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My Take: How technology could bring down the church
May 15th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: How technology could bring down the church

Editor's Note: Lisa Miller, formerly the religion editor at Newsweek, is the author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife,” recently released in paperback.

By Lisa Miller, Special to CNN

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and Bible publishers are ostentatiously commemorating the landmark by producing an abundance of gorgeous doorstops. Leather bound Bibles. Two-volume sets. Replicas of the 1611 version complete with “original” illustrations.

The hoopla is entirely justified, since the King James Bible revolutionized Bible reading, bringing Scripture into a common vernacular for the first time for the English-speaking world.

It is not too much to say that the King James Bible - mass produced as it was, thanks to a new technology called the printing press - democratized religion by taking it out of the hands of the clerical few and giving it to the many.

Today, another revolution in Bible reading is underway – one that has nothing to do with gilt-edged paper. If the King James Bible brought the Bible to the English-speaking masses, today’s technology goes a giant step further, making Scripture - in any language and any translation - accessible to anyone on earth with a smartphone.

Just like the 500-year-old Protestant Reformation, which was aided by the advent of the printing press and which helped give birth to the King James Bible, changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.

In the face of church leaders who claimed that only they could interpret the Bible for the common people, Reformation leaders like Martin Luther taught that nothing supersedes the authority of the Word itself.

"A simple layman armed with Scripture,” Luther wrote, “is greater than the mightiest pope without it."

In that vein, digital technology gives users the text, plain and simple, without the interpretive lens of established authorities. And it lets users share interpretations with other non-authorities, like family members, friends and coworkers.

With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures - otherwise known as “church” - in favor of a more individual connection with God.

This helps solve a problem that Christian leaders are increasingly articulating: that even among people who say that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and savior, folks don’t read the Bible.

According to a 2010 survey, more than a third of born-again Christians “rarely or never” read the Bible. Among “unaffiliated” people - that is, Americans who don’t belong to a religious congregation - more than two thirds say they don’t read the Bible.

Especially among 18-to-29 year olds, Bible reading has come to feel like homework, associated with “right” interpretations and “wrong ones,” and accompanied by stern lectures from the pulpit.

Young Christians “have come to expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive,” the Christian demographer Dave Kinnaman told the Christian magazine Charisma in 2009, “that allow them to be open and honest with their questions, that are technologically stimulating, that are done alongside peers and within trusted relationships.”

This yearning for a more unmediated faith - including Bible verses live in your pocket or purse 24/7, available to inspire or console wherever and whenever they’re needed - has met an enthusiastic embrace.

For growing numbers of young people, a leather-bound Bible sitting like an artifact on a stand in the family living room has no allure. It’s not an invitation to exploration or questioning.

Young people want to “consume” their spirituality the way they do their news or their music. They want to dip and dabble, the way they browse Facebook.

Thus the almost-insane popularity of Youversion, a digital Bible available for free on iTunes and developed by a 34-year-old technology buff and Christian pastor from Oklahoma named Bobby Gruenewald. He conceived of it, he told me, while on a layover at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, wishing he had a Bible to read.

“What we’re really trying to address is, how do we increase engagement in the Bible?” he said.

Now available in 113 versions and 41 languages, including Arabic, Youversion has a community component that allows users to share thoughts and insights on Bible verses with friends. It has been installed on more than 20 million smartphones since 2008.

On May 2, Youversion staged its own King James commemorative event: for 400 seconds, starting at noon, more than 10,0000 users logged on and read a portion of the Bible – King James translation, of course - a kind of 21st century Bible-reading flash mob.

Traditionalists worry that technology allows young believers to practice religion without committing to what in the south is called “a church home” - and they’re right.

I did a public Q&A with Michigan pastor Rob Bell on the eve of the publication of his new bestseller "Love Wins" and was astonished, during the book-signing that followed, at how many acolytes felt they knew Rob through his sermons, which they regularly downloaded off the internet, even though they had never met him. They hailed from places like Australia, South Africa and New Jersey.

They listen to Bell while they’re working out, or commuting to work. They get their religion - like their meals - on the run.

