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June 22nd, 2011
12:28 PM ET

U.S. evangelicals gloomy about future, 'global south' optimistic, study finds

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Half the world's evangelical Protestant leaders are optimistic about the future, confident that evangelical Christians have an increasing influence in their countries and that things will be better for them in five years.

The other half are pessimists, convinced they're losing influence on the life of their countries and mostly not persuaded that things will be better for Christianity where they live in the future.

Those are among the findings of a groundbreaking survey of more than 2,000 evangelical leaders from around the world, which the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released Wednesday

The split on optimism is between north and south, and the way it breaks down might surprise you.

It's evangelicals in the comparatively poor south who see a bright future ahead - Africans, Latin Americans and Middle Easterners.

Those from the developed world, where evangelical Christianity was born, are the pessimists. And Americans are among the most glum of all, with more than eight out of 10 evangelical Christian leaders there saying that the movement is losing influence in the United States today.

Among other results from the survey:

- Only 3% of evangelical Christian leaders believe in evolution as defined by scientists. About half believe God created the planet and life on it as it is now, while four out of 10 say there has been evolution, but it was guided by God.

- Nearly all believe abortion is usually or always morally wrong. A similar number say the same thing about homosexuality.

- They feel generally positive about Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews but have a low opinion of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and atheists, with atheists rating the lowest of all. (Evangelicals from Muslim-majority countries tend to have higher opinions of Muslims than those who live elsewhere, the Pew Forum found.)

- Half say the Bible should be read literally. Half say not everything in it should be taken literally.

- Half say it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person. Half say it isn't.

Pew Forum Director Luis Lugo said the "optimism gap" between north and south struck him the most about the survey.

"There are huge differences between the global south, who see things getting better, compared to the global north, and particularly the U.S., where we get down to 31% who see things being better five years from now," he said.

But the respondents' perceptions may not reflect reality, said Michael Cromartie, an expert on evangelical Christians and a senior adviser to the Pew Forum not involved in the survey.

"In the United States, evangelicals feels like they're losing influence because the elite culture isn't sympathetic or sees them as intolerant - which I don't think it is the case, but it's how they're perceived," said Cromartie, who directs the Evangelicals in Civic Life program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

In the global south, on the other hand, "You could see yourself having influence because the numbers (of evangelical Christians) are growing so fast," he said.

"The numbers are exploding. That doesn't necessarily mean you have influence, but you feel like you have influence."

Both sides think the south - where a majority of evangelicals now live - should have more influence on the movement as a whole, the survey found.

"We were surprised to see a majority thought that the global south should be contributing more - and leaders from the global south were even more self-critical," Lugo said.

Leaders from the south tend to be more conservative than those from the north, a pattern that mimics that in the global Anglican Communion, for example. If the south gains influence over time, it could push the movement as a whole in an even more conservative direction.

But Lugo points out that the south is not a monolith.

"Latin America is much closer to North America and Europe than to the rest of the global south" in its attitudes, he said. "They tend to be less conservative on homosexuality even than European leaders, and less conservative on tithing and biblical literalism than the rest of the global south."

The Pew Forum surveyed 2,196 participants in the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization held in Cape Town, South Africa, in October. The respondents were leaders sent by their home churches and mirror the geographical map of evangelical Christians around the globe, the Pew Forum said.

There are at least 260 million followers of the movement worldwide, the Pew Forum said.

The conference where it conducted the survey is a follow-up to one Billy Graham convened in 1974 in Switzerland.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

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soundoff (611 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    Blasphemer

    June 24, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  2. James Black

    Yes, Agree!

    June 24, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  3. John

    We don't need a whole bunch to change the history for good.

    June 24, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  4. Chris

    nouahhhhhh

    June 24, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  5. James Black

    faaaahhhhhh

    June 24, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  6. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]
    /

    June 24, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • ....

      Again, don't bother watching this garbage, click the report abuse link so we can get rid of it.

      June 24, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  7. edward

    Looking for help and support?..come to http://www.wpray4u.com and you will find it

    June 24, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  8. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]
    ~

    June 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • ....

      And again, don't bother watching this garbage, click the report abuse link so we can get rid of it.

      June 24, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  9. Doesn't matter

    @David Johnson

    Before I respond to what you said I just wanted to ask you why you only responded to some of the things I said? Could it be because you have no answer or expl-a-n-ation for the rest?
    I think if you are honest with yourself you'll realize that your "faith" in evolution is just as necessary as my "faith" in God. Now I will respond to EVERYTHING that you said, I won't pick and choose and answer only what I don't feel threatened by...

    You said, "The Theory of Evolution is the basic unifying concept of biology."

    Where did you come up with this? Biology is it's own seperate discipline with nothing to do with evolution...

    Next you said, "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"

    I will respond to each of these individually
    • Paleontology (fossils)–yes there is a fossil record, but it is a stretch (plain and simple) to say that it shows evolution
    • Distribution of Animals and Plants–not sure what you think this has to do with evolution?
    • Comparative Anatomy–just because things are similiar does not mean they are directly related...
    • Embryology–once again, not really sure how you relate this to evolution...perhaps rather than just copy and pasting from a site you googled you could explain why you are including these items...
    • Vestigial Organs–are you referring to the "belief" that we once had tails?
    • Genetics–as I stated above just because we are similar does not mean we are related directly...But since you brought genetics up I think you could also say because the genetic code is so intricate it almost has to have been created instead of happening by chance as you seem to believe.
    • Natural Selection–not proven sufficiently so I don't really feel the need to respond to this one.
    • $exual Selection–Again, not sure what you are referring to hear, as I said above perhaps if you had offered a little bit of info with what you cut and pasted...
    • Molecular Biology–This particular discipline really is like biology above a separate ent-i-ty unto itself having nothing to do with evolution
    • Bad Design–Not sure what this one means either but it certainly doesn't sound very scientific, did you make this one up?
    • Lab Experiments–Not sure how you think a lab experiment can authenticate evolution, but I'd be interested to read the research paper where it took place...

    Next you said, "The Theory of Evolution has as much validity as the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the germ theory of disease."

    You should have a caveat to this statement, such as "in my opinion"...

    Then you said, "Science is evidence based. Religion is faith based. Belief and faith, can never be equal to evidence and logic. belief and faith will never lead you to the truth."

    As I said above this should start with "in my opinion" because while yes it is true science is based in some cases on evidence not all conclusions can be made without using some faith or guesswork.

    Next you said, "Science takes nothing on faith. If a scientist submitted a paper for peer review, and stated that some of it would have to be taken on faith...he would be discredited. Laughed at. Ridiculed."

