believe this being is eternal, but the universe it created is not, which is the only logical conclusion in this case. Atheists believe this "something" is non-transcedent and is merely part of the universe. But this is not logical. First off, something cannot create itself. Something that is part of the universe cannot create the universe. Second, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamic, a perpetual motion machine is impossible. This applies to the universe as well. If the universe has always existed, why hasn't it collapsed into a state of entropy?

    Atheist- The Second Law of Thermodynamic applies to energy, not matter. If something has always existed, that does not mean energy has always existed...

    Theist- If energy has not always existed, but matter has, that means that energy must have come into existence at some point. But doesn't this violate the Law of Conservation of Energy? If the universe did not come from nothing or something transcedent, it must be eternal, because something within the universe must have always existed. But this is violating the laws of science. If the universe did come from nothing, this is a violation of the laws of science and the laws of logic; something cannot come from nothing. To say "We don't believe a transcedent being created the universe, but we don't believe the universe came from nothing" is to throw yourself into a logical dead-end. Back to my first question: How did the universe come from nothing?

    Atheist- We don't know...

    Theist- "We don't know" isn't going to work here. There are only three options: the universe was created from nothing, the universe was created by something non-transcendent, or the universe was created by something transcendent. You yourselves have denied the universe being created from nothing, yet science and logic contradict the very idea of an eternal universe or the universe creating itself. That leaves us with only one logical option: the universe was created by something transcendent.

    Atheist- But we don't know that those are the only 3 options...

    Theist- That doesn't work either. There are no states between something and nothing; something cannot be yet not be. There can be no states between transcedent and non-transcedent; something cannot be of the universe yet not of the universe; something cannot be restricted to the laws of nature yet not restricted to the laws of nature. You can deny this, but that would be to deny the laws of science, which leads us to the question: why are you using science to defend yourself when it contradicts your reasoning? You can deny this, but that would be to deny the laws of logic, which leads to the question: why are you even debating if you cannot trust your own logical reasoning?

    Atheist- This transcedent being is not necessarily "God".

    Theist- True, but this argument is enough to dispose of atheism.

    April 18, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Eric G

      @Evan: Thank you for posting Frank Turek's version of appologetics. Unfortunately, presenting the framework for a hypothesis by misrepresenting the position of an opposing view is not a valid logical argument.

      Two issues with your post:
      First, if you could present verifiable evidence that disproves the big bang theory, (which you have not), this does not prove creation theory. You will need to provide verifiable evidence to support creation theory. The big bang theory and creation theory are seperate. They make seperate claims that carry their own burden of proof. Let me give you an example. The Big Bang theory can exist with Creation theory because the Big Bang theory is based on verified evidence. The theory can exist regardless of Creation theory because it is supported by verifiabe evidence. Creation theory has no supporting verifiable evidence and thus cannot exist if the evidence supporting the Big Bang is verifiied. The difference is that the Big Bang theory exists because of verified evidence, Creation theory exists because of an abscence, or in spite of evidence.

      You have made as-sumption as to the position and explaination of an opposing viewpoint. This is not a valid logical hypothesis because you have not subjected your hypothesis for peer review and verification. In other words, you are not allowed to pick your own argument points that only support your position. That is what is called a "fixed fight" and is intellectually dishonest.

      Frank Turek has been crushed in open debates on many occasions because his position is a logically flawed hypothesis, not a theory based on evidence that can be verified.

      Hypothetically, lets say that the Big Bang theory does not exist. Please provide evidence for verification that supports the Creation theory.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Evan

      As usual, Eric G, NL and Gaunt have answered your flummery on evolution. I am not capable of equaling, let alone adding to their remarks.

      Cheers!

      April 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Evan

      Eric G, what cause the Big Bang? If the Big Bang is true (which I believe it is), that still just takes us one step back in the chain of cause and effect.

      April 19, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  6. Evan

    David Johnson, "Evolution is a fact"

    This depends on what type of "evolution" you mean.

    If by evolution you mean "change over time", you are correct.

    If by evolution you mean Darwin's theory, you are standing on shaky ground.

    I admit: Darwin was a very intelligent man. However, there are major flaws in his theory.

    1) Natural Selection does not create new traits. Nobel Prize Winner T. H. Morgan stated “[Natural] Selection, then, has not produced anything new, but only more of certain kinds of individuals”. In other words, natural selection can explain why a specific trait may be predominant in a certain ecosystem (such as fur in a cold climate), but not why certain organisms have traits that other species do not even possess. Natural selection can explain why a dog has four legs, but fails to explain why an octopus has four more. However, Morgan stated “[Macro]Evolution, however, means producing new things, not more of what already exists”. Natural selection does not create new traits.

    2) Genetic mutation does not cause real change. First off, mutation rates are very low. The chances of a mutation occurring are about 1 in 10,000,000. The chances of this mutation being carried on to the next generation are much lower. At this low rate "...it still takes 10 million years to undergo 1% change in DNA base sequences," as stated by Susumo Ohno. With a touch of humor, Dr. Stephen Jay Gould presents a problem with this: "But how can a series of reasonable intermediates be constructed?... The dung-mimicking insect is well protected, but can there be any edge in looking only 5 percent like a turd?". In other words, because genetic change takes such a great length of time, certain traits will be so minor that there would be no reason for that trait to become dominant in a society, as an organism with it would have no significant advantage over one that doesn't. Also, mutations are almost always negative. Contrary to Darwin's theory, genetic mutation does not improve a species; if anything, it makes it worse. Even if a positive mutation did occur, it would never be significant enough to cause real change. Even if it were, it would almost certainly be outweighed by negative mutations. In short, mutation is not a legitimate way of explaining the introduction of new and better traits.

    3): A third problem with Darwin's theory is some things in nature are as simple as they could be yet still function. This is known as Irreducible complexity. Irreducible complexity is when an object is as simple as it could be yet still function. Take a mouse trap for example: no part can be removed from it and allow it to still function. Similarly, irreducibly complex organisms can be found in nature. Darwin himself admitted "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Dr. Michael Behe, a biochemist, has studied complex organisms down to the molecular level. In his book, Darwin's Black Box, he concluded that numerous things found in nature, such as cilium, antibodies, and the bacterial flagellum, are irreducibly complex. If any function of these organisms were removed, the entire organism could not function, and therefore could not evolve. If these organisms did evolve, they would have to develop all of their functions at the same time, which is against the nature of "slow, successive steps" in Darwin's theory. Darwin's theory does not explain the irreducible complexity found in certain organisms.

    4) There is no more, if not, less, proof for Darwin's theory today than there was when Darwin wrote "The Origin of Species". Fossil record have not shown the change from one species to a completely different species. Every year, scientists claim they have discovered the missing link. However, they are later disproven. With trilobites, for example, you can by a fossil of them at a geology store for less than $20, but scientists have yet to find their predecessor. In short, fossils do not help prove Darwin's theory.

