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August 3rd, 2011
07:50 PM ET

Air Force: Bible and nukes don't mix

By, Barbara Starr and Jennifer Rizzo, CNN

Washington (CNN)–The Air Force has suspended an ethics briefing for new missile launch officers after concerns were raised about the briefing's heavy focus on religion.

The briefing, taught for nearly 20 years by military chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, is intended to train Air Force personnel to consider the ethics and morality of launching nuclear weapons - the ultimate doomsday machine.

Many of the slides in the 43 page presentation use a Christian justification for war, displaying pictures of saints like Saint Augustine and using biblical references.

"Abraham organized an Army to rescue Lot," one slide read, referring to the story of the Hebrew patriarch and his nephew found in the book of Genesis.

"Revelation 19:11 Jesus Christ is the mighty warrior," another slide read.

The Air Force halted the class last week after 31 missile launch officers reported the religious nature of the briefing to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group which tries to ensure religious freedom among the troops.

"There were several things that they found disgusting," Mikey Weinstein founder of the foundation said. "The first was the fact that there is actually a slide that makes it clear that they're trying to teach that, under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, war is a good thing."

Weinstein said his group had to act.

"We were literally blown away by what we saw on the slide presentation. And one of the first things I did was to contact some of the most senior leadership for the Air Force in the Pentagon and made it very clear that this has to stop immediately," Weinstein said.

The Air Force said headquarters officials were not aware of the religious component of the ethics course, despite it being taught for nearly two decades by chaplains.  The matter came to their attention they said when they received an inquiry by Truthout.org, an online publication which initially reported the story.

Here is a link to the story and associated slides CNN obtained from Truthout.org.

"That is when we became aware of concerns about the course and our commander here reviewed the course and decided immediately that it was not appropriate for what we want to do and suspended using that briefing," David Smith, an Air Education Training Command spokesman said.

The briefing was meant to mimic an academic setting where concerns could be voiced, according to Smith who claims chaplains were used to oversee the briefing for that reason.

"A chaplain is not required to take action if concerns are voiced," Smith said.

A review is underway at the base to see if an ethics briefing is needed at all.

"Ethics discussions are an important part of professional military development and it is especially important for our airmen who are training to work with nuclear weapons because they have to make hard decisions," Smith said.  "We are looking to see if we need a briefing like this... but it will not be a religion based briefing."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Military • United States

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soundoff (1,189 Responses)
  1. Carol

    Slowly it is

    Fundamentalist Christian beliefs have been infiltrating into everything for the past 30 yrs. It has become so apparent now that things that this article points out are showing up very clearly. It's causing trouble in our government, schools, churches who are not fundamentalist, etc. At least we are aware of it now. People have the right to their religion, but it shouldn't creep into other peoples lives who are not fundamentalist christians.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Scott

      I would like to point out that a creeping infiltration of "fundamentalism" has nothing to do with the Just War tradition. Just War doctrine is about a thousand years old and has been taught to military officers in the United States for as long as we have had officers to teach it to. What would Carol want us to do? Have no regard for ethics at all when considering the use of force? I would also like to remind Carol that this country was founded upon Judeo-Christian morals and ethics–her paranoia is unjustified.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  2. Steve

    This is nonsense. St. Augustine is the originator of the Just War Theory that Western Nations have consistently used for more than 1600 years! Learn the theory yourself –It is sound and represents everything Western ideals hold to about war. Though many nations have chosen to ignore elements of the Just War Theory, it has been an important guide in helping the West avoid disasterous casualties in war-related scenarios. It is the basis for all reasonable rules of engagement for military personnel. If you take the religious history and perspective out of the class, all you are doing is not giving credit to the man responsible for this extremely value concept of ethics and not understanding the brilliance of the theory as it was originally posed by its author! That just creates an underappreciation for the theory and general ignorance in our military!