    I agree that if a scientist said that, that would probably be the case, which is why they will often use things such as circular reasoning or omission of details when submitting their papers...not always but sometimes. As for science not taking anything on faith...evolution is a case in point...it requires mucho faith to believe in evolution as it is often presented: that everything here happend by chance and accident, nothing more...

    Then you said, "No. High School kids are just beginning their education. They are not competent to decide the truth.
    There is a limited amount of time, to teach math and science. Our kids will be competing with the rest of the world. We can't afford the time to teach fairy tales."

    Once again "in your opinion" fortunately for us the entire world does not share "your opinion" which is why I said that the predominant two viewpoints should be taught, but because of your intolerance you refuse...as I said to BCE, your opinion is showing...

    Lastly you said, "Like what?"

    With regards to proof, I stated already that if you investigate the matter with an open mind and treat the evidence fairly (instead of coming into it with preconceived notions), you might be surprised by what you find...Good luck with the search...

    June 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Scott

      "Biology is it's own seperate discipline with nothing to do with evolution" If you really believe this, you are so disconnected from reality or so misinformed about biology, evolution or both that it would be pointless to try and talk to you. Let me give you one bit of advice, never, never pay attention to the man behind the curtain

      June 23, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Doesn't matter

      I started to not respond to you at all. I won't respond further. You didn't even offer me any evidence that your god exists.

      I said: "The Theory of Evolution is the basic unifying concept of biology."

      You said: "Biology is it's own seperate discipline with nothing to do with evolution..."

      "Among the most important topics are five unifying principles that can be said to be the fundamental axioms of modern biology:
      1.Cells are the basic unit of life
      2.New species and inherited traits are the product of evolution (Looky! Looky!)
      3.Genes are the basic unit of heredity
      4.An organism regulates its internal environment to maintain a stable and constant condition
      5.Living organisms consume and transform energy.
      Source: Wikipedia

      With the theory of evolution, the cell theory is the most important generalization in biology.
      Source: Nature Cell Biology

      Briefly:
      Paleontology – You admit, there is a fossil record. If god created all the organisms on the planet, during the creation week, why are there transitional fossils? Did god have to create prototypes until he got it right?
      List of known Vertebrate transitional fossils – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

      Distribution of Animals and Plants – If evolution is so, plants and animals in different locations, should be...different. And they are.

      Comparative Anatomy – Not just look similar. The two organisms with the "same" attribute, must be shown to have derived it, from a common ancestor.

      Embryology – Related organisms in their early stages of development are very similar. This is believed to be evidence of their descent from common ancestors.

      Vestigial Organs – We did indeed have tails. Time magazine did a story on this: articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/15/opinion/ed-tails15. There are many examples of vestigial organs in humans and other organisms.

      Genetics – Similarities! Yes. The closer an organism is related to another, the more their genetic sequences are the similar. Organisms that aren't closely related...not so much LOL.

      Natural Selection – Insecticides must constantly be reformulated. New antibiotics must be discovered. Why? Because the insects and germs become resistent. Evolution = Tons of Microevolution + lots of time.

      $exual Selection – Think plumage. Think bright colors. Think mating dances. The coolest gets the girl. His genes are passed along. The dull, the inept, does not get to pass his sorry genes. Would a god need this?

      Molecular Biology – You are partly right. Molecular Biology is a branch of biology. Molecular Biology deals with organisms, on the molecular level. They can actually tell the ancestry of an organism. They can reconstruct evolutionary events. Molecular Biology is giving us the best evidence for the evolution of life.

      Bad Design – If as Intelligent Designers claim, that a supreme being designed life, you would expect His handiwork to be first class. It it isn't, then maybe it ain't so.
      Some examples: The retina of the human eye, Humans have a sharp bend at the base of their spines (back pain), The nerve for the larynx in mammals is too long, Humans have too many teeth, Human facial bones are squashed by an expanded brain
      case. There are other examples in other species. A supreme being would not have been guilty of such shoddy work.

      Evolution requires no faith. Evolution has evidence.

      Cheers!

      The closer that organisms appear to be related, the more similar are their respective genetic sequences.

      June 24, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      @David Johnson

      You started with, "I started to not respond to you at all. I won't respond further. You didn't even offer me any evidence that your god exists."

      Well I will respond further because I don't fear discussion of my faith the way you do...and maybe someone else will read what I'm saying and actually do what I've been trying to tell you to do...examine the evidence for both your belief and for God and decide for yourself, instead of taking google or wikipedia, and anyone else's word for it! As for the evidence of God, maybe you should go back and re-read my first post to you, or here let me make it easier for you I will re-write what I said: This evidence you demand is next to impossible to provide...let me ask you this David: what in your mind would be acceptable proof of God's existence? When I ask most people that they don't have an answer...what I'm saying is that if you refuse to believe with what evidence is already around us no amount of proof is going to convince you otherwise, we humans are nothing if we are not stubborn when it comes to what we believe in...

      You said, (or rather wilkipedia said) "Among the most important topics are five unifying principles that can be said to be the fundamental axioms of modern biology:
      1.Cells are the basic unit of life
      2.New species and inherited traits are the product of evolution (Looky! Looky!)
      3.Genes are the basic unit of heredity
      4.An organism regulates its internal environment to maintain a stable and constant condition
      5.Living organisms consume and transform energy.
      Source: Wikipedia"

      At least you have shown that you are great at cut and paste...

      Then you said, (sorry actually Nature Cell Biology said) "With the theory of evolution, the cell theory is the most important generalization in biology.
      Source: Nature Cell Biology"

      You see you are proving my point here...what are your explanations for these things, because that is what I asked for. I asked you what you "believe" if you believe that this is "proof" that's fine, but perhaps you should broaden your horizons and realize that these aren't the only explanations for how we got here...Like I've been saying, check it out for yourself...

      Next you went on another cut and paste rampage, "Briefly:
      Paleontology – You admit, there is a fossil record. If god created all the organisms on the planet, during the creation week, why are there transitional fossils? Did god have to create prototypes until he got it right?"

      Where are these transitional species you speak of? What museum can I go to to see them?

      "List of known Vertebrate transitional fossils – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html "

      A website, great! I'm sure everything on it is completely subjective...right?

      "Distribution of Animals and Plants – If evolution is so, plants and animals in different locations, should be...different. And they are."

      One could make the same argument for God...This is very inconclusive for your argument...

      "Comparative Anatomy – Not just look similar. The two organisms with the "same" attribute, must be shown to have derived it, from a common ancestor. "

      You say "must" be. Yes if you presume that evolution is true. But what if it's not?