It is now possible to imagine the extinction of the family Bible, long given as a gift on graduation day or other big occasions and inscribed with special dates: births, marriages, deaths.

Instead, the Bible may someday exist exclusively online, with features that allow for personalization: Link to photos of weddings and baptisms! “Share” favorite verses!

When Bible study can be done on Facebook as easily as in the church basement, and a favorite preacher can teach lessons via podcast, the necessity of physically gathering each week in the same place with the same people turns remote.

Without a doubt, this represents a new crisis for organized religion, a challenge to think again about what it means to be a “body” of believers.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lisa Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion • Technology

soundoff (1,564 Responses)
  1. Simo Hayha

    Facebook doesn't come over in the middle of the night to pray with you and cry with you when your father dies. Facebook doesn't help you fix a broken window. Facebook is a virtual community – an imitation of the form of a real one. Yes, some people will give up the reality of real human needs and caring for their virtual world. Some of those will be Christians, just as some will be members of other faiths and some will be of no faith. But there is no comparing virtual tweets and facebook with the reality of being a part of a Church (or synagogue or mosque or temple) family.

    May 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Scott

      Yes your right, Facebook can never be nearly as powerful as a “Church family” and will never be able to mess up people nearly so badly. I was brought up in a “Church family’ and experienced firsthand just how horrible they can be. Ann Rice noticed the same thing when she left the church

      May 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  2. c. smythe

    ha ha you americans amuse me. there is no god quit wasting time on imaginings and fix you debt problem . . .

    May 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  3. El Kababa

    There have been a number of Christianities, not one.

    During his lifetime, Jesus believed that God would destroy the monarchy, expel the Romans, and rule Israel Himself. That was the Heaven-On-Earth that Jesus anticipated. Jesus was just a guy, not a god or a godling. Jesus was not a Christian either. He was a Jew and never anticipated founding a non-Jewish belief system. Christianity was invented by his followers after his death.

    After Jesus was executed, his followers invented Christianity 1.0, which consisted of waiting for Jesus to return real soon. The Christian teaching of love and kindness was an interim teaching just to keep early Christians cooperating with each other as they waited for Jesus' arrival – something every Christian expected to happen in his or her lifetime. There was no Bible. Different Christian groups used different sacred texts.

    After three centures of Jesus being a no-show, Constantine invented Christianity 2.0, which consisted of being a member of the Catholic Church and going to heaven when you died. Constantine considered making Sun Worship the official religion of his empire, but in the end he decided that Christians were better organized. Faithful Catholics/Christians marched from cradle to coffin under the watchful and benevolent eye of the Church’s leadership. Constantine ordered the assembly of a Bible.

    Martin Luther invented Christianity 3.0, with the Protestant Reformation. Christianity was transformed into the process of being a good person and doing good deeds so as to earn your membership in Heaven. Protestantism was a big improvement over Christianity 2.0.

    Modern televangelists and Evangelicals have invented Christianity 4.0, which consists of little more than dialing a toll-free number with one hand while holding your Master Card in the other. Most modern con-artists carry a Bible in one hand.

    May 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Scott

      OMG !!! NO!!! This is the worst blastfamie the whole world. Your saying Christianity EVOLVED. GOD save us from such horrible thoughts.

      May 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  4. abby

    I have read the Bible cover to cover three times, continue to read it today. Have the old King James Version among others. Some call it a fairy tale, some claim it's the literal word of God. I find it to be the "inspired" efforts of more than one to present something we can never totally comprehend - God - Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

    May 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • FifthApe

      abby – what was your take on the victim having to marry her rapist in Deuteronomy? Is this the mind of your god???

      May 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  5. Sir Craig

    Right now the most accurate part of this whole article was calling the 400th anniversary commemorative Bibles "door stops." That really is all they are good for.

    May 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  6. Steve

    For those of you who completely close your mind out to religion (which I would love for you to be not). Let anyone who wants to think and believe what they want to do so. If it is a fair tale let it be proved wrong when at the end of your life we discover the fairy tale that is not just been a crutch but a reality. If you are wrong it is worse case scenario, but if you are willing to give Jesus your heart at anytime in your life no matter what you've done God will lovingly completely forgive you. Because He doesn't want anyone to perish or so says His book. The reason for sin is that in walking with God we became tainted in sin because we were born of sinners. The world changed because the perfect people saw an apple and took it instead of following God for some time we betrayed the one rule that He had. That is why we are in the line of sin. God sent His son so we could retain what we had lost. I hope to see all you in heaven. Yet it is a choice. I only ask in this discussion/blog you respect either way.

