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Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

“Awesome,” Richardson says, leaning forward in his chair. “God knows you’re trying.”

This is Michael’s second week at “Faithful and True – Atlanta” a 16-week counseling program that, like dozens of others like it around the country, combines traditional psychotherapy with the Bible in an attempt to treat addictive behavior.

Blankenship, a devout Christian who once struggled with sexual abuse, says his own ordeal has helped him to treat and “graduate” nearly 500 Christian men and women with similar addictions in the last five years.

He says he has helped people achieve what he calls “sobriety,” which means resisting porn and lustful thoughts.

Though controversial in secular circles, much of the evangelical Christian world has been cheering this relatively new kind of therapy. Many believers, including many Christian leaders, consider it a powerful tool for fighting what they say is one of the modern church’s biggest problems: porn addiction.

A crusade is born

Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit.

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.

In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?”

Christian publishers, meanwhile, have produced a wave of recent books on the subject, including popular titles like “Porn-Again Christian,” “Secret Sexual Sins: Understanding a Christian's Desire for Pornography” and “Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You.”

Evangelical pastor Jeremy Gyorke recently came forward to talk about how porn has affected him. In July, the 32-year-old confessed his porn addiction in a sermon at Wyandotte Family Church, just outside Detroit.

“I’m part of a generation of Christians who grew up keeping your mouth shut about your personal life,” he says. “Goodness no, we didn’t talk about sex.”

“But now that we have a little say in the attitude of the church, we’re taking a different approach,” Gyorke continues. “We’re putting it all out there, saying you don’t have to keep secrets. Come forward and admit that you’ve made a mistake, and you can be healed.”

Gyorke said he confessed to his congregation after his wife caught him looking at porn and told him it made her feel inadequate. She wanted him to seek help and to be transparent as a man of God.

Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any porn, even once or twice, is a problem for believers.

“It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

As he wrote his sermon on the matter, Gyorke felt tremendous anxiety. “I thought it would make or break me to them as their pastor,” he says.

But his flock reacted with empathy and support. Several congregants approached him afterward to say that they, too, felt that they’d acted against God by looking at porn.

Different interpretations

Though the words “porn” and “masturbation” don’t appear in the Bible, Gyorke believes the biblical verdict is clear. “Sexual immorality is mentioned a lot in the Bible, and that is what porn is,” he says.

He quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Porn is lust, and lust is a sin,” the pastor said.

Many religious scholars say that such a view reflects just one of many interpretations.

“One school of biblical study says that desire is a problem and needs to be monitored as a serious threat to salvation,” says Boston University theology professor Jennifer Wright Knust.

But Knust points to scriptural passages that appear to endorse sexual desire, including the Song of Solomon, a poem that some scholars say depicts two lovers graphically describing each other’s anatomy in an ode to unmarried sex.

“This is not new. It’s a cherry-picking of scripture used to address what’s happening right now in popular culture,” says Knust, author of the recent book “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions on Sex and Desire.” “The new thing is that it’s being used by so-called Christian therapists.”

Knust says the anti-porn trend in Christian therapy reflects new questions in broader society about what constitutes an appropriate relationship, about gender roles and rules, and about what marriage really means.

“People are concerned and confused, and want to know if God is speaking to us in our sexual roles,” she says. “Can we find answers in divine revelation? People have always hoped that there can be certainty in the Bible.

“There is no certainty,” she says. “It’s interpretation.”

XXX churches

A few weeks after delivering his confessional sermon, Gyorke organized a Sunday event at his church intended to help keep congregants away from pornography.

He gave out study guides with scriptural verses related to lust and showed a slick video from XXXChurch, the main Web-based group for the Christian anti-porn movement.

The video opens with a mock-pharmaceutical infomercial for a product called “Lustivin.” It raves about how wonderful the drug can make you feel in the short term but then lists some major side effects: premature relational difficulty, divorce, shallow relationships.

Craig Gross, a young pastor from California, co-founded XXXChurch.com in 2001. Its URL was meant to snag people who were surfing the Web for dirty pictures.

“Ten years ago, when I wanted to bring the church up to date, everyone was like, ‘This won’t work. People will be confused about what you’re doing,’ ” Gross says.

“It was controversial at the time, but the church is always behind the times,” he says. “We should have had a XXXChurch.com in the late 1990s if we really wanted to get ahead of this problem.”

The site was slow to catch on for its first few years, but now gets millions of clicks a day from IP addresses around the globe, Gross said.

This year, XXXChurch sponsored Porn Sunday, a national anti-porn event that included hundreds of churches across the country screening a video starring Matt Hasselbeck, who's now quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, and other Christian NFL stars.

Soundbites from the players speak to the struggle between porn and faith.

“Sex is an awesome thing that God designed,” Hasselbeck says in the video.

Jon Kitna, a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, talks about surfing the Web and getting deeper into porn sites. “[You] see this [link] and it leads you to a link to this … ” he says. “And pretty soon, I’m into a world that I never really knew existed.”

For $7 a month, XXXChurch offers porn-detection software that fires off automatic e-mail alerts to a subscriber and his or her chosen “faith buddy,” a kind of whistle-blowing system designed to keep Christians from going astray.

Achieving “sobriety”

But some Christians have gone much further in their attempts to tackle porn addictions, literally rearranging their lives.

When Jeff Colon, a self-described recovering porn addict in Kentucky, confessed his addiction to his wife, she told him to get help or find a divorce attorney.

It was the early 1990s. Christian sex addition counseling was unheard of. But Colon’s pastor - to whom he’d also confided - called other church leaders and learned of a Christian counseling retreat called Pure Life Ministries, a kind of Christian compound that includes a chapel and all-male dormitory on 44 acres in western Kentucky.

Today, Colon is the president of Pure Life, which he credits with saving his marriage.

He says the program has cured thousands of men of their porn addictions through a six- to 12-month program of one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The live-in program costs $175 a week. Men must move to the campus and live alone, with wives having the option of talking to Pure Life counselors by phone. Most insurance plans don’t cover Pure Life - a moot concern, really, because most program participants quit their jobs to relocate.

That’s what Colon, who was working as an elevator repairman, did. “I don’t regret it for a second,” he says. “It was a hard time not because I lost my job or had to move from my family. It was a tough time because I had nearly lost my connection with God. That is what’s most important in life.”

Pure Life’s curriculum relies heavily on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which stresses that if one lives “by the Spirit,” he will not “gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The scripture goes on to say that those who gratify the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Women are not allowed on campus during the initial phase of treatment.

“People who don’t follow Christ aren’t going to get what I’m saying, but it was like intense Bible study that helped me understand how selfish I am as a sinner,” Colon says. “Basically, you have time to talk to God, and for him to show you the way to sobriety. And I’ve been sober for 17 years.”

For Colon, sobriety means abstaining from looking at porn, masturbating and performing any other sex act not involving his spouse.

“You learn that lust is just a state of mind,” he says. “If you lust for someone other than your wife, what you do is replace that lust with prayer. And you have a heart change.”

Indeed, Colon says that God was central to his recovery.

“I know secular people don’t get it,” he says. “But if I had a sponsor who was just another person, a person who is fallible, telling me to stay clean, it’s just not as powerful as God telling me that.”

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

Men aren’t the only ones who have started thinking that way about porn.

According to the creator of accountability2you, a Web-based service that dumps all the pornographic material someone surfs into his or her spouse’s e-mail inbox, roughly half of his 10,000 monthly subscribers are women.

“The Christian Church has started to realize that we’re sexual, too, and we are just as visually stimulated as men and we look at porn,” said Crystal Renaud, author of the recent book “Dirty Girls Come Clean,” a memoir about her own addiction to porn.

