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My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind
Seeing the wrath of God in natural disasters was once commonplace.
August 28th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind

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

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

As I am riding out Hurricane Irene on Cape Cod, I cannot help thinking about how differently New Englanders in colonial times interpreted these natural disasters. While we speak of the eye of the hurricane, they were ever mindful of the eye of a God who was watching over them, and sending storms their way as punishment for their collective sins.

A fierce debate among academics about secularization theory–the view that societies will become less religious as they modernize–seems to have been won by the skeptics.

Yes, secularization of a sort is happening, but only in certain places (western Europe, most notably). And it seems to be reversible (see the United States today vs. the United States in the 1970s). So simple versions of secularization theory seem just plain wrong.

However, one place where American society, at least, plainly seems to be growing less religious is in the realm of natural disasters.

When the Great Colonial Hurricane raced up the east coast and lashed New England in August 1635, its 130 mph winds and 21-foot storm surge were almost universally viewed in supernatural rather than natural terms—as a judgment of God on the unfaithful.

We still have Puritans among us today, of course.

Pat Robertson is notorious for turning natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina into supernatural communications—God’s curse on Haiti or New Orleans for bad religion or widespread abortions.

And on the radio a couple days ago I heard a talk show host suggest that the one-two punch of the recent earthquake and hurricane were two thumbs down from God on the leadership of Barack Obama.

Still, American society as a whole no longer interprets natural disasters as signs of some coming apocalypse or evidence of some past misdeeds. And those that do (Robertson, for example) we generally regard as cranks and outliers—relics of a bygone age.

Some say science and religion are engaged in a battle for the soul of America. I don’t buy that.

I know there are bitter divisions over evolution and creationism, for example. But there are all sorts of spiritual arenas where science is mum, and vice versa. Science and religion run on parallel tracks far more often than those tracks intersect.

Hurricanes and earthquakes are one arena, however, where the language of science has almost entirely routed the language of theology.

Psalms 107:25-33 reads: “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. . . . He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground."

Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans—including the overwhelming majority of American Christians—believe that when God has something to say He speaks in less dramatic ways, including the still small voices in our hearts and the slightly louder voices of the preachers in our pulpits.

When it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes, however, our authorities are geologists and meteorologists. Most of us interpret these events not through the rumblings of the biblical prophet Jeremiah or the poetry of the Book of Revelation but through the scientific truths of air pressure and tectonic plates.

As a result of this sort of secularization, we are much better at predicting the course of hurricanes. The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 arrived as a surprise and took many lives with it, including, according to the report of the Massachusetts governor John Winthrop, those of eight Native Americans taken by the storm surge while “flying from their wigwams.”

So we are better prepared, thank science. Our stories are far less dramatic, however. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God. But their God no longer acts out his fury as in Bible days.  Our storms have not yet been tamed. But our God has.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Science

soundoff (2,530 Responses)
  1. Sue

    OK, gman, I'll take your challenge. Let's take Physics. I go first: In your own words, explain second quantization. Then, list 2 effects that would be expected upon substi-tuting an electron with a muon in a helium atom when mixed into a hydrogen cloud. Finally, explain the characteristics of magnetic quanta in type II superconductors in the presence of weak pinning sites and strong driving forces.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • gman

      Sue, judging by the difference between this and your other posts, you have been doing some googling. I am sorry – but the proof of there not being a personal creator is on you. Tell me how natural selection created the mitochondria? Let's not talk particle physics yet because most of that is theoretical models describing what we experience.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Sue

      No wimping out now gman. You said I could pick the topic, so answer the questions or go down in history as the pathetic coward that you are.

      YOU ARE A WIMP!

      August 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Sue

      PS yes, I have a Ph.D. in Physics. Go back to mast-urbating, gman. It's all the action you'll ever get.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Sue

      And just to demonstrate gman's ignorance, the final part of the challenge actually is outside the domain of particle physics. Think superfluids and you'll be getting close.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Sue

      Time's up, gman. You lose. Go back to your usual mast-urbating. You'd know if you understood the questions that you'll have a dam-n hard time answering all 3 by googling, loser.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Dang, gman. Sue just smacked your butt so hard that seismographs the world over detected the impact!

      August 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Actually the burden of proof that the anthropomorphic projection called a "creator" is on the one proposing something SO completely illogical. In order for a creator to have "acted", to initiate creation, in a timeless environment, BEFORE space-time existed is completely meaningless and illogical. There was no BEFORE there was time, in which it, (god), existed, thus it is meaningless to say it "began" or created space-time. 😈

      August 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • gman

      had to eat dinner Sue – since it took you so long to respond in the first place. Where is your answer? How does quantum theory get you close to an explanation of the origins of life? It is not only for the believer to posit answers – you must do likewise

      August 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • gman

      Sue, since you have a doctorate in Physics (would love to know who was on your dissertation board) please explain to Richard (the one that keeps cheerleading with no valuable inputs of his own) how Hawking's calculation of monkey's eventually typing out a Shakespear sonnet would take a prohibitive time – longer than the known universe and longer than the universe would last ... hint you can google it too

      August 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • gman

      Sue, I am out for the night – try to remember the word relevant – try to stay relevant – we are talking about proof for God and/or proof against his existence. I have offered a lot of proof today. YOu and your buddies have dialed up the scepticism so high and offered nothing in return ... unfortunately this is a very typical day talking with atheist. I like to read Hawkings and Dawkins – at least they posit formative arguments

      August 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Sue

      gman, you lost, you pathetic coward, and you are still trying to change the subjec.

      You made a challenge and I've called you on it. You've been beaten fair and square, and after all that and all your excuses, you still haven't answered the questions.

      YOU PATHETIC WIMP!

      August 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • A Theist

      Sue, please do us all a favor and politely grow a pair. If you're really a PhD in physics and you really strongly disagree with gmans beliefs, why not send him to the simple sources that disprove his point? Ranting on about calling someone a coward just makes you look childish, and honestly, a disgrace to the academic community.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Sue

      A Theist. go fu-k yourself, you sick deluded fool.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Sue

      A Theist, you telling a woman to "grow a pair" is downright insulting. So fuc-k off and eat sh!t and die, you cowardly as-shole. P!ss right off.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • A Theist

      Sue, it's a figure of speech–and one in jest at that–and I have known many women who have said it to each other. So it offends you and for that I apologize. Though to be honest I thought your name was intended to be ironic (ever heard of "A Boy Named Sue"?). In fact, by the way you arer acting and screaming and swearing, I would have much sooner profiled you as a ranting, angsty teenage boy than a PhD in physics–no gender association implied. But now that I've seen how you react, I can only say that you are embarassing yourself.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Sue

      A Theist, you and your idiotic beliefs are an embarrassment to humanity.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • J.W

      Sue why dont you demonstrate your knowledge of physics for us.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • sam

      Sue is having a moment.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • J.W

      It may just be that time of the month for Sue

      August 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  2. John Richardson

    http://www.scienceandatheism.com/2011/04/23/does-science-lead-to-atheism/#more-221

    August 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • gman

      John, you realize that Hawking was WRONG when he gave the monkey typing a shakespear sonnet example? It was embarrassing for him. By the time this could happen the universe would have long cooled and no more energy would be left, no stars would be burning, etc.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Gman You realize that non-believers don't prop anyone up as infallible messiahs? I'm pretty sure that Hawking got a lot more than the monkey-sonnet thing wrong during his long career, assuming he did get the monkey-sonnet thing wrong. (I don't consider you a credible source for anything.) I find a lot of Richard Dawkins's evolutionary theorizing second-rate at best, especially his characterization of phenotypes as mere "vehicles" for genotypes, when it is in fact the phenotypic expressions of genes that either do or do not confer survival advantage, and not the genes themselves. Religious idiots like yourself are always expecting us non-believers to adopt some sort of discipleship att-itude towards famous non-believers. Some people do. But that whole mindset is anathema to many, I suspect most non-believers.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Casey

      Hawking has gotten a lot of stuff wrong. His major thesis about disproving the law of conservation of information for instance. (ouch).