      "Embryology – Related organisms in their early stages of development are very similar. This is believed to be evidence of their descent from common ancestors."

      This one is very interesting, you say, "This is "believed" to be evidence of their descent from common ancestors." It's like you don't even realize what you said. It's "BELIEVED"...very telling and it goes along with what I have been saying doesn't it? You "believe" evolution is true...

      "Vestigial Organs – We did indeed have tails. Time magazine did a story on this: articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/15/opinion/ed-tails15. There are many examples of vestigial organs in humans and other organisms. "

      Oh, Time magazine did a story on it so it must be true...What are some of these examples? Oddly you give none...

      "Genetics – Similarities! Yes. The closer an organism is related to another, the more their genetic sequences are the similar. Organisms that aren't closely related...not so much LOL."

      This goes right to the heart of your argument, if we ALL come from the same beginning, then wouldn't ALL organisms be closely related?

      "Natural Selection – Insecticides must constantly be reformulated. New antibiotics must be discovered. Why? Because the insects and germs become resistent. Evolution = Tons of Microevolution + lots of time."

      I like this euphemisim that a lot of evolutionists use...what you are talking about is actually adaptation, but if it helps you sleep at night you can call it evolution...

      "$exual Selection – Think plumage. Think bright colors. Think mating dances. The coolest gets the girl. His genes are passed along. The dull, the inept, does not get to pass his sorry genes. Would a god need this? "

      This does not seem to apply so much in what evolutionists would deem the dominant species on the planet: MANKIND! I think you would have to agree that the dull and inept are very good at passing on their genes...if you disagree than you are even blinder than I thought...

      "Molecular Biology – You are partly right. Molecular Biology is a branch of biology. Molecular Biology deals with organisms, on the molecular level. They can actually tell the ancestry of an organism. They can reconstruct evolutionary events. Molecular Biology is giving us the best evidence for the evolution of life."

      Who can? And how do you know? Because they told you? Once again it's cool that you accept their word, but that's all it really is...

      "Bad Design – If as Intelligent Designers claim, that a supreme being designed life, you would expect His handiwork to be first class. It it isn't, then maybe it ain't so."

      God is perfect and before sin we were too...With the birth of sin and in the successive generations yes there have been many problems we have encountered, this has nothing to do with God's original design, it has to do with our bad choices...

      "Some examples: The retina of the human eye, Humans have a sharp bend at the base of their spines (back pain), The nerve for the larynx in mammals is too long, Humans have too many teeth, Human facial bones are squashed by an expanded brain
      case. There are other examples in other species. A supreme being would not have been guilty of such shoddy work."

      Once again all of these things have nothing to do with the original flawless design, environmental as well as spiritual conditions have made us less than what God intended, we are after all a fallen creation...

      "Evolution requires no faith. Evolution has evidence."

      The caveat to this should be, "in your opinion", but you obviously do not possess the intellectual honesty to admit it...

      June 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Doesn't matter

      You said: " and maybe someone else will read what I'm saying and actually do what I've been trying to tell you to do...examine the evidence for both your belief and for God"

      For this reason and for that purpose I am responding.

      You asked: " what in your mind would be acceptable proof of God's existence? When I ask most people that they don't have an answer...what I'm saying is that if you refuse to believe with what evidence is already around us no amount of proof is going to convince you otherwise, we humans are nothing if we are not stubborn when it comes to what we believe in..."

      Perhaps, we should not be asking people, but instead, asking god.

      Christians claim their god is All knowing, All powerful and All good. Never mind, that it is impossible for any being to be all three of these at the same time.

      1.If god is Omnibenevolent, He would WANT every human to believe in Him.
      The bible says He does:
      2 Peter 3:9
      9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. King James Version (KJV)

      1 Timothy 2:4
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. King James Version (KJV)

      2. If god is Omniscient, then He would KNOW exactly how to convince anyone and everyone that He exists.

      3. If god is Omnipotent, then He would be ABLE to convince anybody and everybody that He exists.

      Yet, ~ 68% of the world's population are not Christians.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      You said: " God has provided many things to prove His existence"

      LOL – Obviously not enough, when only 38% of the world is Christian.

      You said: " At least you have shown that you are great at cut and paste..."

      I quoted from Wikipedia and Nature Cell Biology, as evidence that you were wrong about Biology being its own seperate discipline with nothing to do with evolution.
      You were wrong. And it isn't just my opinion.

      The brief explanations that I gave for each area of study, that give evidence for evolution, were not cut and paste. Read them. How could they be? If you want to know more, you should start by buying and reading a biology text book. I don't feel an obligation to give you an education.

      You said:" Once again it's cool that you accept their word, but that's all it really is..."
      Each of the scientific disciplines I listed, have empirical evidence to back up their claims.

      You have no empirical evidence for your claims.

      I said: ""Evolution requires no faith. Evolution has evidence."
      You responded: "The caveat to this should be, "in your opinion", but you obviously do not possess the intellectual honesty to admit it..."
      My opinion, based on all the evidence. No faith required.

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who / what did? Spontaneous generation, as the knowledge giving fruit was chewed? LOL

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.

      If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.

      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world.

      You said: "we are after all a fallen creation..." Nope. Darwin set us free from that myth! *smile*

      If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a Redeemer.

      If there was no Redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise.

      "If we cannot believe in the First Adam, why believe in the Last [Christ]?" 1 Corinthians15:45

      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.

      If we evolved, there is no soul –> no afterlife –> no need of a heaven or hell.

      LOL, which is why the Evangelicals fight so hard against evolution.

      Evolution is the Christian god's Achilles' heel.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.

      Cheers!

      June 25, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      @David Johnson

      I said: " and maybe someone else will read what I'm saying and actually do what I've been trying to tell you to do...examine the evidence for both your belief and for God"
      And your response was, " For this reason and for that purpose I am responding."

      Not sure what you're getting at here, but you still obviously haven't (and also seem unwilling) to investigate the matter yourself, you blindly accept the "evidence" for evolution and don't even bother to check the "evidence" for christianity, because of stubborness and pride...It will not change the truth...

      Next I asked: " what in your mind would be acceptable proof of God's existence? When I ask most people that they don't have an answer...what I'm saying is that if you refuse to believe with what evidence is already around us no amount of proof is going to convince you otherwise, we humans are nothing if we are not stubborn when it comes to what we believe in..."

      And you response was, "Perhaps, we should not be asking people, but instead, asking god."

      Once again your answer is to avoid my question...it's okay to be afraid of God David, the bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...It appears you still have a ways to go to get there, you still have time while your alive...I suggest you do what I've been telling you and check it out for yourself...