For the past year, the 26-year-old with punky-streaked hair has led Christian women’s porn addiction counseling sessions. Her Dirty Girls Ministries website has 450 members.

“I’ve met women who will lock themselves in a room and look at porn all day, ignoring their kids or their jobs,” she says. “I feel like I can relate because that’s all I cared about, getting my high. There are so many more women out there drowning in this addiction, you have no idea.”

Though there are few statistics to support Renaud’s claims about the extent of the problem, Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.

Renaud has received a sexual addiction counseling certification from the American Association of Christian Counselors, though she is not licensed by secular organizations like the American Psychological Association. She promotes a five-step program she’s devised called SCARS - Surrender, Confessional, Accountability, Responsibility, Sharing - which encourages women to confess to each other about their desire to look at porn as a means of saying no to it.

In her memoir, Renaud writes about becoming a chronic masturbator and porn addict at age 10, after stumbling upon a dirty magazine in her brother’s room. It was a confusing, scary experience, she writes.

“My mother made it very clear what the parameters were when it came to sex, and there wasn’t a discussion beyond that,” Renaud said. She describes her relationship with her father as rocky, but wouldn’t elaborate.

In high school, Renaud was a leader in her Christian youth group, but she was also interested in porn. “I felt so bad and I wanted to stop looking at porn because that wasn’t what the Bible instructed,” she says, “and I knew God didn’t want me doing that.”

When she was 18, Renaud arranged to have sex for the first time at a hotel with a person she met in a Christian chat room. She says she went to the hotel but broke down in tears in her room and left before meeting the man.

“That was my rock bottom,” she says. “I remember being there and sobbing, thinking, ‘What am I doing risking my life to meet someone at a hotel I don’t even know?’”

Renaud said that she depends on God to keep her clean and that God is a kind of sponsor or monitor. When she wants to look at porn or masturbate, she and God have a kind of conversation, and the desire passes.

A crusade’s critics

The father of Christian-based porn and sex addiction therapy has a word for this “pray-away” method of sobriety.

“Hooey.”

Dr. Mark Laaser pioneered the Christian response to porn and sex addiction in the 1980s and chides counseling centers like Pure Life for what he says is their near-total reliance on prayer.

“Alcoholics don’t wish really hard to not be addicted to alcohol,” he says in a phone interview from his busy therapeutic practice in suburban Minneapolis. “The field of addiction is much deeper than opening your Bible.”

He’s pleased that more Christians are openly talking about pornography and sex addiction, but Laaser says he’s concerned that some Christian leaders and therapists are confusing sexual sin with sex addiction.

“Men come dragging into my office because their wives have caught them masturbating and labeled them addicts, or they’ve had one affair and they are now looking to have their affair excused by addiction,” he says.

“One affair doesn’t mean you’re a porn addict,” Laaser says. “Looking at porn occasionally doesn’t make you a porn addict. Those may be poor decisions, but they are not necessarily caused by clinical addiction.”

Porn is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar industry in America alone, banking at least 10 times what it did in 1970, the first time the U.S. government evaluated the retail value of the nation’s then-fledgling hardcore film, television and retail market.

During that same decade, Laaser had become the porn industry’s ideal customer. He was constantly on the hunt for it.
As a devout Christian, he spent a lot of energy trying to keep his porn a secret, especially from his wife, Debbie. His guilt distanced him from her emotionally, he says, and began eroding their relationship.

At the time, there was virtually no established psychological research, or mainstream therapy, for sex addiction. So Laaser reached out to secular 12-step programs, using Alcoholics Anonymous’ framework as a guide to reaching what he called sexual “sobriety,” abstaining from sex outside of marriage and avoiding masturbation.

“I remember thinking I wish my problem were drinking because I could get help easier,” Laaser said.

By the late ’80s, Laaser says, he was on the road to sobriety, combining therapeutic methods he’d learned while pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa and a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society - television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.

“Christians just aren’t going to seek out a secular therapist - they won’t seek therapy at all if they don’t have some aspect of Christianity woven into their treatment.”

In 1992, Laaser authored the first book on Christian sexual addiction, titled “The Secret Sin.”

“The Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, is experiencing tremendous turmoil in the area of sexuality,” it began. “The problem seems epidemic.”

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

In 2005, the publisher changed the title to “Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,” and Laaser added chapters on Internet porn. It has sold 75,000 copies.

In Laaser’s care, a patient will undergo psychiatric evaluation, just as he would in the secular world. Laaser wants to know if the patient has any symptoms of depression, ADHD or anxiety. He says many sex addicts suffer from other mental health issues.

“You may need to go to a meeting every day, or connect with a sponsor; you may need to check in with this office once a day,” he said. “Every client is different, but we’re essentially helping them establish boundaries and restrictions.”

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

“The deeply religious were a group that were hard to reach years ago because they had extreme shame connected with their addiction,” says Tim Lee, a licensed social worker in New York with a specialty in sex and porn addiction treatment.

But Lee and Pennsylvania sex therapist Dr. John Giugliano, both members of the Society for Sexual Advancement - a national nonprofit think tank of licensed sex therapists - worry that therapy can become overly focused on dogma and ignore the patient’s real-life issues.

“If you spend your time in session talking about what God thinks and what the Bible says, you don’t get to understand what the patient thinks and what happened in their life up to that point that explains why,” Giugliano says.

Even within the world of Christian therapy, some counselors criticize the methods of other religious counselors.

Richard Blankenship, the Atlanta-based Christian therapist, studied under Laaser in the early 2000s. When Blankenship set up his practice in Atlanta to treat sex addicts, he used the same name as Laaser’s ministry, “Faithful and True,” adding only the word “Atlanta.”

But Laaser wants to make it clear that he has no association with Blankenship’s practice and doesn’t agree with some aspects of Blankenship’s program.

Blankenship doesn’t rely enough on psychological expertise, Laaser says. Laaser objects to a therapist telling a patient that an addiction may be patterns repeated through generations, as Blankenship does. And Laaser disagrees with Blankenship’s habit of connecting a patient’s addiction to a biblical character’s family tree.

Abraham’s family tree

For the rest of his therapy session at Faithful and True, Michael circles emotions from a list that Richardson and Blankenship have provided. He circles “anxious” and then describes a fight he had with his wife about his infidelity.

Blankenship responds to Michael’s description of the fight by saying that addiction is generational, mentioning the Kennedys and the Fondas.

Then Blankenship queues up a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, showing Michael a family tree he has designed around the biblical story of Abraham.

It has a lot of boxes. There are several pages.

Abraham, Blankenship says, was a guy who committed some sexual transgressions, like fathering a child with Hagar while his wife was barren. Ultimately, God forgave him.

Michael starts talking about his own family. He describes a difficult upbringing with a father whom he said was philandering and verbally abusive. He says sex wasn’t talked about at his house when he was growing up.

Before the session ends, Michael is assured that there’s no reason to think that he won’t kick his addiction. He’ll be on a new path, Blankenship says, toward “sexual integrity.”

The 90-minute session comes to a close with a prayer.

Blankenship and his co-counselor Mark Richardson lower their heads.

Richardson asks that God look after Michael. He asks God to bless this therapy process. Michael is heading out into the world, he says, heading back into a culture of temptation and lust and ungodly ways.

Look after him, the therapist says, keep him on the right path.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. Agnostic Atheist (AA)

    If man could travel back in time, I believe he would travel back to Jesus time to end this debate once and for all.

    August 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • GodPot

      He would travel back in time to make sure no one killed Jesus so he would end up dying of old age just like eveyone else and humans would never have to look upon another golden glorified crucifix again. He would just go down in history as a hard working carpenter who took a three year vacation with some fisherman friends and who's "father" Joseph always wondered about his son's Roman features and blonde hair...