    "In fact, evolution can be observed in rapidly evolving species of bacterium".

    You're correct. "Evolution" (change over time) can be found in evolving species of bacterium. However, "Darwin's theory" is not. Bacterium makes minor changes so they can be better suited to their "enviorment". However, they do not evolve into a completely new species.

    Call me a creationist if you want, but Darwin's theory is little more than a decaying theory.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • NL

      Darwin's Origin of Species was first published in 1859. Evolutionary science has gone a long way since then. Just as Christianity has gone a long way since Jesus wandered this Earth only it would be difficult to argue that Christianity has improved any. 😉

      April 18, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • Gaunt

      You do realise you are absolutely, factually and fundamentally wrong on every single one of those cut-and-opasted assertions above, right? As always, the creationist spurts utter drivle, and then prays (literally) that his audience doesnt know enough basic biology or evolutionary science to know that his fanciful inventions are just that.

      The only real question is, did you unknowingly cut-and-paste a series of fictions, including absolute inventions, misquotes of evolutionists, and false assertions of every stripe, (in which case you are a simpleton), or did you KNOW these were lies but didnt care, in which case you are much worse?

      April 18, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • NL

      Gaunt-
      I suspect that they are banking on the faithful's usual blind willingness to accept whatever comes from a religious source on face value. If you track some of the regular Christian posters here, you'll find that many of them continue to spread misinformation even after great efforts have been made to patiently, and in simple terms, show them precisely where and how they are mistaken. They either are stubbornly refusing to accept that their position could possibly be wrong, or they realize that these arguments they use are false, but chose to spread them anyway in some demented belief that protecting people's faith in Jesus justifies willfully fooling them.

      April 18, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  7. David Johnson

    @Evan, Steve(Whatever), CW et. al

    God is said to be: Perfect; All good and all just; All knowing; All powerful. Yes?

    You talk a lot about nonbelievers and unrepentant sinners going to hell when they die. It is an expression of god's justice.

    The damned are assigned to hell, where they will burn for all eternity.

    I submit, that the punishment infinitely exceeds the crime(s).

    Humans live only a finite number of years. Since there is only a finite time in which to sin, there can only be a finite number of sins committed.

    Yet, an all good, all just god would have them tortured for their sins for all eternity.

    Doesn't seem like an expression of god's perfect justice to me.

    Also: If god is all knowing, then He knows who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, He allows the damned to be born anyway, knowing that they will someday burn for all eternity.

    Doesn't seem like something an all good god would do.

    Also: The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah and to establish the Christian Religion.

    It would seem to me, that the fear of hell and delight of heaven might be used , to compel people to accept Christ and this new religion.
    The fact that you would spend all eternity burning in hell, might influence your att_itude toward this new religion. At least, the threat couldn't hurt the membership roster.

    Do people really have a choice if they are choosing god out of fear and not love?

    Cheers!

    April 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Evan

      "You talk a lot about nonbelievers and unrepentant sinners going to hell when they die. It is an expression of god's justice".

      You need to understand the nature of sin. You never sin on accident; sin is a choice. Sin is ultimately against G-d. A single sin is enough to keep us from G-d's kingdom. G-d loves us and knows our weakness. He has solved this problem through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

      "The damned are assigned to hell, where they will burn for all eternity".

      Nobody said sinners literally burn in Hell. A large number of Christians today believe "flames" and "lake of fire" are metaphorical. In other words, Hell today, by numerous Christians, is viewed as a place of emotional suffering, not physical torment (nonetheless, it is a place you do not want to go, nor do I, nor does G-d. However, it's your choice; G-d won't force you to spend eternity with Him if you don't want to).

      "I submit, that the punishment infinitely exceeds the crime(s)".

      The problem with this is our crimes are not finite. They are against an infinite G-d. If you murder someone, and then you donate billions of dollars to charity, you still murdered someone. Good deeds don't cancel out bad deeds. G-d is willing to forgive you; you just have to ask for it.

      "Yet, an all good, all just god would have them tortured for their sins for all eternity"

      G-d doesn't throw people in Hell. They throw themselves in there.

      "If god is all knowing, then He knows who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, He allows the damned to be born anyway".

      You're correct. However, you are assuming that if G-d did this, we would know why. However, this is wrong. Surely an infinite G-d knows things we cannot even comprehend. Simply because you personally cannot think of a reason does not mean there isn't one.

      "The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah and to establish the Christian Religion"

      Partially. The New Testament is a number of letters (yes, we are reading through someone else's mail) to describe who Christ was and why He came to earth. It wasn't written to "prove" that He existed, necessarily. Even the earliest churches accepted this fact.

      "It would seem to me, that the fear of hell and delight of heaven might be used , to compel people to accept Christ and this new religion"

      Not necessarily. The truth can still be the truth whether or not you agree with it.

      "The fact that you would spend all eternity burning in hell, might influence your att_itude toward this new religion".

      True, but if you don't believe in this religion, you wouldn't believe in Hell either.

      Do you believe that Hitler and Gandhi deserve the same fate? Of course you don't. Would you call G-d "just" if He allowed this to happen? No, you wouldn't. You may then say "Well, only the really evil deserve to go to Hell". Well, who are the really evil? It's clear that Hitler, Stalin, etc. are "really evil". However, after that, it is not. Does a banker robber deserve Hell more than a kid who steal candy from a candy store? Isn't the intention all that matters? G-d would have to draw a line, but where? What if you were one sin past this line? One sin is bad enough.

      Hell sounds horrible, but it is easily avoidable: believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins. G-d left plenty of evidence. It's not like believing in Christ is, in anyway, beyond our capabilities.

      April 17, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • steve (the real one)

      Do people really have a choice if they are choosing god out of fear and not love?
      -----
      Yes! God would rather we choose Him out of love, but If fear is what drives someone to Him, at least they are driven to Him. Once there they will discover that perfect peace that casts out fear!

      April 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Arial

      I like what this pastor wrote on the subject of fear.
      If we have learned anything from this time of protracted legal wrangling, it is that words are very important. The importance of words, however, lies not only in their definition, but also the context in which they are used. Fear is often discussed in God's Word. In some places fear is condemned, yet elsewhere it is encouraged. The difference in these cases is the original meaning and context.
      You correctly state that we should fear God (Deuteronomy 6:13). Godly fear, though, may be better understood as profound reverence. This reverence is our response to God's power (Joshua 4:23-24), goodness (1 Samuel 12:24), judgment (Revelation 14:7), and forgiveness (Psalm 130:4). Godly fear is also constructive, leading to wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), purity (Psalm 19:9), and satisfaction (Proverbs 14:27).
      At other times fear implies dread, dismay or anxiety. This fear results from, among other things, disobedience (Genesis 3:10), suspi-cion (Acts 9:26), or even death (Hebrews 2:15). This type of fear is destructive, leading to demoralization (1 Samuel 13:5-8) and paralysis (Matthew 28:4).
      Whether we admit it or not, we are born with a knowledge and fear of God (Romans 2:14-15). The difference is Jesus. If you choose to follow Jesus, your fear of God is liberating, otherwise it is debilitating (Galatians 5:1). Those who deny Him dread what they will one day find out. Those who proclaim Him revere what they already know.
      I don't think it's the same fear Steve is using.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Evan

      I said: "You talk a lot about nonbelievers and unrepentant sinners going to hell when they die. It is an expression of god's justice".