    May 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Steve – thats called Pascel's wager. And its a very weak proposition. You are saying 'cover your bets, what have you got to lose'. Your god wants this level of dishonesty?

      But in the end, you are right in that all religion is, is a coping mechanism for those who can't face reality. Its an adult security blanket so you wont pee the bed at night frightened of your mortality.

      May 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Scott

      Steve: These “perfect people” of yours set up by God. They didn’t know good from evil before eating the apple; but, God punished them anyway… some loveing God eh?

      May 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  7. Steve

    Why are we talking about locations? Jesus is in our hearts we don't need to be at the Vatican. We are all equal before God! We have been in houses before when we were persecuted as a church. I think that the electronic resources are great and we can use them, but the work of Christ cannot and will not to me be individualistic in the sense of worshiping by myself all the time. Worshipping together brings unity in the Body of Christ. Part of the problem with individualism today period is that we do not talk to each other with a problem because we all think that it is are problem. We should remember that even in these technological times. As a counselor being trained professionally we must stand together or it will be harder in our own personal lives to deal with our own personal problems.

    May 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Steve

      Your imaginary invisible friend does not hold water when rational thinking is applied. Its 2011, its time to think critically about the world we live in and build a more just city based on our collective needs. Invisible sky daddies bring nothing to the table.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Nick

    "You cannot have God as your Father without the Church as your mother." Cyprian of Carthage

    May 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      Thus consolidating their power over the easily led and gullible. Funny how a supposed universal truth as "God's word" can only be interpreted correctly by a select few. Why is that? Why would this "god" person deliberately create a story that no one can seem to agree on? Why it almost seems to have been written by (*gasp!*) fallible men, dressing themselves up as gods!

      No, that could NEVER happen.

      May 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  9. sunny18

    I think if people are truly reading the Bible or listening to truly Christ-centered preachers via anything, they will eventually find that Christians ARE called to fellowship. So, the problem isn't technology, it's people. People have the choice to allow the truth, read or spoken, to affect them or not. If they aren't willing, no amount of technology or fellowship will make any difference in a person. It will all end up being just a religious, meaningless act of self-righteousness. The real question for the Christian is this: Why are you reading, fellow-shipping, downloading, etc.? Are you trying to save yourself? Are you trying to be religious? Or do you perform these acts to seek and find God the Father, in obedience to his will for your life?

    May 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  10. Lawrence Tinsley

    Doesn't this article seem similar to the "Vatican issues warning for new Confession app" article posted in February?

    We are on a Paradigm Shift, it seems like we are replacing physical means with digital instead. But going back to this church/technology topic, the advertisement of ways on how to get out daily sermons and scriptures online is contradicted the menaing of church. Somewhere in all of this, someone is getting paid big money for this idea (Probably Twitter themselves). Churches were to distant themselves with wordly business and economics but it appears it's fusing with it. When someone is making money off of worshippers, there's a problem.

    May 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  11. Upon this rock

    They need to be careful suggesting someone or something "bringing down the church" The Church" is the body of Christ, it
    is invisable and the one who is trying to bring it down but never will is satan. Church used as a noun indicating various gatherings, yes, it is losing it's luster and "small groups" are taking over and appealing to those who are intimindated by large
    crowds. Also Peter is no higher Spiritually than any of the other Disciples and holds no God given authority over any church.
    "Saint"? Anyone and everyone who becomes a believer in Jesus Christ is a Saint. Why did Paul write "to the Saints a Corinth.. "to the Saints at Ephesus." ? To teach that one man can make another man a "saint" is like saying if I work in the
    hospital cafeteria long enough I will become a brain surgeon. This iidea of making one a saint is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    May 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  12. MannyHM

    Most important thing for me is my deep belief in the magnificent forces that surrounds us. I'll never understand them and I'll never know why events happen. I feel a deep need to do what I can possible to contribute to make things better and that includes getting rid of evil, within and without. I know that some people can use religion both for good and for bad. Common sense was given to us to use in differentiating one from the other. I don't think people will totally agree on religion and what each one has to believe.