      August 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Agnostic Atheist (AA)

      @GodPot,

      If we did that, wouldn’t we create a paradox? It doesn’t matter anyway. Man can only travel in time in one direction… FORWARD!

      August 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Laughing

      Not so!

      If we can actually find a wormhole and bend spacetime we'd be able to travel across the galaxy/universe faster than light, which means we can travel BACK in time. However, we can't travel backwards in time (yet) while still staying on earth.....

      August 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually, I would have traveled back and made sure the Virgin Mary wasn't!

      August 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Bill

      Agnostic - As a Christian, I agree with you. I think people would definitely do that. As for others in this stream, I find it fascinating you spend so much time reading about things you claim to not believe in. And I have a question, honestly, why does the possibility that God exists and wants a personal friendship with you anger you and bother you so much? Why do you need to believe somehow, without wupernatural help, the universe spontaneously came into existance?

      August 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • seamoney

      @Bill again- That dude does not sound angry. Hell, he sounds downright optimistic. I would not characterize the atheist/agnostic perspective on the whole as angry about the beliefs of others, I think the word you're looking for is incredulity. When God comes around to initiate our relationship, I'll be waiting with cold beer and fresh baked cookies.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      @Bill
      "As for others in this stream, I find it fascinating you spend so much time reading about things you claim to not believe in."

      Have you never read fiction? It's quite entertaining.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  2. Muneef

    Religion: Fools for Christ
    Monday, May 24, 1948

    "All our talk about peace and the weapons of the spirit is meaningless unless we try in every way to embrace voluntary poverty and not work in any position, any job that contributes to war . . . We must give up our place in this world, sacrifice children, family . . . And we will be considered fools for Christ."

    * Corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, harbor the harborless, visit the sick, ransom the captive, and bury the dead. Spiritual works of mercy: to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afilicted, and pray for the living and the dead.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,794390,00.html

    August 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  3. GodPot

    "The 90-minute session comes to a close with a..." Blister?

    August 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • BRC

      4 hour nap?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  4. Jafar

    God's plan have been there, is there, and will be there till the end of time. He knows what was, what is, and what will be. On the other hand, we DO NOT.

    When we come across a decision to make, for example: Should I cheat during an exam or not? It is my free will to decide. I can decide to cheat and God already knows that, or I can decide NOT to cheat and God already knows that also. We can not blame God for knowing what will happen, but we can (Actually should) blame ourselves for making the wrong decisions. God knows, but we make our own decisions.

    I am a Muslim (not a scholar) and that’s from the Muslims point of view and I think all religions share the same idea. If not, I apologize in advance.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Atheist

      If god knows what decision you're going to make then it's not actually your decision. If he knows the future then free will can't exist. So if free will does exist, then god doesn't know the future and therefore can't always have what's best for us in mind because he doesn't know what's going to happen.

      Just a thought.
      Also, I don't believe in god or free will. We just all react to what is happening around us, we just call it free will to make ourselves feel better about not actually being in control.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Jafar

      You admit that you are a fraud like you prophet. You are a model Muslim, but an anti-Christian.

      It is high time to wipe out the Islam from the earth (solely the doctrine, not the Muslims).

      August 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Athiest, faulty logic. Who is going to win WWII, who is going to win the 1986 world series? You know the answer to these questions because you can search the history books to find out, otherwie know as google.

      Now does Bill Buckner have free will because you know the outcome of game 6? Of course. Does your knowledge of game 6 change its events? Of course not.

      God exist outside of time, tomorrow is not an event but a place he has already been.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Mike from CT,
      If God is outside of time and can see everything that will happen to us, then it has already happened. Like WW II. So anything we "decide" to do has already happened and "God" already knows what that decision was. So whatever you decide is already fore-ordained and you are already judged. So do whatever you feel like since it is what has already been seen by God.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Jafar

      @ Atheist
      Again, it is all you my frined. When you are at the cross roads, you are the one to decide where to go? Right or Wrong. Just like we are at this point (whether we agree or disagree) we both think differently, we both think for ourselves, and we both make our own disicions.

      @ Rainer Braendlein
      I did not mean for this to become a religious dialect (Again, I am no scholar) but I did check your website and I hope we communicate and exchange more thoughts with time.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Atheist

      @ Mike,
      Interesting, I hadn't thought of it like that.
      But as I stated above, I don't believe in free will anyways so in my eyes, Bill Buckner didn't have free will no matter how I look at it. And neither do the saints or the packers when they play the first non-pre-season football game in just a few short weeks.

      All actions are based on a super-complicated system that we simply call nature. You are going to do something a certain way because of everything that has happened to you in the past and based on what is going on at that moment. You aren't choosing to do it, the action comes first, then the thought that it was your idea.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Know What

      Mike, "God exist outside of time..."

      "God" exists as an IDEA in your imagination and fantasy. There is no evidence that thinking it or dreaming it makes it real.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Mark, I think you missed the point Bill Buckner still choose to play baseball regardless of me knowing the outcome. Hitler still invaded Poland with me knowing the outcome. I don't understand how you make the jump from since it is going to be know what I am going to do that should give me free license to debauchery... quite the opposite

      Know what,
      “There is no evidence that thinking it or dreaming it makes it real.”
      You are correct, but then again you cannot show evidence of what you call real is not a dream so we both are just have to go off the evidence we have and make our choice based on the faith of the evidence.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike from CT

      You said: "God exist outside of time, tomorrow is not an event but a place he has already been."

      It doesn't matter where god lives or what He is made of. Spirit, or yellow marshmallow like an Easter Peep. If god can know the future, if the future can be known, then free will does not exist.

      Christians say their god is all knowing (omniscient) and all powerful (omnipotent).

      If the future can be known, then this also binds god. If god changes the future, then He is not omniscient. If god cannot change the future, then He is not omnipotent.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Know What

      Mike, "you cannot show evidence of what you call real is not a dream so we both are just have to go off the evidence we have and make our choice based on the faith of the evidence."

      If your hunch (faith) gives you comfort, fine, but to make wholesale, sweeping pronouncements that it is the truth and the ONLY way is not valid.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Dave come on your smarter than that, or are you really trying to deceive people. Without, order you cannot have the word future. That would like be trying to identify the first of something without defining order. So yes God does not know the future because it does not exist in his context. That is the flaw in your argument, you ascribe something which you know or should know can't be ascribed. What we perceive as the future is just a place he has already been.

      Again does your knowledge of the past, interfere with the free will of the past? Once you know the outcome of the football game, how has that impacted the moment of free will, please explain.

      August 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Spiffy

      @Mike

      If God does not exist within time then he can't exist within space. If he doesn't exist within space then he cannot interact with us as a people. Also if God doesn't exist within time then is he really omnipotent?

      August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Know what, why not, we make sweeping truth claims all the time. The north won the civil war, John wilks booth (sp?) shot Abraham Lincoln, even dare I say what Hitler did during the holocaust was evil. why do these statements not bother you? Because you agree with them, that is a silly reason.

      August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Rick

      Ranier: How is Jafar admitting being a fraud like his profit? Perhaps you didn't lube the crucifix up enough before you inserted it in your rectum. It appears to be stuck

      August 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Muslims are equally delusional as christians. Their faith and worship is in man.

      August 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Spiffy
      "If God does not exist within time then he can't exist within space. If he doesn't exist within space then he cannot interact with us as a people." Why because you designed and understand all the material/spirital laws of space and time. That is a very bold faith statement you made, becareful most would ask you to scientifically prove that you know such things.

      Also if God doesn't exist within time then is he really omnipotent? Yes

      August 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Rick

      propt = prophet

      August 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Alice W.

      Mike,

      So, to "God" the future is the past? Have you been visiting with the Jabberwocky?

      August 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Time only exists within space. If God does not exist within time how can he possibly exist within space? If God does not live within space like we do how can he possibly interact with us?