      August 30, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  3. SciGuy

    God has revealed his truths to us through natural revelation and special revelation. The natural revelation falls largely under the domain of what we could call scientific inquiry. Special revelation is God's word given directly to us. To deny the benefit of either type of revelation is foolish. The so-called scientists who flippantly reject special revelation are not good scientists. The believer who accepts God's special revelation for the gift is is, and seeks to discover truths from God's natural revelation, in the deserved humility of our weaknesses is the true scientist indeed.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • SciGal

      Religion is always trying to usurp human culture and achievement. First it denies science and now it is called natural revelation and it is gift from God! Nobody buys your c*p any more.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Haha. Hi, SciBabe. It's been called natural revelation for a long time.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • JohnR

      Score so far: SciGal 1 – SciBubba 0

      August 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Number who contribute at least slightly to this thread: 2
      Number who feebly attempted, but can't count to one: 1

      August 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • JT

      You religious fanatics envy science because it works and are always trying to redefine science to include magic and mysticism. Go back to the dark ages and leave the rest of us to advance. You're nothing but dead weight.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Ooooh, SciBubba tries to come back with some incisive wit, but comes up totally lame again! Victory to SciGal!

      August 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • gman

      Wow, atheists are so childish ... to quote anfinsen – the nobel laurete in chemistry "“I think only an idiot can be an atheist. We must admit that there exists an
      incomprehensible power or force with limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole
      universe going in the first place.”

      August 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • John Richardson

      It's a looooong way from a Deistic "uncaused cause" type god to jolly old Jehovah. Your chemist pal here could be right and you still be woefully wrong re the nature of god.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Fred1

      I can name an almost endless list of tangable benefits that scientific inquiry have brought to mankind that did not exist before the scientific inquiry. Please list thie tangable benefits that Special revelation has brought to mankind that did not exist before the special revelation.

      August 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  4. lulz

    stop watching fox news. go outside. read a book. talk to your neighbors. take a few classes. enrich yourself.

    then you'll see just how "reversed" secularization is.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  5. Colin

    Theists regularly try to lay some claim to scientific progress by pointing to scientific achievements made by, or contributed to by theists. Such assertions are often made that Newton, Mendel and others were theists.

    They are undoubtedly correct that virtually all pre-1900 scientific breakthroughs were made by people (Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists) who believed in sky-gods and life after death to varying degrees. But that is not at all supportive of the view that any (or one particular) religion is correct or that there is a god, life after death, or reincarnation etc. Until 1900 virtually all people were theists, believing in a god or gods.

    The big difference between scientific progress and religious beliefs is the way they are arrived at. Science depends on rigorous experimentation, strict methodology and taking nothing as true simply because we want it to be. Religion depends on pure faith, hope and wishes, totally unsupported by empirical evidence. I know of no scientists, believer or not, who claims his breakthrough came from, or was aided by his religious beliefs. None say they prayed and god gave them the answer.

    The noted scientists who believed made their breakthroughs despite, not because of, their respective religions. I doubt any of them would be believers today, given the freedom to doubt they would now have and the access to knowledge they would now enjoy. That is probably why about 95% of scientists in Western societies are now atheists.

    No, my Bible-cuddling friends. You cannot claim credit for breakthroughs made by rejecting your methodology. Science is reality. Religion is simple philosophy for small minds. It is science with Down syndrome.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • A Theist

      “It is the steady, ongoing, never-slackening fight against scepticism and dogmatism, against unbelief and supersti tion, which religion and science wage together. The directing watchword in this struggle runs from the remotest past to the distant future: ‘On to God!’ ” (Planck, as cited in Heilbron 1986, 185; see also Planck 1958, 30).

      I can go on if you'd like, but this assertion:
      "Religion depends on pure faith, hope and wishes, totally unsupported by empirical evidence. I know of no scientists, believer or not, who claims his breakthrough came from, or was aided by his religious beliefs. None say they prayed and god gave them the answer."

      This assertion is simply unfounded. Your anger and emotion are clouding your judgment. I'm not saying you must believe in a God to see clearly, but you should really step out of that bubble you're in.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • gman

      colin, I would like the source for the 95% of scientists who are athiest – please share. Also, there are 300+ as of 2004 that signed a dissent from darwinism paper – these are leaders in the scientific field. Do you realize the head of the human genome project believes in God?
      I do not think any claim was made that because of God they followed the scientific method. Science points towards a creator – not the absence of one

      August 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • gman

      source of interest http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

      August 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Seriously

      "Also, there are 300+ as of 2004 that signed a dissent from darwinism paper – these are leaders in the scientific field."

      You need to google better and stop using wikpedia it sucks, most of the signatories have no expertise in areas Germaine to evolutionary biology.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Seriously

      The composition of the 300 signatories in 2004:
      Chemistry – 57
      Engineering – 43
      Physics – 40
      Molecular & Cellular Sciences – 39
      Medicine & Health Professions – 20
      Mathematics – 14
      Physiology – 14
      Microbiology – 9
      Computer Science – 8
      Geology – 6
      Psychology – 5
      Pharmacology – 5
      Organismal biology – 5
      Atmospheric Science – 5
      Exercise Science – 4
      Anthropology – 4
      Neurosciences – 4
      Dairy or Animal Science – 4
      Philosophy – 3
      Statistics – 3
      Chemical Environmental Science – 2
      Veterinary Medicine – 2
      Oceanography – 2
      Forestry – 1
      Agronomy – 1
      Unknown – 7
      Chemists, physicists, engineers, bench jockeys, doctors and mathematicians account for over 200 of the 300 signatories. And seriously, who cares what computer scientists, statisticians, philosophers and atmospheric scientists think...

      August 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • gman

      since you mention evolutionary biology, would you please summarize how random mutations created the first ribosome? the first mitochondria? the first cellular transport system? how about the first utilitary protein? do you still believe in the miller-urey experiment? did you even read the scientists names that dissent?

      August 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • A Theist

      @ Seriously I am a Computer Scientist, and I take umbrage to that claim! ( 😉 Not really, unless we're talking purist sciences, like Math, Physics, or Logic and Algorithms, it's probably best you don't ask us much 😛 ).

      August 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • SciGuy

      How fortunate we are to have Colin divine for us whether Newton and the rest would be believers today...that's real scientific, Colin!

      August 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Colin

      gman, 300 Christians who believe in the Christian god. So what? Google – atheism and Royal society or atheism and American Academy of scientists.

      As to your "talking snake" theory, the fact that you give credibility to that nonsense speaks volumes about your ignorance of basic science and history.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • gman

      collin, talking snake?
      You have been seriously smacked today with a weight of evidence and yet you continue your silly name calling as the only rebuttal. Yes, I have googled and more importantly read a vast majority of these scientists. They do not have answers either – where is my answer on the cambrian explosion, the natural selection pathway to the development of mitochondria? It is people like you in modern "academia" that make it that much harder for intelligent people to ask the strong questions. Did you look at dissent from darwin or are you just going to be happy with a great great grandpa as a monkey since "academia" states that it is so? by the way, the entire fossil evidence of man from 5-10 million years ago can fit into a small box -but don't let facts get in the way of your fanatic love of atheism

      August 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • LinCA

      @gman

      You said "the entire fossil evidence of man from 5-10 million years ago can fit into a small box"
      And within that small box is infinitely more evidence than for all gods combined. But don't let the lack of evidence get in the way of your fantasies.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • gman

      LinCA – it is entirely your choice if you would like to take a bunch of fossils over the indescribably fine tuned nature of our universe – the archaeological and historical proof of the old testament – the incontrovertible proof of the life of Jesus – sure go ahead and take the fossils ... as forest gump says

      August 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      There is no "incontrovertible" life of Jesus. Scholars argue every day, (and have been for thousands of years), about the meaning of that whole business, and NOTHING about it is "incontrovertible" or about ANY part of it. Obviously you are not a theologian, or scripture scholar either.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @gman

      You said "it is entirely your choice if you would like to take a bunch of fossils over the indescribably fine tuned nature of our universe"
      You say that as if they are mutually exclusive. They're not.

      We, and everything we see around us, and everything that came before us, can only exist in a universe that is "tuned" exactly as ours is. That doesn't mean that it was "tuned" for us. It merely is a prerequisite for us to exist. It in no way provides any evidence of design, and even less of your god.

      There may be billions of other universes that are tuned differently. They may also support life, maybe even similar to ours. They may also be be entirely inhabitable. We will probably never know.

      You said "the archaeological and historical proof of the old testament"
      There is none.

      You said "the incontrovertible proof of the life of Jesus"
      There is none.