    And the idea that Christian ethics believe that war is a good thing is a lie. Christian ethics teach that war is sometimes a "necessary evil", but always an evil that should be avoided until it becomes the last and only measure toward achieving peace. Read your Augustine, people! He is one of the five founders of all of Western thought. Don't take his brilliance for granted when your world is based on his ideas far more than you will ever imagine!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Austin

      Steve,

      You mentioned that St. Augustine was one of the five men responsible for Western thought. For my own personal edification, would you mind telling me who the other four are?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @austin
      just hazarding a guess...
      Moe, Shemp and Curley Howard along with Larry Fine ?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  3. herbert juarez

    So 100 air force guys are sitting at their nuclear control panels when in walks this southern dude who hollers "lunch", well 50 controllers go to eat, and the rest?Good- bye Afganistan!

    August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Dog Boy

      Dude!

      August 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  4. Nogimus Prime

    A few things. First, thank God for separation of church and state. "Render under Caezar what is Caezar's and God what is his." Or that's pretty close from memory. America wasn't created under religion, it was created by men and women who had a vision of equality and freedom which includes to practice your religion or lack thereof. Still wasn't perfect, but a great start to our great nation. Also, I noticed a reference to the Crusades in an earlier post. While duly noted that Muslims did not begin the "Crusades" they did begin their expansionism through conquest around the fall of then modern day Rome. This includes most of Spain and North Africa which was then under "Christian" control. While their freedom to practice religion for all conquered peoples was far better than that afforded by the Franks of the same time, it was still a religious conquest regardless. Just a couple thoughts before I head back to the daily grind. Just a note to all peoples, hateful retorts from both athiests and followers of higher power(s) it ridiculous. Let's stick to facts. Maybe a bit boring for some, but sounds a bit wiser. And yeah, Nukes are bad...mmmkay?

    August 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Joseph

      America WAS founded on Christian religion !

      August 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • JayNPhx

      @ Joseph: Read your history, ignorant. Thomas Jefferson: "I find in orthodox Christianity not one redeeming feature." This nation was NOT founded on any religion. It was founded on freedom.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Howard

      Joseph, you're letting your religious beliefs get the better of your knowledge of American history. The Founding Fathers were almost entirely Freemasons, and Freemasonry, while it encourages a belief in a god, does not embrace any particular form of religion.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  5. IceT

    "The briefing, ... is intended to train Air Force personnel to consider the ethics and morality of launching nuclear weapons" ... Someone needs to teach people that ethics and morals have absolutely nothing to do with religion, they are human concepts based on societal beliefs at a given time & evolve as societies evolve. They were here before religion & will remain long after religion disappears.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Religion is a dellusional reinterpretation of reality

      Simple little test to decide if Christianity is a viable source of morality for nuclear weapon use: When given power, do Christians behave more morally than nations of other religions, or of secular religions? Is there less war, torture, oppression, and other atrocities?

      Big fail. Christianity has a horrible track record of oppression, violence and abuse. Secular democracies have done far better on all accounts.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  6. kingofthenet

    I personally would be more worried the 'Job' of Missile Launch Officer is a Suicide one, the Air Force should at least give these guy's a chance. After Launching ALL missiles, the Air Force SHOULD have a Good Blast Shelter 15-20 minutes away by car going fast, away from the missile range. It 'might' still be too close but at least it's a chance.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Peace2All

      Well, if that were to actually happen- 'launching ALL of our Nuclear Weapons' then... I think we are most likely all in deep sh-it at that point anyway.

      A bomb shelter is probably moot, don't ya' think ?

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Religion is a dellusional reinterpretation of reality

      Wow, nice plan there king. Launch the missiles and drive real fast.

      Missile launch crews have been in bomb-proof shelters for many decades.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • kingofthenet

      The Missile sites are KNOWN by ALL our enemies to the foot. You can't survive under a 'Direct Hit' no matter the shelter, get 10-20 miles away and it EASILY survivable in a good blast shelter.Get it?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jerry

      Lol you're teh idiot.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @kingofthenet

      Hey -king...