      Next you said, "Christians claim their god is All knowing, All powerful and All good. Never mind, that it is impossible for any being to be all three of these at the same time."

      Nice statement, but I'm pretty sure God doesn't require your understanding or belief in something for it to be possible...

      Next you said, "1.If god is Omnibenevolent, He would WANT every human to believe in Him.
      The bible says He does:
      2 Peter 3:9
      9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. King James Version (KJV)
      1 Timothy 2:4
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. King James Version (KJV)"

      This is true and this is why I will continue to respond to your ridiculous logic concerning your belief in evolution...check out christianity for youself, God is very good at revealing himslef to those who seek him...why don't you try it?

      Then you said, "2. If god is Omniscient, then He would KNOW exactly how to convince anyone and everyone that He exists."

      He does, but as I said before He will not force you to believe in Him, if you ask Him for proof, it will be such that you and you alone will believe, to others it would not be proof...this is why it is called faith...

      Next you said, "3. If god is Omnipotent, then He would be ABLE to convince anybody and everybody that He exists."

      He can, but once again...only with faith can we please God...If you ask you will receive...

      Then you said, "Yet, ~ 68% of the world's population are not Christians.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist."

      I love the way you pull a percentage out of thin air and don't state where you got it from...It adds an air of authenticity, even if it isn't true...As for your assertion that because some people don't believe it must not be true...many people thought the earth was flat: belief did not make it so...By the same token, disbelief in something does not make it untrue...

      Then you pulled a quote : " God has provided many things to prove His existence" and tried to make light of it without recognizing the context surrounding it, "LOL – Obviously not enough, when only 38% of the world is Christian."

      Once again another thin air percentage...Now to go back to what I said about context...the bible is very explicit about the amount of people who will not believe: the bible says "many" will not be found in the book of life, so if there is not as many christians as non-christians this does line up with what the scriptures say...

      Next you said, "I quoted from Wikipedia and Nature Cell Biology, as evidence that you were wrong about Biology being its own seperate discipline with nothing to do with evolution.
      You were wrong. And it isn't just my opinion."

      How was I wrong? The quotes were general quotes not speaking directly about anything in particular, at least in regards to evolution...

      Next you said, "The brief explanations that I gave for each area of study, that give evidence for evolution, were not cut and paste. Read them. How could they be? If you want to know more, you should start by buying and reading a biology text book. I don't feel an obligation to give you an education."

      Again you try to make a joke because you are uncomfortable with the subject matter of our conversation...I was not interested in "knowing more" I wanted you to describe to me how you thought the things you brought up pertained to evolution...as for giving me an education, I think you only brought up what you did because you thought I would be scared of the science like some christians are...well sorry to disappoint you...you're going to have to do better than just spout out some random scientific statements and then say..."that's why I don't believe and you shouldn't either" because the science you "believe" in can be used to offer just as much "evidence" for creation as evolution...

      Next I said:" Once again it's cool that you accept their word, but that's all it really is..."
      And you responded, "Each of the scientific disciplines I listed, have empirical evidence to back up their claims."

      And I will state it again for the cheap seats...just because there is some evidence it does not mean that what you are saying is true! There is evidence for creation as well, what I've been trying to get you to do is open your mind and investigate ALL the evidence (for both sides) before you come to your conclusion...because you clearly have not done so at this point...

      Then you said, "You have no empirical evidence for your claims."

      This statement shows your bias and close-minded opinion, but that is all it does...anyone who has done what I'm telling you to do, would never make that statement because they would know that it is arrogant and pat-en-tly false...

      Then you said, "My opinion, based on all the evidence. No faith required."

      If all you look at is one side then maybe I would agree with you...Let me explain it to you this way: if someone is raised in the church, and they never hear any other viewpoint chances are they would believe in a god...and if someone is never exposed to the idea of a diety, chances are they won't...What I'm telling you (and have been since the beginning of our discussion) is check out both sides for yourself...don't take one sides opinion as gospel, or else you're just another preacher except you preach evolution instead of God...

      Next you said, "Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story."

      This statement is barely worth responding to but I will do it this way...In the same way you make this statement I could say, "the bible, with it's evidence of fufilled prophecy, historical accuracy, longevity, uniformity etc., is very damning to evolutionary science...You see, wording something a certain way, while convincing does not make it true or false...it is a matter of choice what you believe, but make you sure you've looked at both sides before you decide...

      Next you said, "If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye."

      This is why I keep telling you to check out christianity and the bible for yourself, so you could avoid statements like the one above. We are fallen, so ALL of creation is as well, the things you mention have to do with the choice that Adam and Eve made in the garden...they chose evil so this had an effect on ALL of creation, not just mankind...

      Next you said, "How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who / what did? Spontaneous generation, as the knowledge giving fruit was chewed? LOL"

      If you don't understand something (and I think it's clear you don't understand anything about the bible and God) perhaps you should do some research on it before you pronounce judements on it...as I've been telling you to do quite a few times now...

      Then you said, "Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery."

      So does the bible, if you take the time to actually read it...

      Then you said, "If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist."

      Okay, but what if it isn't?

      Then, "If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin."

      But what if there is?

      Then, "If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world."

      What if that is why God allows so much suffering in the world?

      Then you quoted me, "we are after all a fallen creation..." and responded with, "Nope. Darwin set us free from that myth! *smile*"

      Actually most of Darwin's ideas have been changed or modified, the theory as Darwin laid it out has been shown to be incomplete and not accurate...*smile*.

      Then you said, "If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a Redeemer."

      So if there was then there is yes?

      Then you said, "If there was no Redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise."

      But if there was then it's not...

      Next, "If we cannot believe in the First Adam, why believe in the Last [Christ]?" 1 Corinthians15:45

      Yes I agree, it is about "belief"...

      Then you said, "If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible."

      So if it's not, then is there reason to believe in the bible?

      Then, "If we evolved, there is no soul –> no afterlife –> no need of a heaven or hell."

      Heaven and hell do not exist because we have a soul, they exist because God created them, just as He created us...So if it was proven that we did not evolve where would that leave you?

      Then you said, "LOL, which is why the Evangelicals fight so hard against evolution."

      I could make this same statement about evolutionists, "The reason that evolutionists fight so hard against christianity is because if there is no God, then there is no right or wrong and there are no consequences for their actions...if they are wrong, they will have to answer for all the things they always knew were wrong but did them anyway..."

      Then you said, "Evolution is the Christian god's Achilles' heel."

      God doesn't have any weaknesses, heel or anything else...

      Lastly you said, "The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes."