      You replied: "You need to understand the nature of sin. You never sin on accident; sin is a choice. Sin is ultimately against G-d. A single sin is enough to keep us from G-d's kingdom. G-d loves us and knows our weakness. He has solved this problem through Jesus Christ (John 3:16)."

      My reply: "You say sin is ultimately against god" Hmm... But, god is omnipotent. He cannot be injured, either by one sin or a thousand. So, god sends people to hell for all eternity, for sins which , in no way damaged Him.

      If god knows our weakness, then it would not seem right to entrust our eternal futures to such foolish beings as ourselves.
      Therefore: God is not just.

      I said: "The damned are assigned to hell, where they will burn for all eternity".

      You replied: "Nobody said sinners literally burn in Hell. A large number of Christians today believe "flames" and "lake of fire" are metaphorical. In other words, Hell today, by numerous Christians, is viewed as a place of emotional suffering, not physical torment (nonetheless, it is a place you do not want to go, nor do I, nor does G-d. However, it's your choice; G-d won't force you to spend eternity with Him if you don't want to)."

      My reply: Your statement that, "Nobody said sinners literally burn in hell" is bogus. CW, HeavenSent , Steve(the ridiculous), and other loving Christians, drool at the thought of my impending agony.
      There are a number of ideas on damnation, that people have posited, because they find an all good god, who inflicts eternal torture, to be repugnant. The ideas range from the destruction of the sinners to proclaiming Jesus, by dying, saved everyone.
      The claim that it's my choice, is flawed. If I knew for certain there was a god, then it would be my choice. If god exists, he would ensure everyone, or almost everyone believe in His existence. It would be unjust for Him not to do this. Yet, god does not do this. Evidenced by all the worshipers of other gods and us atheists.

      I said: "I submit, that the punishment infinitely exceeds the crime(s)".

      You replied: "The problem with this is our crimes are not finite. They are against an infinite G-d. If you murder someone, and then you donate billions of dollars to charity, you still murdered someone. Good deeds don't cancel out bad deeds. G-d is willing to forgive you; you just have to ask for it."

      My reply: As I stated above, god is omnipotent. He cannot be harmed. So, god burns people for all eternity for wrongs done to Him, which in no way effect Him. How is that just?
      Even a Pol Pot or a Stalin or a Hitler, who each murdered millions of people, do not deserve to burn for an eternity.

      I said: "Yet, an all good, all just god would have them tortured for their sins for all eternity"

      You replied: "G-d doesn't throw people in Hell. They throw themselves in there."

      My reply: One wonders how an omnibenevolent god could construct a place of eternal torture.?
      If a puppy wet on the floor, could you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Yet, a supposedly all good god can burn a human forever.
      Make no mistake. People do not throw themselves into hell.
      Matthew 13:40-42 (King James Version)
      40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
      41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
      42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

      I said: ""If god is all knowing, then He knows who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, He allows the damned to be born anyway".

      You replied: "You're correct. However, you are assuming that if G-d did this, we would know why. However, this is wrong. Surely an infinite G-d knows things we cannot even comprehend. Simply because you personally cannot think of a reason does not mean there isn't one."

      My reply: You are using the 'ol "Is a mystery of god or not discernable by humans defense"
      It is used, when the theist has no explanation for an omnibenevolent god's actions. LOL
      There is no reason for a human to be born, that god knows will someday be damned for eternity. You know it, and I know it. How can an omnibenevolent god do such a thing? Pfui!

      I said: "The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah and to establish the Christian Religion"

      You said: "Partially. The New Testament is a number of letters (yes, we are reading through someone else's mail) to describe who Christ was and why He came to earth. It wasn't written to "prove" that He existed, necessarily. Even the earliest churches accepted this fact."

      My reply: Ummm... The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah and to establish Christianity.
      The author of Mathew even admits to Jesus riding on a colt for the sole purpose of fulfilling a prophecy – Mathew 21: 1-11
      Nothing was written about Jesus until about 25 years after he died (Paul). Many think Paul, not Jesus, was the "father" of most of the Christianity (Pauline Christianity) practiced today. Paul never, ever met Jesus. All that he writes is hearsay.

      I said: "It would seem to me, that the fear of hell and delight of heaven might be used , to compel people to accept Christ and this new religion"

      You replied: "Not necessarily. The truth can still be the truth whether or not you agree with it."

      My reply: Again, the New Testament was written to prove Jesus was the Messiah and to establish the Christian Religion. The addition of the heaven and hell gambit was certainly fortuitous.

      I said: ""The fact that you would spend all eternity burning in hell, might influence your att_itude toward this new religion".

      You replied: "True, but if you don't believe in this religion, you wouldn't believe in Hell either."

      My reply: People who are undecided, might well be influenced by this gambit. The Evangelicals use this "lever" all the time, with nonbelievers. They use heaven as the carrot and hell as the stick. Your answer was not based on reality.

      You said: "Hell sounds horrible, but it is easily avoidable: believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins. G-d left plenty of evidence. It's not like believing in Christ is, in anyway, beyond our capabilities."

      My reply: God did not leave plenty of evidence. This is evidenced by all the different religions, denominations of Christianity, and nonbelievers in the world. There is just as much "evidence" for the Religion of Islam, Hinduism, etc. as there is for Christianity. Actually the evidence points to there being no god(s).

      Cheers!

      April 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Strange that some are not seeing that all volcano lava is just a small example of how would Hell look like and the sounds she would make...! We are told who would be in Hell would not die nor would be alive ....and that every time the skins are burnt they would be replace with fresher skins....since skins are the one responsible of feeling the paid of burns...

    April 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Muneef who told you that, and how do they know? Next time you are told something, ask a question..you will see they have no answers. If some one knows that the skin is burnt off and replaced, then they must have come back to tell someone. so escape is possible? and how do you do it.? If you think that this totally violent, disgusting story enhances the invitation to believe in the thugs you call god, think again.

      April 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Muneef

      [4:56] Surely, those who disbelieve in our revelations, we will condemn them to the hellfire. Whenever their skins are burnt, we will give them new skins. Thus, they will suffer continuously. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Muneef

      E.DNA.

      If we ended in Hell then that must have been because we were thugs and not listening or obeying the commandments of God sent to us through his Prophets&Messengers, or have been picky or choosey about accepting the Prophets&Messengers of God or to what has been brought to us by them for us to follow...

