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Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures
August 11th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN

People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study.

After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people actually tend to become more religious - by some definitions, at least - as they further their education.

“It all falls down to what you consider to be religious,” said Schwadel, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “If it’s simply attending religious services, then no. Highly educated people are not less religious; in fact, they’re more religious.”

“But if it’s saying the Bible is the literal word of God and saying that only one religion is the true religion, then they are less religious,” he continued.

Schwadel used data from the highly regarded General Social Survey, a cumulative and nationally representative survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago biannually since 1972.

Social scientists rely heavily on the “gold standard” General Social Survey, which provides cumulative data collected regularly between 1972 and 2010.

His study will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Review of Religious Research.

Schwadel found that with each additional year of education:

- The likelihood of attending religious services increased 15%.

- The likelihood of reading the Bible at least occasionally increased by 9%.

- The likelihood of switching to a mainline Protestant denomination - Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian USA or United Methodist - increased by 13%.

Respondents to the General Social Survey were asked whether they believe in God without any doubts; with various levels of doubt; whether they have a different concept of God or a higher power; or whether they didn’t believe in any such thing, Schwadel said.

“With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’”

The findings makes sense to D. Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts and author of “Faith in the Halls of Power,” about the growing evangelical Christian elite.

“The more educated a person is in their faith, the more cosmopolitan they are in their religious outlook,” he said. “They’re worldly in the very best sense of the term. They rub shoulders with people of different kinds of faiths every day and as a result they have different visions of what it means to express your faith in the public square.”

“They’re more open-minded, but here’s the thing: They’re no less faithful.”

But a leading voice for atheists says the study’s finding about education increasing certain measures of religiosity may be less straightforward than it appears.

“There are plenty of people who go to church who are not believers,” said Ed Buckner, former president of the group American Atheists. “They go for all sorts of reasons. I don’t mean that they’re all frauds and deceptive, (but) they go for social reasons or (because) that’s what’s expected of them by their families or their peers. Sometimes they go so they can sell more insurance.”

“But there are a lot of atheists in the pews, or at least people who are not committed to and probably haven’t even thought about and examined carefully the religious views that are being expressed in that church.”

The finding that highly educated people gravitated toward mainline Christian denominations suggested class dynamics at work, Buckner argued.

As people become more educated, he said, they move into the middle and upper middle class. “And as they do so,” he said, ”they move into more establishment situations regarding the society, which means they join the churches that are the churches of the elite, or at least of the middle class.”

But Schwadel said respondents were discussing their actual beliefs, not just churchgoing habits.

“What it all says to me is that religion matters to people of all education levels in the United States,” he said. “It’s just that, depending on your level of education, you behave and believe differently.”

So why the widespread perception that intellectuals are less religious, even largely irreligious?

Academics are at least moderately less religious than the general public, Schwadel said.

“When we see these trends, we tend to exaggerate them,” he said. “Most people see a trend and they think everyone’s like that.”

Lindsay thinks there’s more to it than that.

“There has been a concentrated effort by a cohort of very smart people who treat religion as the panacea for the simple-minded,” he said.

Bucker disputes that.

“Do we think that anybody who doesn’t agree with us is an idiot or a fool? Well, some of us do think that,” he said of atheists. “But I don’t think it’s systematically true of everybody in the movement.

“… I mean, I do think they’re wrong. Anybody who believes that there is a sky god out there who is going to do anything good or evil for us, basically anyone who thinks the universe cares about us, is making a mistake,” he continued. “In the words of Richard Dawkins, they’ve been deluded.”

But some people’s religious beliefs are “deeply held and carefully considered,” Buckner said. “And I also realize that some atheists’ lack of religious beliefs are pretty superficial and they haven’t thought things through.

“I have a lot more respect for a religious person who has really considered this, thought it through, read some books that disagree with their point of view and still accepts that position than I do for somebody who just unthinkingly rejects any particular point of view.”

Lindsay said the study could help break down some of society’s religious barriers.

“It’s a problem of perceptions because it fuels the idea that there’s some kind of deeply entrenched culture war where smart people are opposed to religious people, when in fact it’s far more complicated than that,” he said. “And in fact, the old divisions between deeply religious and irreligious probably don’t apply.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Education • Polls

soundoff (1,651 Responses)
  1. Daisy

    "To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?"

    ~CS Lewis

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Stevie7

      How about ... my fellow humans

      Why does one need a deity in times of need?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Daisy

      Stevie.

      When you are so helpless you look up to God for strength!!!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Well, I don't. But that's just plays into the argument that the concept of a god is just a crutch – a coping mechanism. Since prayer has been shown to be completely ineffective, 'god' isn't really doing anything for you – but I guess it makes it helps you cope, to each his own.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • J.W

      Daisy is supposed to pray for world peace with me but she will not do it.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  2. Tinkerer

    In a related study, 51% of Atheists that post on the internet are just as snobbish, standoffish, and self-righteous about their beliefs as evangelical christian fundamentalists.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Doc

      With the obvious difference being that atheists use facts to come to their conclusions where Evangelical Christians use "I want an imaginary wizard dad to be true" to come to their conclusions.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • kendc

      You'd be that way too if you had to deal with deluded religious people saturating the media, running for president, and negatively affecting our lives.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Tinkerer

      Yes, all the religious people are ruining everything. I'll call you a Waaaahmbulance.

