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May 20th, 2011
09:01 AM ET

My Take: Doomsdayers not so different from the rest of us

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

I know a lot of people are eagerly awaiting 6 p.m. this Saturday, either to greet the rapturous return of Jesus with open arms or to snicker at the idiocy of the followers of radio host Harold Camping, the evangelist behind all this holy hoo-hah.

I’m looking forward to 6:01 p.m., and the recalculations and reinterpretations that invariably ensue whenever Bible believers are proud enough to imagine that they know the day and the hour of Jesus' return, and bold enough to announce their imaginations to humanity.

People have been predicting the end of the world ever since they started thinking about the world as a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Thus far everyone has been wrong. So we have a lot of experience as a species with what the Millerites of the 19th century called the Great Disappointment.

Initially, the Baptist doomsday preacher William Miller predicted the return of Jesus between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. When the latter date passed his followers did some recalculations (based on a different Jewish calendar) and settled some other dates. When those dates passed they found another date—October 22, 1844—based on a prophesy in the Bible's Daniel 8:14 (“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”).

After this Great Disappointment, some Millerites slinked away. Others decided that Jesus actually had returned, just not as they had expected. The notion that October 22, 1844 marked a spiritual rather than a physical return of Jesus became the basis for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

As for Harold Camping, he has been here before, too, predicting the arrival of Judgment Day in September 1994 only to go back to the Bible and his calculator and settle on this coming Saturday.

Predictions–and disappointments–such as these have inspired a cottage industry of social scientists trying to figure out how doomsday believers deal with the cognitive dissonance that comes “when prophecy fails.”

But the bottom line is that religion persists because it is adaptable. And one of its adaptations is that it almost never goes the route of Emily Litella, the hard-of-hearing "Saturday Night Live" news commentator who would come on "Weekend Update" (in the body of Gilda Radner) and complain, for example, about the effort to turn Puerto Rico into a steak, only to be corrected by Jane Curtin. At which point she would say, “I’m sorry.  Nevermind.”

I know my atheist friends are getting ready to party on May 21, and many Christians are already embarrassed by Camping and his followers. But I’m not convinced the rest of us are all that much different.

When confronted with facts that disprove their pet theories, for instance, our politicians almost never say, “Nevermind.” They recalculate and equivocate and go about their business. The rest of us do much the same, often preferring in our relationships, our jobs and our worldviews (religious or otherwise) the comfort of the stories we carry around in our heads to the reality of the facts on the ground.

Religious fanatics aren’t always so different from the rest of us. They are bolder, perhaps–more willing to air their craziness to the world. But the rest of us are crazy in our own way, harboring illusions about the federal budget deficit, or our spouses, or our politicians that are disproved by the facts, and dealing with cognitive dissonance with more of the same.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • End times • Fundamentalism • Obama • United States

soundoff (1,432 Responses)
  1. Kool Aid

    This is proof positive of why science prevails over religion–the concept that our friend here is after is known as Empirical Falsifiability. Althought he speaks the truth when he states that politicians who simply explain away their misses are no different than prophecy nuts, he fails to mention that science DOES rise above this problem.

    Take note that NOTHING in science is 100%...not even something we all take for granted like gravity. Everything is debatable and, if enough evidence is provided such that even the longest-standing scientific law is toppled, that event will be celebrated (no explaining away will occur) and those who consider themeselves experts in that particular area of science will get back to work figuring out where and why they were incorrect.

    You will NEVER see this in religion.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Adam

      I agree with you about this guy. I believe it'll be a huge wake up call this Saturday to those who are following him. Hopefully, they won't make an excuse about it and will seek God out on what he says about the end of time since they believe in the Bible and all. Look up 4Truth.net and see some of the arguments under the God tab. Pretty cool stuff. Everything is debatable. However, Christianity seems to make more sense.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  2. Ronnie

    What bothers me most is that people actually believe Harold Camping and have begun selling off this homes and getting rid of their life savings. I think that he should be held accountable for the trama and terror he has created. We have enough stress in our lives just not knowing when we will be hit again by a terrorist attacks, now we have to have more fear instilled into our lives. In the bibie it says no one knows when the end is near, how does this man, a self centered ego maniac put himself out there as having the insight as to when the world is going to end.