      You said "sure go ahead and take the fossils"
      Of course I will. Anyone with any common sense will.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Sporkify

      There's no historical evidence that Jesus ever existed. There's no historical evidence that the Exodus ever occurred.

      "Explain the creation of the universe? Oh you can't? Well clearly god did it."

      Solid argument son.

      September 1, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  6. EnergyBeing3

    Come on people, PLENTY of snake oil for you to buy. I'll wear my glitter robe and big hat to create some sensationalism and you'll get this wonderfully false emotional feeling through the hype and hysteria of the crowd being "SAVED". I'll put on a FABULOUS show for you and don't worry about your kids being alone with me and me having my way with them. You don't need suspension of disbelief or healthy skepticism to live, no way, it's so over rated. Hurry over with your bank account numbers. Your IMMORTAL SOUL depends on it, ... just because I say so and I have this book written over a thousand years ago to back this up.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • gman

      so the bible was written in 1011 based on your thousand year substandard fact? seriously you are making a fool of yourself

      August 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Good luck with you and your church or temple 🙂

      At least you are wearing a sparklie robe ... Bernie Madoff had people giving him tons of money and he didn't have to do the faith part. 🙂

      August 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      gman, come on dude, I don't take you for a total fool. You and everyone knows 'The Book' of rules was written WELL OVER a thousand years ago by people we've never met nor would we ever know their hidden agendas. You can also be rest assured that there haven't been over 20 revisions and translations to my snake oil book. Because that would just be silly to follow and unreliable. Those magic beans are just calling your name. I can just hear them. It's not too late for that VIP pass to the exclusive club in the sky. Hurry Hurry

      August 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • To your own tune

      A dead horse. You're beating it. And I'm not just being figurative in one sense here.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • study time

      momma beat if you don't finish up ur homework

      August 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Sue

      gman is stupid and gullible, He is also now very flatulent from having consumed a quart of EnergyBeing3's potent mixture of MAGIC BEANS and snake oil. And EB3, what "snake" did you say that oil came from again?

      August 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  7. gman

    Colin – I have been away from keyboard. You last equated the fine tuning of the universe to saying we should expect it this way and some such nonsense about a fish expecting water. someone else stated the anthropic principle as an answer to fine tuning which is really no explanation at all. The anthropic principle direct comparison is stating that if we line you up against 100 marksman with rifles and they pull the trigger and yet you are not hit with any bullets. You wouldn't just say well if it didn't happen then I wouldn't be alive – you would demand a reason – anthropic is no reason at all.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • gman

      Colin's next question was how do you go from a finely tuned universe that points to a creator to the Hebrew or Christian God. This would take a very long answer so I will try to summarize it with a few key points: 1. we have a moral law and invariably this law is about persons – we do not obsess on why a tree rots in other words 2. we have the historic proof of Jesus Christ through letters, gospels, early church writings, and roman historians Pliny the younger, taticus, josephus 3. we have archeological proof of some of the key places in the bible through the work of former atheist Albright

      August 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      gman

      Colin's next question was how do you go from a finely tuned universe that points to a creator to the Hebrew or Christian God. This would take a very long answer so I will try to summarize it with a few key points: 1. we have a moral law and invariably this law is about persons – we do not obsess on why a tree rots in other words 2. we have the historic proof of Jesus Christ through letters, gospels, early church writings, and roman historians Pliny the younger, taticus, josephus 3. we have archeological proof of some of the key places in the bible through the work of former atheist Albright
      ----–
      Jesus might have existed but he most likely suffered from:
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      August 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Also your points made does not address the "tuned" universe and morals do not just come from your christina bible. Criss Angel exist and can walk on water and rise in the air...do you still beleive he can because you saw a video or because someone told you? The only thing you have faith in is man and his tales he has told.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • gman

      well at least you do not hide behind pretences anti christian!
      Just remember: The first to take on Jesus as a psychologist, though not as a medically trained psychopathologist, was the German scholar and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the greatest critics of Christianity (who ended up suffering an irreversible mental breakdown himself)
      People do not willingly die for a lie. The resurrection proved Jesus to Thomas, his half-brother James and to the denying Peter. Peter, Paul, Steven and a slew of others went on to die for their beliefs after Jesus' death.
      Another retort to your comment is the sheer pseudo-science of psychology and how do you come up with an accurate pseudo-scientific profile from Jesus' statements which would amount to less than 30 minutes of one session?

      August 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • A Theist

      @ ACTS Why would thousands of people follow a schizophrenic? He'd be chained up and sent away just like some of the people he healed long before he made a name for himself. Even though the scientific method didn't formally exist back then, you still needed evidence to back crazy claims like "I am God".

      August 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • A Theist

      Except nobody believes in Chris Angel, Chris Angel never–supposedly or actually–rose from the dead, and testament in the old days was worth much more than it is today. That is, a credible source was key in sharing news–multiple, even better. I won't debate your other points, because, as I have said earlier. You can't prove God exists or does not exist. There's a way to describe a universe with Him and without Him. Depending on how you view the world, one makes more sense than the other.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Colin

      Gman- can't follow your first point about moral law. As to your point about Jesus, there are very few references to him outside of the four gospels and none of them claim magical powers. I suspect he did live, but I do not accept that historical references to him prove he had supernatural powers. The same claim has been made for thousands of people throughout history. Fianlly, what archeological evidence do you ave that there is a god or that humans survive their physical deaths?

      August 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Know What

      Why would thousands follow Jim Jones and David Koresh to their deaths? Why would thousands die in suicide bombings for Allah? Why do 10s of thousands follow Warren Jeffs... they haven't died for him yet, but are very willing to do it.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • True Reason

      Gman, the stability of the cosmos points to the endless love of the creator Allah, not yor god. Read the Qur'an, you will find the truth.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • gman

      Colin, archaeological evidence supports a lot of the validity of various parts of the old testament that were suppose to be "magical" as well. Humans do not survive their own deaths – you are a soul and you have a body – your body dies but your soul does not. Other scientific evidence around brain manipulation supports the soul concept – a subject can have part of his brain stimulated and move a hand and the subject will say "I" did not move my hand – you did it

      August 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • gman

      thousands did not follow David K. and the Jesus deaths were completely different in any case – these are people that died not as a group – but individually over long periods of time -if Jesus was a fraud then why would they die for him? Why would Peter – who denied Christ during the trial and crucifixion – years later gain strength and start to preach the Gospel? Wasn't the logical choice to just abscond with those 3 years of friendship with Jesus?

      August 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • gman

      True Reason, The Qu'ran is unfortunately wrong and it can be stated quickly: 1. the Qu'ran states that if you can develop a surah more beautiful than any of the surahs in the Qu'ran then it is also a tampered book 2. the Qu'ran states Jesus was a prophet – everything he said was true – but he did not die on the cross – the statements are at diametrical opposition to each other – furthermore, we have historical proof for his death

      August 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Know What

      gman,

      So, what if Peter really did believe? So what? He was a dumb, gullible Middle Eastern fisherman, driven by an enticing fantasy.

      Regarding archeological evidence for Biblical places and persons: Sure there is some, but there is not one single shred of evidence for the supernatural beings or events alleged to have been present there. There is evidence that these old cultures and tribes 'believed' certain magical things, that is all.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Seriously

      You do understand there are contradictions in the bible too.
      Is it folly to be wise or not?
      PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
      ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
      1CO 1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

      August 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Fred1

      @ gman: Dyeing for your beliefs
      In 1993 82 Branch Dravidians chose to burn to death because of their faith in their Christ… David Koresh. Perhaps willingness to die for your beliefs isn’t a very good indicator of the truth of those beliefs? Either that or Koresh is a bigger Christ then Jesus because Koresh had 82 apostils die for him and Jesus only had 12. And choosing to stay in a fire and burn to death gets you way more martyr points than just having the Romans kill you.

      Even Christ didn’t have enough faith to just stand there and burn to death

      August 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  8. Happy Feet

    Finally,

    Going home! Going home! people...

    Thanks for the wishes people, talk about miracles my life is one...

    Penguin xoxo

    August 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I hear Earth Wind and Fire are going to do a live concert down there for when he arrives.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • peka peka beach

      Wish you a safe journey back to Antarctica Happy Feet!

      You show us miracles are possible!

      August 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  9. God Grace

    Let's read and know more what Noble Laureates scientists says about God, the creator.