      April 18, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Muneef

      E.DNA.

      [78:39] Such is the inevitable day. Whoever wills let him take refuge in his Lord.

      [78:40] We have sufficiently warned you about an imminent retribution. That is the day when everyone will examine what his hands have sent forth, and the disbeliever will say, "Oh, I wish I were dust."

      April 18, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  9. Muneef

    Lord of the Universe:
    Surprised to have seen many of you to state that God Allah is the Lord of the Moon ! When he is the Lord of the whole Universe and Creation ! You accuse Muslims of Worshiping of the Moon ! When the Quran clearly indicated that the Sun and the Moon are being used for knowing the number of days,other than that known or unknown forms of uses and needs for !

    Now the only verse that in which God clearly has indicated that he is Lord of is the "The Planet of Sirius" that can be found within Q/S/V's 53:49
    An-Najm (The Star) 53:
    And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius; (49).
    Pronounced in Arabic "El-Sherra".

    Links for you to gain the knowledge of this opportunity which i feel thankful to those who drove me to search for it and research it, adding to that i became to understand that the planets are responsible for what ever goes on in the universe as to disasters on earth and to creations, i take it from the Quranic verse that this "Sirius Planet A&B" is or are the Head Star or Planet of all Group of universal Planets in being responsible as a Head Gear for the entire movement of all Gears of the the Ticking Clock of time "The Universal Life time Granted to it to work..!

    The Question that we should be asking or looking for an answer for is: 
    Would time here haste for manking being hasty or would it be granted more time by becoming:
    -a non corruptor to earth and sea.
    -for holding right God Message of revelations and laws.
    -for showing mercy and being charitable paying out the poor dues.

    Wouldn't that make a change when majority become as that since as seems that the darker side overtaking the brighter side meaning Evil-being taking Over the Good-being in their deeds ? It is only when signs like that are shown the earth shake and maybe the whole universe shake that same shake ! After all "The head Key Planet of all those universal planets "The Sirius" is in the hand of God the creator and the lord who is either crediting or debiting our intentions and actions on what was deposited upon us to maintain uncorrupted but rather to go on spreading Justice,Respect even before Love since they say "Some Love do Kill more than hate kills" !!!

    Sorry having got carried away kindly read the links that i found to be very interesting and very informative :         

    http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_39.html

    http://www.harrypotterforseekers.com/articles/siriusforseekers.php

    April 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  10. Muneef

    In one of the meetings on TV programes an Islamic scholar was asked why mankind is so violent and all those killings ?

    He simply answered because all mankind had derived from a criminal that had killed his brother,meaning that all mankind derived from the son of Adam named as Cain who killed Abel who had not performed any attack or even self defense;

    The First Murder*
    [5:27] Recite for them the true history of Adam's two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, "I will surely kill you." He said, "GOD accepts only from the righteous.

    [5:28] "If you extend your hand to kill me, I am not extending my hand to kill you. For I reverence GOD, Lord of the universe.

    [5:29] "I want you, not me, to bear my sin and your sin, then you end up with the dwellers of Hell. Such is the requital for the transgressors."

    [5:30] His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers.

       

    April 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Muneef..Can you publicly denounce Islam and switch religions? I bet you will find out that it is your religion that exercises violence don't you.

      April 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Evan

      EvolvedDNA, I myself am a Christian, but I can tell you Islam should not be a violent religion. In fact, the large majority of Muslims are very friendly people. It's just the Osama Bin Laden's who ruin it for everyone.

      Muslims are not innocent, nor are Christians, nor are atheists, nor is anyone.

      April 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Muneef

      Evan.

      Agree with you...there is always "Positive & Negative", "Evil & Good" , "Dark & Light" that applies in every Religion or Belief and are not all the same....

      April 18, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > EvolvedDNA, I myself am a Christian, but I can tell you Islam should not be a violent religion. In fact, the large majority of Muslims are very friendly people. It's just the Osama Bin Laden's who ruin it for everyone.

      Let me reply with the words of another who is far more articulate then I.

      If we look at Janeism, the more fundamental you become in that faith the less we have to worry about you. In fact, you are in fact paralysed by it. You watch where you walk so you do not crush a bug. You sip water through a cheese cloth to avoid ingesting something that may be alive. So it's clear that fundamentalism is not the cause of the issue.

      The problem with Islamic fundamentalism is the fundamentals of Islam.

      April 18, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Muneef

      E.DNA.

      I wouldn't want to do that nor would i want to try that...after all turning from truth to false must be about money but not belief..!

      April 18, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Muneef.. I am not asking you to do it, but could you if you wanted to? I would say that you could not with great risk to your life. Therefore if you are born into that religion it becomes a prison that only death can be a key. That is either true or it is not, and Muneef will never tell us.

      Evan.. I agree with you, all folks should be peaceful, and there is not reason they should not be.. we are all humans after all. However if a religion has an ideology that prevents you from exercising a basic right then it has a problem., you could switch any religion you want, even to be an atheist, but would most likely meet some major criticism from friends and family, and even some form of excommunication, but you will survive.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Steve (the real one)
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Nobody want you roasting on a spit. Why do you think we are here sharing the Gospel? We are here because we do care. There are only two responses to the Gospel, receive or reject! That is it! The bible is clear there is a real hell. Yet we are told it was created for the fallen angels and not human souls. Yet because of rejection, Hell has enlarged herself!

    Isaiah 5:14 KJV
    Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multi-tude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

    Matthew 25:41 KJV
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed , into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    No one wants you to go to hell but no one can stop you but you and Christ Jesus, if you come to him).!

    April 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      "Nobody want you roasting on a spit. Why do you think we are here sharing the Gospel? We are here because we do care."

      I'm sorry, but not everyone here who shares the Gospel seems primarily interested in saving people from hellfire. Some appear to be as eagerly awaiting our turn on the spit as Thomas Aquinas was when he said:

      "That the saints may enjoy their beat.itude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell."

      Some Christians apparently think of Heaven as being like some eternal visit to Vegas, and what's Vegas without a floor show, right?

      April 18, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bravo, NL.

      April 18, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      "Nobody want you roasting on a spit. Why do you think we are here sharing the Gospel? We are here because we do care."
      I'm sorry, but not everyone here who shares the Gospel seems primarily interested in saving people from hellfire. Some appear to be as eagerly awaiting our turn on the spit as Thomas Aquinas was when he said:
      "That the saints may enjoy their beat.itude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell." Some Christians apparently think of Heaven as being like some eternal visit to Vegas, and what's Vegas without a floor show, right?
      --------
      NL, do you speak for EVERY atheist on this blog? There are differing atheists here. You have those who disagree with christianity and decide to engage in ignorant name calling. then you have those who disagree but act respectfully. On my side the same applies. I do not speak for everybody here, do you? Ignorance abounds on BOTH sides! That being said that does not change one word of my earlier post ! Keep in mind NL, I have traveled down that road before, remember?