    May 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  13. modified ape

    Adults with imaginary friends are silly...... And YES science will/has proven the bible wrong in many ways. Now if you want to take the bile as a tool for basic instructions before leaving earth, then thats fine it dose have some good guidelines to fallow. However any one who takes a religion to the extreme is just gullible. people today are more educated and have a hard time believing in fairy tales. Humans are scared of death and need something to ease there minds on whats after life. ? is it nothing or a "heaven" waiting for me with my friends and family? that would be the ideal way to die right? also how did we get here and why? The best solution would be some one or something put us here, that must be "god", because no human could do it right!? We way never really know..

    May 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Steve

      Your forgetting God, being with God the whole reason for faith is a relationship with someone perfect in everyway. The perfect parent that loves us all the time and disciplines us when we need it. We took the apple despite being in a relationship before that and knowing what His will was. Our creator and Guardian but we chose to run the other way and do our own thing and disobey following our own wants. Him being the perfect God He decided to reconcile us to Him and adopt us so He could show us the way. I have been a Christian since I was 5 your telling me that in the last 21 years God has been a crutch? I didn't give my heart to Christ because He was a crutch. Although He is a good friend and is very strong in doing the right thing even if you don't think so.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Steve said

      " I have been a Christian since I was 5 "

      What if you had been born in Mecca? Steve you provide more evidence for:

      – Religion is an accident of birth
      – Religion has to indoctrinate children in order to propagated (its like a virus in that respect).

      And is being *brought* up like this any reason to believe something? Again, had you been born in Mecca...... seems so arbitrary doesn't it.

      May 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  14. Glenc

    As a person of faith, I find having on-line Bibles a help to my study. However, I think that the mass marketing of recent translations are troubling. When the Bible sounds more like "Two and a Half Men" than divinely inspired writing, you have a problem. I feel another reformation coming. There is a growing backlash in the church, mostly amongst the teens for more meaning in the church. The evangelical movement has no more meaning. When "church" is more of a rock concert than an inward reflection, more about the light show on stage than the candle of the holy spirit in your heart, your church has a problem and the teens know it. We have started an hour of silent prayer in my church, just come in, sit down and pray. We figured we would get mostly old people, nope, we get a few seniors, but mostly it is the teens. They want more than the pablum we have been feeding them. They know there is something deeper than the drums and bass, the big screen projection and the 24 track sound system. And they know the adults aren't giving it to them. So they are searching on their own.

    May 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Carmine Monoxide

      I respectfully submit that the church's actual problem is that it has no substantive answers to real problems. If people did look inward, they'd be in serious trouble if they relied on the church for answers. Given this state of affairs, an entertainment strategy on the part of the church is probably their best move.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • pam

      I agree with your comments about churches being more like light shows. We need to focus on God's basic teachings. God warns us not to add to or take away from His Word. Like the idea of prayer time/service. I'll have to share that idea with our Pastor.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • FifthApe

      When some one introduces themselves to me as a 'person of faith' my initial respect for them falls by 50 %. Faith is belief without evidence – and I find that highly troubling to say the least.

      Or in other words:

      Faith – because thinking is hard.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Pam said:

      "God warns us not to add to or take away from His Word."

      His word? You mean like:

      31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
      31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  15. John C

    This article misses the mark a bit. Most Christians (in the world, at least) don't go to church for "Bible study", they go to receive the Eucharist, which you can't get on Facebook the last time I checked.