    August 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • A Theist

      Thanks for that. A very interesting read to be sure.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • gman

      Men and women on the forefront of science realizing that there is a God – atheists take note. The head of the human genome project also believes in God

      August 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Know What

      I repeat:

      Isaac Newton also believed in alchemy, numerology and the occult. Nikola Tesla ended up feeding the pigeons and believing that one particular pigeon was his wife.

      Just because they got some things correct, doesn't mean that they got *everything* correct.... only the things which have been *proven* over and over again are accepted.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  10. SciGuy

    This article shows that one can be a "religion scholar" yet know nothing about the God of us all. This man's god is a worthless idol of his imagination.

    August 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • JohnR

      Aren't they all!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @JohnR

      You asked: "Aren't they all!"

      Yep.

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Nope 🙂

      l'Chaim

      eww.... you Atheist made me defend Stephen Prothero..... I might never forgive you guys for that ... I feel I need to go through a detox tent now 😦

      August 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • JohnR

      I was referring to Prothero's god, not Prothero. Prothero, however, is pretty dopey most of the time. He's had a few good articles bashing the Christian right, but is generally sappy and useless.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"He's had a few good articles bashing the Christian right, but is generally sappy and useless."

      Ahh ... So unless he is attacking your enemy he is totally useless. Not biased are you? LOL 🙂

      I think he is useless if he is defending Christianity or attacking it.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Mark Religious people generally do a pretty good job bashing each other. It's fun to watch! But for the record, when Prothero singled out Christians (with a strong implication that he meant the Christian right) had some special obligation to disown and condemn the Norwegian mass murderer, I thought he was full of it and said so. No one but the murderer himself has anything to answer to and it's creepy to suggest that any particular group has to "prove" itself by making some special statement of condemnation that others don't need to make. In any case, insofar as I have certain viewpoints, I of course will be better disposed to articles that argue viewpoints I am sympathetic to than to articles that argue contrary viewpoints – UNLESS they are so brilliantly argued that they at least give me pause. But facts are facts and the fact is that Christians have some basic tenets that I find just plain ludicrous and their willingness to worship a god that consigns anyone to hell is just plain horrific. So I don't expect to come away wowed by Christian attempts to defend the basic faith.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      John Richardson. Ok, pretty thought out responce. The distancing from the Norwegian shooter is something that naturally groups must do. The Muslims did it after 9/11, even in the current news where a group of white kids beat up and killed a African American, you found members of the White community distancing themselves as well.

      They have too because folks like Al Sharpton and others will try to push their agenda by saying that such evil is inherent in an entire group. Now, in the Belief Blogs we see that on both sides so I can imagine one such as Porthero would do his best to go above and beyond to not run the ire of his non-Christian friends.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  11. Reality

    From p. 17:

    "Professor" Prothero ends his column with "But our God has." not noting that he is a professed "partial" atheist (how can one be part atheist??) i.e. "wishy-washing" the entire commentary.

    "Prothero: Some of my best friends are atheists. Some of me is atheist, too. … " http://www.patheos.com/.../friendlyatheist/.../stephen-prothero-talks-about

    wish·y-wash·y (wsh-wsh, -wôsh)

    adj. wish·y-wash·i·er, wish·y-wash·i·est Informal
    1. Thin and watery, as tea or soup; insipid.
    2. Lacking in strength of character or purpose; ineffective

    August 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • SciGuy

      This kind of religious expert is just what the itching ears long for. The true, thrice-holy God who demands perfect obedience from his creatures is unpalatable to modern "scientific" mam. So He has been "tamed."

      August 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • SciGuy

      ...scientific man...

      August 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  12. Barry G.

    Alex Gessong,

    RE: what you said about the six million innocent people who were murdered in Europe, leading up to and during WWII, did Germany not pay a horrific price for their crimes? And were not all of their leaders held accountable?

    And those of us who believe in the afterlife believe that those who committed these atrocities must face an even greater judgment than the one they experienced on earth.

    Incidentally I’m part Jewish, although I believe that Jesus is the messiah and the son of God, whom the Jews prophesied about for hundreds of years.

    RE: Your comment that I should follow Jesus' teaching about not judging others; I do.

    When God identifies something as sin, such as taking a bribe (See: Deuteronomy), I am not judging when I say that a leader is wrong for taking a bribe. I am only affirming what the Scripture teaches.

    When God says that a leader is responsible for the care of their people and that they should put the needs of the people ahead of their own interests, I am not judging when I say that a leader is wrong, when they use their position to gratify themselves, while their people suffer and starve.

    When John the Baptist told Herod that he was committing a sin, by taking his brother's wife, John was not committing a sin, by doing this. In fact the most glowing praise to ever come from Jesus is given for John, after Herod had him beheaded.

    Jesus said you will not find one greater than John, among the people.

    I suggest that you read your Bible, and I suggest that you be careful not to take a verse out of context, even if it is convenient, lest you miss the point.

    My point stands: Those who are corrupt leaders deserve condemnation, for God has already condemned them. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God and his servant, Moses.

    August 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • jparks

      excellent post

      August 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  13. EnergyBeing3

    UGH! I'M SO FRUSTRATED!!! So many of you are starting to use basic logic and reason about the world around you and my greed of selling snake oil and magic beans isn't working like I planned. DRATS!!! My sales are going down!!! Time to start sending out the brainwashed troops to get more people to believe in my snake oil and magic beans. I just love that these weather patterns and earthquakes have happened so I can use them to my advantage to create fear of not having the snake oil or magic beans.

    August 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  14. Ralph

    @energy

    I want some of those magic beans if they exist. I'd be willing to pay top dollar for them. Please post your address so I can mail you a check ASAP. I hope you do overnight delivery.

    August 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Snake Oil and Magic Beans
      6969 Idiot Street, South
      FarFetched, Alabama 12345

      August 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • jparks

      Dude, You need more than Magic Beans!!!!!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ralph

      nice address, for some reason that seems like itd be the exact place you'd live with all the drivel you post.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  15. Vip

    One day, a Scientist walks up to God and says, "I bet I can make a human just like You did."
    God nods His head and agrees to the Scientists challenge. So, the Scientist gathers up all that he needs in order to make a human and begins working on his project. All the while, God is watching and waiting. Soon, the Scientist get done, throws his hands into the air and shouts joyfully, "I DID IT!"
    God nods and says, "Good. Now make one with your own material(s)."

    August 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Allan

      When a third-grade student was asked to define the term "vacuum" in class, she answered, "A vacuum is an empty region of space where the Pope lives."

      August 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Free

      Funny, now whose material did God use?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Allan... like DUH! He got there using my MAGIC BEANS. He is like one of my BIGGEST BUYERS. sheesh. He also LOVES my snake oil selections. I think he became a reseller.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Vip

      @Allen- LOL.

      @Free- Why don't you ask Him yourself?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sue

      EnergyBeing3, love those MAGIC BEANS. The Christians are full of them, or something else that gives them so much flatulence. Great posts.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Free

      Vip
      Now, that's funny! 🙂

      August 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • McJesus

      God is a he. Because he has a penis. That would infer that there must be a female. So we now know who the REAL boss is. Right?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Free

      McJesus
      If God has a penis it's only because he was created in the image of his creator(s). 🙂

      August 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  16. EnClark

    "Our storms have not yet been tamed. But our God has."

    Wow. If the above paragraph is what Americans think, I hope that God Almighty proves us wrong. How sad is it that we can think that we tamed God, but not nature (which is controlled by God)? How sad is it that we believe we can shove God under our finger and say, "Do it MY way!!!" How sad is it that we think we can put a collar around God's throat and treat Him like our dog(s)? Wake up people. In NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM is God Almighty tamed.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      EnClarky pal, oh buddy, oh pal, I'm SO GLAD you said that. On that note, I have some wonderful snake oils for you to buy along with some magic beans. You'll be the envy of everyone and can feel rest assured YOU, yes YOU have the VIP pass to the BIG CLUB IN THE SKY. Great post!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Colin

      What he was effectively saying s that we no longer need your Bronze Age sky-god to explain storms.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      COLIN ... ugh! DUDE!!! Ixna on the ogical'la and eality'ra (shhhhhh hush hush) I'm almost sold out of the snake oil and the magic beans are selling like hot cakes.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • EnClark

      I am in no way worried about going to Heaven. If I do, cool. If I don't, oh well. So, your comments about me going to Heaven are redundant as is saying that we do not need God. Oh wait, the American people have yet to have AK-47's shoved down their throats, knives scraping the hair off of their scalps, and warnings about executions IF they do not turn from being Christians. Yes, I see what you are talking about.... On the other hand, America does have the spirits of Lust, Guilt, Greed, Aldultry, Jezebel, Suicide, Gluttony, Religion, Selfishness, Idolatry, Slothfulness, etc in the masses so..... isn't it LIKE that AK-47 that the new Christians over in China ate today?