      You Said: " The Missile sites are KNOWN by ALL our enemies to the foot. You can't survive under a 'Direct Hit' no matter the shelter, get 10-20 miles away and it EASILY survivable in a good blast shelter.Get it? "

      I think you may be missing the overall point that 'if' there were a situation where the United States literally launched "ALL" 😯 of it's thermonuclear devices, we most likely would be having a sh-it storm of hundreds if not thousands of thermonuclear devices raining down on ALL of us. 'NOT' just the U.S. Nuclear missile base sites, yes...?

      Not to say that some people here somewhere would survive, but if we were to launch ALL our weapons, I don't think you could drive fast and far enough away anywhere to get away from whatever is coming at our country (most likely) yes...?

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo, Thermonuclear Accountant from Beyond the 28th Dimension

      Now Peace, don't be silly. Everyone knows that the thing to do in case of a nuclear attack is to launch your missiles then get in your car and drive real fast. Then you get in your closet and seal it up with plastic sheeting and duct tape. You win be fine. You will have out-drove any nuclear blast, and the airtight room will keep all the radiation out and the good air in.

      Oh yeah, one more thing. You must allways wear your Tea Party tin foil hat at all times or none of this will work.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • kingofthenet

      Fair enough, but each Missile Team only handles like 10-20 missiles, maybe your the only team firing? I read about this, in even the WORST Global Thermonuclear War, less than 5 percent of the land mass would be directly involved. Basically if you can stay 10-20 miles away from the nearest blast AND be in a Good blast Shelter, you can survive. If you can double that distance a cheap 'Fallout shelter' will do. Now Nuclear Missiles and Bombs cost ALOT of money and are VERY accurate, use that to your advantage, they aren't going to 'waste' a missile bombing farmland or Forest.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Joe908

      Got any more gems of wisdom, Clausewitz?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Johnny Blammo, Thermonuclear Accountant from Beyond the 28th Dimension

      LOL ! 😯 Ya' know -Johnny Blammo, I think that should there be a thermonuclear attack, I would want to be where you are... "Beyond the 28th Dimension" anyway.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  7. Brian C

    I am an athiest and a strong advocate of keeping government and religion separate - but despite that, I see nothing wrong whatsoever with the religious content in this Air Force course.

    Contrary to what this article implies, the Christian content in the slides has nothing to do with using advocating or promoting nuclear war on a Christian basis. Look at the video above, and take care to read each slide. This course actually is about the Air Force teaching soldiors to actually follow through on their training, and being willing to hit the "launch" button, even in a situation as challenging to the conscience as participating in a nuclear war. And while I certainly hope that never comes to pass, I think we can all agree that it is extremely important that when Air Force servicemen are called upon to launch the nukes, that they have the internal strength to do so. What we CANNOT allow to happen is for some soldior to refuse a President's direct order because he/she thinks "its against my relgion", e.g. "Christianity says thou shalt not kill," etc.

    Read the slides in that context. They ask: "Can a person of faith fight in a war?" Then they proceed to cite from Christian scholars who say, yes, in fact there is such a thing as a "just war" - so it is, in fact, possible that launching nukes can be consistent with your religion. Or at the very least, it isn't pecluded by it. So do not, the course teaches, allow your religious beliefs to stand in the way of your duty to your country, because your religion doesn't even forbid this anyway.

    Most Air Force servicement are probably Christian, hence the focus, but it probably makes sense to teach elements of the Old Testament and Koran to convince servicement of other faiths that they, too, shouldn't cite religion as an obstacle.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm a pacifist, and I have a very hard time imagining any situation in which nuclear war is "just." But the place for an attack of conscience to take place is in the White House and Pentagon, not some guy sitting in a nuclear submarine under the Polar Ice Cap, or some Air Force pilot flying a B-52 with a nuclear bomb. If we are going to have a military, we damn well better have people who are prepared to do their job, now matter how heinous it may be.

    So let the Air Force have their course. They're not prosthelytizing, nor promoting Christianity. To the contrary, they are actually telling people NOT to follow Christianity (or at least not the pacifist teachings of it), by convincing servicemen that in fact there's nothing in Christian teachings to keep them from following orders, even in a nuclear war.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Dog Boy

      Very well written! As a vet and a gnostic I agree that this course is necessary for exactly the reasons you noted. The article doesn't say how the course came to be 20 years ago, but it's possible that it was created specifically because some christian servicemembers expressed concerns that they couldn't pull the trigger.