      But how can he be all powerful if he cannot even exist within time?

      August 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • BRC

      Actually time doesn't really exist at all. "Time" is something humans created to quantifying the passing of events, because we need it to understand the world around us (or at least most of us do; there are people with strange mental conditions that are fully functioning but have no concept of time). What is more accurate a description than time, is growth and decay. All organic matter expends enegery and undergows change, and all isotopic inorganic matter undergoes continuous radiologic decay. These things continue without end, and as of yet, are irreversible. In fact a second is actually described as " the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom", in other words it is measured by monitoring the decays of cesium.

      Since time is not real, it is mearly a concept, it would be very difficult for "God" to exist outside of it.

      August 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • BRC

      Apologize for the atrocious spelling above, usually I type in a different spellchecking window and paste in, but I was shooting from the hip on that one. Science and engineering good- spelling bad.

      August 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jafar

      The end of time?

      Isn't that by definition Gods plan?

      If it wasn't why would he end it?

      Silly Muslims! You haven't deveolped the Christian skill in making stuff up as you go along yet, have you?

      August 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Is "God" not supposedly alive? Perhaps not in the sense we see it but still living. Why shouldn't God as a living being be subjected to time especially if he lives within our realm of being? Although that also brings up the fact the "God" is apparently eternal which we can hardly define. And what would God have existed in before he supposedly created the universe?

      August 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bill

      Atheist ... your logic doesnt hold .... if, for example, you had a vision of the future and you knew that your child was going to break curfew, did nothing, then your child walks in the door a half hour late .... did your knowledge of the future take away your child's free will? I believe God knows a googleplex of different futures ... every possibility ... so nothing suprises Him.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      spiffy does not exist

      August 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Mark C

      Mike, your comments are among the most idiotic I've ever read.

      Of course, you pathetic half-wit, people can know what has already happened IN THE PAST. The past can't be changed. Buckner DOES NOT "continue to choose to play baseball" you ridiculous dolt. He's long retired.

      Events are either determined or they aren't. Events in the past are determined. Events in the future may or may not be, but if they are knowable then they are determined and there is no free will.

      What a clown.

      August 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Mark C

      "if, for example, you had a vision of the future and you knew that your child was going to break curfew, did nothing, then your child walks in the door a half hour late .... did your knowledge of the future take away your child's free will?"

      Yes, half-wit, it does. Or more correctly, such knowledge is not possible if your child has free will BY DEFINITION.

      August 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  5. Cafeitalia

    Another little Gandhi tidbit. I love to study his writings as they are very "humanist", although he was religious in his own right. This one is spot on.

    "As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side" – M. Gandhi

    August 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Cafeitalia

      Just food for thought... or discussion.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Howie

      So if you have to wear DEPENDS you are against God? More crap from the sky fairy worshippers.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  6. atheist

    my monkey dad taught me
    see no evil
    speak no evil
    hear no evil
    whatever happened to the little atheistic monkey in me???

    August 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • hef

      no worries lil atheists monkeys, I got the monkey p o r n for you!!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • atheist

      hey Monkey bro,
      Hef's hiring lets go...here is our chance!!!! to make some monkey movies after a long time...

      August 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Know What

      @atheist,

      You have a LONG way to go if you want to try to impersonate an atheist. Thud.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Tripp

    Its rather funny listening to all these "christians" and their imaginary freind. And how they try and protect this imaginary friend with scripture. Well, if god doesnt exist then the scripture you're quoting is null and void.

    "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." Isaac Asimov

    August 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Good point, but now to fully understand the topic approach it from the other side, if God does exist then what value does scripture hold. Don't be one-sided then claim Christians of being blind.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Laughing

      Mike

      Interesting question.

      What value does scripture hold? Well that depends, if you believe that god literally wrote the book and tossed it out of the sky then it obviously holds a lot of value, so do you practice everything that it says to? Obviously you aren't doing anything in leviticus because the NT testement has already said that the OT is null because jesus came, but there's still a lot of advocacy for slavery and sale of your children, not to mention how a woman should act and how a man should act.

      But lets say, for arguments sake, that god can understand that you should conform to the society at hand and follow the bible when you can insert it into modern times, how different is an atheist and a christian then? We both follow the golden rule, the no killing thing, the respecting your neighbor, your parents, ect... thing, the no killing thing. so really are you advocating that atheists follow the rest of the bible that you yourself don't even do (unless you do still sell your children, have slaves ect...., then I think you'll need to go to prison)

      August 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      I don't do things in leviticus because I am not a leviticus priest...

      The law, which is not null, but still valid was given to show that we are unable to fulfill it, hence the need for a savior who can fulfill the law. The problem with penance is only a perfect man can do it, but doesn't need it. The more you need it the more you can't do it.

      The Golden rule, regardless of what Dave says, is only found in positive form in the bible "Do unto", not don't do, but actively take part. James 4:7 the good you know you ought to do and do not do it is still sin.

      What you describe is moral deism, not the belief that you have been restored and made right with God through his loving sacrifice for you. Something Christians and athiest cannot do on their own.

      As far as “advocacy for slavery” goes, you might want to check out who the first abolitionist were, especially in Britain and what they gave up to see the ending of slavery. So please stop using common internet smoke screens and approach the scriptures with a true unbiased repentful heart.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike from CT

      You said: "The Golden rule, regardless of what Dave says, is only found in positive form in the bible "Do unto", not don't do, but actively take part. James 4:7 the good you know you ought to do and do not do it is still sin."

      The Golden and Silver Rules were noted as far back as Confucius, circa 500 BCE. Either form, the principal is the same. Christians try to spin it, so their demigod was the originator.

      Some say Leviticus was the first written reference to the Golden Rule. The effect is the same. Jesus was not the inventor of the concept.

      A contemporary of Jesus Hillel a religious leader was reportedly the author of: ""That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."- Wikipedia

      Jesus said nothing that was especially profound.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Bill

      The New Testament superceded the old testament... we are no longer under the law of the old testament. We are under the law of Grace through Jesus. If you want to know the rules we should be following the Gospels, and I would say specifically the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) spell it out pretty. Christians need to hold each other accountable to Jesus' teachings of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and acceptance. Following the letter of over 600 rules is not only impossible but it flies in the face of the relationship God wants with us.... He does NOT want servants. He wants friends and loving children. Just like the rest of us.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  8. David Johnson

    @Thankful

    You said: "God did not create us corrupted but allowed us the choice to be corruptible. We made the choice and still do on a daily basis."

    Christians say, "Free will is given to man, by God". Each person can choose to accept god's love and spend eternity in Heaven or to reject god and spend eternity being tortured in Hell. How is that freedom of choice when it is the same thing as The Godfather, making you an offer you cannot refuse?

    The problem with free will is, that Christians have insisted on their god being Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent.
    No god can be all three at the same time. The attributes contradict each other.

    If god knows what He will do in the future and because He is Omnipotent, does something else, then He is not omniscient.
    If god knows what He will do in the future and cannot do something else, then He is not omnipotent.
    See the problem?

    If God knows the future, if the future can be known, that means that the future is predictable and unchangeable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. If god is all knowing, free will is an illusion.
    This also binds god, in that He knows what he will do in the future, and He must do it.

    Let's look at Jesus and his predictions that Judas would betray him and Peter would deny him.

    Those were future events. Do you think Judas could have used his free will to opt out? Not, if Jesus/God was omniscient. Same goes for Peter.
    The actions of Peter and Judas were predetermined. They had no choice.

    When Moses was attempting to secure the release of the Jews from Egypt, God repeatedly "hardens Pharaoh's heart". God did not allow Pharaoh to release the Jews, until He had delivered His 10 plagues upon the Egyptian people. Pharaoh didn't have free will. The Egyptian people, who suffered the plagues, didn't either.