      Oh my, I am sorry, I'm speaking illogically and too spiritually for you, aren't I? Bottom line: You will never be able to get rid of God.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Free

      EnClark
      "How sad is it that we can think that we tamed God, but not nature (which is controlled by God)?"
      Fine, God is a wild man in charge of all the weather, even the stuff that kills people. Is that what you want to hear?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • EnClark

      @ Free- That's not what I said, but yes, He is in charge of everything. Even Satan bows before Him.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Free

      EnClark
      Does Satan have free will? If so, then he could choose to reform himself, yes? Perhaps Christians should spend some of their time praying for him to be saved?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Sue

      So if your god has power over "Satan", how come he lets Satan go on pulling the same old sh!t, over and over again. Pretty wimpy god you've made for yourself there.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Seriously

      "Does Satan have free will? If so, then he could choose to reform himself, yes? Perhaps Christians should spend some of their time praying for him to be saved?"

      That would cure the ills of the world...but wait for it....here comes a evangelical reply....

      August 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • EnClark

      One, I am not an Evangelist. Two, I am not here to preach to you, but here is your answer: For those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, Satan rules them. For those whose names ARE written in the Lamb's Book of Life, Satan must get permission to lay a finger on them. As long as your name is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you are free game so, yeah, Satan kinda does have free-will in most people's lives.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Free

      Seriously
      Oh, I predict that the answer will be something along the lines that he could reform himself, but of course they 'know' that he won't, because it's in the Bible. Satan is destined to be defeated with Christ's return as much as Thor is destined to die at Ragnarök. The story, you see, just doesn't work with him going off script, so believers reject the possibility altogether.

      "But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian's daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?"
      – Mark Twain's Autobiography

      August 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Free

      EnClark
      Doesn't sound like you're arguing for human free will though. Sounds like some folks have an unequal protection against evil influence, which makes it an uneven playing field. Nobody would argue that those who are born into wealthy families and those who have to work their way into wealth all on their own are playing on an even field, so your idea seems rather unjust to me.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • McJesus

      Me and myself hear the voice of god in my head, along with my other friends in this empty room with me. No, he doesn't really talk to me, but I like to think he talks to me, so I think of things and as a result hear things told to me, so that proves he exists. Telepathic communication is real, and it is greatly magnified when I wear a big hat like the Pope wears. It focuses the godly thought waves into a cone shape as it approaches from the sky and funnels it into my brain. See? Makes perfect sense now.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @EnClark

      Oh, my deluded believer! There is no devil. No demons of any sort. Nothing under your bed. If there were, I would tell you.

      Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god? What would be the point in continuing the battle, if the goal (victory?) ABSOLUTELY was not obtainable? I think this would be disheartening to any army. Even a band of fallen angels.

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      What's funny, is that Christians bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      But, Christians never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.
      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning.

      If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice.

      If the predictions of the bible concerning Satan and the end times are true, then all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment of these predictions, are predetermined. Predictions, cannot depend on chance.

      “For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
      – Carl Sagan

      You Christians and your fairy tales make me laugh very much. Thank you!

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • EnClark

      Free, as the creation of God, you have just as much right to say, "God help me." (and He will) as a Christian does. No one is exempt from that, just like no one is exempt from saving some of their money and becoming "rich." Christians are not better than non-Christians in no way, shape, or form, just like rich people are not any better than the poor. God hung out with the lowest of the low and He offered the highest of the high the same opportunity. It is we who decide what path we take. To us, His ways are not always fair, but to Him (because He sees the full outcome), His ways are always fair.

      Then, why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? Does THAT seem fair and just?! To me? No, but I do not have all the answers. What I can tell you, and anyone reading these posts, is this: who are we to decern who is good or who is bad? Who are we to determine what a person deserves, whether it be good or bad? Who are we to try to take God's place in judging people according to their heart? Do we know everything about our closest friends? No. How about our family? No. Even we do not know the extent of ourselves.

      The "playing field," as you call it, has been set and maintained. We have been put in order and placed in our current postions and it is WE who decide whether we hit the ball or not, catch the ball or not, run to first base or to home or not, etc.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • EnClark

      @ David- Your name does not suit you. You speak like a person who is demanding God show His face to you or else. How disturbing.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Free

      EnClark
      No, the way you presented it God is protecting some people completely from Satan's influence. These people are clearly not being tempted by greed or selfishness like the rest of us, which makes choosing to be good rather easy, wouldn't you say? Why would God make it easy for some, and such a challenge for others?

      August 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @EnClark

      Would Jesus be a good one to call on to decide on evil? I think so.

      Hmm...

      It is said: "By your fruit you will be known."

      Let's look at your god's "fruit".

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

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

      God had a man believe he was going to sacrifice his son to Him. Do you know how traumatic that would be for a father and his son?
      If you had the power would you do this? Would you be so insecure? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      There was a man who loved God. God made a bet with Satan that even if the man were tortured, his Possessions taken, and his children killed, he would still love God and never curse Him. God won the bet.
      Would you do that? Would you kill a man's children for a bet? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

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

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

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

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

      I call Jesus, Himself as a witness!

      Jesus had this to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Also: I'm not demanding anything. I merely show that a belief in the supernatural is silly. And believers are delusional.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • David Johnson

      @EnClark

      You said: " Your name does not suit you."

      Is that your proof that a god exists, or just a personal attack?

      Curious in Arizona

      August 30, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Sporkify

      "An apology for the devil – it must be remembered that we have heard only one side of the story. God has written all the books."

      Samuel Butler

      September 1, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  17. Richarde Locke

    COSMOS: What interesting, faith-based comments!! {in the CNN blogosphere}
    Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg? Did Yes appear before No? Good & Evil?
    Or did they “evolve” together, or spring adult full-blown from the Ocean, like a dual Aphrodite?
    Did Life, Energy and Matter leap from “nothing“, not something? Was the Big Bang Unique?
    Or are they “everlasting, eternal,” like the concept of God. W/out beginning or End?
    These are “cosmological” questions which cannot be answered by science, religion, or humanism. Only approximated, like Calculus deriving infinity, describing but not equaling. .

    All universal questions are based on the “fact” of existence, an a priori belief.
    Scientific method can’t prove or test universal BEING, since it is one, unique, can’t be compared.
    It is this absurdity, where our discriminating brains must choose by faith, not science, that people clash. We are absurd, not in a “funny” sense, but in a tragic/comic universal sense. We BE.

    I prefer the ancient Greek & Buddhist “Middle Way.” Tolerance. Live a good life.

    If Science say Irene is caused by global warming; &
    If Religion say it is an “act of God” whether in warning or punishment; &
    If Humanism say we have a problem - let’s find a solution together.
    Mediate, Compromise, find a large consensus, and move forward embracing some of all viewpoints. That’s the only solution in a democratic or majoritarian society.
    Hopefully, 90% agree on most things. And only on a few issues is there a 50/50 split,
    Dominated by left and right wings which hold the center hostage.

    It seems “faith,” “hope,” “charity or love” and “belief in something” are embedded in our DNA.
    These concepts are both evolutionary {Science} and God-given “gifts” we ignore at our peril.
    Mediated in the “civil” realm of politics and persuasive skills by active tolerance. Not scientific.

    These CNN comments, showing scorn, satire, derision, hope, trust, belief and a whole range of “human” emotions and processes are an important “dialogue.” We are talking to one another, finding ranges of acceptance and distance, in order to move forward.

    May the one Universe, in all its Godly and Satanic manifestations, continue to slightly smile upon us, skewed ever so gently towards life within the confines of natural death, as it has for 14 billion years according to Science, or eternally according to religion, or for 1million+ years when humanism says “people” 1st appeared, or even for only 5,000 years when Adam & Eve were “created“ according to the Bible. Each to his own, to “make it so” within the bounds of agreed-upon social limits & liberties. rel

    August 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  18. Colin

    So science wins over religion once again. Can science and religion ever be friends?