      Think Sgt. York. He "heard the word" and commited himself to a life of peace. But, when called to duty, he had to find some way to reconcile his pacifist views with his duty to the world.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • BucketDrop

      I couldn't agree more with Brian C. I too am an atheist and I, too, paused the video to read all of the slides. I do not see what is wrong with giving an example of a religious ethical dilemma in an ethics presentation like this. Much to us atheist's chagrin, most of the country believes in one deity or another, and the majority are Christian who may indeed have an ethical dilemma pushing the big red button. This ethical dilemma has a good chance of being rooted in their faith. It deserves to be addressed in a briefing such as this. Perhaps they just need to add secular/Islamic/Hindu arguments as well against the pacifistic outlook for a military officer. Pacifism is not a method of belief that is possible for a soldier, by definition.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Brian C

      First argument today 'for' the course that actually may have some basis in reality.

      Not sure if those are the reasons or if it's true, however it certainly could be the case here.

      Very nice posting -Brian C.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • ICBMMnx

      Brian C,

      Could have said it better myself. Mikey Wienstein wants anything relating to religion taken off of military bases (he lead a crusade against the Air Force Academy years ago and he hasn't let it go). Having been an ICBM launch officer, I definitely see the need for this course. Wienstein's critique of the course is totally blown out of proportion.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  8. Bigdawg

    What did Noah do with all the fish? Why aren't we overrun with fish!?!

    August 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • TamikaB.

      For those who criticize the Bible, have you read it? All of it?

      There is no other book that has hundreds of prophecies, all fulfilled except for those that will be happening in the future. See if any of the psychics for the National Enquirer can even come close to 50% accuracy? While the Bible boasts of 100%.

      I didn't know that the Bible has hundreds of written prophecies about Jesus the Messiah. Specific prophecies about where he was going to be born (Bethlehem of Judea...not Atlanta, GA or Athens, Greece), how he was going to die (crucified), that he would make the blind see, that he would be born of a virgin and resurrect (physically) on the 3rd day with hundreds of eyewitnesses seeing Him after His resurrection, etc. All those prophecies were written hundreds of years before Jesus came (so they could not be changed, it was already written).

      I was especially moved when I read that the Bible prophecied Jesus was going to be crucified, but that prophecy of his way of dying was written hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented. It is enough information to at least make you want to look into the Bible. Don't believe when people say it is just another book, at least read it for yourself and research the historical accuracy of the prophecies and make your own decision. If the prophecies are true, then everything else the Bible says is true.

      Start with the book of John, read the whole thing, a chapter a day. As you read, ask the God you don't believe, pray with a sincere heart: "Jesus, if you are real, help me to know You."

      What do you have to lose? If He doesn't exist or you are not sincere in your praying, you won't know the difference.

      Some of the Scripture references for these fulfilled prophecies: Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 37:31, Jeremiah 31:15, Zechariah 11:12, Psalm 22:16. Read it for yourself. You have hundreds more to go.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Dog Boy

      @ Tamika – here's one of the prophicies that are quoted as being fulfilled. Isaiah 7.14 states, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel." Then, years (could 100+) after jesus the gospels of matthew and john are "written" saying, "Yes, christ was that child born of a virgin".

      Here's the thing – you have the people who are trying to convince others that their leader was the son of god, and they are the only ones who have any "proof". This is the type of circular logic that upsets people who don't believe in the bible. You say the bible is the word of god, people ask you how you know, and you answer, "because it says so in the bible".