    May 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      None of the churches I attended ever mention this "eucharist". Sounds like a Catholic thing.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Ed, Spring, TX

      Saying that eucharist is "Catholic thing" is not quite right. It is a Christian thing since all Christian religions branch off of the Roman Catholic. Religions that don't celebrate eucharist are actually going against Christian tradition. Also, Eucharist is a very sound practice based on numerous new testament writings, that is why it is a Christian tradition.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  16. Doc4Subs

    Let's see the original New Testament as formulated by a group of "Bishops" seeking recognition as the state religion of Rome, they were housed, fed and cared for by Constantine for several years while they argued about which texts to include. Their main consideration was to please Constantine and ensure their personal power in the church! At least the Eastern half of the Church had the integrity to leave, resulting in the Eastern Orthodox Church! As a result of this codification of the New Testament and the power granted the Roman Catholic Church we had numerous crusades with uncounted numbers killed, the inquisition and lets us not forget the killing of all the midwives and healers in Europe because they "worshipped the devil" we know all these things to be true yet the Catholic church still exists today!

    It also interests me that none of the miracles associated with the person of Jesus were claimed by him during his lifetime, it was only during the time of Paul that these sprang into life. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written long after the death of Jesus and surprise, surprise not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. In fact only the writer of Mark was the only one who could have even known a person who was born in the year of Jesus's death and that only if they had far outlived the average life expectancy. What we do know is that Jesus was born into a Jewish family and grew up to be a militant, a mystic and a faith healer who apposed the occupation of Rome!

    Worse we even recognize the Vatican, as a country and give them diplomatic protection, this based on a deal between Mussolini and Pope Pius IX in 1929. Then a later deal with between the Catholic Church and Hitler ensured that Hitler won the election which later led to World War II all in exchange personal power! Before you dismiss the previous statements, please take a few minutes and do your own research, you will find numerous legitimate sources that support all of these statements and so much more pretty much about every major religion and their unending quest for power! There is not a single major conflict going on the world today that does not trace it's origin to colonialism driven by religion and it's quest for power, money and domination! I do not mean that there have not been good things done by individuals associated with religion and even on occasion by the power structure of each religion, however if we could place all the good and bad on the cosmic balance scale which way do you believe it would tip?

    The sad part of the whole mess is that the esoteric teachings included in the Bible, Koran and Torah have been excluded, minimized and misinterpreted many times intentionally by those seeking power rather than understanding and enlightenment!

    May 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      An excellent post, sir!

      May 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Steve

      While on this earth Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. I don't know what Bible your reading. Yes our past haunts Catholics and Protestants, but I would like to think of us as trying to be different or some of us anyway.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • LaShelle

      Thank you for this post. I agree with you completely and you added some more interesting tidbits I can research further. Knowledge is power.

      May 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  17. dave

    To all,
    We are living in the days when the church age(corporate church) age has come to an end as God said it would. This is called the abomination of desalation. Satan took his seat in the temple(church). We read in Rev.18:4 Come out of "her" my people. To read more about this being the church read Rev.18:23. We are to flee to Christ. We find Him in the Bible.
    The word of God is quick(alive) and powerfull and sharper than any 2 edged sword.

    Judgment day will be May 21 2011. For more information on how this was found in the Bible you can go to Familyradio.com
    or google May 21 2011.
    Dave

    May 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • FifthApe

      The religious mind at work.

      See you on May 22.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      dave, I'll see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring -the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the uplifting.

      On May 21, I'll be ready to yank all your chains.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Carmine Monoxide

      2000 years of "any day now" ... never gets old for some people.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      ...and why shouldn't Satan take a seat in the church?
      He's one of the five Christian deities in this "monotheistic" religion.
      Can you name the other four?

      May 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Steve

      No man knows the day or the hour, only God knows the hour. That also means day and year in my book. It will be when you least expect it like a thief in the night.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • funktologist

      Since you won't be needing your house or your money in 6 days, why don't you give them to me?

      May 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      Personally I believe it would be wonderful if all the religious nuts were actually raptured up – then perhaps we would have some actual PEACE and QUIET on this planet. Since that is never going to happen (not now, not on May 21st, not freaking EVER), I'll simply wait until next Monday to hold my "Yet Another Apocalyptic Prediction Totally Failed To Materialize" party, and laugh. And laugh. And laugh. If that makes me a horrible person, tough. Maybe someone will finally get a clue.

      May 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Jesus

      This isn't the first time a church has declared a certain day to be the rapture. And they've all used "bible codes" to determine this. If this one happens to be ANOTHER false, then what? Will you renounce your faith? Or just wait for the next random yahoo who's "figured it out"?