      I respect Agnostics, the privately Religious, and the privately Atheist.
      However, I avoid militant atheists and street corner bible-thumpers like the plague.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  3. J.W

    Atheists probably worship Snooki and J Lo.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Laughing

      I like big but.ts and I can not lie, you other brothers can't de-ny.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • J.W

      In that case I am going with Nicki Minaj

      August 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  4. sosofresh

    Replace "religious" with "agnostic" and this study is probably pretty accurate. We believe there is something out there, have some semblance of spirituality, and generally agree with the idea that good and bad exist... we are just not nonsensical enough to blindly accept the far-fetched teachings of the existing religious groups/organizations. Most of us, although often pegged as carrying ourselves as intellectually superior to traditional "believers," are actually in a position of not being egotistical enough to proclaim we know, without question, that Jesus/Mohamed/God/Allah exist or do not exist. And we certainly aren't presumptuous enough to assume to be qualified to tell other people what they should believe. In short, we are better than you. jk 😉

    August 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  5. Huh?

    "When you use a historical point to prove Christianity is false, history is objective truth. When a Christian uses historical evidence to prove you false, history was written by subjective men and therefore cannot be trusted."
    --
    Care to provide any example with how Christianity uses historical evidence to prove atheists wrong?

    August 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • come on man

      u looking for anything in particular as far as evidence?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @come on man

      You asked: "u looking for anything in particular as far as evidence?"

      There were no eyewitness accounts of Jesus. The Gospels were written by god knows who in the third person. The Gospels were written with an agenda i.e., Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God.

      Cheers!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • WOBH

      @ Iceman.... we use many conventions that were initially promoted by the church because in the past the church had even more power and influence than it has today. Don't forget that the church tried to thwart scientific truth by jailing Glaileo for promoting a sun centred solar system... counting years from what is thought to be the birth of Christ is a convention we can't verywell change now can we?

      August 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  6. kendc

    My god is reasonable, he allowed his fellow-deity Satan to kill Job's family and give Job terrible diseases to win an argument with Satan.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • If only you knew the story of Job

      You are not completing the story of Job, you sound like the 3 friends of Jobs.

      Since you started to tell the story , why don't you complete the story of Job my friend, it doesn't end that way in the Bible, it was a triumphant !!!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Iceman

      @Ben
      Why have the A.D. dating system if it was based on a historical imaginary person?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Michael

      Yeah, Job's story ended soooo well for all the slaughtered family members... nice that he could instantly forget all about them.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Referencing a dating system that was developed five hundred years after the death of the person it was created after isn't really proof of that person's existence. I could come up with an AS (After Santa) system, but that still wouldn't be proof of anything.

      That being said, it seems reasonable to me that Jesus actually existed. It does not seem reasonable to me that he was god's earthly avatar.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • JohnR

      CG Jung's "Answer to Job" is worth reading.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Magic

      @Ben,

      Stevie is correct. The AD/BC system of dates was originated by a monk in the 6th century. He was formulating a new way to chart each year's Easter celebrations. The church was very powerful in those days in political and civil matters. The new system was not utilized world-wide for many, many centuries afterward.

      If you are offered a doc.ument originally dated 120 A.D., please don't lay out a bunch of money for it!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @If only you knew the story of Job

      You said: "Since you started to tell the story , why don't you complete the story of Job my friend, it doesn't end that way in the Bible, it was a triumphant !!!"

      Hmm... Are you saying the ends justify the means? I see no triumph here.

      There was a man who loved God. God made a bet with Satan that even if the man were tortured, his Possessions taken, and his children killed, he would still love God and never curse Him. God won the bet.

      Would you do that? Would you kill a man's children for a bet? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

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

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

      God allowed a man to sacrifice his daughter to Him, for giving the man a victory in battle. Human sacrifice! This isn't evil? Is this moral? Is this an act of an all loving god?

      God killed every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah and his family, because man was wicked. Afterwards, He decides He won't kill everything again, because man's heart is evil from his youth. This isn't evil? Is this moral? An all knowing god didn't know this BEFORE He murdered everyone on the planet? OOOooopsie!

      God created a place He can send people to be burned for all eternity. Could an all benevolent god construct such a place of misery? Did He whistle while He worked?

      If a puppy wet on the floor, would you hold it over a burner? Even for a second? I couldn't do that. Not to a puppy. Certainly not to a human. I am more moral than the Christian god, and I am not omnibenevolent.

      I call Jesus, Himself as a witness!

      Jesus had this to say:

      Matthew 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

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

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

      2. The Christian god is guilty of horrid crimes against humans
      Evidenced by the atrocities recorded in the bible and the Christian god's own admission:

      Isaiah 45:7, KJV says the Christian god is responsible for at least some evil: "..I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

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

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

      Cheers!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Magic

      If only you knew the story of Job
      "... it doesn't end that way in the Bible, it was a triumphant !!!"

      So are Superman and Batman in their dangerous adventures !!!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • if only you know the story of job

      Here is a little explanation on book of Job:

      God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches, and ultimately the entire book of Job, is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. Notably, it is only the reader of the book who learns the backstory of God's conversations with Satan; Job himself remains unaware of the reason or source of his sufferings until the end. Finally, humbled by God's chastising, Job turns speechless, giving up and repenting his previous requests of justice.

      God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches, and ultimately the entire book of Job, is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. Notably, it is only the reader of the book who learns the backstory of God's conversations with Satan; Job himself remains unaware of the reason or source of his sufferings until the end. Finally, humbled by God's chastising, Job turns speechless, giving up and repenting his previous requests of justice.

      God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches, and ultimately the entire book of Job, is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. Notably, it is only the reader of the book who learns the backstory of God's conversations with Satan; Job himself remains unaware of the reason or source of his sufferings until the end. Finally, humbled by God's chastising, Job turns speechless, giving up and repenting his previous requests of justice.