      What you need is independent confirmation that jesus actually was born of a virgin. I mean, someone being born of a virgin would be pretty big news; you would think there would have been some sort of record. There isn't even a record of a jesus or his crucifiction – and remember, the romans were very buearocratic; they loved keeping records.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • JF

      TamkiaB

      The prophecies were written after the fact. It easy to write a prophecy when it's actually history. The Bible has many contradictions and errors.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @jf
      wrong o mighty interpreter of all things Biblical!The prophecies of the Old Testament were written well before the common era,or A.D.(the birth of Christ)The Jewish people were entrusted to keeping the word of God and those so entrusted took their jobs very seriously and under strict rules and guidelines.The actual cannon of the Old Testament(wherein are the prophecies)was closed hundreds of years before the advent of Christ,and could not have been written afterwards as you claim.The Dead Sea scrolls contain an almost complete record of the Old Testament, amazingly accurate to our current texts and dated to the first or second century BCE or BC (before Christ)

      August 5, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • TamikaB.

      @Herbert Juarez

      I could not have said it better myself.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  9. omega

    They were trying to use the bible to justify genocide? That is the craziest thing I ever heard. Nuclear weapons are indiscriminate killers. They will kill everything in their path for miles and miles around. To me that is nothing less than genocide.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Dog Boy

      How's that different from some of the stories of the old testament. Read how moses ordered the hebrews to wipe out the moabites because their women tempted the hebrew men. He demanded that even the innocent children be murdered.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  10. Nogimus Prime

    a

    August 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  11. AnnieM

    There are only two things in the Bible that are worthwhile – the ten commandments and the Golden Rule. If we all just followed those, there would be peace...

    The rest is just made-up fluff.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • The Doctor

      Seeing that capitalism is based specifically because you covet what your neighbor has, it seems to me you're a hypocrite.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • TamikaB.

      Wrong, the Bible is unlike any other book and what is written in it is what we need to live here and for eternity.
      There is no other book that has hundreds of prophecies, all fulfilled except for those that will be happening in the future. See if any of the psychics for the National Enquirer can even come close to 50% accuracy? While the Bible boasts of 100%.

      I didn't know that the Bible has hundreds of written prophecies about Jesus the Messiah. Specific prophecies about where he was going to be born (Bethlehem of Judea...not Atlanta, GA or Athens, Greece), how he was going to die (crucified), that he would make the blind see, that he would be born of a virgin and resurrect (physically) on the 3rd day with hundreds of eyewitnesses seeing Him after His resurrection, etc. All those prophecies were written hundreds of years before Jesus came (so they could not be changed, it was already written).

      I was especially moved when I read that the Bible prophecied Jesus was going to be crucified, but that prophecy of his way of dying was written hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented. It is enough information to at least make you want to look into the Bible. Don't believe when people say it is just another book, at least read it for yourself and research the historical accuracy of the prophecies and make your own decision. If the prophecies are true, then everything else the Bible says is true.

      Start with the book of John, read the whole thing, a chapter a day. As you read, ask the God you don't believe, pray with a sincere heart: "Jesus, if you are real, help me to know You."

      What do you have to lose? If He doesn't exist or you are not sincere in your praying, you won't know the difference.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • JF

      TamikaB,

      You were misinformed. The writers were not prophesying they were writing history. It's easy to write a book that tells a prophecy when that event has already happened. There are also a lot of contradictions in the Bible. Where was Jesus born. It depends on the gospel you read. When did Jesus die? It depends on the gospel you read. I suggest YOU read it for yourself and research the historical accuracy. The Bible is certainly not the book our armed forces should be using for their moral/ethical compass.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • TamikaB.

      I'm sorry, but you are wrong. You can't get away with saying the prophecies in the Bible were written after the fact, because they were written in the OLD Testament. Historically proven to have been written years before the New Testament. Look it up, don't just repeat what you've heard your professors say.

      The prophet Isaiah started prophecying in the year of King Uzziah's death (ca. 739 B.C.), for example.

      I encourage you all to look it up and research the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says that one day, every knee is
      going to bow at the Name of Jesus. That is a prophecy that will be fulfilled, whether you believe it or not.

      And people always spout that the Bible is full of contradictions. Really? Quote them. If that were true
      as much as the Bible has been combed over by skeptics and haters, the Christian faith would have been discredited by now.

      Like it or not, in the end Jesus will win. I'm not going to try to convince you. Unless God opens your eyes, you will not
      believe.

      Who will take the challenge to sincerely pray: "Jesus Christ, if You are God Almighty, open my eyes to know You as Savior."