      May 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  18. Joshua Jennings

    The King James Bible is not the first Bible in the English vernacular. This is not the first time your columnists have dispersed false information, CNN. You people need to get your crap together.

    May 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • gozer

      Yeah, to be diligent journalists, might as well list all the many versions of that book, all of them crap.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  19. MichMan

    We are a christian nation? Wrong! One of the fundamental truths of the reason for the founding of this country was freedom of (and from) religion. Why are christians always trying to rewrite history? Probably because the bible has been rewritten so many times, huh?

    May 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Sharon

      Sadly, that marketing tactic of claiming a "Christian Nation" has been successful on a large chunk of the population. But see "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris for a great response to it.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  20. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    I find it amusing that people think they can all get the same message from the Bible. Just like literature class, there and levels and levels of interpretation and often times it depends on how well you back up your idea with the text of the book. There is no wrong answer, as long as you can back it up, in other words.

    How soon will it be until people question why? How long until they say, 'well, why did jesus have to die for our sins?" that's what we're told, but where's the logic? Why would god create a son only to have that same son have to die? And if he was raised from the dead, then what sacrifice did he really make? If jesus took a nap for our sins, would it be as impressive, would we care?

    Go ahead all, read the Bible. Ask why a forgiving god would punish his own creations for having been lied to by a snake. The death of the old religions is coming, and it is called critical thought. What does the Bible say about the internet, or driving a car? Better yet, what does the Bible say about overpopulation, or space travel?

    tick tock, people, tick tock

    May 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • GAW

      Wow just nice...An old Dogma replaced by a new one. History does repeat itself.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Sharon

      GAW, I don't think that's a fair response to 1nd3p3nd3nt's post. Questioning and drawing rational conclusions is not equivalent to dogma. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your reply.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Carmine Monoxide

      Agreed. It makes no sense to talk about an omnipotent being making a sacrifice. Indeed – it makes as much sense for Jesus to have taken a nap, or gotten a haircut for our sins.

      May 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Chris

      Sharon is right. GAW, I have no idea what you're talking about, so here's a bunny with a pancake on its head. http://glassowater.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/rabbit_pancake.jpg

      May 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • GAW

      I believe in critical thought however as I read many of the the posts by atheists here there seems to be only 'one' conclusion to reach...'theirs'. The issue here for me is not What you believe but How. The intimidating tone taken by fundamentalist Christians have not persuaded me to believe their message nor has the belittling tone taken by many of the New Atheists persuaded me to believe theirs. Great job guys..you have managed to become what you hate so much. Both sides sound so much alike.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Steve

      The Bible talks about the easy thoughts but the thoughts can grow inside your mind. Other scriptures can then work on top of that. Let us not forget that we were told not to eat the fruit. We knew better if God told you directly (if there was a God) not to eat from the fruit and talked to you many times. You knew Him would you then be able to say that it wasn't your fault. If He was your dad would it be your fault if you did not listen?

      May 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Enjay Sea

      I don't believe in god, yet. I believe in toast however, because I just had some, with butter on top. Provide me with equivalent evidence of god, and I'll be at church next Sunday.

      May 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      Sorry, GAW, but if all you're doing is saying the tone of one group is similar to the tone of another, therefore they are the same, you have a very shallow understanding of...well, pretty much everything. Especially if you insist on calling that tone 'dogma'. The "New Atheists" (which apparently are the same as old atheists, just not to people who aren't used to the idea that atheists can actually speak out) are exercising logic and reason, backed up by evidence, to demonstrate the illogic and unreason of religion and religious belief. If you believe declaring religious beliefs make no sense and have nothing to back them up other than fables, insisting this is mocking, then you are in for a world of disappointment.

      Personally, I'm disappointed by the misleading nature of the headline. I was hoping by 'bring down' the editors actually meant 'eradicate entirely the church and its centuries of misinformation, based on books of questionable and dubious origins with nothing to back them up.'

      May 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Oliver

      Here is a great answer as to why the sacrifice was necessary:
      http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/2.5-27?lang=eng#4

      May 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.