      God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches, and ultimately the entire book of Job, is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. Notably, it is only the reader of the book who learns the backstory of God's conversations with Satan; Job himself remains unaware of the reason or source of his sufferings until the end. Finally, humbled by God's chastising, Job turns speechless, giving up and repenting his previous requests of justice.
      The end was triumphant because Job got back double for what he lost. The story goes on finish God did not forsake him in the end of his suffering.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  7. dan

    Descarte in his book "A discourse of the Method", showed that God exists, and concluded that while he can decide not to believe but if God exists than his not believing will cause him great pain in after life.

    If we take the time to just seat and observe our universe we will notice that every living thing has a reason and it is full of beautiful and amazing creatures that we have zero control over. For instance, few miles under the sea, scientists found anaerobic bacteria that can live in totally toxic environment (sulfur). Gravity what help us stay and not float in this planet, and ensure that our blood flow properly.

    I know that I have no direct or indirect on these matter, and I don't believe in spontaneous generations; therefore, my only conclusion God does exist. He is omnipresent, eternal, and the only one. He has no sons, daughters, or wives.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Or perhaps existed at one time? I don't know eather way. I also reject man's opinions (religions) and wish to deal directly with the source if it exists.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • WOBH

      WOW.... the lack of logic is so prevalent in dan's post all I can do is shake my head...

      Does it occur to you that if gravity were different on earth then life might have evolved to form different circulatory systems? Same with live in anerobic environments. If that is where life developed then they would have to evolve to live there or die off. The universe is no less beautiful if it wasn't created by a sky daddy.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's estimated that 99% of species that have existed on this earth are now extinct. That's not a good track record for an infallible being.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  8. kendc

    My god is omnipotent and loving, so he must have a good reason for allowing countless children to die painful deaths (from cancer etc) everyday.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Godlover

      As long as you keep your god zipped up when you are around me. Thanks.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @kendc

      You said: "My god is omnipotent and loving, so he must have a good reason for allowing countless children to die painful deaths (from cancer etc) everyday."

      And the children starving even as I type this?

      Consider:

      Christians say their god is all knowing, all loving and all powerful.

      1.) If god is all knowing, He would know the suffering endured by the life on this planet.

      2.) If god is all loving, He would want to prevent the suffering.

      3.) If god is all powerful, He would be able to prevent the suffering.

      Yet, evil / suffering persists.

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Cheers!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  9. Tom Paine

    If I don't like to dance, why would I hang out at a dance club? In the same vein, why hang out on the religion blogs if you think religion is a fairy tale? Do you really think you are going to "convert" believers into non-belief?

    August 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      "If I don't like to dance, why would I hang out at a dance club? "

      For the drinks – and the members of the opposite se.x

      August 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • kendc

      Perhaps to pick up drunk women at the dance club?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Michelle

      It's a form of entertainment for me. I'm not trying to convert believers. But watching them try to defend christianity is as entertaining as watching tom cruise defend scientology. It's an interesting part of society.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      That's interesting Michelle. I would find it boring to go hang out on a Muslim blog, for example, and argue against Islam. But to each their own.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Doc

      Religious people deconvert every day due to internet forums, which is why there are articles all over the place about how the internet (i.e., access to information) is killing religion. Religion only survives in protected bubbles. The internet bursts them. So yes, every now and then, a religious person will realize that they have no reason to believe what they do, and they'll be smart enough to realize that "faith" (i.e., if I want it to be true, then it is), is useless and a ridiculous diversion on the path to truth, and they'll rethink what their parents indoctrinated them into. You can, too, Tom!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      Doc, I am a life-long believer who started out just on faith but through experience and education now believe more strongly than ever. I came to the blog article because I found its topic to be true (the more a person of faith is educated, the more their religious outlook changes, but is not weakened). If you are finding people who lose their faith due to the frequently acrimonious attacks non-believers make on believers on these blogs, I suspect it is of people who are depending on a faith developed in childhood that they have done little to nurture as they have aged. I do appreciate the positive nature of your post though. Regardless of belief, or lack thereof, I think people's motivation should be to help their fellow human being. I just find it sad that many of these comments in the comment section smack of smugness over how some feel they have figured things out and how foolish people are not to believe like they do.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I, and probably most of the non-believers that comment on this blog, are not trying to persuade the true believers we respond to.
      We are trying to show the reader(s) of these comments, who have not yet drank the Kool Aid, that god ain't necessarily so.

      Many of the theist's comments, read as if there is no doubt that they are right. They have picked the one true god and they have correctly interpreted that god's will, from the bible.

      Freethinkers point out that in reality, what the theists are saying is just their opinion. And opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. The theists have no evidence, that what they are "preaching" has any validity whatsoever.

      "You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe." – Carl Sagan

      Cheers!

      August 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      @ David, see how often these terrible misguided theists resort into using derogatory language and try to denigrate the non-believers. You see, that is what made Doc's response so different. He obviously is a "freethinker" yet did not try to cut me as a theist down. The one thing we should all agree upon is that the truth will win out in the end. So, if you are right, then with time and patience talk to us theists. Comparing those who disagree with you to body parts is really devolving the conversation to an elementary school bathroom dialog.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Tom , I believe you need to read David's post again. He was not comparing people to body parts; he was simply repeating a well known saying about how opinions are like these body parts, because indeed, everyone has one. His post was not obnoxious, but it appears that on the basis of one word, you decided to take offense.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Guess who this is