    I once listened to this man's program on Family Radio and a woman called in and said that her husband was beating her and abusing her and that she needed to leave. He told her that God forbids divorce and even if she is killed by her husband, at least she abided by Gods word. Needless to say, that is the last time I ever listened to this unstable person who has the fortune or misfortune of monopolying the airwaves. Shame of Harold Camping and Shame on Family Radio for allowing such an obviously crazy person to influence innocent people that don't know better.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • WakeUpWorld

      Harold Camping should'nt be held accountable for these peoples losses. If grown adults are falling for this cult leaders attention grabbing antics then it's their fault. That woman probably ended up letting her husband beat her to death. The media and people like Harold Camping make their living off of the heard of gullable sheep A.K.A. the majority of Americans. See you on Sunday.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  3. bigsnow81

    "Religion is the opiate of the masses" (Karl Marx)

    May 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  4. William

    There have been 137 doomsday prediction since the American revolution (all originated in the US)
    FYI.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • JohnR

      There have been other doomsday predictions in other lands. The Fortean Times is a good source for info on international nuttiness.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  5. pushingapencil

    How do you know we're not?

    ---------
    ReligionIs4Dolts

    Uhhhh, how do you know we're in the "middle" when you don't even know where the edges are?

    May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Not a statement I need to defend because I'm not the one initiating the claim that we ARE in the middle.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  6. William

    There have been 137 doomsday prediction since the American revolution (all originated in the US)
    FYI

    May 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • NOTBART

      Let's make that 138....

      The world will end a week from next Tuesday....

      May 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  7. Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

    If the faithful would just admit that a lot of what they believe is odd, and not just dismiss others' differing beliefs as odd, I'd have a lot more respect. If I came in to work and said that a burning bush was talking to me this morning, they'd lock me away. Literally eating flesh and literally drinking blood? Kinda weird if you're not an actual cannibal or a vampire. Kneeling weekly before an ancient torture device – a bit strange. I, personally, would have a more respect from someone that says, yeah, it's odd, but that's what I believe, than from someone who wants to convince me that such things are rational.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • leelanau

      Too bad that you've never endeavored to try and understand just why people kneel weekly in front of an "ancient torture device" , rather only debase the ritual.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      @leelanau

      Why should anyone have to drop to their knees in front of anything or anyone? Would you let a person have that much authority over you? I often ask this of the faithful with no satisfactory response. If God is so full of love and grace, why should I have to cower in fear in his presence? That sounds more like a monster to me. Just saying....

      May 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      "leelanau
      Too bad that you've never endeavored to try and understand just why people kneel weekly in front of an "ancient torture device" , rather only debase the ritual."

      -–

      Actually, I did it for several decades. So I get why people do it. It's still a strange ritual. If you take someone from another faith who hasn't been exposed to Christianity, bring them into a church and explain what the cross is, they're going to think it's weird. I'm not trying to debase anything – I'm trying to point out the obvious from an objective point of view.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • San Onofre Surfer

      Hey Squirrel,

      "Too bad that you've never endeavored to try and understand just why people kneel weekly in front of an "ancient torture device" , rather only debase the ritual."

      I have thought about that. If I keep doing it, it might "take" one of these times, (even though I keep saying that it's a "Once for all sacrifice". )

      May 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Jonathan Armstrong

    So, are you saying that Athiests are immune to false ideas because they recognize illusions? I am also curious to know what you base your conclusion on that believers in "Faith based religion" have "no need of facts or truth".
    Lastly, how do we "deal with reality" when there are an almost innumerable viewpoints on what reality is? Even Athiests can't agree on the definition of "reality".
    Perhaps we should all learn to coexist in an environment of respect and tolerance. If God exists, it is His responsibility make himself known to humanity. If God doesn't exist then the Athiests can say "i told you so" after we die... well, maybe not! 🙂

    May 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Jonathan Armstrong

      Hi -Jonathan...