      As I've said before, just because you say something, does not make it true, no matter how much you may wish and hope it is...Alot of people say this about christian's belief in God, but as I've also said: if you investigate the matter with an open mind, you might be surprised by what you find...

      June 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  10. fred

    What! “Only 3% of Evangelicals believe in Evolution as Science describes it.” So let us see what science says about how ocean dwelling mammals like whales and dolphins evolved: 1) a living molecule of some sort spontaneously happened in the warm waters. 2) A few more millions of years pass and that molecule became a sponge 3) The sponge began to swim, grew fins as it needed to be faster to catch other evolving sponges that they enjoyed eating who also needed faster fins to escape the evolving sponge 4) The sponge became a big fish and left the water because it was scary in there 5) oops cant breath better get back in the water and grow some lungs 6) Ok much better now but I need to grow feet so I can run around. 7) Burr burr, cold out here on the land, need to grow some hair and switch over to a warm blooded system 8) Oh no there are scary creatures chasing me out here and I am running out of food myself 9) Back in the water lets go….opps need fins instead of feet no problem we can grow those 10) Wait the humans are hunting us to extinction quick grow feat grow we need to get back out of this ocean…..wait a minute nothing is happening why won’t these feet change?

    Oh yeah I am with Science on this one. But what about humans? Instead of going back into the ocean some like the Dimetrodon (snail) stuck it out on land then bla bla bla with millions of years between each bla of course and here we are.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • frank

      fail.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @frank

      fail.

      ----------

      Very strong rebuttal Frank. While I'll admit that Fred was being rather simplistic and a little tongue in cheek, I think he does make some valid points. And what was your obviously well-thought out and intelligent response: "fail"
      Excellent Frank, you are a bastion of hope and a glowing example to athiests everywhere...

      June 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • I_get _it

      fred,

      You have ZERO understanding of evolution. Please don't comment on it again until you do.

      June 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  11. Bob

    In the United States, "evangelical" is not a religious designation. It is a political designation for a closed group of people who, in effect, hate their neighbors (non-members) and despise the broader message of Christianity - embracing it only in a limited fashion that serves their political needs. It is not any more complicated than that.

    June 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Bob. Try that again.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical

      Their (neutral) explanation seems to downplay any political aspect, or at best see it as only a recent political phenomenon They make the point that evangelicals come from across a broad political spectrum including liberals.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  12. Reality

    Adding to the pessimism:

    It is called the Great Angelic Cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    June 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  13. Rev. Rick

    As a "former" conservative Christian, my belief is that 99% of evangelicals are driven mainly by fear. Fear of what? Fear of hell and damnation. Hence the need to evangelize – everyone. The realization that my conservative Christian beliefs were driven primarly by fear (and only secondarily by love and compassion) is what drove me to abandon those conservative beliefs. Until we can treat all beliefs (and non-belief), and all religions with respect, and treat all humans as brothers and sisters, conservatives of ALL beliefs will continue to be blindly driven by fear.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • AG

      99% of christians driven by fear? I mean what's one big sweep generalization. Just because its what you and those around you felt doesn't mean all Christians feel that way, there are millions of Christians you haven't met and probably aren't driven by fear.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ AG. Re-read my post. What you "repeated" and what I said are two different things – I said 99% of evangelicals, not Christians. Being raised in the Bible belt of the South, I can tell you that 99% of the evangelicals I know, when challenged by a non-believer will revert to telling them that they are going to hell. I have 3 ordained ministers in my family (not counting me), and all 3 of them align with this belief. What I am saying is, if you remove that "threat" of hell and eternal damnation, then you're not left with much. If you remove the fear that evangelicals use to browbeat non-believers, they have little to fall back on. I'm sure there are many Christians (I have met a few) that don't believe that hell is biblical, and I agree with them. Until evangelicals can replace the tool of fear, with simple love and compassion, then Christianity itself is doomed to eventually fail, or at best to fade into obscurity as a minor sect.

      June 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Scott

      I don't think it's so much the fear of hell as the fear of being wrong. In there few honest moments they have noticed that prayer doesn't seem to work quite as well as christ said it would and god doesn't seem to be quite so active in the world as their bible says he should be (christians don't do any better in a natural disaster than the rest of us). So when some one comes along to point out the emperor has no clothes it could shatter the lie they have been telling themselves

      June 23, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  14. brad

    It's been said that Jesus was illiterate. That Luke 4:16 is probably not true because it's the only account of Jesus reading. Actually, there is another: at the scene of the woman caught in adultery during which Jesus wrote in the sand. But that is only two events. My take: literacy is not limited to the ability to read and write. All through the gospels, we find Jesus quoting scripture and interpreting it. This kind of literacy is superior to mere reading and writing. I can read and write. But if I'm only reading the pabulum served up by the media, what good is it? I can also write lies.

    June 23, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  15. brad

    At the bottom of everything is an assumption. The scientific atheist is so because he assumes that all that can be known is available to him through his mere five senses, and that his brain can accurately interpret this information. If you could interview such a person in the womb, it might go like this: mr. atheist, do you believe that beyond your current environs, there is a world full of light where such wonders as trees, stars, birds, etc. exist? "I've no idea what you're talking about", he says. Then, mr atheist, do you believe that there is a creature eagerly awaiting your exit from this place with total love and commitment toward you? Here, the atheist examines the placenta with his fingers, (he doesn't know sight exists because he's always been in darkness), he tastes the fluid, he smells it, he can hear sounds. He then replies, "Based on the data I've collected, I cannot prove that such a being exists." As it turns out, the atheist/scientist would not believe in the existence of his own mother. How sad to live in such a small universe. His mind is smaller than his brain.

    June 23, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Peace2All

      @brad

      Hey -Brad...I hope that you are well.

      It appears that you are using a version of Plato's allegory of the 'cave' to infer that there 'is' something else besides the Universe & Life. What are you suggesting... God...? Life after death...? The Christian/Jesus view...?

      You know... I get it. Maybe there is more than what our 5 senses can comprehend.

      Maybe at some point there will be proven to show that there is some type of divine deity.

      However nice it may be to imagine up gods and such, but for now, for me at least, I choose to live my life by what 'is' available to us, not 'speculation.'