    Biblical prophecy would not be possible, unless events and human actions were predetermined and there is no free will.
    The fulfillment of a prophecy cannot be left to random chance.

    What about the child who is murdered by a monster, or a people slaughtered by a stronger opponent (or a god)?
    Did they choose to be harmed? Where was their free will? These acts show that the strong or the people in power have greater free will than their victims. Hmm... Isn't this a lot like what would happen if there was no god?

    If god has a "plan for each of us", if there is an agenda, then that pretty much rules out free will.

    "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." [Jeremiah 29:11]

    "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    You might argue, that while god has a plan for each of us, He doesn't force us to follow this plan. The problem with this argument, is that if a person does not follow god's plan, it may affect my ability to follow god's plan. A drunk driver may run me down. A robber may shoot me. My plan would be cancelled.

    Ephesians 1:11 "We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."

    "this man [Christ Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23a NASB).

    The 5 point Calvinists believe our fates are sealed, even before we are born. This would mean that god allows humans to be born, knowing they will someday burn forever. Seems wrong to me, even for a mysterious god.

    There is no evidence that a god gives or safeguards free will. In fact, there is much evidence to the contrary.

    Humans have free will not because of god, but because god does not exist.

    Cheers!

    August 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Thankful

      God's plan does not begin or end with this life as we know it. How can we understand the infinite in finite terms?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Roland

      Thankful,

      The problem is that most people act like they do understand the unknowable. They claim to know why we do what we do (sin), and what we need to do to be loved by God.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Rick

      Thankful: Yet you have no problem speaking of God's plan from your own mortal understanding

      August 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tripp

      @thankful....So you like being stupid and ignorant? You place faith on a delusion then claim you dont understand it? That is a sign of mental illness. See your healthcare provider.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Thankful

      If all were understood then there would be no need for faith. I don't understand all, however I have all the faith that God does. Open your hearts to the truth. Not everything needs an answer. I am perfectly content living by faith and not by what my eyes can see.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Thankful

      @Tripp my stupidity and ignorance has led me to compassion for my fellow man. To help those less fortunate than myself. To use kind word instead of harsh. To love those who have done wrong to me. Can you describe a better way to live?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Thankful

      You said: "If all were understood then there would be no need for faith. I don't understand all, however I have all the faith that God does. Open your hearts to the truth. Not everything needs an answer. I am perfectly content living by faith and not by what my eyes can see."

      The problem, is when you begin to speak to others, as if you have evidence. You do not. You have only an ambiguous book and an opinion. Opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. Yours is not special.

      When people believe things without evidence, they are left with no way to accurately judge whether or not what they believe reflects how things really are. Their beliefs must then be based on feelings and emotion or the unquestioned authority of something or somebody else, not evidence.

      It is sad, when the only difference between there being a god, an there not being a god, is faith.

      So please, debate my thoughts on free will.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Roland

      Exactly! The Christian preachers get on here, and are more than willing to explain Heaven and Earth to any and all. Unless they are challenged, they never admit they actually don't know what they are talking about. Thankful never stated, he didn't understand everything, while he was preaching.

      Christians are victims of delusion.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Thankful

      I have been given the authority to speak, but not to judge. With love in Christ.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Thankful

      You said: "I have been given the authority to speak, but not to judge. With love in Christ."

      Have you been given the authority to think? Most of what you speak is without merit.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Christians say, "Free will is given to man, by God". Each person can choose to accept god's love and spend eternity in Heaven or to reject god and spend eternity being tortured in Hell. How is that freedom of choice when it is the same thing as The Godfather, making you an offer you cannot refuse?"

      It's simpler than that, what Christians claim cannot be considered freedom by any stretch. They say we are free but then tell us we were born into sin so we already owe their God obedience just for being born so there is NO choice according to them. It would be like being born in a German concentration camp and being told by your captors as you grew up that you had free will, free will to work in the kitchens or free will to work in the quarry, but if you don't you get the ovens, but hey, it's your choice right?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @GodPot

      The Christians believe the reason you will go to hell unless you accept Jesus (the Redeemer), is because of original sin which you mentioned. Consider how this affects our children to be told they are sinful from birth.

      Sit little Betty or Bobby down and explain how sin is passed down through the generations of children through their father's sperm.

      Christians are so deluded.

      Cheers!

      My god! Teaching this to kids is child abuse!

      August 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • GodPot

      Don't worry, some Christian in the not so distant future will claim to have discovered the "Sin" gene to prove that it's passed on via DNA.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • BRC

      Just out of curiosity, can eanyone give me a refresher on why Christians believe that whole, "original sin" thing still applies? Assuming we're all taking about the same sin (Adam and Eve), in their own stories the entire population was wiped off the face of the Earth once (except for Noah's family, who apparently "God" had forgiven for the sin or he wouldn't have saved him); and then absolved of all Old Testament sins by "God" letting his own son (or himself if you think that way) get tortured and killed. Why would good or reasonablly intellegent god take those two rather drastic measures, and still pay any attention to the very first sin? It's never made sense to me (one item on a long list)

      August 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @BRC

      You asked: "Just out of curiosity, can eanyone give me a refresher on why Christians believe that whole, "original sin" thing still applies?"

      Because without original sin, Jesus wouldn't be necessary. And we would be having a huge fire sale on crosses...

      Let's look at the truth:

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

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.
      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who did?

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

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

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.
      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world. We can dump the guilt trip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Evolution is the Christian god's Achilles' heel.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  9. Colin

    por&#0110

    August 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Colin

      James, you were almost right (or I scr*ewed up).

      August 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus and Adolf Hitler

    Hitler is dead for 66 years. Let us assume, one would now write a book, called the Gospel of Adolf. He would claim Adolf had loved the Jews, had kept his peace treadies with other countries, had been an anti-nationalist, had been an anti-militarist, etc..

    Even if millions of editions of the Gospel of Adolf would get published and sold, it would disappear very soon, because the whole Western World would reject it and the author would get punished.

    In contrast:

    In the Gospels plenty of miracles of Jesus are recorded. At the latest in the second century after Christ scriptures of the New Testament were in circulation (papyri of this time have been found). Assumed the New Testament had been a fabrication and had been made-up first in the second century, the people of Palestine had fiercely protested against that false scripture, because they still had knewn that there had been no Jesus or that he did no miracles or that he was an impostor. The New Testament had never survived, when it had been false.

    Obviously Jesus did really exist and really performed miracles, otherwise the people of Palestine had either rembered that their was never any Jesus or there was a Jesus, but he did not perform miracles or was known as impostor.

    When you try to make out of someone ordinary a miracle worker, after a while you and he will be detected as impostors. This cannot work.

    Assumed, the authors of the New Testament had invented the whole story, it would have been known yet some years after the fabrication, that means at the latest in the second century people had designated the apostles as impostors.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Conclusion: The New Testament is true!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Colin

      using your logic, you have just validated the Qu'ran, Book of Mormon, Diantecs, Torah and the Vedas.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Colin

      Nobody doubts that the Koran is historical. The character of Muhammad, which is described in the Koran, fits fully together with his historical character: By the Koran Muhammad declared war and hate against Jews and Christians and he indeed conducted war against Jews and Christian. In a way the Koran is true.

      However, the God of Muhammad is not the God of the Bible. The God of Muhammad is the God of hate: Satan.

      The Koran is an anti-Bible.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Ben

      Rainer, your Christian bible is nasty, and evil too, much like the Koran. Shall we get into the down and dirty, naughty bits in it too, that you are too wimpy to mention?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Colin

      Everybody knows that the Mormons are a cult. It is merely a matter of time that they and their book will disappear.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      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.
      We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

      The bottom line is we really don't know for sure who wrote the Gospels.
      -Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.
      -C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy)

      There are no known secular writings about Jesus, that aren't forgeries, later insertions, or hearsay. NONE!