    1. You vigorously deny the existence of God, yet you frequently blame him for all the "evils" in the world, all the natural disasters, and everything else under the sun that is wrong in modern society.
    2. You think that it is possible to talk meaningfully about "good and evil" "right and wrong" when criticizing the sins of Christians while simultaneously subscribing to the notion that neither sin nor good and evil exist as ultimate categories but only as personal and social constructs.
    3. You think that human beings are merely the products of blind, uncaring, evolution but when it comes to human reason (a product of the same process) we can believe in it without question!
    4. When you use a historical point to prove Christianity is false, history is objective truth. When a Christian uses historical evidence to prove you false, history was written by subjective men and therefore cannot be trusted.
    5. You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.
    6. You accuse Christians of being intolerant, judgmental and hateful, while you foam at the mouth calling them lunatics, ignorant, weak-minded, and stupid.
    7. You think atheists are treated like second-class citizens. Then you spend most of your day belittling Christians and other religious people on JWN.
    8. You think "freethought" and "thinking for yourself" automatically means adopting an atheist viewpoint.
    9. You adamantly refuse to recognise the historical fact that "scientific atheism" was both a foundational philosophical position and an actual policy of the Soviet Union and other atheist states from the time of Lenin on, and responsible for massive persecution, torture, suffering, humiliation and death far in excess of the numbers of the "victims" of Christianity
    10.You think that religious wars have killed more people than any other kind of war, even though the largest wars of the last 200 years (World War I and II, Civil War, etc.) had no discernable religious causes.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Michelle

      An intelligent human being.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      @ sbp, as i stated earlier....it's not fair for the one who created us to expect us to FEAR him, in either definition. You use electricity in your home but if you break it's laws then you will be seriously punished. Hence you can reasonably say that you FEAR it.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Show me one atheist who has ever blamed god for anything. Blaming the people who commit atrocities in his/her/its name is something else entirely.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Huh?

      "You think that human beings are merely the products of blind, uncaring, evolution but when it comes to human reason (a product of the same process) we can believe in it without question!"

      How could a process be caring? And what do these two (evolution and reason) have to do with each other. These things aren't coupled in the least. Evolution is a scientifically sound process. If you don't like science, then maybe you should consider what allows you to use a computer and post on these forums.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Huh?

      "You think that it is possible to talk meaningfully about "good and evil" "right and wrong" when criticizing the sins of Christians while simultaneously subscribing to the notion that neither sin nor good and evil exist as ultimate categories but only as personal and social constructs."
      -–
      Why, exactly, is this an issue? Through evolutionary processes and as a necessary precondition to the rise of civilization, we have a system of morals and ethics. No deity is needed. When atheists talk about right or wrong, they talk about it in terms of this system.

      If there was one Ultimate Set Of Morals, then why do we have so many different religions and branches of religions that differ so widely on moral issues? If there is a god, he didn't do a very good job of pre-programming us.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Sarah J

      You are a religious nut. Hilarious post though.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • ralph

      @Guess – BRILLIANT – COULDN'T HAVE DESCRIBED THEIR PERSONA MORE PERFECTLY!!!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • come on man

      @ Huh?
      I don't think you realize that you are committing what is called a Genetic Fallacy concerning your understanding of morality: you are trying to explain morality away by explaining how it came about...............you explain how man has come to know about morality but not were it came from ! I mean seriously how do you explain how a nonpersonal, nonmoral, unguided process produces a moral basis for life.........Come on man!

      Also..........
      If I live in your worldview then morality becomes relative, then I can no longer say anything is objectively wrong. All matters of good and evil are not legitamate, but then this is the very reason you don't believe in God because of evil.......which by your own admission is not legitamate.

      and just because an ultimate set of morals exist does not mean people will follow them......the Bible clearly lets you know that people are allowed to make there own decisions including bad ones.....like disbelief in God!

      August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      @ Guess Who. What a refreshing post.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Magic

      Tom Paine,

      Refreshing?

      This old piece appears often all over the place. This @Guess who guy even forgot to delete where he lifted it from (JWN – Jehovah's Witness Network)!

      August 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Magic

      ps. JWN – as shown in #7

      August 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • I_get_it

      @Guess who.. and fans:

      This list appeared in a quite similar form just yesterday on these very blogs:

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/10/capsule-containing-pope-john-paul-iis-blood-heading-to-mexico/comment-page-1/#comments

      Read the refutations by @Atheist, Stevie7, Colin and Bobinator, and others on Page 1 if you are *really* interested.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      @ Magic. I don't care if it is reprinted a thousand times. It goes against the grain of all the "enlightened" souls who want to mock, denigrate, and use derogatory language against anyone who agrees with them.

      August 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Huh?

      I think your understanding of the concept of genetic fallacy is lacking.

      Original claim: morality exists because of god

      Counter argument: Not necessarily – there are other explanations for the existence of morality. This is not a genetic fallacy.

      And morality is most definitely relative – different areas and different cultures have different laws, morals, and ethics. The base of these ethics, such as murder is bad, derives out of the basic needs to society. It's basic evolution. I mean, come on man, this isn't that hard to understand.

      And just so we're clear, the whole 'the bible says you can disagree' argument basically says ... nothing. What's your point?

      August 12, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Q

      @come on man – "I mean seriously how do you explain how a nonpersonal, nonmoral, unguided process produces a moral basis for life.........Come on man!"

      Empathy. Social critters which understand the feelings and motivations of their peers are better adapted to engage in group compet_tion. This easily translates into a simple basis for morality and is the principle rule for most moral frameworks, i.e. the golden rule.