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 23, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • brad

      Hi, Peace2All
      I've read many of your previous posts. And whether you believe in God or not, I think we're better off with you than without you.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • LinCA

      @brad

      You said: "At the bottom of everything is an assumption. The scientific atheist is so because he assumes that all that can be known is available to him through his mere five senses, and that his brain can accurately interpret this information. If you could interview such a person in the womb, it might go like this: mr. atheist, do you believe that beyond your current environs, there is a world full of light where such wonders as trees, stars, birds, etc. exist? "I've no idea what you're talking about", he says. Then, mr atheist, do you believe that there is a creature eagerly awaiting your exit from this place with total love and commitment toward you? Here, the atheist examines the placenta with his fingers, (he doesn't know sight exists because he's always been in darkness), he tastes the fluid, he smells it, he can hear sounds. He then replies, "Based on the data I've collected, I cannot prove that such a being exists." As it turns out, the atheist/scientist would not believe in the existence of his own mother. How sad to live in such a small universe. His mind is smaller than his brain."

      If I interpret your ramblings correctly, you seem to be suggesting that everyone should accept the existence of Bob the Magical Blue Sock. Bob can't be observed by any method currently know, but according to you, it would be foolish to claim he doesn't exist.

      You assume that Bob the Magical Blue Sock is real. You do this without having a single solitary shred of evidence supporting his existence. You claim to be knowing Bob and how he feels toward us. You claim this knowledge based on a book of bronze age myths and a life of indoctrination by people (much like yourself) that willfully ignore what limited information we can glean from our senses.

      At birth, everyone is an atheist.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Bob the Magical Blue Sock

      Blasphemer!

      June 23, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Stevie7

      "He then replies, "Based on the data I've collected, I cannot prove that such a being exists." As it turns out, the atheist/scientist would not believe in the existence of his own mother. How sad to live in such a small universe. His mind is smaller than his brain."

      Your argument, with a basic understanding of the scientific process, completely falls apart. Science is a living thing. Scientific theories and principals are always subject to revision based upon new evidence.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Peace2All

      @brad

      Hey -Brad...

      You Said: "Hi, Peace2All...I've read many of your previous posts. And whether you believe in God or not, I think we're better off with you than without you."

      Well, thank you brad... When you say "(we're) better off with me than without me"... Who is the (we) that you speak of...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 23, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • LinCA

      @Bob the Magical Blue Sock

      My sincerest apologies for ever doubting Your existence.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • brad

      @ Peace2All:
      by "we're" I mean all of us. Your comments are always sane. The same can't be said for many people here, believer or otherwise. I myself have lapsed into sarcasm at times.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Peace2All

      @brad

      Again...'many thanks' for your compliment !

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 23, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • brad

      @LinCA
      Rambling is one of my foibles. I have to tolerate it in myself. My analogy is not meant to imply that because we haven't experienced God, or Bob or whomever, that we HAVE to believe. My point is that we should admit to ourselves that something may exist that our minds cannot fathom. I think that Aldous Huxley called it "The Perennial Philosophy".

      June 23, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      "The scientific atheist is so because he assumes that all that can be known is available to him through his mere five senses"
      -- Wrong. Ever hear of a microscope, a gamma ray detector, a hearing aide, glasses, or a CT scanner ? They assume no such thing.
      "there is a world full of light where such wonders as trees, stars, birds, etc. exist? "I've no idea what you're talking about", -- The problem with this analogy is that you cannot demonstrate that you EVER exit this universe, into another.
      To assume some conclude there is no "mommy" at some point is premature. (They ARE born, and there IS evidence for that).

      June 23, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • David Johnson

      @LinCA

      You said: "You assume that Bob the Magical Blue Sock is real. You do this without having a single solitary shred of evidence supporting his existence. You claim to be knowing Bob and how he feels toward us. You claim this knowledge based on a book of bronze age myths and a life of indoctrination by people (much like yourself) that willfully ignore what limited information we can glean from our senses."

      Well said.

      As Peace pointed out brad was using Plato's Analogy of the Cave.

      One large difference between science and religion is this: In science, if the facts don’t fit the theory, the theory is modified or tossed out. In religion, if the facts don’t fit the theory, the facts are often tossed out.

      So far, there is no evidence that the supernatural exists. Does this mean, that for all time, this will be the case? No. Maybe someday there will be evidence of a god. So, non-believer's minds are open. We just demand evidence.

      In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      Often, believers deny, reject, and lie about discoveries made by science, because the evidence conflicts with their beliefs.

      Believers are the ones chained to the wall, heads fixed, seeing the world through their delusion.

      Freethinkers are like prisoners who are freed from the cave and come to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality.

      Cheers!

      June 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • brad

      @David Johnson: you said "Freethinkers are like prisoners who are freed from the cave and come to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality"
      You've identified yourself as a freethinker. But as we all know, geniuses and idiots can both think. The idiot will think idiotic thoughts. Atheists seem to say " I'll reject religion. Then I'll be a great thinker." Well, thinking is a discipline, hard work. As a freethinker, are you thinking well?

      June 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @brad,

      Every atheist I've ever known has rejected religion because they've examined many religions, see the complete and utter lack of evidence for religion, and reject it both because it seem illogical an extraordinarily unlikely. I've never heard of anyone who rejected religion in order to be a great thinker. That doesn't even make sense.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @brad

      You said: "You've identified yourself as a freethinker. But as we all know, geniuses and idiots can both think. The idiot will think idiotic thoughts. Atheists seem to say " I'll reject religion. Then I'll be a great thinker." Well, thinking is a discipline, hard work. As a freethinker, are you thinking well?"

      Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any dogma.

      A freethinker is a person who subscribes to this philosophy.

      My ability to think, has nothing to do with being a freethinker.

      Having looked at the evidence, I think it very unlikely that there is a god. Just as it is very unlikely, that there are fairies or leprechauns.

      Cheers!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Reality

      Without making any assumptions:

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @David Johnson

      You said, "One large difference between science and religion is this: In science, if the facts don’t fit the theory, the theory is modified or tossed out. In religion, if the facts don’t fit the theory, the facts are often tossed out."

      I agree if you are speaking about "religion" which is created by man for man, if you are talking about "true christianity" (someone who believes in the bible and follows the bible's teachings) then I have to disagree with you. So many people make the claim that anyone who believes in the bible must be close-minded and stupid...Sometimes this is true, but it is not always the case. David you said above that, " In science, if the facts don’t fit the theory, the theory is modified or tossed out. In religion, if the facts don’t fit the theory, the facts are often tossed out." I would submit to you the "theory" of evolution for which many people "believe" there are many facts, when in actuality there are few...I admit there are some things that one could say const-i-tute proof, but nothing that is overwhelming...yet this theory still exists and is called by some a "fact". It has neither been modified or thrown out...However many "facts" that would disprove (or at least be cause for a revision of the theory) have been tossed out...
      My point is this: science requires faith just as belief in a god does...sometimes there is much proof for something and sometimes we are required to take something on faith...the point is, ultimately each person must deicide for themselves what they believe. I think both evolution and creation should be taught in schools, let the kids decide for themsleveswhich one makes more sense...that would be fair...yes?