      Most of the supposed authors lived AFTER Jesus was dead. Can you say hearsay?

      Philo of Alexandria (20 BC – 50 AD) a contemporary Jewish historian, never wrote a word about Jesus. This is odd, since Philo wrote broadly on the politics and theologies around the Mediterranean.

      Lucius Annaeus Seneca (ca. 4 BCE – 65 CE) A.K.A. Seneca the Younger. A contemporary of Jesus wrote extensively on many subjects and people. But he didn't write a word about a Jesus.

      Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 AD – August 25, 79 AD), better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher. Plinius wrote "Naturalis Historia", an encyclopedia into which he collected much of the knowledge of his time. There is no mention of a Jesus.

      We don't even have a wooden shelf that Jesus might have built. Or anything written by Jesus. God incarnate, and we don't even have a Mother's day card signed by Him.

      The Dead Sea Scrolls did not mention Jesus or have any New Testament scripture.

      Jesus, if he existed, was not considered important enough to write about by any contemporary person. The myth hadn't had a chance to flourish.

      Paul's writings were the first, about Jesus. But, Paul's writing was done 25 to 30 years after Jesus was dead. In a primitive, ultra-supersti_tious society, 25 years is a lot of time for a myth to grow. Twenty-five years was most of the average person's lifespan in the 1st Century.

      Some people feel that Paul, not Jesus, is the real father of what most Christians believe today (Pauline Christianity).
      Paul never actually met Jesus.

      Questions on the Crucifixion story:

      "Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save." Mark 15:31

      "Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe..." Mark 15:32

      It would appear, that the chief priests are admitting that Jesus "saved" others. If they knew this, then there is no reason for them to demand that Jesus descend from the cross, in order for them to believe. They already admitted to knowing of Jesus' "miracles".

      This is just an embellishment by Mark. A work of fiction possibly constructed to make it appear that some Old Testament "prediction" was fulfilled.

      Here is some more:

      According to Luke 23:44-45, there occurred "about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, and the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."

      Yet not a single secular mention of a three hour ecliptic event got recorded. 'Cause it didn't happen!

      Mathew 27 51:53
      51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
      How come nobody wrote about zombies running through the cities? 'Cause it is all b.s.

      An interesting note:

      "The same phenomena and portents of the sudden darkness at the sixth hour, a strong earthquake, rent stones, a temple entrance broken in two, and the rising of the dead have been reported by multiple ancient writers for the death of Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BC." – Sources Wikipedia (John T. Ramsey & A. Lewis Licht, The Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar's Funeral Games, Atlanta 1997, p. 99–107

      Hmmm...
      If you can't even believe the crucifixion story how likely is the resurrection account to be true? In a book that is a mix of fiction and "fact", how do you know which is which? Especially, since all of the bible seems very unlikely and does not fit with the reality we see around us.?

      If Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, who died for man's redemption, then this would be the most important event in the history of man.

      Having gone to the trouble of impregnating a human and being born god incarnate and dying for mankind's sins, why wouldn't god have ensured there was tons of evidence that this was true? Multiple Writings by contemporary eyewitnesses – Jews and Romans.

      You are going to want to say that there IS lots of evidence, but look at reality: There are way more people, in the world, who are not Christians (67%) than who are (33%). Obviously, the evidence is not adequate to convince even a majority of the world's people.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Ben

      Everybody knows that the Christians are just a big cult. It is merely a matter of time before their sick religion becomes mere history, like so many god cults and myths before it.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Anthony M

      Except pal you forget that if such a book were to come out now anyone could easily wander over to barns and nobles and buy it. Hell book stores are so old school they would just download it in EBOOK form on their smartphones. The book system was a bit different back in jesus's day. Did I say different? I meant non existent since no one knew how to read unless you were wealthy and why would they want to suppress this book that had the beliefs that kept the poor eating out of their hands. If anything they changed the book to meet their own needs. Such as "Render unto cesar" or ""Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established"

      Don't you think its strange that no one questioned the bible or its teachings until the printing press was invented and it was made available to common people?

      August 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bill

      @David Johnson. You are operating on a flawed premise. Two of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses (John and Matthew). Mark served as a scribe for Peter and Luke painstakingly interviewed numerous eyewitnesses. Historical fact not opinion. The belief that the Gospels were originally written in the fourth century is fraudulent. But it is a populary story told by those with a vested interest in discrediting them.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bill

      @David Johnson ... again another false premise. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote about Jesus. Also, despite the popular beleif for centuries among agnostics that pontius pilate did not exist because there was no historical record of him, evidence was uncovered in recent decades that says he did in fact exist.
      Also, Since the jews dismissed Jesus as nothing more than a faith healer, would they really write about him extensively?
      And the Romans for many years, destroyed all references to "The Way." And yet, for centuries, people kept being killed who would not turn from their faith in Jesus. Mass lunacy? Or people willing to die for the truth?

      August 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  11. James73Bond7

    CNN SUCKS!!

    August 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Dave Davis

      Isaac Asimov said THAT? Why should I no be utterly shocked to the very core of my being? Let me tell you something, friend. I live here in the south-eastern corner of Missouri, called the Bootheel. I have a personal story of Jesus. I would like to share it with you. At Sikeston, Missouri, about 25 years ago, when I was only about nine years old, I witnessed a MIRACLE with my own two eyes. I know that it wasn't some made-up "televangelist miracle" because I grew up around the individual involved. The old lady that was the subject of this story is still living. Her name is Wanda. She is a precious little lady and a great country cook. She had a large growth on her shoulder(back,right shoulder) that only a few of those closest to her knew of(including my family). There was a Preacher there in that service that walked up to her and said:"Do you want to be healed?" He then "laid his hands on her"(forehead) and said " In Jesus' Name" and walked on. A few seconds later that big cyst simply popped and the blood and puss ran down her back. She was wearing an off-white colored dress. I will remember this as long as I live. I SAW a Miracle with my own eyes. I was sitting only a few feet away from her. This is something that I will never forget.

      August 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  12. James73Bond7

    atheistic signs (continued)

    You believe that the word is a sea of grey where there are many many viewpoints, all of them good and valid, rather than Good and Evil
    You refuse to judge people, saying "who am I to?"

    August 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Atheist

      I judge people all the time, I'm just not offended when they judge me back. Nor do I try to change the person and mold them to my perspective of what good and evil is. It's all made up by man/society anyways.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • James73Bond7

      So, take a situation where a thief is mugging someone.. its all made up by man/society, so the mugger and victim are interchangeable and the material(s) being transferred from one to another can belong to either? NOT!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Thankful

      By what authority do you judge anyone?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Atheist

      Not in our society. If you live in our society, then these two people are not interchangeable and one is getting robbed. It is like this in most societies. But also in some societies it's okay to kill a family member if they have brought shame to the family. This has been legal until recently (past few years) in some eastern societies. So how did that entire society view that as OK up until recently if good and evil are so black and white? The only explination is that these laws and good and evil are constucts of society, not some higher power.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Thankful

      The difference of right and wrong is written on your heart. I can see this in my young children and they have yet to experience much of what corrupts.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Thankful

      You said: "The difference of right and wrong is written on your heart. I can see this in my young children and they have yet to experience much of what corrupts."

      Morals evolved with our intellect. We developed the ability to feel sympathy for our fellow humans. We concluded it was better to feel pleasure than pain. For ourselves and for others.

      Children are born atheist. Parents begin almost from birth, programming the silly into them.