      Theists still haven't satisfactorily addressed Euthyphro's dilemma when it comes to moral absolutes, particularly when considering the Abrahamic faiths (e.g. exodus 20:13 vs 1 sam 15:3). Here we see the deity condemn murder and then demand murder of infants and children. Some speculatively defend the latter as judgment for future deeds obliterating free will in the process. Others have argued it was a mercy killing though how one can justify the hacking of infants and children to death as "merciful" is truly beyond belief.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • fred

      Q,
      Why are you back to the year 1446 BC again where you think you can accuse God of being a baby killer? The A team has already discredited any and all parts of the Bible yet you still lift one verse on high and shout Kunta Kintay. This does not somehow seem foolish to you? I can show you 43 verses that reflect God as the opposite of what you point to in one old verse but then again the A team forbids use of these writings also. You have one verse you cannot use and I have 43 I cannot use. You guys have the most interesting rules in this game.
      If you really cannot see just how foolish it is to have spent your life time looking for something wrong with God only to end up wth one baby killer verse (that you know does not fit the profile of God as layed out in over 4,000 years of cu-mulated text) then I doubt there is anything anyone could say to bring some reality into your perspective

      August 12, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      I don't think the person you're describing exists except in the imagination of certain clueless christians. However, if makes you feel better to make silly claims, you just go on right ahead.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • What Happened?

      fred,

      There is no verified evidence that the Hebrews' "God" did or said anything at all... good or bad - not ordering the killing of babies, nor curing leprosy, nor flooding the Earth, nor dropping manna, nor anything else. That many of them *believed* that he did these things is obvious, but that doesn't mean that a god really spoke or acted.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13,
      Too bad so many helpless people depend on mindless christians in the world today. Here is the good news for you tonight Tallulah13. Because Jesus impacted millions of peoples life for the best I know this world is a better place. I assume you know what Jesus said. It must have been very powerful to transform peoples hearts 2,000 years later. Let me summarize feed the poor, house the homeless, give water to the thirsty, visit the sick, visit those in prison. And above all love your neighbor as yourself.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • i wonder

      @fred,
      "Let me summarize feed the poor, house the homeless, give water to the thirsty, visit the sick, visit those in prison. And above all love your neighbor as yourself."

      Those are wonderful guidelines - no problem with them - it's the other shoe that drops, saying, "....or else you will not spend eternity in heaven worshiping me", that many dispute.

      August 12, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, your response has nothing to do with the original post, which is what I was responding to. However, you may well note that charity is not limited to christians. You just like to brag about it.

      August 12, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      Hey -Fred...

      You Said to @ Q. " If you really cannot see just how foolish it is to have spent your life time looking for something wrong with God "

      @ Q can certainly speak for himself, however I did want to comment on this last part that you assumed of @ Q and I believe to be a likely assumption by believers about non-believers in general.

      I don't believe that @ Q or anyone of us is out spending our time "looking for something wrong with God." The evidence, in our opinions, plus just the common sense when you think about the whole Bible, and Christian narrative... 'believe or burn forever doctrine' just doesn't make sense to us... at all.

      Again, not to mention there is just no evidence to support the Christian/God narrative, as it is based on untestable supernaturalism.

      Also, it is based on 'self-sealing' arguments, and arguments from 'ignorance'.

      So, 'no' we aren't out to 'prove that there is no God, or that 'God is wrong.' However, a lot of the things that are written in the Bible or the Qur'an that is supposedly the infallible 'word' of God, just doesn't make sense... (to some of us).

      I believe that @ Q's pointing out the verse about God's ordering of the killing of infants, being the 'word' of God, goes against the very grain of this being any kind of a sane/loving God, (to us).

      Does that make any sense...?

      I'm sure that @ Q can say it much better than I can... but maybe this helps a bit...?

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • fred

      Peace2All,
      True, it goes against the grain of a Holy God. Thanks

      August 12, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      No problem. Just my 'take' on things.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  11. A verse

    "The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom"

    No wonder why the educated are wise and are reverential of their Creator

    –Proverbs 9

    August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • sbp

      Fear, the basis for any great religious fervor. If your faith is rooted in fear, don't you think any "real" god would see right through that and hold you in greater contempt than a non-believer who comes by his non-belief honestly?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • fuyko

      no good religion relies on fear to convert.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Joshua

      sbp

      "Fear, the basis for any great religious fervor. If your faith is rooted in fear, don't you think any "real" god would see right through that and hold you in greater contempt than a non-believer who comes by his non-belief honestly?"

      Just to help you out; in the original text 'fear' in this case means reverence, not to be afraid of.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      Yes sbp, fear in the very one who created us is reasonable. He can see through us and a fear in displeasing him is what he requires. God does not think like imperfect man and has the right to ask whatever he pleases regardless of how unreasonable it sounds to some. God CANNOT be judged according to the same rules that man judges one another, his thinking is much higher.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • sbp

      And just to help you out, I'm quite familiar with the Bible, in it's original, untranslated form. And there is no doubt that we are commanded to both revere and FEAR god, who makes no bones about laying his vengeance hither and yon.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bruce

      @sbp: "I'm quite familiar with the Bible, in it's original, untranslated form."

      LOL you probably think that the "original" was written in Hebrew... 😛

      August 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • sbp

      Hey, John, see Mikey, above. To the Bible Thumpers, Fear means Fear. So even if you were correct, it is of little relevance since the unwashed masses don't understand it that way.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Nannalow

      spb – actually the "Fear of the Lord" phrasing used in the bible actually means more of an awe than a bonifide fear. Much like a child fears his parent – but knows that the parent loves him and will never do actual harm, and wants what is best. Yes – as parents sometimes we have to put our children through pain or unpleasantness. For example, my son just had his booster shots – four of them, and I had to hold him while they gave the shots. He did not understand, he still grabbed a hold of me when it was over and hugged me, but I could see the fear in his eyes as I held him. It is knowing that we serve an all powerful and all knowing God, and knowing that he loves and cares for you. All of that is wrapped up in the phrase "Fear of the Lord" – its a respect thing. Not a cowering in fear thing.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Matt

      "God does not think like imperfect man and has the right to ask whatever he pleases regardless of how unreasonable it sounds to some." And I would be willing to follow that. But much of what God "says" is either spoken or written by imperfect man and actually is entirely reasonable when viewed from that perspective.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Kim

      Religion is based on guilt and fear... oh, and money. And protecting pedophiles. No wonder you people are so bitter.