      April 18, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      NL certainly speaks for me. You and your ilk delight in informing everyone that they're going to hell if they don't adhere to your brand of faith. You pretend it's your little public service announcement, but it's obviously not. It's just an opportunity for you to pat yourself on the back and polish your little halo while telling others what you believe they must do to be "saved".

      April 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • steve (the real one)

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      NL certainly speaks for me. You and your ilk delight in informing everyone that they're going to hell if they don't adhere to your brand of faith. You pretend it's your little public service announcement, but it's obviously not. It's just an opportunity for you to pat yourself on the back and polish your little halo while telling others what you believe they must do to be "saved".
      -------
      Too bad you have no clue as you what your talking about! The Bible is clear about salvation! Believe what you wish! You keep telling me how wrong I am . Give me ONE scripture, just one that shows you otherwise! Just ONE. Can you? We will see! Secondly cut and paste ONE of my osts in which I tell someone they are going to hell! Just ONE and in CONTEXT! I'll be waiting.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      What I said was:
      "I'm sorry, but not everyone here who shares the Gospel seems primarily interested in saving people from hellfire."

      and

      "Some Christians apparently think of Heaven as being like some eternal visit to Vegas, and what's Vegas without a floor show, right?"

      "Some", and "not everyone" does in no way imply all Christians, right? Whereas you did seem to speak for all Christians when you said:

      "Nobody want you roasting on a spit. Why do you think we are here sharing the Gospel? We are here because we do care."

      and

      "No one wants you to go to hell but no one can stop you but you and Christ Jesus, if you come to him).!"

      You now appear to be saying that there are, in fact, Christians who would enjoy watching the tortures, watching people roasting on the spit, and aren't at all interested in saving anybody with their quoting of scripture, which is what I was stating before. Some, but not all.

      April 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Stevie: "You people don't know what your talking about'. Yeah, and you're oh, so brilliant a scholar. It's "you're", you dolt. Sorry, but I don't accept what you have to say when you're barely even literate.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      However, I do get a laugh out of counting the number of exclamation points you use. Are! You! Trying! To! Show! Everyone! How! Enthusiastic! You!!!! Are?!!!!!!!!

      Really, posters like you are a hoot.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      @Stevie: "You people don't know what your talking about'. Yeah, and you're oh, so brilliant a scholar. It's "you're", you dolt. Sorry, but I don't accept what you have to say when you're barely even literate
      -----
      Sorry Tom, scholarship is NOT a requirement to get to Heaven. You are correct though I can express myself better! Now I don't accept what YOU say when you delve into personal attacks. That is a sign of desperation and losing the argument! r'e anYou are correct s

      April 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      However, I do get a laugh out of counting the number of exclamation points you use. Are! You! Trying! To! Show! Everyone! How! Enthusiastic! You!!!! Are?!!!!!!!! Really, posters like you are a hoot.
      ----------
      Sorry but it is a bad habit. I am enthusiastic about my faith. Thanks for noticing. Glad I could help entertain you. I have a deal for you. I will practice proper English and you practice the reduction in personal attacks. What do you say? You and I do not agree on issues of faith and science but we can be a little more civil, right?

      April 18, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      However, I do get a laugh out of counting the number of exclamation points you use. Are! You! Trying! To! Show! Everyone! How! Enthusiastic! You!!!! Are?!!!!!!!! Really, posters like you are a hoot.
      ---–
      You kinda psyched me out . I now find myself doing a exclamation point count before I post! Nice!. Oops 1 slipped by.

      April 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Steve (the real one)
      You kinda psyched me out . I now find myself doing a exclamation point count before I post! Nice!. Oops 1 slipped by.
      ----–
      Make that 2

      April 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What are you, 12? "Psyched me out"? Who even says that anymore?

      Steve, you can revel in your belief that hell exists and that you're not going there all you wish. Quite honestly, if heaven is populated by self-aggrandizing twits like you, CW, HS, and other ninnies, I have no desire to inhabit it for a moment, much less eternity.

      DId you ever even hear of humility?

      Doesn't sound like it from your posts, at all.

      April 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      What are you, 12? "Psyched me out"? Who even says that anymore? Steve, you can revel in your belief that hell exists and that you're not going there all you wish. Quite honestly, if heaven is populated by self-aggrandizing twits like you, CW, HS, and other ninnies, I have no desire to inhabit it for a moment, much less eternity. DId you ever even hear of humility?
      Doesn't sound like it from your posts, at all.
      .----–
      I have heard of humility Tom, Tom, and I know that it is ONLY through the grace of God I am saved! No doubt but don't just expect ell you how right you are and how wrong I am! Not gonna happen! Please explain your practice of humility especially in the light of your constant name calling. Also explain my lack of humility. No where did I say i was better than anyone else, I have stated that I am not going to hell. I never said it was because I am all that. I am not BUT Jesus is! How is that a lack of humility!

      as far as the use often term" Psyched me out" you asked who uses that anymore? Well, two people that I know of!

      April 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  12. Shelley

    Relationship is the key here – Papa God is desiring all people to enter into a dynamic love relationship with you, me, and every one of his people. I'm not a fool- I have two college degrees and am a working professional who brings the Kingdom of God with me everywhere I go– "On earth as it is in Heaven" -that is the mandate! I pray that each one reading this right now would experience an undeniable encounter with the Holy Spirit 🙂 Yes!

    April 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  13. Eric G

    The difference I see between myself and many believers is not necessarily our views on the existence of Hell, but the fear of it. Neither believers or non believers live in fear of the tooth fairy, so the existence of the tooth fairy is irrelevant.

    I do not need fear to motivate me to act in a moral manner.

    April 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Eric G

      You said, "I do not need fear to motivate me to act in a moral manner."

      Well said!

      Cheers!

      April 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Eric g,

      I have no fear of hell. I am not going there! I am not moral because I fear hell. I am moral because moral is right yet moral is not enough to get to Heaven! That is only achieved through faith in Christ! I realize that there are a lot of moral atheists. I am not arguing that. It is the faith in Christ part of it that is missing!

      April 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve (the real one)

      Consider: There are at least eleven areas of study and empirical data supporting the Theory of Evolution. They are:
      • Paleontology (fossils)
      • Distribution of Animals and Plants
      • Comparative Anatomy
      • Embryology
      • Vestigial Organs
      • Genetics
      • Natural Selection
      • $exual Selection
      • Molecular Biology
      • Bad Design
      • Lab Experiments

      The National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States, has declared evolution “one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have,” and notes that evolution is supported by an overwhelming scientific consensus. The Theory of Evolution has as much validity as the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the germ theory of disease.

      In layman’s terms, if something is said to be “just a theory,” it usually means that it is a mere guess, or is unproved. It might even lack credibility.

      But in scientific terms, a theory an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by separate groups of researchers.