      If He is not real, you have lost nothing. If He is really God and the Only Way to Heaven...you've lost your soul for eternity in Hell.

      Jesus answered, I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except by Me." His Words. Prove Him wrong.

      Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 37:31, Jeremiah 31:15, Zechariah 11:12, Psalm 22:16. Read it for yourself. You have hundreds more to go. That's all I'll say. Peace.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Know What

      Tamika,

      Don't you think that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (or whoever wrote under those names), Paul of Tarsus, and even Jesus (if he existed) read the OT? Don't you think that the early church leaders, monks and scribes read the OT? How easy it was for them to create stories about 'Jesus' which seemed to fulfill so many old-time 'prophecies'!

      August 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  12. chris

    yay for islamists pretending to be anti-religion watchdogs

    August 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  13. LedBetter

    If you join the military, you will somehow, someway end up killing someone. If this bothers you, don't join. When your in the military, you answer to one person and one person only, the president. They should've ended this 20 yrs ago.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  14. Pastafarian

    Luckily, God hates Muslims, right? He only created christian people in his image. Idiots.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  15. Evan

    I'm not sure how an intelligent person can be an Atheist.

    An Atheist is a person who believes that there is no God. When asked for evidence, they usually respond that you can't prove a negative. But this repsonse is weak for 2 reasons:

    1) Yes, you can prove a negative. You can prove that there are no Muslims in the US senate. You can prove that there are no rainbow unicorns in the room you are sitting in.

    2) If you don't believe that you can prove that God doesn't exist, than you shouldn't be an Atheist.

    Atheists often respond "Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. It makes no claim". But this is ridiculous. You either believe something or you don't. There's no in between.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Peace2All

      Holy sh-it, Evan... Everyone has already debunked your posting of this, on several occasions.

      Give it a rest already.

      Peace...

      August 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • GTA

      You must be joking because you couldn't possibly be that stupid...

      August 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Joe

      This disturbs me beyond belief. I can't believe its been going on this long. Kind of creepy..

      August 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Andrew

      Both examples you give involve a small finite area. you cannot definatively say there are no rainbow unicorns in the universe...are the odds in favor of this...no, just like god
      Way too easy...c'mon

      August 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • big Spender

      Amen brother.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Steve

      The burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

      http://www.newspeakdictionary.com/st-drag.html

      August 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Leo D

      I'm not sure if you're serious. Poe's Law strikes again. Please read a book besides Middle Eastern desert mythologies - preferably an introduction to logic.

      1) A person can interview all U.S. senators. They actually exist, so we can test their religious attribute by asking them.
      2) One only needs to look around the room. If the rainbow unicorn claimant insists it's there, but invisible, well the Burden of Proof is on the person claiming there's an invisible rainbow unicorn in the room.

      No wonder the U.S. is falling behind in education.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Joe

      You cannot PROVE there are no unicorns – you can't PROVE a negative – you can only prove what you can demonstrate and you cannot demonstrate something that doesn't exist. If I said you buried a coffee can full of pennies somewhere and I held you at gun point demanding you prove in 3 years that you didn't ever bury the can as I stated – or you are going to be shot – 3 years from now you would be shot. Try to prove you didn't.
      Belief is a totally different thing than proof – Belief is not a qualifier. You believe in God and an atheist doesn't believe in him – both are valid positions but believing or not believing do not count as proof.

      I think that the onus is on the believers because an Atheist isn't asking anyone to believe in something. If I say I can bench press 1000 pounds and you don't believe me then isn't it up to me to prove you wrong since I am asking you to accept that I can?

      August 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • kingofthenet

      If the Unicorn was INVISIBLE And Super Natural you couldn't.
      The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Larry

      Well, well, well. that has to be the dumbest thing I've ever read. Why are so many believers threatened by non-believers? Why are so many non-believers threatened by believers? I don't believe in "god" or "gods", but you can certainly believe what you want. Just don't push it at me and don't expect me to pay for your public displays. Other than that, keep praying all you want.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Evan

      Andrew

      "Both examples you give involve a small finite area. you cannot definatively say there are no rainbow unicorns in the universe...are the odds in favor of this...no, just like god"

      You admit that you can't prove that God exists. Then you shouldn't be an Atheist.