      P A T H E T I C

      August 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • sbp

      Cuneiform. If by original, you mean handwritten by God on Mount Sinai, who knows. If you mean the Dead Sea Scroll era, aramaic. Which I'm rusty with.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Bruce

      @sbp: For the Christian, Greek is the only language of relevance. The Septuagint was not a mere "translation" but a revelation in and of itself.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      @ sbp, I am very familiar with what "Fear" means in this context. What I am explaining to you is that by YOUR definition, it would still be reasonable.

      @Matt, men who were inspired by God, penned the scriptures. But the Bible, is in fact, God's thoughts.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • sbp

      Well, I can't argue with insane troll logic.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Grace

      Since you guys did no research on this verse to find the meaning, here is something for you.

      The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10)

      Why is fearing the Lord the beginning of wisdom?

      Wisdom is about a right understanding and a right application of the way things really are. The fundamental fact about the way things really are is that God exists and is engaged with the creation. Mark Roth says it this way: The fear of the Lord is to be God-conscious.
      Living in the shadow of the Almighty–understanding what pleases, and what displeases, God–is clearly the most important thing to be wise about.
      God is eternal, and God’s praise “endures forever.” It is only the beginning of wisdom to fear God–we have all eternity to deepen and ripen our wisdom (or to deepen and exacerbate our foolishness).
      To understand who God is, and who we are, is to understand that we are fundamentally flawed and broken; without this understanding, we will remain forever foolish. “The greatest ascetics, those who mortified themselves and who for a period of forty or fifty years daily and nightly lived a life of mortification until death, were filled with the fear of God and these, the most sinless among mortals, cried out in their hour of death: ‘O God, have mercy on me a sinner!’”–Bishop Nicholai of Zicha and Orchid.
      Fearing God, says St. Thomas Aquinas, is only a first step towards understanding “the knowledge of Divine things.” On the one hand, we fear God as a servant fears a master, fearing God’s punishment; on the other hand, we fear God as a child fears a parent; “in order to make a beginning, man must first of all fear God and submit himself to Him: for the result will be that in all things he will be ruled by God.”

      –from the web

      August 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Disciple Mikey

      But the Bible, is in fact, God's thoughts.
      --------
      Please provide the source which this is based on??????? Did god tell you this?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • sbp

      Anti, as we all know, Mikey's proof that the Bible is the direct word of god is the Bible. The thing is it's own evidence of itself.

      It's like writing "A True Story" on a novel. That means it HAS TO BE TRUE.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      @ Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics, you could say that. But not directly. He inspired the Bible to be written accurately on all levels. Scientifically- Job referred to the earth as hanging “upon nothing” and the prophet Isaiah referred to it as the "circle of the earth" at a time when the popular idea was that the earth was supported by a turtle or another animal. In the Law God gave his people commandments on hygiene that was way ahead of it's time. Also, there are other supporting facts such as the Bibles historical accuracy, it's candor and honesty of the writers, and fulfilled prophecy. I dont have much more time to go back and forth as I have a job, but hopefully some of the people here will see the motives for these people "not believing" and not reason themselves away from reasoning as they do.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "He inspired the Bible to be written accurately on all levels. "

      Then how do you explain the bible's many contradictions? Was god confused? Unsure? Did god really not know who Joseph's father was? Did he forget how many people saw the supposedly empty tomb?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Bruce

      Mikey, the Church did not come from the Bible. The Bible came from the Church.

      You are placing way too much importance on the act of drafting the individual parts, and vastly underestimating the importance of what happened during the canonical councils in the fourth century.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • What If

      Grace, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."

      No, 'fear of the Lord' is the beginning of more fear... and the beginning of creating imaginary remedies for dealing with it - superst.itions, rituals, prayers, etc.

      ----------

      "understanding what pleases, and what displeases, God–is clearly the most important thing to be wise about."

      More scattershot attempts to guess what superst.tion, ritual, prayer, etc. works and what doesn't.

      - It pleases Pele to toss virgins and children into the volcano.... oh wait, no, it doesn't seem to
      - It pleases "God" to burn animal sacrifices... oh wait, no, it doesn't seem to
      - It pleases "Jesus" not to eat meat on Fridays... oh wait, not, it doesn't seem to

      August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      Stevie 7, the Bible does not contradict itself in any way. Like I said earlier, you, along with other people, want to judge God on the same level as you judge a man. If God witheld info from men he had a reason. Sometimes he patiently listened to men plead their case like, Abraham and Habakkuk, when he could have easily been the God you think he should be and make everything cut and dry. God is not like you and I. You all take care now...... really this time

      August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Stevie7

      You have to be blind as a bat, or have your head in the sand, to think that the bible does not contradict itself. Here are two explicit examples:

      Matthew 1:16 "and Jacob the father of Joseph"
      Luke 3:23 "Joseph, the son of Heli"

      Mark 16, Matthew 28, and John 20 all have different accounts of who saw the empty tomb.

      You'd think that god would have been a bit more clear when it came to something as simple as his step-dad's father or something as important as the first witness to the alleged resurrection. If you can't even get those things right, how much else is totally off?!?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  12. True

    You think you are too intelligent to believe in God, I am not like you.