      In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

      Evolution is responsible for the diversity of organisms on the planet. Not Creation.

      So, a god is not responsible for the different forms of life, including man.

      Evolution is responsible, so man does not have a soul. Nothing lives on after our deaths. Everything that we are, is contained in our material brains.

      Nothing lives on or survives our deaths. So there is nothing to punish or reward.

      If there was no creation, there was no Adam and Eve. No Adam and Eve, no original sin. No original sin, no need for a redeemer. AND, no soul!

      Cheers!

      April 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I have no fear of hell.

      No, you do, although I'd say you're not aware of it.

      The fear of hell prevents you from investigating rationally things that are contradictory to your own faith. As you demonstrated, your own ignorance of evolution.

      I know that if I thought that I'd burn forever I'd actually want to not test my faith. Why risk it?

      April 18, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      The Bobinator
      > I have no fear of hell. No, you do, although I'd say you're not aware of it. The fear of hell prevents you from investigating rationally things that are contradictory to your own faith. As you demonstrated, your own ignorance of evolution. I know that if I thought that I'd burn forever I'd actually want to not test my faith. Why risk it?
      ------
      1. Look at it this way. I have no fear of dying on the battlefields of Afghanistan! Why would that be Bobinator? Answer, i am not going to Afghanistan! Same with hell! I am not going!
      2. Hell has nothing to do with an investigation of science! problem with that is you are not asking me to investigate science. You are asking me and other Christians to embrace a Godless theory! Sorry not investing my time!
      3. True I am ignorant of evolution (not as much as you may think). Yet you are ignorant of faith!

      April 18, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Eric G

      @Steve (the real one): Using your logic, if an atheist acts in a moral manner durring their life, they cannot get into your Heaven because they have no faith in Christ. However, if an immoral person does have faith in Christ, they can get into your Heaven?

      I agree that we should all act in a moral manner because it is the right thing to do, not because of a myth of punishment or reward. Morality is a secular question. The correct moral action does not require faith in a god or gods.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      "I have no fear of hell. I am not going there!"
      And I believe it was Karen Armstrong that said something to the effect that Hell was invented by folks who were certain that they would not be going there. How can you be certain, are you God to judge?

      April 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      NL
      Steve (the real one)-
      "I have no fear of hell. I am not going there!" And I believe it was Karen Armstrong that said something to the effect that Hell was invented by folks who were certain that they would not be going there. How can you be certain, are you God to judge--------
      No I am not God NL. I do know what the Bible says about the subject. How can I be certain? The word of God! I have a serious question. Why is everybody up in arms about a God they don't believe in, a book they don't believe in and a hell, they don't believe in? I am really interested to know. if somebody told me I was not going to Asgard or Nirvana or such, I could care less! I am really serious about this question. I would appreciate if you or anyone give a serious answer.

      April 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Ironical

      @Steve (therealone) – Speaking only for myself, I am "up in arms" about your insanity.
      I don't want your insanity being used as a basis for decision-making when you cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
      It's clear enough to me that you are unable to question the tenets of your faith, even in the face of reasonable people trying to explain how your faith is not based on anything in this world and should therefore not be used for anything in this world, i.e. politics.
      Yet you say this "god" is also real, true, truthful, good, eternal, all-powerful, etc., yet you do not ask this "god" for truth, honesty, the truth of the truth, or anything like that.
      And you also take what other humans, supposedly "inspired" by your "god", have written as "truth" without asking your "god" what parts of it are true and which are not. Things like that are a grave concern.
      In short, you avoid seeking truth, have never investigated and done your best to ask your "god" for honest answers, straightforward truth, plain dealing, or anything like that, for otherwise you would not have faith, right?
      You just believe what others tell you and do not ask your "good" god for the truth, if any, to be found in what other humans have written.
      Why didn't your god write something down himself?
      Or his "son"? Or any way shape or form that some evidence could be put forth and not just hearsay and obvious lies?
      Up in arms? Not about your insanity, but what you do with it.
      And what you do with it is dependent entirely upon your own gullibility and interpretation of what others tell you.
      THAT's one reason I'm up in arms. Those words in that Bible of yours can tell you to murder, mutilate, abuse, molest, and otherwise act in a criminal manner – but you would say your "god" told you to do it if you happened to interpret it that way!
      Why do you think I should just sit back and watch all you religious nuts murder, ra.pe, enslave, and basically ruin this whole damn planet and mess up this country like you've been doing every chance you get?
      You think I should just STFU and let you murder people based on a book? Yeah? Every Muslim, Jew, Christian, and most other religions could say they have the right to murder in the name of their "god" thanks to the words they follow and interpret...words written by liars, frauds, murderers and thieves!
      Your "god" is a criminal that does not exist. You follow a fake, yet criminal, code of conduct. Cherry-pick if you like. Most everyone does that sort of thing. A loophole every priest takes advantage of for personal profit. Even the sincere ones. You would justify this using your Bible, right? You are so pathetic. And no hell exists to punish your idiocy. Ironic as hell.

      April 19, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      "No I am not God NL. I do know what the Bible says about the subject. How can I be certain? The word of God!"
      Actually, you do what you think the Bible says about the subject, and millions of other Christians have differing opinions, right? Of course, you pretty much all believe each other to be wrong. That's where I question how any of you can be certain.

      "if somebody told me I was not going to Asgard or Nirvana or such, I could care less!"
      Come on, what is the likelihood that a follower of ancient Norse beliefs or a Buddhist is going to condemn you for not following their religion? However, if they did start going door-to-door in your neighborhood I'd wager it wouldn't take long for the complaining to start. On boards such as this Christians are not shy to criticize the beliefs of other religions either and, again, I doubt that an article about Asgard, Nirvana, or any other competing afterlife concept wouldn't go unchallenged by them. You say you could care less, but I somewhat doubt that you would continue to if such beliefs started to draw people away from your church.