    Hmmm, le'ts see.

    Science – Hello Religion, I'm science. I am about 3,000 years old.

    Religion – Hello Science, I am older than you. As far as we can tell, I go back about 40,000 years or more. There is even evidence that Neanderthals practiced me.

    Science – Really!! How do we know that, religion?

    Religion – Because of you.

    Science – So, religion, what do you do?

    Religion – Well, in the USA, I give comfort to not very smart people by letting them think that a being powerful ennough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies will cause them to live happily ever after in heaven after they die if they follow some rules laid down by farmers and hearders in the Middle East 2,000 years ago.

    Science – You're s-h-i-t-t-i-n-g me. They buy that.

    Religion – You'd be surprised. Not only that, but in poorer, less educated parts of the World, I can actually convince people to hit themselves until they bleed, starve themselves, bob in front of a stone wall for hours on end, wade into filthy rivers and, in some cases, to kill other people or even themselves.

    Science – Oh my goodness, I'm not sure I want to be your friend. Do you do any good?

    Religion – I sell a lot of books. And what about you science, what do you do?

    Science – I relieve pain and cure disease, I extend lives, allow travel, communication, and people to understand and control their environment. I allow humans to explore outer space, the bottom of the oceans and the smallest of particles. In short, I have allowed humans to live with a degree of knowledge comfort once never dreamed of.

    Religion – Wow, they buy that?

    Science – No, of course not. Unlike you, I have to deliver. I cannot claim something and avoid skepticism by alleging that my claim is "beyond understanding" or otherwise exempt from critical analysis or proof.

    Religion – That's gotts s-u-c-k.

    Science – You get used to it. Anyway, I need a friend I can rely on. One of substance, not dreams. One of proof, not spoof and one of intellectual discipline, not flakey promises. I don't think we can be friends. Please go away.

    Religion – Now we both know that's not going to happen.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • gman

      Colin, this is called a straw man argument and is easily defeated. The same exercise can be done on any debate from any side. It only makes you look foolish. If you explain to me the fine tuning of the expansion of the universe down to on part in 10^140 then you have something new to contribute

      August 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Colin

      gman, I am not sure what you mean about "the fine tuning"of the Universe, but I am going to guess that your argument will essentially be the following – the Universe is complex and requires a lot for humans to exist, too much for it all to be a coincedence -therefore the Bronze Age Middle Eastern sky-god I was brought up to believe in exists and is responsible for the whole thing – oh and it also means the Bible is correct and I am going to live happily ever after I die.

      That about capture it?

      August 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Allan

      I want to play.....

      Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.

      "The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it's producing this huge mass of water," said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It's another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times." Bradford leads one of the teams that made the discovery. His team's research is partially funded by NASA and appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

      A quasar is powered by an enormous black hole that steadily consumes a surrounding disk of gas and dust. As it eats, the quasar spews out huge amounts of energy. Both groups of astronomers studied a particular quasar called APM 08279+5255, which harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much energy as a thousand trillion suns.

      Astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early, distant universe, but had not detected it this far away before. There's water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less than in the quasar, because most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in ice.

      Water vapor is an important trace gas that reveals the nature of the quasar. In this particular quasar, the water vapor is distributed around the black hole in a gaseous region spanning hundreds of light-years in size (a light-year is about six trillion miles). Its presence indicates that the quasar is bathing the gas in X-rays and infrared radiation, and that the gas is unusually warm and dense by astronomical standards. Although the gas is at a chilly minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) and is 300 trillion times less dense than Earth's atmosphere, it's still five times hotter and 10 to 100 times denser than what's typical in galaxies like the Milky Way.

      Measurements of the water vapor and of other molecules, such as carbon monoxide, suggest there is enough gas to feed the black hole until it grows to about six times its size. Whether this will happen is not clear, the astronomers say, since some of the gas may end up condensing into stars or might be ejected from the quasar.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • HS

      Colin, why don’t you write a post on the sins of PRIDE and GREED, since, you are afflicted with both of them that blind you to His truth in life.

      Amen.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • gman

      Colin, there are between 30-100+ fine tuned constants that create a world capable of us asking these questions. You should read more before so arrogantly spouting off that religion is foolish. One of the most fine tuned is the initial expansion rate of the universe – too much energy and matter does not coalesce – no planets, no suns – too little and we have a big crunch. Equations prove this to be so fine tuned that it has shaken and converted many scientists from atheism to at least deism

      August 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Allan

      "Colin, why don’t you write a post on the sins of PRIDE and GREED, since, you are afflicted with both of them that blind you to His truth in life"

      Why don't you write a post on the sins of arrogance, pride and hate that blind yo to His truth of life.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Colin, please stop using basic reason or that silly thing called logic. I've almost got these dupes, er, ah, I mean these lovely "open minds" sold on my snake oil and magic beans. (I'll share in the profits after they spill their bank accounts so hush hush for now)

      wink wink

      August 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Laughing

      gman, you still are ignoring the fact that you make an awfully big leap from these constants that allow us to live to it being because of a god, and the christian god at that. personally i find it irrelevant that the universe COULD have been too much or too little. It wasn't, so to call it absolutely perfect is only because you live in it, the universe however does not care whether you live or die, whether it has the perfect conditions for you to live in it or not.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Your argument is a bit like a fish claiming the ocean exists to run perfectly through its gills. Not so, the gills exist as they evolved to be useful in the ocean. The ocean was not made to suit the gills.

      But, even taking your argument, how the hell do you get from there to the Bible or to human beings surviving their own physical deaths? In fact, why is "god" an answer to anything. It isn't- it's a cop out, a complete non-answer. When you attribute something to "god" you are just giving yourself a comfortable self-serving answer and walking away from the challange.

      "God" stopped being the equivalent of "I don't know" during the Dark Ages. Get with the 21st Century, gman.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • gman

      Collin Laughing – you are not only arguing with me but with some of the most reknown scientists of our day. It is not like water at all – the universe would not exist – early stars would not have supernova to create the heavy elements needed for planets. You guys do not understand the very physics that you worship!

      August 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Colin, stop making people aware of God, Lucifer and Religious BOGUS stories to used by those with over active imaginations to make the stories "stick" over generations along with abuse, torture and indoctrinations of helpless minds. I'm trying to SELL SOME SNAKE OIL AND MAGIC BEANS HERE!!! sheesh (please pay NO ATTENTION to that man behind the screen) I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ ... er wait, what was I talking about? OH right, Colin... ixna on the od'gsna reality'sna

      August 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Colin

      gman, answer the challange I have thrown out twice now. How do you get from there to the bible and humans surviving their own deaths in heaven/hell?

      August 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @gman
      I would like to reference the anthropic principle for what you have stated. And of course things are going to be "fine tuned" They're going to have a set value and be that way. Some things are just constants, like pi.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Colin, your pay be amusing and cause some of us to chuckle. But in reality it\'s not what 's happening. The reality is, that no matter how far man's endeavors take him in ht fields of knowledge and science, at the end of every path of his endeavor, he will find himself more perplexed and dumbfounded, staring into the face of God! He';; bee always ahead of you, and you'll never catch up with Him, o, mighty Man!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Colin, your post may be amusing and cause some of us to chuckle. But in reality it's not what 's happening....

      The reality is, that no matter how far man's endeavors take him in the fields of knowledge and science, at the end of every path of his endeavors, he will find himself more perplexed and dumbfounded, staring into the face of God!
      God will be always ahead of you, and you'll never catch up with Him, o, mighty Man!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Colin

      PRISM – and that would be YOUR god, right. the old sky-fairy from the Bible. That is the dilemma you Christians run into. Once you try to extrapolate your god from natural events, you have to accept that any religion can make the same claim for its god(s). You alos are left with the gaping assumption that we somehow survive our own physical deaths. Silly stuff.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Allan

      Q: Where does bad light end up?
      A: In a prism.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Magic

      gman,

      gman,

      "With "God" all things are possible", right? Thus it is also with imagination and fantasy. Where do you think we got a 3-headed dog, a woman with snakes for hair, Klingon warriors and little green men from Mars?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Sue

      gman is a walking, talking Gross Concept Error. Way to go with the GCE's, gman. Time you pulled out some science textbooks and did some reading.