      You next said, "So far, there is no evidence that the supernatural exists. Does this mean, that for all time, this will be the case? No. Maybe someday there will be evidence of a god. So, non-believer's minds are open. We just demand evidence."

      This evidence you demand is next to impossible to provide...let me ask you this David: what in your mind would be acceptable proof of God's existence? When I ask most people that they don't have an answer...what I'm saying is that if you refuse to believe with what evidence is already around us no amount of proof is going to convince you otherwise, we humans are nothing if we are not stubborn when it comes to what we believe in...

      Next you said, "In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary."

      As I stated above God has provided many things to prove His existence, some of us accept what He has given and some don't, you have a choice...but don't say you disbelieve because of lack of proof...

      Next you said, "Often, believers deny, reject, and lie about discoveries made by science, because the evidence conflicts with their beliefs."

      While you site no specific examples here I know what you are referring to is most probably the case...However I know of many situations where science has been unable to explain something so they sweep it under the carpet as well...

      Next you said, "Believers are the ones chained to the wall, heads fixed, seeing the world through their delusion."

      I could make this same argument for unbelievers, except your views and ideas are constantly in-flux and never the same, meaning they have no solid and unchanging foundation...simply drifting along oblivious to anything but themselves...

      And finally you said, "Freethinkers are like prisoners who are freed from the cave and come to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality."

      I see it a different way: Believers who used to be slaves to sin are now free to see the world as it truly is and experiance true freedom having escaped from the bondage of sin

      June 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      You're confusing the lay person's use of the word "theory" and the scientific use of "theory". "Creation" isn't even a theory it's just baseless guessing and only has a religious context, there is NO science to back it up without the use of religious texts. Evolution is proven science with plenty of evidence to back it up such as fossil evidence, circular species and lab evolution controlled evolution of flies. We've also selectively bred animals and plants for a long time to force evolution.

      I don't know any atheists who say they know for a fact there is no god. There's just no evidence to suggest that there is one. Rejecting specific religions would take an entire life time because there are so many of them to refute. But they all the Abrahamic religious make outlandish claims and have nothing to back it up with. I would really like someone to present me with the evidence that this god and afterlife really exists but no one has. If you can't provide the evidence necessary how are you to determine which of all the other non-evidence religions to reject

      June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Doesn't matter

      You said: "." I would submit to you the "theory" of evolution for which many people "believe" there are many facts, when in actuality there are few..."

      The Theory of Evolution is the basic unifying concept of biology.

      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 Theory of Evolution has as much validity as the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the germ theory of disease.

      You said: " My point is this: science requires faith just as belief in a god does...sometimes there is much proof for something and sometimes we are required to take something on faith."

      Science is evidence based. Religion is faith based. Belief and faith, can never be equal to evidence and logic. Belief and faith will never lead you to the truth.
      Science takes nothing on faith. If a scientist submitted a paper for peer review, and stated that some of it would have to be taken on faith...he would be discredited. Laughed at. Ridiculed.

      You said: " I think both evolution and creation should be taught in schools, let the kids decide for themsleves which one makes more sense...that would be fair...yes?"

      No. High School kids are just beginning their education. They are not competent to decide the truth.
      There is a limited amount of time, to teach math and science. Our kids will be competing with the rest of the world. We can't afford the time to teach fairy tales.

      You said: " God has provided many things to prove His existence"

      Like what?

      Cheers!

      June 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      You don't see god's handy work? Disease, famine, and suffrage? Earthquake (happen all the time and have been for millions of years), Floods (localized floods happen all the type, a global flood? Never.), the Red Sox winning the series (maybe). The Universe? We live on an ordinary planet, around an ordinary star, on the outer arm of an ordinary galaxy with a billion stars, in a sea of billions of other galaxies, each with billions stars. We are not the special in any way, our pale blue dot is quite ordinary. We are not the most important things in the universe.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      You said, "You're confusing the lay person's use of the word "theory" and the scientific use of "theory". "Creation" isn't even a theory it's just baseless guessing and only has a religious context, there is NO science to back it up without the use of religious texts."

      This st-a-te-ment is p-a-t-e-n-tly false...your opinion is showing...There are many scientists who both study and teach about cre-a-tion science...Perhaps if you actually investigated the matter for yourself instead of being sp-o-on-fed your ideas by someone else you would know that...

      Then you said, "Evolution is proven science with plenty of evidence to back it up such as fossil evidence, circular species and lab evolution controlled evolution of flies. We've also selectively bred animals and plants for a long time to force evolution."

      As I stated in my post above and both you and David seemed to miss that part is: yes I agree there is "some" evidence that suggests evolution, but there is also evidence that suggests creation...The fact that you are unwilling to acknowledge this says alot about your own person-a-l "faith" in evolution.

      Next you said,"I don't know any atheists who say they know for a fact there is no god. There's just no evidence to suggest that there is one."

      Again as I mentioned in my post (did you even read it?) there is much proof but you seem una-ble or unwilling to accept it...that's okay, it is your choice. What is not your choice is to say that there is not any, because that is simply not true, regardless of what you may believe.

      Then you said, "Rejecting specific religions would take an entire life time because there are so many of them to refute. But they all the Abrahamic religious make outla-ndish claims and have nothing to back it up with."

      I never said anyone needed to disprove any religions...you expect me to ac-cept that you "believe" there is no God and I do...now you need to ac-cept that I "believe" there is...why is it neces-sary to prove or disprove either option...What I suggested in my post was to teach both viewpoints since they are the two most prom-inent and let people decide for themselves...But it would seem that for atheists that is unac-cpetable...So tell me, who is really being intoler-ant?

      Finally you said, "I would really like someone to present me with the evidence that this god and afterlife really exists but no one has. If you can't provide the evidence necessary how are you to determine which of all the other non-evidence religions to reject"

      This goes back to what I stated both above and in my post, the evidence is there if you investigate the matter for yourself and approach the topic with an open mind you will see that there is a-m-ple evidence to believe, just as there is a-m-ple evidence to believe what you do...It comes down to a choice, but if you don't check it out for yourself (which it doesn't appear you have) you are letting someone else choose for you...

      June 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Doesn't matter

      @David Johnson

      Before I respond to what you said I just wanted to ask you why you only responded to some of the things I said? Could it be because you have no answer or expl-a-n-ation for the rest?
      I think if you are honest with yourself you'll realize that your "faith" in evolution is just as necessary as my "faith" in God. Now I will respond to EVERYTHING that you said, I won't pick and choose and answer only what I don't feel threatened by...