      Humans learn morals and their religion from their parents and from the society they live in. So everyone has morals – a sense of what is right and wrong. If morals were given by a one true god, wouldn't they be all the same? LOL

      We are a nation of laws. Obviously, I am accountable to society for my actions. Society enforces acceptable behavior.
      All Morals are Relative:

      An act may be bad in one situation and time, but good in another.

      It is wrong to kill, except when a dictator is threatening to take over the world. Or in protecting your life and your family.

      It is wrong to lie, unless you have a little Jewish girl hiding in your attic.
      etc.

      Many atheists, but by no means all, are Humanists. I am one of the many. Most Humanists subscribe to the Golden Rule. This "rule" preceded Jesus.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • EvelynWaugh

      There have been many points in history where some things were not considered evil .. as time went on a Society changes those things have become evil. It also works in the opposite. There are many things in the Old Testament that are horrible crimes .. Those are things possibly, at one time, acceptable. Things change. Society deems what is acceptable behavior.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Tripp

      @thankful....Um hate to break this to you but your heart is a biomechanical pump that pumps blood through your body. It has no other funtion than that. Stating anything otherwise only shows and proves how insane people like you are.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  13. James73Bond7

    The key is : use "& # 0 1 1 2 ; & # 0 1 1 1 ; & # 0 1 1 4 ; & # 0 1 1 0 ;" no spaces, to get "porn"

    August 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  14. EvelynWaugh

    The reality of this is .. The Bible is outdated. It was scripted in 400 C.E.? The people at that time didn't live to be 30 years old and certainly didn't have a lot of the things we do to today .. like contraception and medication.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • EvelynWaugh

      Not to mention valid Science.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  15. atheistic signs

    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!
    5. 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.
    6. You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.
    7. You accuse Christians of being intolerant, judgmental and hateful, while you foam at the mouth calling them lunatics, ignorant, weak-minded, and stupid.
    8. You think atheists are treated like second-class citizens. Then you spend most of your day belittling Christians and other religious people on CNN.
    9. You think "freethought" and "thinking for yourself" automatically means adopting an atheist viewpoint.
    10. 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

    August 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • EvelynWaugh

      I'm agnostic but, I do not feel any of those things you describe.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Colin

      COOL – an articulate salvo from the theists. About time. Time for some real debate!

      Thanks "atheistic signs," you have slightly restored my faith in the Bible cuddlers. I thought we were down to "you will burn in hell" and "god loves you" nonsense.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Atheist

      I've answered these once, but I guess I'll have to do it again...

      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.

      We aren't saying he's real, just saying that if he was, wouldn't he be responsible for the evil in the world as well as the good?

      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.

      They are only personal and social constructs. Hundreds of years ago, it was okay to kill someone in your family if they brought shame to it (this is still legal in some nations). They thought this was good/right. So how could right and wrong be ultimate categories if they change so often?

      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!

      why not? science backs it up.

      4. Your missing this one.

      5. 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.

      That's because our history is backed up by geology and archeology and many other science fields. Your history is backed up by one book that was written before anyone even understood that the Earth wasn't flat.

      6. You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.

      He might have existed, he just wasn't anyone special. Probably an okay guy though. But you're the ones saying he existed in the first place, so it's up to you to prove that you're right.

      7. You accuse Christians of being intolerant, judgmental and hateful, while you foam at the mouth calling them lunatics, ignorant, weak-minded, and stupid.

      We (at least I) try to be reasonable but when someones only argument is "I'm right because it says so in this book!", it gets a little frustrating, especially when I have tons of facts from different scientific disciplines to back me up.

      8. You think atheists are treated like second-class citizens. Then you spend most of your day belittling Christians and other religious people on CNN.

      the minority is usually viewed as second class by the majority all the time. When an atheist becomes president, I'll stop claiming we're second class.

      9. You think "freethought" and "thinking for yourself" automatically means adopting an atheist viewpoint.

      If you do it right, it does.

      10. 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

      These things weren't dont in the name of atheism therefore are irrelivant. 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!
      5. 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.
      6. You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.
      7. You accuse Christians of being intolerant, judgmental and hateful, while you foam at the mouth calling them lunatics, ignorant, weak-minded, and stupid.
      8. You think atheists are treated like second-class citizens. Then you spend most of your day belittling Christians and other religious people on CNN.
      9. You think "freethought" and "thinking for yourself" automatically means adopting an atheist viewpoint.
      10. 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

      These weren't done in the name of atheism, therefore are irrelivant. By your logic, many mur.derers in the US are Christian therefore christianity should be blamed?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • BRC

      I can only offer you my own views, but I will try to answer your list-
      1. Atheists don't blame god for anything, we don't believe they exist. What many do a poor job of stating is that they blame people's excessively fervent beliefs and devotions for causing the various atrocities they have caused throughout history, and the effect that the fundamentalist contingent has on the narrowing of modern societies view. I blame the people (or the religions), not the gods.
      2. This statement is fairly true, why is that a bad thing?
      3. Yes, I believe that the human capacity for reasoning and problem solving was developed as part of our evolution. I would say that it is essential, as we are physically inferior to pretty much any major natural predator, so the only way we could have possibly survived and come this far is by being smarter than the other species. Summary, lots of stupid cavemen got eaten.
      4. Apparently omitted
      5. I can only say that I do this when religious people use the "bible" as a historical text. It's not, and never could be. When other sources are cited, if they seem credible, I will begrudgingly accept it.
      6. I have never claimed Jesus didn't exists, I said he isn't the son of god. I am even willing to say that he was probably an amazing man that more people should have listened to, but that's purely speculation. I will go ahead and amend the challenge if it helps, prove he is the son of a god that has never been proven to exist- that will require some extraordinary evidence.
      7. Most people suck. I apologize for those on our side who cannot communicate calmly, but would point out that they're pretty much met 1 for 1 on yours.
      8. In many situations Atheists ARE treated like second class citizens (though no more so than anyone who doesn't follow a Christian religion); but I agree that doesn't necessitate the name calling. Your vies are just mind bogglingly hard for us to grasp, because they make 0 logical sense, so our fallible human minds react in less than perfect ways.
      9. Not exclusively. Agnostics are clearly free thinkers, but so is anyone who can articulate why they have developed their own PERSONAL faith in their higher power of choice. The problem is that people just follow what they have always known and cite the bible as inerrant truth. I just want to know that someone tried to think it out for themselves.
      10. Again, people suck. Bad people do bad things, good people do good things. The fact that you can site people and events from both the religious and atheist camps in both the good and bad categories shows that the common denominator is people, and that religion really doesn't matter. That being said, I know that people will ALWAYS do terrible things, but hopefully by getting rid of organized religions we would make it hard for terrible people to geta footing and develop followers to spread the scale of those bad things.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Ben

      Atheist, great response you made. Thanks for taking the trouble and saving the rest of us the painful effort of responding to the idiotic OP in detail.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Cafeitalia

      Excellent, Atheist. Points very well made.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Tallulah13

      Here's a thought. Why not actually get to know a few atheists before you compile lists that are for the most part, simply wrong? I would never judge all christians by behavior of those who post here. I have christian friends and family who are much better people than those christians who spew irrational hatred here.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @atheistic signs

      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.

      No. Atheists often point out that IF there was a god, He would be responsible for the evil in the world. It is a tool designed to make believers think.

      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.

      Morals are relative: It is wrong to lie, except if you have a young girl hiding in your attic. Wrong to murder, except if you are trying to stop genocide etc.
      As a society we should decide what will be allowed and not allowed. It an action does no harm and makes a segment of the population happy, it should be allowed. Gay marriage would be an example. Murder harms so it should not be allowed. Society determines and enforces what is right and wrong.

      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!

      I believe the human intellect is the product of evolution. The brain, the mind, is part of the human. There is no soul.

      5. 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.