      April 19, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Ironical
      @Steve (therealone) – Speaking only for myself, I am "up in arms" about your insanity.
      I don't want your insanity being used as a basis for decision-making when you cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
      It's clear enough to me that you are unable to question the tenets of your faith, even in the face of reasonable people trying to explain how your faith is not based on anything in this world and should therefore not be used for anything in this world, i.e. politics.
      Yet you say this "god" is also real, true, truthful, good, eternal, all-powerful, etc., yet you do not ask this "god" for truth, honesty, the truth of the truth, or anything like that.
      And you also take what other humans, supposedly "inspired" by your "god", have written as "truth" without asking your "god" what parts of it are true and which are not. Things like that are a grave concern.
      In short, you avoid seeking truth, have never investigated and done your best to ask your "god" for honest answers, straightforward truth, plain dealing, or anything like that, for otherwise you would not have faith, right?
      You just believe what others tell you and do not ask your "good" god for the truth, if any, to be found in what other humans have written.
      Why didn't your god write something down himself?
      Or his "son"? Or any way shape or form that some evidence could be put forth and not just hearsay and obvious lies?
      Up in arms? Not about your insanity, but what you do with it.
      And what you do with it is dependent entirely upon your own gullibility and interpretation of what others tell you.
      THAT's one reason I'm up in arms. Those words in that Bible of yours can tell you to murder, mutilate, abuse, molest, and otherwise act in a criminal manner – but you would say your "god" told you to do it if you happened to interpret it that way!
      Why do you think I should just sit back and watch all you religious nuts murder, ra.pe, enslave, and basically ruin this whole damn planet and mess up this country like you've been doing every chance you get?
      You think I should just STFU and let you murder people based on a book? Yeah? Every Muslim, Jew, Christian, and most other religions could say they have the right to murder in the name of their "god" thanks to the words they follow and interpret...words written by liars, frauds, murderers and thieves!
      Your "god" is a criminal that does not exist. You follow a fake, yet criminal, code of conduct. Cherry-pick if you like. Most everyone does that sort of thing. A loophole every priest takes advantage of for personal profit. Even the sincere ones. You would justify this using your Bible, right? You are so pathetic. And no hell exists to punish your idiocy. Ironic as hell.
      -----–
      Wow! Quite a long treatise! My response will not be! To be honest it does matter what you think about me!
      question: You claim God is a criminal that does not exist. How can anything that does not exist be ANYTHING? I don't think you need to as you say, stfu! Not at all! The more you speak up, the more you show your need for God!

      April 19, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      All those exclamation points, and not one bit of sense. You're nothing but a braying braggart, Steve-O.

      April 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    @12, if the only thing that prevents you from murdering and raping is the idea that there's a hell, you're probably mentally ill.

    April 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    What if there's no hell? Idiots like HS, HeIsGod, CW, and Steve will be SO disappointed. With every post they spew they exhibit the relish they anticipate when the day comes that they believe they'll see all who don't worship their god in their way roasting on a spit.

    Delusional psychopaths, all of them.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • 12-21-12

      And you're NOT a delusional psychopath?

      April 17, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hardly, fool.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Evan

      And you know this how?

      April 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Sorry wrong spot!

      Steve (the real one)
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Nobody want you roasting on a spit. Why do you think we are here sharing the Gospel? We are here because we do care. There are only two responses to the Gospel, receive or reject! That is it! The bible is clear there is a real hell. Yet we are told it was created for the fallen angels and not human souls. Yet because of rejection, Hell has enlarged herself!

      Isaiah 5:14 KJV
      Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their mult-itude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

      Matthew 25:41 KJV
      Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed , into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

      No one wants you to go to hell but no one can stop you but you and Christ Jesus, if you come to him).!

      April 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stevie, your posts ring false. Your threats are based on YOUR interpretation of the Bible. I don't see God as you do. I see God as merciful, forgiving, and loving. You think that He is only forgiving and loving to those who see things as you believe the Bible says they are. You believe in the Bible as literal. Not everyone interprets it that way.

      You think that dooms me to hell? That's your problem, not mine.

      April 18, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      1. I have interpreted nothing here. I presented what the Bible says. Do you have scriptures that prove your interpretation? I would live to see them.
      2. My posts ring false? You sure of that Tom? So sure that you place you very soul on the line?
      3. God IS loving and merciful! that is whyt Jesus came. He is the very expression of God's love and mercy.
      4. Those who reject the Son of God rejects the mercy and love of God.
      5. You are more than free to disagree but that does not change the truth!

      April 18, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Spencer

      Sheol in the Hebrew and Hades in the Greek have only one meaning, the grave or death NOT hell.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Steviepoo, you simply quote the verses of the Bible you think best support your beliefs. You do the same thing when the discussion involves h o m o se xuality. You claim what you quote is the "truth", but you forget that others do not take the Bible literally as you do. That doesn't make them wrong.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • steve (the real one)

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Steviepoo, you simply quote the verses of the Bible you think best support your beliefs. You do the same thing when the discussion involves h o m o se xuality. You claim what you quote is the "truth", but you forget that others do not take the Bible literally as you do. That doesn't make them wrong.
      -------
      Ok Tom, provide scripture that state otherwise! Quote something that disproves what I quoted.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yet again, the point flies over your head, Steve. I simply don't accept the Bible as the word of God and I don't believe what a lot of it says. You can quote all the scripture you wish, but it won't mean you're correct about God, heaven, hell, sin, or anything else. You simply (and I mean that in several ways) accept whatever the Bible says as truth; I don't. And you have no proof that you're right. About anything. All you have is your beliefs, which I don't share.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      NL
      Steve (the real one)-
      What I said was:
      "I'm sorry, but not everyone here who shares the Gospel seems primarily interested in saving people from hellfire."

      and

      "Some Christians apparently think of Heaven as being like some eternal visit to Vegas, and what's Vegas without a floor show, right?"

      "Some", and "not everyone" does in no way imply all Christians, right? Whereas you did seem to speak for all Christians when you said:

      "Nobody want you roasting on a spit. Why do you think we are here sharing the Gospel? We are here because we do care."

      and

      "No one wants you to go to hell but no one can stop you but you and Christ Jesus, if you come to him).!"

      You now appear to be saying that there are, in fact, Christians who would enjoy watching the tortures, watching people roasting on the spit, and aren't at all interested in saving anybody with their quoting of scripture, which is what I was stating before. Some, but not all.
      ------–
      NL, Sorry if I misunderstood you but even I know some who call themselves Christian who act like they will enjoy the sight. You read the posts. There are posers in your community as well as mine. Looks like we are saying the same thing. Sorry!

      April 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • NL

      Steve (the real one)-
      Again, who are you to judge these people as not being 'real' Christians? I regret that some arguing as atheists take this board as an opportunity to verbally as.sault believers, especially when demonstrating how much in error believers are is more constructive and just as satisfying, but I have no right to call them 'false' atheists. As long as they don't believe in gods being real they have the right to call themselves atheists just as anyone who claims to follow Jesus Christ has the right to call themselves Christians, right? The only posers are those claiming to be something that they don't actually believe themselves to be, and I suspect that there are some of them around as well.

      April 19, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  16. Freethinksman

    If people could take a step back and use the perspective all the religions throughout history have given us, they would see that belief in the supernatural isn't new, but neither is it a reasonable way to live our lives. There are important things to worry about right here on Earth, right now. Heaven and Hell are for those who would rather not accept credit for, or take responsibility for their actions. The only thing we know is what we have right in front of us right now. Live this life well. It's all you've got. There is no Zeus waiting to turn you into a spider for your evil ways.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • NL

      Freethinksman-
      "There is no Zeus waiting to turn you into a spider for your evil ways."
      Good post, but actually it was Minerva/Athena who turned the weaver Arachne into a spider for not being humble, or just because the goddess was crazy jealous. Zeus was into raping women, but it was Hera who would zap them out of jealousy.