    –Napolean Bonaparte

    August 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • False

      Whaaaaat?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Well that converted me. I always default to 19th century dictators with delusions of grandeur to inform my world view.

      "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."
      -Thomas Jefferson

      August 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  13. kendc

    I love worshiping that genocidal, bronze-age, middle-eastern god of the bible because if I don't worship him like he demands, I'll forever be tortured in hell.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • fuyko

      Hah hah. Your post made me laugh. so true.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      Sigh. Fundamentalism is a danger even in the non-believer.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  14. martinipaul

    Any atheist who asks a Christian to prove that God exists does not understand Christianity.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • sbp

      And you have shown, repeatedly, that you don't understand Christianity or Atheism.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jon

      Sure we do. It's called "faith" for a reason. The Christian is the one making the claim so the burden of proof is on them but then again...you don't need proof you have "faith".

      August 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Bruce

      You are correct, martinipaul. Also, any Christian who wonders why the atheist does not believe God exists clearly does not understand Christianity.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Ben

      From my observations, I have no reason to believe that there is a god. Therefore I do not believe. Just like I have no reason to believe there are unicorns and therefore I don't believe in unicorns. I believe in things there is evidence for. Jesus is equivalent to the tooth fairy in my mind.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Actually Atheists do.
      It's the Christians that try to legislate on a faith-based philosophy, that don't understand Christianity.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Kaathoga

      Yes.. oh Yes! Its so hard to imagine that those indoctrinated to/by society to adhere to "education is all" mantra, could not possibly be sheep enough to go the higher power route in parallel. The difference is, its not that education supports the responsible growth of ones intellect to defy the imagined boogy man "*your deity here", its that the system, supports the system, supports the system. A mind that can't embrace responsibility, regardless of education level, without leaning on otherworldly personas for blame, forgiveness, acceptance, and what not, is one that doesn't fear facts, over group-think, mind bending , "truth-e-ness".

      August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      The only understandable reason for not believing in God would be the fact that the world is in such an awful condition, which can also be explained. But for someone to say that there is no proof is not. Science was CREATED with too much life sustaining detail to be mere chance. Also the Bible can be proved credible on a number of different levels. One of which is scientifically.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • sbp

      Disciple Mikey and Logical Argument are complete, utter and total strangers.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      sbp and explanation are as well

      August 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bruce

      @Disciple Mikey: "The only understandable reason for not believing in God would be the fact that the world is in such an awful condition, which can also be explained."

      That is not the explanation given by the Gospels for why people do not believe in God, just fyi.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • sbp

      Bruce, does that meaneth Mikey contradicts the Bible? He is in danger of being smited!

      August 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      @ Bruce and sbp, what i said was the only "understandable" reason. People do not believe in God for many reasons, mostly because they want to plead ignorant to the fact they have no one to answer to.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bruce

      I don't know, sbp, maybe it just means Mikey hasn't read the Gospels all that well.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Bruce

      Mikey, why do you reject the reasons Jesus gave for why people like me don't believe in God? Why do you reject the reason Paul gave for why some people don't believe in God?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      Bruce, neither Jesus nor the Apostle Paul said that those reasons were logical or reasonable. They simple stated reasons. And this is all besides the point. You and sbp are rude and condescending. It seems as though, you are the ones who want to force your views on others. The very accusation you make of Christians. I have never once been sarcastic to someone that didnt want to hear what I had to say. It really shows what kind of PEOPLE you are, even if God didnt exist. Maybe the sarcasm is just something to add weight to your weightless comments. Good day

      August 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bruce

      Mikey, do you even know what reasons Jesus and Paul gave for why people like me do not believe, indeed why people like me are sarcastic and condescending to people like you? You've listed a handful of reasons of why you think this is so, but none of them match up with what Jesus and Paul said.

      That is, I don't believe in God because I wasn't given "eyes to see and ears to hear," and I'm rude and condescending for the same reasons that Pharaoh (of Moses' time) rose up against both God and the Hebrews, in spite of all the evidence (you know, frogs and dead sons and such) given to Pharaoh that he was on the wrong side of that argument. God hardened Pharaoh's heart.

      Why did you not list that as one of the reasons? Do you not believe that God has hardened my heart? Why not?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Disciple Mikey,
      "The only understandable reason for not believing in God would be the fact that the world is in such an awful condition, which can also be explained. But for someone to say that there is no proof is not."
      This is called a strawman argument.

      "Science was CREATED with too much life sustaining detail to be mere chance."
      I think this is an 'Appeal to Ignorance'. What exactly is too much detail for mere chance or what is the amount of detail that allows for mere chance exactly? Oh, and how are you measuring detail anyway?

      "Also the Bible can be proved credible on a number of different levels. One of which is scientifically."
      Unsupported assertion or 'a fact not in evidence' in tv-legalese.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Magic

      Mikey, "the Bible can be proved credible on a number of different levels. One of which is scientifically."

      Archeology has found evidence of that ancient Middle Eastern culture, yes, and some of the geography matches up, as well as some of the individual people. There is not one shred of evidence for the supernatural beings or supernatural events written about in these ancient books.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  15. Reality

    Part 2, A Religious Update -101

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

    “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. “

    "The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

    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 religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    August 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Does anyone actually read all of this?

      August 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • J.W

      I probably did the first time he copied and pasted it.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • heynow

      I need some sauce for this copypasta.

      August 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  16. Reality

    Part 1- Rules of Life – 101

    Many OT, NT and koran thu-mpers are actually thu-mping the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

    "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

    I have not reviled the God.
    I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
    I have not done what the God abominates . . .
    I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
    I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
    I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
    I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
    I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
    I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
    I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
    I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
    I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
    I have not blocked the God at his processions."