      You Said: "If God doesn't exist then the Athiests can say "i told you so" after we die... well, maybe not! "

      We usually here this line from the 'believers.' The line that I quoted you here made me chuckle, as it is almost a reverse take on...'Pascal's Wager.'

      That was funny...

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      May 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • timd

      of course aethiests have almost as many delisions as religious folks do, they aren't magic by any means.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  9. NOTBART

    When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. – Sigmund Freud

    May 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • William

      (like button) --Click

      May 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • IceT

      Me too "click"

      May 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • joe

      Sigmund Frued is not THE PERSON TO QUOTE, A DRUG ADDICTED, PSHYCOLOGIST WHO HAD NO FACTS TO SUPPORT HINMSELF

      May 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • NOTBART

      OK Joe how about...

      Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people. – Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney

      May 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • MeLikey

      Me likey

      May 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." – George H. W. Bush

      I figured the other side ought to have some sort of representation... lol

      May 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Daniel

      Freud also believes women wanted to have a penis.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      And Issac Newton, one of the greatest minds EVER believed he could turn lead into gold. Dude was an alchemy freak. Does it mean every other thought, hypothesis, or theory posited by the man was just as ludicrous? Nope.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  10. Amber

    I am going to put it like this. No one but God knows when this world is going to end. Not a calendar, not a computer, definitely nor another human being can tell me so. Whether you are right or wrong, you do not know. You are not God, so you do not know. Y'all don't even know when the world began, so how y'all know when it's going to end? Y'all just making hard for people to live their lives. What happened to December 21, 2012, and now it is May 21, 2011. If you ask me, y'all just confused as hell. I am not about to let a scientist, or a priest tell me either. When God wants to happen let him decide. So stop trying to predict every single day because y'all continue to fail.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar, and is not related to Christianity.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  11. JangoJingo

    Atheists aren't the only ones who are partying tomorrow. Not all Christians believe this stupidity. I don't feel any connection to Harold Camping and have no feeling of embarrasment because he is a Christian. We are not lumped into one group and this free publicity that he is getting by CNN and others are only doing this to mock those who believe in Christ.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Peter

      I think Mr. Camping is the one who is mocking Christ.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Duke13

      I don't know that I would classify Mr. Camping as a Christian although he claims to be. By his "prophecy", he is insinuating that Jesus lied in Matthews 24:36 and related scripture.

      There is no Biblical scripture that leads me to believe there is a greater chance of the rapture occurring on May 21, 2011 than any other day.

      Although I do believe that Jesus will return at some time (?) there is still Bible prophecy that must be fulfilled before his return.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  12. Candice

    The Bible CLEARLY states that only God knows the day and the hour! So how DARE these people think that they are God. Last time I checked there was only 1 TRUE God, and it wasn't anybody here!

    May 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Terrence

      Amen Sister! The word stands alone, its infallibale...

      May 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Which God is that again?
      Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama?

      May 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • ed

      I so agree with you...In Islam, we have the same belief...good of you to share.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • MeLikey

      Yeah! Only 1 true God! My God is the true God and trumps your God. I'm righteous and you're not!! Rabble rabble rabble What would Jesus do rabble rabble rabble.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • NOTBART

      Doc Vestibule

      Which God is that again?
      Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama?

      ----

      Wow I never realized there were so many gods that I don't believe in.....

      May 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  13. Eileen

    It's going to start at the international date line and hit everywhere right at 6:00PM? Gee. That's not the Bible says.