      You said, "The Theory of Evolution is the basic unifying concept of biology."

      Where did you come up with this? Biology is it's own seperate discipline with nothing to do with evolution...

      Next you said, "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"

      I will respond to each of these individually
      • Paleontology (fossils)–yes there is a fossil record, but it is a stretch (plain and simple) to say that it shows evolution
      • Distribution of Animals and Plants–not sure what you think this has to do with evolution?
      • Comparative Anatomy–just because things are similiar does not mean they are directly related...
      • Embryology–once again, not really sure how you relate this to evolution...perhaps rather than just copy and pasting from a site you googled you could explain why you are including these items...
      • Vestigial Organs–are you referring to the "belief" that we once had tails?
      • Genetics–as I stated above just because we are similar does not mean we are related directly...But since you brought genetics up I think you could also say because the genetic code is so intricate it almost has to have been created instead of happening by chance as you seem to believe.
      • Natural Selection–not proven sufficiently so I don't really feel the need to respond to this one.
      • $exual Selection–Again, not sure what you are referring to hear, as I said above perhaps if you had offered a little bit of info with what you cut and pasted...
      • Molecular Biology–This particular discipline really is like biology above a separate ent-i-ty unto itself having nothing to do with evolution
      • Bad Design–Not sure what this one means either but it certainly doesn't sound very scientific, did you make this one up?
      • Lab Experiments–Not sure how you think a lab experiment can authenticate evolution, but I'd be interested to read the research paper where it took place...

      Next you said, "The Theory of Evolution has as much validity as the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the germ theory of disease."

      You should have a caveat to this statement, such as "in my opinion"...

      Then you said, "Science is evidence based. Religion is faith based. Belief and faith, can never be equal to evidence and logic. belief and faith will never lead you to the truth."

      As I said above this should start with "in my opinion" because while yes it is true science is based in some cases on evidence not all conclusions can be made without using some faith or guesswork.

      Next you said, "Science takes nothing on faith. If a scientist submitted a paper for peer review, and stated that some of it would have to be taken on faith...he would be discredited. Laughed at. Ridiculed."

      I agree that if a scientist said that, that would probably be the case, which is why they will often use things such as circular reasoning or omission of details when submitting their papers...not always but sometimes. As for science not taking anything on faith...evolution is a case in point...it requires mucho faith to believe in evolution as it is often presented: that everything here happend by chance and accident, nothing more...

      Then you said, "No. High School kids are just beginning their education. They are not competent to decide the truth.
      There is a limited amount of time, to teach math and science. Our kids will be competing with the rest of the world. We can't afford the time to teach fairy tales."

      Once again "in your opinion" fortunately for us the entire world does not share "your opinion" which is why I said that the predominant two viewpoints should be taught, but because of your intolerance you refuse...as I said to BCE, your opinion is showing...

      Lastly you said, "Like what?"

      With regards to proof, I stated already that if you investigate the matter with an open mind and treat the evidence fairly (instead of coming into it with preconceived notions), you might be surprised by what you find...Good luck with the search...

      June 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Scott

      Hey Brad. You forgot (at least) one thing. At the moment of birth (that transition point between worlds (kind of like the moment of death for use adults)) the mother is not going to damn the baby to hell for all eternity because he did not believe in her when he had no evidence of her existence, unlike god

      June 23, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    The Church has to become authentic again. We compromise to much. We must consider the doctrines of the Early Church, which we can find in the Bible. The secular society or state has no right to participate in Church rule. True Church is ruled by Christ.

    June 23, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • JohnQuest

      You mean back in the good old times when burning witches was a Saturday afternoon pass time, or maybe you mean Crusades, or perhaps you are thinking about back when the church considered slavery a good way to spend a lifetime. Which "Early Church" time are you considering going back to?

      June 23, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Stevie7

      Perhaps the early church was the state religion of the roman empire, who imposed its religion upon its people and killed anyone it deemed heretical? That church?

      June 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • TheRationale

      I hope you aren't saying we should come to expect the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      June 23, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Artist

      Rainer Braendlein

      The Church has to become authentic again. We compromise to much. We must consider the doctrines of the Early Church, which we can find in the Bible. The secular society or state has no right to participate in Church rule. True Church is ruled by Christ.

      ------

      Excellent, This Sunday we should expect Jesus to be standing up there preaching. People will no longer have faith in man/preacher they will hear it directly from your christ.
      .
      I suspect though, the pulpit will always be empty...thus we are back to putting our faith in man.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Rainer is an authentic dork.

      June 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Scott

      Facts have no place in religion, just like prayer has no place in school

      June 23, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  17. doug

    to the 47% who think humans have existed in present form since the beginning of time, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    June 23, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      There was a study back in the late 90s where 20% of Americans thought the sun went around the earth. Guess they didn't get the memo that stopped happening a few hundred years ago.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  18. KevfromAtlanta

    So a group that rejects science, who feel that 4,000 year old creation myths should be read literally and are inerrant, who have a low opinion of anyone who doesn't believe as they do (and have the most contempt for those who have the audacity to not believe in the supernatural at all), feels that it is losing influence. I disagree with them but I hope they are right and I am wrong. And if they are right, I say, good riddance. When you are ready to accept science and stop being the most intolerant group around (and that is not a misguided perception on their part; just look at the poll results above), maybe you will regain the influence you feel you are losing. Someone once said that when Christians are intolerant, the tolerant will no longer call themselves Christians. That about sums it up.

    June 23, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      But remember, that group has no problem going to the doctor. Don't cure leprosy by killing a bird and sprinkling the blood on yourself, it doesn't work.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Scott

      Of course they are loosing influence. 400 years ago they could have burned you at the stake (at least in some places) for saying what you just did. Today the best they can do is insult you on a blog. Loosing influence? By comparison they are practically imp0tnet.

      June 23, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  19. humtake

    Considering the economy is terrible right now, of course they are pessimistic. They rely solely on extorting money from the masses, and when their pockets are getting full then they feel as if they are losing power...and then they start joining in with the "the sky is falling" people who are ruining this country as it is.

    June 23, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  20. Zelda

    We don't need a whole bunch to change the history for good. We only need a few good Christian men. Christians in America have what it takes.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Zelda, do you really want to live in a society ruled by evangelicals? If so what do you think that society would look like, how would it treat it citizens?

      June 23, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      I hear Saudi Arabia is nice this time of year. Just don't drive. They don't like it when you drive.

      June 23, 2011 at 3:30 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.