      There is no historical evidence, outside the Gospels, that Jesus ever actually existed. No eyewitness accounts. No secular writings that are not hearsay, forgeries or in other ways disputed.

      6. You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.

      Umm... Yep.

      7. You accuse Christians of being intolerant, judgmental and hateful, while you foam at the mouth calling them lunatics, ignorant, weak-minded, and stupid.

      Christians almost always base their arguments on threat. If someone doesn't agree with them, they will burn in hell forever.
      Christians do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

      8. You think atheists are treated like second-class citizens. Then you spend most of your day belittling Christians and other religious people on CNN.

      How atheists are treated, isn't real important to me. I just don't want Christians to establish a Christian Nation, with a pretend god at the helm.

      9. You think "freethought" and "thinking for yourself" automatically means adopting an atheist viewpoint.

      No. As a freethinker, I form my opinions on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and not by authority, tradition, or any dogma. I think atheism will just come about, as part of the process.

      10. 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

      Christians did horrible things. Muslims have done horrible things. Atheism is an absence of belief in any gods. We simply don't find any evidence for one. Many atheists are Humanists. We believe in the Golden Rule...which was not original with Jesus.

      Cheers!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Atheist

      I like the way when an atheist give 10 (or sometimes 11) signs that you're a christian, christians just get angry and call us names and tell us we're being mean. But when someone gives 10 (or 9) signs that you're an atheist, we come out of the woodwork and show that their conjectures are all/mostly wrong.

      We use logic to argue, and most christians just use anger saying that eveyone else is going to hell...

      August 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Colin

      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.

      Anybody who “blames god” is not an atheist. We do not believe it even exists. How can a non-existent being be culpable of anything? When an atheists says “why would god do that, or why god would let that happen,” the question is usually posited to show some internal inconsistency in theistic beliefs. For e.g., if an atheist asks “If god loves us, why does he allow so many to burn in hell?” we are not saying your sky-god is nasty, we are saying that the notion of a loving god doing so is internally self-contradictory and, thus, likely wrong.

      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.

      We don't criticize the "sins" of Christians. We do not believe in the notion of a cosmic scorekeeper tallying up your sins and good deeds for the ultimate book-balancing at the Pearly Gates. Yes, we do reject the idea of "right" and "wrong" having an existence independent of the perspective of the person making the relevant judgment. That is why some think it is right that a woman can abor.t in the first trimester and others think it is wrong. One man's sin is another man's miracle.

      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!

      I won't repost my large refutation of Adam and Eve here. Suffice it to say that nobody believe the Bible story of creation except Christians (and fundamentalist Jews and Muslims, to the extent they share the same mythology). Ever hear of a University in Europe, china, Ja.pan or Australia teach the "talking snake" theory? I am not sure what you mean with your comment about human reason.

      5. 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.

      The following is a list of one hundred percent of the surviving material we have that was written about Jesus within 100 years of his death. While there is some disputes as to the dating of some other material (the so called “sayings Gospel of Thomas”, for example) it is fair to say that the vast majority of Biblical scholars, from the most conservative traditionalists in the Vatican to the most world wary of skeptics, agree that the following pretty much encompasses one hundred percent of the surviving material that mentions Jesus Christ and which was written within 100 years of his death.

      (a) The Letters of Paul – which have brief, passing references to him, written about 15 years after Christ died.
      (b) The Gospel of Mark – written about 35-40 years after Christ died.
      (c) The Gospel of Matthew – written about 50-55 years after Christ died.
      (d) The Gospel of Luke – written about 50-55 years after Christ died.
      (e) The Gospel of John – written about 60-65 years after Christ died.
      (g) Two very brief and references to him in letters by Roman administrators, written about 90 years after his death, and two references by Josephus, a Jewish historian.

      That’s it. All other references were written later and cannot be anything but unlikely repet.itions of earlier material. Tellingly, there are no records of Jesus’ existence in any other Roman or non-religious records from the time. There are no Roman records of his birth, of his death or of his crucifixion. The Romans were prodigious record keepers, yet never saw fit to mention him, except in the above letters, which were more about keeping an eye on his followers, who were starting to emerge, Falun Gong like, as a dangerous cult to the Romans.

      What emerges is that, during his lifetime and immediately after it, Christ was essentially a theological nobody. An irrelevant, ranting, apocalyptic prophet among many in the region at the time. The sort of disheveled, “the end is neigh” nut that one is panhandled by. Even Saint Paul, whose 13 letters are the earliest records we have of Christ’s life and make up half of the 27 books of the New Testament, makes very little reference to Jesus. He certainly did not consider him a particularly important figure, much less the messiah.

      It was only in the centuries after his death that Christ began to take on any significance. The only truly interesting thing to me in the whole Christ fable is why and how this happened and how the myth grew to take on the worldwide proportions it has today. The spark was likely an irrelevant prophet, the fuel he ignited (our astonishing predilection toward theism) is a fascinating mystery.

      6. You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.

      See above. I think he existed, but he was the most pumped up, overrated thing in history – until Paul McCartney came along.

      7. You accuse Christians of being intolerant, judgmental and hateful, while you foam at the mouth calling them lunatics, ignorant, weak-minded, and stupid.

      I, personally, do not consider fundamentalists as hateful. It is a little hard to respect many of their opinions, but I do not extrapolate fundamental personality flaws from this – just a lack of education and a (likely) unfortunate upbringing. I remain convinced that even the most closed minded of fundamentalist can have his mind opened, if we atheists are patient and respectful. I agree that sometimes we are not.

      8. You think atheists are treated like second-class citizens. Then you spend most of your day belittling Christians and other religious people on CNN.

      I agree that some of us, myself included, could use a quick course in public relations at times.

      9. You think "freethought" and "thinking for yourself" automatically means adopting an atheist viewpoint.

      Actually, I do think that – to an extent. I see atheism as the highest level of theological-philosophical achievement. It takes the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. It maintains most of the morality of mainstream Christian theism, but rejects the supernatural elements of the belief. To the extent it does reject the morality of the Bible, it is the socially impeding, mean spirited elements we reject. It requires a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, without having to think it was all made for us. In short, we get more out of being the irrelevant ant and staring up at the cosmos than we do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black and white pirouette about us.

      10. You adamantly refuse to recognize 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

      Stalin killed anybody who stood in his way. It was a geo-political movement. He rejected organized religion as he saw it as a compet.ition to his authority.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  16. James73Bond7

    you mean the word 'porn' is banned

    porn
    porn
    porn
    porn
    porn

    August 22, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  17. James73Bond7

    God didnt create adam and steve or madam and eve. Amen!

    August 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Colin

      That's a very insightful comment! Let's base 21st Century social policy on some totally discredited Bronze Age Middle Eastern mythology that is not even original to the Christian religion we hope to foster by it.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Atheist

      We all realize this, you're just slow to catch on that he didn't create anything else either because he isn't real...

      August 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • William Demuth

      If god hates Gays, why are his clergy all gay?

      I guess its ok if its a BOY you bugger, but not a man?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  18. Goddog

    BTW... to write an article of this type and then block commentors from using the very word is REALLY STUPID!

    August 22, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  19. Thankful

    Do not allow yourselves to be so easily offended by this image or someone's word, for it is satan's goal to steal your joy. Remain in Christ.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Tripp

      Your IQ must be your shoe size to recite drivel like that.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • gearldh

      Tripp, did you come up with that quick hitter yourself. Wonder who's IQ your post is really dissing?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Tripp

      @gearidh....having a room temp IQ is no way to go through life and you must live in a constant 70 degree environment. If you dont understand I can explain it for you so your limited mind can grasp the idea.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  20. Goddog

    Do not attempt to pull the fleck from your neighbor's eye when there is a plank in your own. first remove the plank, etc...

    Better start now... it's a big plank!

    August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
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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.