      & Colin, your original post was wonderful.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • A Theist

      God can neither be proven nor disproven–it is the very nature of a being that exists beyond the physical universe. The matter of belief must reduce down to one's individual choice to conclude that either a) there is a God or b) there is not.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • JohnR

      Colin nails it again!

      August 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @I'm The Best

      Is that the same pi that The Babble couldn't come up with the correct value for?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”sins of arrogance, pride and hate”

      Yep JohnR, he sure does .. nothing like making such a claim and in the same post massively failing at it.

      Someone earlier suggested that folks just read through Genesis and they might see how close to scientific theory it arrives at. I posted the process that God made when he created the Earth all the way to us humans. Earth without form, rotation around the sun and moon around us, then to life starting in the sea and then on the land. These are points where science and Faith become closer than some would want to believe.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • McJesus

      A talking snake told me so. So that makes EVERYTHING else written in the bible true.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Typical

      ">>>”sins of arrogance, pride and hate”

      Yep JohnR, he sure does .. nothing like making such a claim and in the same post massively failing at it."

      Typical christian taking snippets of text and twist it to their warp sense of reality.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • gman

      Sue your post makes no sense – I would debate you gladly over any chosen field of science

      August 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey gman, I am still trying to work out the link between the big bang and (i) the bible; and (ii) humans living after the ydie. Where did you go, I thought you were discussing this with me.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @gman

      You said: "there are between 30-100+ fine tuned constants that create a world capable of us asking these questions. You should read more before so arrogantly spouting off that religion is foolish. One of the most fine tuned is the initial expansion rate of the universe – too much energy and matter does not coalesce – no planets, no suns – too little and we have a big crunch. Equations prove this to be so fine tuned that it has shaken and converted many scientists from atheism to at least deism"

      This hasn't shaken scientists into anything. The Big Bang expansion and contraction may have happened once...or billions and billions of times. Random chance could well account for conditions being the way they are. A toss of the die.

      Believers like to use stats that are actually not worth much. Consider I have a large bowl of rice. Each grain is numbered. I mix it and mix it in a tumbler. Then, I pour it into a bowl. The grains of rice are now ordered as they are. We could carry on about how it would be virtually impossible to ever have this bowl of rice achieve this exact order again. And we would be right. But, you can't argue that it didn't do it once...

      Fact is, the universe really isn't very congenial towards life, as 99.999% of the observed universe is uninhabitable.

      Vic Stenger in his book God: The Failed Hypothesis, quotes a private communication with Martin Wagner in which he points out that:
      "In fact, the whole argument from fine-tuning ultimately makes no sense. As my friend Martin Wagner notes, all physical parameters are irrelevant to an omnipotent God. 'he could have created us to live in a hard vacuum if he wanted.'"

      Life (us), conformed to the what the earth offered us. There is no evidence, that the earth conformed to our needs.

      The fact humans exist "proves" that the necessary elements exist to sustain us. If this were not so, we simply would not be here. At least not as we are.

      Everything is relative, gman. Consider the tapeworm. The tapeworm believes god created man, for its benefit. It looks at its intestinal environment, breathes in the fetid air and is grateful for the meal it is about to receive.

      For all the beautiful things in this world, there are also horrors. Disease and parasites that causes pain and death. Birth defects – babies born without brains. Natural disasters that kill men, women and children.
      Much of our earth is covered by salt water, desert and ice. Hardly the sort of place you would expect a god of love to construct.

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark from Middle River

      The earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Not the 6,000 to 10,000 Creationists claim.
      Some Creationists, are "accepting" the universe is billions of years old. They find this necessary, in light of all the evidence. It is an effort to keep the god myth alive. And to stop being the butt of so many jokes. They have even "reinterpreted" the bible to agree with their new beliefs.

      Genesis indicates all organisms were created once...in their present form. Why are there transitional fossils? God kept creating until he got it right?

      Evolution shows Adam and Eve did not exist. If Creationists are to claim they did, then they will need evidence greater than faith and an ambiguous holy book. House of cards, dude. House of cards. No Adam and Eve...No baby Jesus savior.

      The Bible actually contains two creation tales, which scribes attempted to combine into a single story. So much for internal consistency.

      Your listing of the biblical creation story, is lame. You can go to this site to see why:
      http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Science_Classes_and_Creationism.htm

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @PRISM 1234

      You said: "The reality is, that no matter how far man's endeavors take him in the fields of knowledge and science, at the end of every path of his endeavors, he will find himself more perplexed and dumbfounded, staring into the face of God!"

      Why does anything happen? If we say that a god did it, there is no reason or opportunity to learn how the world really works.
      If we had stayed with a god as the cause of all events, our modern culture would have been impossible. We would have no real science, engineering, or medicine. We would still be living in the Dark Ages. Huddling in our filthy beds, scared of supernatural beasties.

      Early man was afraid of death and knew nothing of the world around him. God was created to give comfort and to explain all the complex happenings of our planet. Why does it rain? God opens the windows of heaven. Why does the sun race across the sky? God(s) drive the sun across the sky. "God did it" was the answer for most everything. God, eked out a good living, living in the gaps of man's knowledge.

      Fortunately man progressed. The true whys, are one by one being solved. None have been found to be supernatural. There are fewer and fewer gaps, for god to hide in.

      The explanation "God did it" has always been wrong. For believers, this has been a lot like "Where's Waldo?". God has not been found anywhere. We can't simply explain something mysterious by appealing to something more mysterious for which there is even less evidence. “God did it” is not an explanation. It tells no more than saying, “Santa did it.”

      God has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe anything or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which a god's presence is either required, productive, or useful.

      No face of god, guys. Sorry. Where's Jesus...I mean Waldo ? LOL

      God does not exist, as far as science can tell. This isn't absolute. It does not deny for all time any possible existence of god. But this is true of Santa and the fairies living in my left shoe. It means that as of now, god and Santa and my fairies are put in the myth column.

      Time to give god a gold watch and wish Him well. Adios Amigo! Say hey to Zeus and Ra and Isis and all the other gods that retired before you. Bye! Don't let that cosmic door hit you in the...

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      D.J. you too will see at the time of YOUR APPOINTMENT.
      Till then....
      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Sue

      OK, gman, I'll take you on in your challenge. I pick Physics. I go first: In your own words, explain second quantization. Then, summarize the effects that would be expected upon subst-ituting an electron with a muon in a helium atom when mixed into a hydrogen cloud. Finally, describe the characteristics of magnetic quanta in type II superconductors in the presence of weak pinning sites and strong driving forces.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  19. EnergyBeing3

    gman... hilarious. Your mentality is that the other delusions aren't as real as your delusion. Nice try. I've got some snake oil for you to buy. ACT NOW WHILE LIES, er ah, I mean SUPPLIES LAST

    August 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • gman

      there is this concept we humans have called self-awareness – you really need to get some and realize that you look quite silly with your polarized and meaningless posts. Your fellow atheists would be disappointed in your ability to keep up

      August 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      gman, I can tell you are a smart one. I can't put one over you... so... OK how about I sweeten the deal and throw in the MAGIC BEANS totally free. You'll feel all special knowing YOU, yes YOU gman have THE magic beans that do what??? VIP PASS DIRECTLY INTO THE BIG CLUB IN THE SKY. I know this will just be TOO GOOD for you to pass up. You'll the spiritual envy of all your friends.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Sue

      EB3, too funny. But gman actually might not get it.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  20. Andrew

    There is even a huge division among even Christians. Look at the glaring differences between Catholics, Mormans, Evangelicals, and other sects. If there was one true way God wanted us to live and what to believe why are there so many different ways to interpret him and his word. It seems contradictory.

    Oh and its because church and religion is guided by misguided humans who all want their share of power of attention.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Come on people, I've still got PLENTY of snake oil for you to buy. I'll wear my glitter robe and big hat to create some sensationalism and you'll get this wonderfully false emotional feeling through the hype and hysteria of the crowd being "SAVED". I'll put on a FABULOUS show for you and don't worry about your kids being alone with me and me having my way with them. You don't need suspension of disbelief or healthy skepticism to live, no way, it's so over rated. Hurry over with your bank account numbers. Your IMMORTAL SOUL depends on it, ... just because I say so and I have this book written over a thousand years ago to back this up.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • gman

      You must accept the personal gift of salvation and to understand that none of your works will ever make you righteous. This is the overarching theme throughout the gospels and the letters. Mormons are not Christians and those like Mormons do not adhere to this key tenet of scripture. Other denominations all differ on silly things that do not affect salvation.
      And there definitely is the misuse of religion and power all throughout history.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Ralph

      Andrew – There are differing beliefs among certain things, but the core beliefs are the same. And you ask why people disagree and shouldn't they all agree? Well, do you agree with every atheist on everything? Humans disagree on various things in everyday life because people have different perspectives on a wide array of topics.