    "In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." 1 Cor 15:52 (NIV)

    May 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Haven't you read the DaVinci code? You need to search for the super-secret cypher. Camping believes he's got it.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Adam

      Agree Eileen. This guy is ridiculous and if their church would read their bible then they may not be in the situations they are in now.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  14. Craig

    I’m glad Christ did not tell us when He was going to return. The disciples that Jesus took with Him to pray on the Mountain of Olives went to sleep each time He told them to stay awake and pray. As you know the story well in Matthew 26:37-44, Mark 14:33-41 and Luke 22:39-46, we probably would have done the same thing. Based on the disciples past actions, if Jesus had told them that He was not going to return for nearly 2,000 years, they would have procrastinated and not got the word of His life out as quickly as they did. If you think about it, the best way to get our kids to clean their room quickly is to tell them nothing of our return time. Unbelievably, this same technique works on adults. Who better to teach us this lesson than Christ (John 10:30 and John 14:8-10)? Give due diligence. Go to familyradio.com and research it. The 9 easy proofs can’t all be coincidence. Craig

    May 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Jeezus is said to have said that he would return before "this generation has turned to dust" or some cr@p like that, so obviously he missed the mark already.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bruce

      ReligionIs4Dolts: Jesus did return before that generation turned to dust. Everything he predicted would happen (arguably) happened before that generation ended. The Romans sacked Jerusalem. Read the history of what happened in that area during that generation and compare it to the predictions.

      Note that the gospels were written AFTER all those things happened. Jesus is being depicted as a prophet–and an accurate one at that–so what is described in those "predictions" is how the authors of the gospels understood recent history.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • IceT

      ReligionIs4dolts .. "click"

      May 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  15. Herb (12th Apostle)

    "I know my atheist friends are getting ready to party on May 21, and many Christians are already embarrassed by Camping and his followers."

    Why should any Christian be embarrassed by this event? The date may be different but all Christians believe in a pending rapture.

    To all Christians I say this: HELLO! This is your religion cast out of the echo chamber of your churches and put in the public square for all to see. LOOK AT IT! It embarrasses you because it is silly to believe such nonsense. You want a revelation? Here's one...WAKE UP!

    May 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Jeff

      Hey Herb... take the sun glasses off.. They are blinding you and they don't make you look cool.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • leelanau

      Herb,

      The end will mark a vacuous absence of hope on this earth, and since there's no hope for you, I sense we're a little bit closer....

      May 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • JangoJingo

      As a Christian, the only Rapture I believe in is the one song by Blondie. It is an allegorism. The idea that all Christians are God-fearing conformists are not true.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  16. bigsnow81

    God is a concept,
    By which we can measure,
    Our pain,
    I'll say it again,
    God is a concept,
    By which we can measure,
    Our pain,
    I don't believe in magic,
    I don't believe in I-ching,
    I don't believe in bible,
    I don't believe in tarot,
    I don't believe in Hitler,
    I don't believe in Jesus,
    I don't believe in Kennedy,
    I don't believe in Buddha,
    I don't believe in mantra,
    I don't believe in Gita,
    I don't believe in yoga,
    I don't believe in kings,
    I don't believe in Elvis,
    I don't believe in Zimmerman,
    I don't believe in Beatles,
    I just believe in me,
    Yoko and me,
    And that's reality.
    The dream is over,
    What can I say?
    The dream is over,
    Yesterday,
    I was dreamweaver,
    But now I'm reborn,
    I was the walrus,
    But now I'm John,
    And so dear friends,
    You just have to carry on,
    The dream is over.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  17. twiddly

    The thrust of the article is to claim that these people are "normal" and no harm done.
    Quite the contrary. They have convinced people to give away money and belongings. Who is going to take care of these poor lemmings on the 22nd and beyond? Either family & friends step or the burden falls to state and federal agencies.
    Really sad, and really stupid and really, really not normal.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  18. ClarasBeau

    In my mind right now, I can see Emily Latella on SNL, saying, "What's this I hear about the coming of the raptors?!"

    May 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • twiddly

      I love it! Too funny.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  19. Adam

    What's delusional is believing that the world came from nothing all on it's own and somehow we live and strive in this perfect environment in the middle of the whole universe by coincidence. That's delusional.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Uhhhh, how do you know we're in the "middle" when you don't even know where the edges are?