      April 17, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @NL

      You said, "Good post, but actually it was Minerva/Athena who turned the weaver Arachne into a spider for not being humble, or just because the goddess was crazy jealous. Zeus was into raping women, but it was Hera who would zap them out of jealousy."

      Your depth of knowledge always amazes me. You brighten my days.

      Cheers!

      April 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      Thanks!
      I just read a lot but, I have to admit, that the clas.sical Greek myths hold a special fascination. Hell seems to be borrowed wholly from the Greek. A consequence of rendering Jesus for the Gentiles, maybe?

      April 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @NL

      I could not give an opinion. I don't have your knowledge of Greek mythology. But...

      I think it very likely, that hell was amplified and defined in the New Testament, to give added incentive to accepting Christ and the Christian Religion.

      The word "sheol", found in the Old Testament, is translated as the grave or death in modern translations. So, a case could be made that hell (Gehenna in New Testament) is not mentioned.

      Cheers!

      April 18, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      I guess, what I'm arguing is that, when Christianity was being spread to the Gentiles and the more cosmopolitan Jews the Greek word "Hades" was used instead of Sheol and, consequently, these followers of Jesus' disciples started thinking of Sheol in Greek terms. Later, when the New Testament books were being written, the writers had Jesus speaking of Hades along Greek terms because that's what the audiences had already been taught. Most Christians can accept this flow of events, I think, but our fundamentalist friends seem to have a mental block that prevents them from seeing that the Christian scriptures were written by people, for specific audiences, which neatly accounts for many of the discrepancies and contradictions found within them.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  17. Guy from NM

    What do you mean " What if.." ?

    April 17, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  18. Tohrm

    Neither a heaven nor a hell make any sense whatsoever.
    Anyone who would believe in such are just brainwashed into that sort of religious cult.
    Heaven in return for some silly requirement that makes no sense?
    And a hell for similarly ridiculous reasons?
    And so many believe without even thinking about it.
    They can't. They are mental slaves.

    April 17, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • Vicki

      I agree, people blindly believe whatever they are taught to without much thinking on their part. But each to their own.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  19. sheetiron

    What most people have not considered is that if there is no Hell, then it is a poor reflection of God's character. In fact it makes him out to be a liar. If there is no Hell then Hitler and other human beings who have commited attrocities will either go to Heaven where they will obviously not recieve justice for their crimes, or be wiped out of existance in which they will also recieve no justice for their crimes. All of their victems cries to the judge of the universe for justice on their behalf will go ignored and overlooked. No Hell does not make God look better, it makes him look like a hypocrite.

    April 17, 2011 at 6:45 am |
    • Reality

      sheetiron,

      Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian's take on Hell. He reasons that the Singularity aka God (if there is one) 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 17, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      The attempt to bring about a "state" of justice is a pleasant mental fiction. The interesting thing is why humans seem to need to think in those terms, (is it an "ape" thing ?) Does a family who watches the death penalty carried out against an accused murderer of a family member actually think the complete state of justice is achieved, or only moved towards.

      April 17, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Buckminster Fullerene

      @sheetiron,
      Ding, ding, ding. You got it. But as the Puppet said, above, the interesting thing is why do we NEED to think that the universe is sympathetic or in some way "cares" about us, or in general , favors a "just" end point Almost anything I say about this will get "moded" off here, so I can't say anymore. (Did you see the post yesterday where Thomas Aquinas said the just souls in heaven get to see the unjust suffer, "thus increasing their pleasure"?) Hahahahaha.

      @ Reality,
      Am impressed you actually were able to read Schillebeeckx. I tried many years ago, and found him so boring, and kept thinking he was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. But at least he was tring to "think out of the box".

      April 17, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • 12-21-12

      If there is/was no Hell, could you imagine the state of man.

      Most of us would be murderous, drunken, child abusing creatures.

      Even if Hell is only in our mind, I think it's a good thing.

      By nature man is pretty evil, we have to be taught to be good.

      Even a small child will do wrong, until taught to do the right thing.

      It's just human nature!

      Look at the non-believers in God that post on CNN.com.

      April 17, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • I_get _it

      12-21-12,

      You are one of the ones who still needs, "Just wait until your Dad gets home" to behave correctly.

      Go to your room now, dear, and color a picture of Noah's Ark.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      2-21-12 ..I do not think you really believe that any more than i do. Its usual rhetoric to support the feeling that with out god you cannot be good. If you are put down by religion every day, and told you are no good, and are a sinner,and god is watching your every move then I am not surprised by your lack of trust in man. . if you were born into a normal loving human family, and supported in a positive way I think you would have better at-t-itude toward your fellow man.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      @12-21-12
      Now honey, are you SURE you want to be telling us so much about yourself.

      I actually don't know ANY murderous, drunken, child abusing creatures".

      You must hang out at the wrong bars, "or somethin".
      Did you beat your kids until they "did right" ?
      OMG Scarry.

      April 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      @ Bucky Fullerene,
      Yup. Seems to be a hardwired thing. Just look at this board !

      April 17, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Buckminster Fullerene,

      I ditto your comments about Father Schillebeeckx's books being hard to read. It could be a translation problem (Dutch to English). I "skim read" the books until I came to sections that were not run-on sentences and also made for some rational thinking. One other important observation by Schillebeeckx from his book, Church: The Human Story of God,
      Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

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

      "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices. Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

      For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

      .

      April 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  20. Brandon

    I don't believe in an actual hell. I do believe our own guilt will be a personal hell. Knowing we could have done better which leads to shame sufficient to hide ourselves from God.
    1st Cor 15: 21,22, 40-42 For sincey by man came death, by man came also the ressurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. There are also clestial bodies and bodies terrestial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the bodies of the terrestrial is another . There is oone glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. These scripture tell us two things. Christ overcame two obsticles for us. 1st he suffered in the garden of gethsemane all the sins of man and 2 physical death being raised from the dead that all men will raise from the dead. This life is a test of our agency in a physical body. Why be tested in a physical body? Just to live eternally as spirits. I want you all to know that I know and I know that God knows I know his Son lives and that he died for us and that he lives and one day we will see his face and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

    April 17, 2011 at 4:46 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Brandon
      I don't believe in an actual hell. I do believe our own guilt will be a personal hell. Knowing we could have done better which leads to shame sufficient to hide ourselves from God.
      ------
      You then at at odds with the Bible. Jesus Himself spoke of hell (Luke 16).

      April 17, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Muneef

      Steve (the real one)

      Think the guilt Hell mankind would suffer for would be the time in grave awaiting resurrection and judgment day...

      April 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Yolo

      Hell is nothing but the common grave,Jesus gave his soul as ransom so that all could have an opportunity to be saved if they repent and turn there life around.John316 tells us,God love the world so much he gave his only begotten son.

      April 30, 2011 at 5:55 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.