      If you're looking for some system where everybody believes the same thing with 100% conformity, then you best stop looking on this planet because that will never happen.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • HS

      Andrew (if that is your real name). Most Christians today are reading the Bible and demand that those that preach in their house of worship, teach only Jesus’ truth, not the ways of man.

      What is your excuse? I do believe you are young, full of yourself and find that you never to read back through the posts on this site for people’s responses that were sent to you days after you posted. If you do, you still don’t care since you are careless in finding a win/win solution to any of your concerns. You just want your unrighteous way in the world. What is good for you only.

      Amen.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bruce

      gman, the way you've phrased it, "You must accept the personal gift of salvation," makes the acceptance itself into a work on your part.

      Stop painting this as a choice. If you chose it, you saved yourself. If it was chosen for you, you were saved by the grace of the One who chose for you.

      If you want to make it about belief, realize that belief is not really a choice. If you wake up and see the sun rise every morning for many years, you believe the sun will rise tomorrow like it did today and it has in the past. You cannot simply "choose" to believe it won't rise tomorrow. You really don't have it in you to directly control your beliefs like that.

      Did Pharaoh "choose" to harden his own heart against God and God's people, or did God harden Pharoah's heart? What does Paul say about that?

      August 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • gman

      agree bruce. predeterminism is not a topic I wanted to expand upon because of the nature of the discussion – God vs Materialism – but we are on the same wavelength

      August 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Know What

      Ralph, "If you're looking for some system where everybody believes the same thing with 100% conformity, then you best stop looking on this planet because that will never happen."

      I would bet 100% conformity on the belief that if one jumps from a 30-story building, unaided by mechanical devices, that one would go splat and be killed. I would bet 100% conformity that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Proven facts will have 100% conformity. In the fantasy world conformity will be more elusive.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Bruce

      gman, I find it odd how often I see Christians on this blog encouraging people to "choose to believe" in Jesus, or alternately stating that atheists "chose to believe" that God doesn't exist, as if this stuff about Pharaoh wasn't written in their scriptures.

      I've seen them come up with a lot of theories on why these people "refuse" to believe what they believe, but none of them involve God directly causing their hearts to be hardened. Usually they paint this refusal in terms of a moral failure, fully caused by the non-believer and not in any way attributable to God. Any idea why this is?

      August 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Bruce

      "I would bet 100% conformity on the belief that if one jumps from a 30-story building, unaided by mechanical devices, that one would go splat and be killed."

      Except that we could probably find people who survived such a jump for one reason or another. Gust of wind, nearby lake... you never know...

      August 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bruce

      Tom Magill, September 1, 2000. Survived a 40-story suicide attempt because he landed in a car. Only had a broken leg. Found that in like 5 seconds with the almighty Google.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Know What

      Bruce,

      🙂 Ok, I should have built a taller building in my example!

      August 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Barry G.

      Andrew,

      Your statement indicates a lack of knowledge about the history of Christianity and the church.

      The church has had divisions since the first centuries of its establishment, but it came by its divisions honestly.

      One of the first divisions arose over persecution and how to respond to those who denied the faith to avoid persecution (including torture and death), and yet wished to return to the church.

      Division also arose about who was better qualified to lead the community of faith, one who was appointed as a leader, or one who endured persecution and torture and lived to tell about it.

      Division also arose about a serious debate that arose about the nature of Jesus. (See: The Arian, Alexandrian, Athenasian Debate), and this debate was serious and sincere.

      There were, of course, other divisions.

      I should mention that these divisions arose out of the church’s sincere struggle to understand their faith, their place in the world, and their duty in the world, and I’m not so sure that is a bad thing.

      Another great division arose, when the emperor Constantine embraced and championed the Christian faith. Some rejoiced that the persecution was over, others were troubled by this, because they believed that Christians were called to suffer and die, if necessary.

      If you’re sincere and serious about learning, I suggest you read Justo Gonzalez’ The History of the Christian Church.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Sue

      gman, re "none of your works will make you righteous", I disagree and I have proof:

      I got righteous fa-rts by eating EnergyBeing3's MAGIC BEANS. Try them; it's true.

      You too can be saved by his almighty flatulence, although you have that characteristic already yourself.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Free

      Bruce
      Ever watch a show called 1000 Ways To Die? You could also bet that nobody would ever die by jumping from the roof of a car, but people have. For every miraculous 'save' there is an opposite, completely unlikely death. For every person brought back from being clinically dead for half an hour somebody else dies during a bunion removal, or something equally routine. The rest are just average results. Unlikely positive results just appeal to us more because they give us hope, which is why we tend to see only them as being special.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Andrew

      You said: "There is even a huge division among even Christians. Look at the glaring differences between Catholics, Mormans, Evangelicals, and other sects. If there was one true way God wanted us to live and what to believe why are there so many different ways to interpret him and his word. It seems contradictory."

      Yep! Check this out:

      Notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 34,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they understand the wants of Jesus/god.

      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      The bible says:

      1 Corinthians 14:33 – KJV
      33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

      Christians believe god's purpose in creating the Bible is to guide human beings towards a knowledge of God, and to help them lead moral lives. If this is so, then Christians must be certain of the meaning of the Bible.

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      "There are in excess of 1,000 Christian faith groups in North America. They teach diverse beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, the second coming, Heaven, Hell, the rapture, criteria for salvation, speaking in tongues, the atonement, what happens to persons after death, and dozens of other topics.

      On social controversies, faith groups teach a variety of conflicting beliefs about abortion access, equal rights for ho_mo$exuals and bi$exuals, who should be eligible for marriage, the death penalty, physician assisted suicide, human $exuality topics, origins of the universe, and dozens of other topics.

      The groups all base their theological teachings on the Bible. Generally speaking, the theologians in each of these faith groups are sincere, intelligent, devout, thoughtful and careful in their interpretation of the Bible. But, they come to mutually exclusive conclusions about what it teaches. Further, most are absolutely certain that their particular interpretations are correct, and that the many hundreds of faith groups which teach opposing beliefs are in error."
      Source: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

      If the bible is ambiguous, then it cannot be said to be inerrant. If the bible is not without error, then how do we know which parts to accept as truth and which to reject as fiction? How can we be sure what god's will really is?

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @HS

      You said: " Most Christians today are reading the Bible and demand that those that preach in their house of worship, teach only Jesus’ truth, not the ways of man."

      What are you talking about? Give examples, that I might mock you...LOL

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Barry G.

      No. All these denominations exist, because the Book is ambiguous. It can be interpreted in many ways. Many Christians have now accepted an old earth and even evolution...by reinterpreting Genesis. Apparently, even religion evolves.

      Cheers!

      August 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bruce
      @gman

      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 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Bruce

      David Johnston: "The problem with free will is, that Christians have insisted on their god being Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent."

      Actually, that's only a problem for Christians who don't know how to read. Scripture depicts God as not-omniscient (see Genesis) and not omni-benevolent (see Job). While it also depicts God as very powerful, maybe even "all powerful," there is a subtle difference between that and the technical definition of "omnipotent".

      That said, we do have free will, however it also appears that God often greatly influences our free choices by doing things like "hardening" our hearts–at least if scripture is to be believed on this. So, while Pharaoh might have "freely" chosen to do what he did to Moses and the Jews, before we blame him we need to see that God has taken part of the credit and freely admitted to making it almost impossible for Pharaoh to have "freely" chosen otherwise.

      Now this all presumes that scripture is a valid source to go to to figure out what this "God" character is like, and the nature of human will (free or not) according to this religion. There are certainly limitations of using scripture in this way, because there is so much else besides the scriptures to use when it comes to Christian theological traditions. However, it does not follow that, if God does not actually exist, that the descriptions of God and the nature of human will we find in scripture are not accurate portrayals of Christian ideas in this area.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:22 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.