      Steve

      "The burden of proof is on the person making the claim"

      I know. The statement "There is no God" is just as much as a claim to know something as the statement "There is a God".

      Leo D

      First off, if something is rainbow, it can't be invisible. Rainbow implies that all the major colors in the visible light spectrum be visible; in other words, light must reflect off it. Invisible implies that light does not reflect off of an object. A rainbow unicorn cannot be invisible.

      Second, you admit that you can't prove that God does not exist. Then you shouldn't be an Atheist.

      Joe

      "You cannot PROVE there are no unicorns – you can't PROVE a negative – you can only prove what you can demonstrate and you cannot demonstrate something that doesn't exist"

      So you admit that you can't prove that God doesn't exist? Than you shouldn't be an Atheist.

      "If I said you buried a coffee can full of pennies..."

      Sure I could. I could show you my bank account history, and prove to you that I did not take a coffee can full of pennies. Lawyers do this all the time.

      "an Atheist isn't asking anyone to believe in something."

      Yes you are. You're asking someone to believe that God doesn't exist.

      "If I say I can bench press 1000 pounds and you don't believe me then isn't it up to me to prove you wrong since I am asking you to accept that I can?"

      No. I have to justify my unbelief. Perhaps you can bench press 1000 pounds. It would be foolish to me to automatically assume that you can't without looking at the evidence.

      kingofthenet

      "If the Unicorn was INVISIBLE"

      Rainbow implies that all of the colors in the visible light spectrum reflect off of an object. Invisible implies that light does not reflect off of an object. A rainbow unicorn cannot be an invisible unicorn.

      "The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike"

      Except God exists outside of space and time. Light has no interaction with Him.

      Besides, Christians believe that God came in the form of a man. Our God is not "invisible".

      Larry

      "Just don't push it at me and don't expect me to pay for your public displays"

      I advocate the seperation of Church and state. After all, Jesus said "Render unto Caesar's what is Caesar's, render unto God's what is God's". I completely respect Atheist's 1st ammendment right not to believe. After all, I wouldn't be a huge fan of spending my money to help the government build a temple to Zeus.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  16. Bigdawg

    "Those christians; they're so poor they only got one god!!"

    -Comicus, History of the World, Pt 1.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • big Spender

      You knock it off! someday soon you will see Jesus standing in the clouds and you will weep, and you will also bow down to him.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Christian Little

      And don't forget the teeth gnashing! Cloud Jesus brings the most gnashy of gnashing ! Be afraid!!

      August 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • NOLA_Mike

      Jesus Rodeo, Dead Jesus Rodeo! Jesus Rodeo, Dead Jesus Rodeo!
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/military-isnt-problem_581972.html

      August 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  17. Reality

    What the Air Force should had noted before the class began:

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 (NY Times)

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    3., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current crises:

    The caste system and cow worship/reverence.

    6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Meetra

      Most of what you have written is pure lies; your propagada is not welcome in this country. Your widespread misrepresentations and pointing of fingers makes you look very uneducated. As a contributing citizen, I have neither the time or faith that your mind has the ability to grow from a complete response to your lies. I am just astonished at how ignorant one person can be.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Larry

      I love it. Call him a liar and then say you are too busy (or lazy) to specify or dispute the "lies". Very lame of you.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Dog Boy

      Larry – what do you expect? That's the MO; attack the person but provide no rational evidence to support your belief.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  18. Greg

    Nuke the gay whale for Jesus!

    August 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • josh

      gotta nuke something

      August 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  19. JennyTX

    Speaking of a lack of separation of church and state, this weekend Texas Gov. Rick Perry is hosting a Christian prayer meeting with an organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. See: theresponseusa.com

    August 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  20. soitiswritten

    I like the US Navy tv ad, "gobal force for the good" so Air Force, please do the world a favour and not have a nuke war out of embarrassment for the economy...

    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 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.