    "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

    August 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Johnny Nitro

      Thank you for posting all of that information which is based on someones assumption backed by facts they chose to use to reinforce that assumption. We can do the same thing with the faith. Truth is, Atheism is just as much of a religion as Christianity. Except I doubt you guys would give your life for Atheism. Christians died for the faith, along with the Christ they follow. Now you would say they died in vain. But it must have meant something to them. At least more than Atheism means to you. Your preaching deception. Peoples minds need to stay open to Christ and God.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Johnny Nitro,
      People also gave their lives for Nazi Germany, Communism, Kings, land, money, etc. I hope that is not your only criteria for a belief.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  17. Iceman

    I just think that God is the best thing that ever happened to me and I want everyone else to see that and understand that. I know I am not the smartest guy in the world but do you really think someone would just make up the story of the bible out of no where?c'mon...have some faith, bigots.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Stevie7

      How, exactly, does not having faith make me a bigot?

      And, if the bible isn't made up, then why do you think every other religious text out there is? If they can all be made up, why can't the bible be?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • J.W

      I dont think they are necessarily just made up. Between religions there seems to be a certain amount of similarity. There may have just be different perceptions among them.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Liam

      Calling people "bigots" at the end was a nice touch, thanks.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Large portions of the bible just copy off of other religious stories – in both the old and new testaments. It's all just recycled myths with some add ons.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • fuyko

      the stories in the bible are based on tribal myths. there is a possibility they are based on tribal history and some of the individuals existed, but no proof has ever been shown.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • M

      angry much?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  18. Dood

    I believe what the article says. Any thinking person will look around at the universe and ask "why?" Why are we here, what is our purpose, etc. If there is a God who created everything.....physics, chemistry, math, and most importantly, life, then he would have his reasons to run things like they are.

    Just because we can't see or understand the purpose doesn't mean a God doesn't exist. Better to be Agnostic than Atheist because an Atheist can't prove a God doesn't exist anymore than a religious can prove that one does.

    Also, a sensible, reasonable person would err on the side of caution.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • swingstar73

      Keep your mind open, but not so open that your brains fall out.

      The claims of religion are so blatantly absurd and unjustified that it isn't in err to say with a high degree of certainty that it is so. You are playing the post-modernist card in the wrong situation.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • JohnR

      (A) That's not even what the misleading headline says, let alone what the article said. (B) The more sensible will realize that there is no "erring on the side of caution" option available, as the more sensible recognize Pascal's Wager as a screamingly obvious fallacy.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Fred1

      I use to be an agnostic because you really can’t prove there is not god; but, then someone pointed out to me that there isn’t one shred of evidence that the Christian god exists; but, there are mountains of evidence that he doesn’t. It’s like the vampire question, I can’t prove they don’t exist; but, based on the available evidence I feel very comfortable in denying them and don’t think a reasonable person would choose to err on the side of caution and always ware a garland of garlic around there neck

      August 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  19. Atheist you are NOTHING

    Because I realize that I'm NOTHING and lot of human being better than me (because of my pride I have to tell you I'm MBA and employed) – It's easy for me to believe there is God.

    Because YOUR PRIDE you think that you are better than everyone else and self sufficient you don't need God.

    I tell you – you are NOTHING – not even as rich as Bill Gates, not even smarter than Albert Einstein, not have girl friends as much as Hugh Heffner (well – I don't like him). and your sibling is more successful than you in every way.

    If you're are not smarter than Albert Einstein how can your little brain can comprehend God? your PRIDE.

    If you can solve Anti-matter theory than I might want to believe in what you say, but in the mean time YOU ARE NOTHING – ATHEIST – YOU ARE LOSER

    Damn I hit atheist hard!

    I'm NOTHING that's why I believe in God (well you cannot prove it that He doesn't exists and I cannot prove that He exists – take your chance) LOSER HUMAN BEING

    Cheers

    August 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Most idiotic post of the day award

      Bro, calm down. I am an atheist and I am probably better than you in every way...probably smarter, better looking, taller, funnier, and more successful (to name a few). And all of these attributes I achieved without praying to some fictional god. I will be as pompous and condescending towards "believers" as I want, because I think they are mentally inferior. Stop preaching and get a life.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Stevie7

      From your posts, it's clear that, whatever you are, you are not a Christian.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Nonimus

      So if my humility tells me that no divine being would create this amazing universe just for a bunch of naked primates, you wouldn't buy it, right?
      But your belief that God built it just for you and those who believe like you, not even all of humanity, is more reasonable?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Kim

      Sure you have an MBA. It shows in your exceptional writing. You sir are the loser.

      Sincerely – Atheists

      August 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jon

      Dude you hit as hard as a feather duster.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Wallice

      You really just sound like a moron. Calm down, loser.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Hillary

      Do you have any friends?

      August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Fred1

      I don’t have to be the greatest mind that ever existed on earth in order to recognize there is no god, in the same way I do not have to be the greatest plumber on earth in order to recognize the toilet is broken

      August 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  20. Frogist

    Well that's really interesting! So it's saying people tend to become more socially active with religious groups like churches, and their att!tudes towards what "god" is changes. And they beome less rigid in their interpretation of the bible. I certainly can see how this study would challenge the old stereotypes. Very interesting indeed!

    August 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Frogist

      Also I got $20 on a "Your Take" article happening in a few days...

      August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Jonesyman

      I find it particularly interesting is that Schwadel implies that previous studies about belief and education apparently discounted any sort of faith that was not based on extremely orthodox literal interpretations. That seems like a particularly bad assumption to make in a scientific work.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:32 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.