      May 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • twiddly

      Hey Adam, if the universe couldn't come from nothing and required a "creator", then where did this creator come from? It couldn't come from nothing, right? Not using your logic. So who created the creator? And then who created that creator and on into infinity.

      And Tim, atheists do not have a god; your so-called NoGod is ridiculous. We don't believe in god for the same reason we don't believe in santa claus or the tooth fairy. There is simply no reason to.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Stupid All Day

      @Relogions4Dolts,
      Don't forget, "It's turtles, all the way down".

      Why do they keep saying that, ("delusional is believing that the world came from nothing") as if they never heard of quantum fluctuations ? They HAVE heard of them, right ?

      May 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • leelanau

      Adam,

      "Coincedence" is what the scientists try and sell people on.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Adam

      Explain quantum fluctuations and the probability of us being here on Earth like we are from nothing. I'm glad the bible isn't that confusing. Yet some would say it is, I'm sure. I love science, but I love more the creator of science for sure.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • moakley

      But only Christian are saying that. Their useless strawman compelling only to other Christians.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adam
      It is handy that the Bible provides a Grand Unified Theory of Everything.
      If we ever have questions about how anything works, just plug "God did it" into the answer box and there you have it!
      Of course, taking that route would cause civilization to stagnate and halt the progress of the human race, but that is a small price to pay for removing all doubt as the the origins of the universe and our ultimate posthumous destination.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Adam

      wow, this site is being slow today. Doc, I would agree that it seems to easy to plug "God did it". I guess it takes faith to believe in God. The bible, for sure, helps with that and builds that faith. But before I was a believer I would have said that same thing. If you don't believe in God then you definitely won't believe in the bible. If you go to 4Truth.net it'll explain some arguments for believing in God, Jesus, Christianity, etc. Click on the the God tab, then click on atheists. (If I remember) Maybe that'll help better explain it. Once I believed in God, then Christianity was the best answer for it, then once I gave my life to Christ, I was able to see him live through me. Going to Heaven and knowing how we got here is great, but having the relationship I have with my savior is the best.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • San Onofre Surfer

      Sorry Adam,
      Reading that book is THE reason I don't buy that c-ap. Instead of reading it, read ABOUT it. You won't believe it.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Adam

      San, no need to be sorry. There's a lot of stories in there I thought were ridiculous at one time. It helped when I read entire books, and letters in the bible and considered the context that I was able to understand why that was in there. The old testament is very confusing and was to me when I was a new Christian and I'm sure it is to those who don't believe it, but it's in there for a reason. It gives examples of how to live, how to worship, how to have faith. Jesus, used it a lot in his teachings, mainly, because that's all there was at the time. There will always be people who write about the bible and don't like it or disagree like Dawkins, or Harris and others but I read it and try not to be biased and ask God to help me understand and He does.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      The Old Testament also has a lot of arcane rules, an obession with geneaology, and a WHOLE lot of a venegful god. While I don't think that the god of the NT is any where near as sunshine and roses as many christians, the gods of the NT and OT don't really line up that well.

      And I've still never heard a good explanation about how a loving god would flood nearly the entire world – children, infants, and the unborn included – to have a mulligan. Even as an allegory, its disturbing.

      May 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Adam

      This is because you can not accept your own irrelevance.

      Luckily, the rest of us have accepted on your behalf

      May 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  20. Tim

    Thanks Steve! Everyone has a God, even Atheists (the all powerful NoGod).

    May 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • WelcomeWizard

      There’s no god, but NoGod!

      May 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Tim

      Maybe i'm missing something here, Tim, but... your posting made absolutely no sense to me.

      Peace...

      May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Everyone collects stamps! Even the non-stamp collectors collect the all powerful NoStamp

      May 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • IceT

      That's like believing "bald" is a hair color.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      The wisdom of the Village Idiot.

      Dude God is a LIE.

      May 20, 2011 at 3:12 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.