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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. PRISM 1234

    Whatever!.... Believe what you want. Unitarians like be broad in their acceptance of "truths", just to make sure they won't miss any. LOL.... You may feel at home with them..
    I wish you a pleasant, sunny day! 🙂

    August 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      The above post was meant for "Shadowflash"

      CNN, your blogs are screwed up!

      Going cheap, hm?!

      How about FIXING them..... MSNBC is much ahead of you!

      August 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  2. MassiveMarbles

    It would be easier to look at a deity the way they did in the old days, in terms of being...the Sun God, the God of Thunder, etc. Otherwise, the powerful forces behind the universal expansion is the true Creator!

    August 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ben

      Yeah, GG, here's a much more detailed piecewise analysis of the bible for you. Give it a thorough read:
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/long.htm

      Then get back to your daily animal sacri-fice to your big jerk in the sky.

      August 30, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  3. God's Grace

    Jesus loves you all.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfr5rOfimnU&w=640&h=360]

    August 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Ben

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

      August 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • God's Grace

      To Ben,

      The video you posted the speaker does not spend time enough to understand the bible. John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace (unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor) and truth came through Jesus Christ. There are many wrong teaching out there that mixed up and confused the law of Moses with the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, a free gift given by Jesus Christ. We are now in the new covenant of God's grace. Many people have mixed up the wrath of God in the old covenant with the new covenant of grace today. Luke 5:36-38 Jesus spoke a parable: "No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved." The new covenant is not based on your goodness or holiness to earn God's salvation, love or blessings from God. It is entirely based on the the perfect finished work of Jesus at the cross; Jesus has done it all! Jesus bore all the sins of the world, our past, present and future sins once and for all at the cross. All you need to do is to accept Jesus as your saviour by faith, rest and enjoy the abundance blessings of God. Don't confused the law of Moses with Lord Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, He never condemn or punish anyone. Jesus had great compassion for sinners and people who were ill. He was only angry towards the religious Pharisees who in Mark7:13 making the word of God of no effect through their tradition which they have handed down. Hebrew 13:8 Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed from lack of Knowledge. I suggest you to read Unmerited Favor, Destined to Reign, Grace The Power Of The Gospel and You have already Got it. God is wonderful, faithful friend! Jesus is all about relationship, not religion. Just talk to Him...He loves you very much!

      August 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Ben

      Yeah, GG, here's a much more detailed piecewise analysis of the bible for you. Give it a thorough read:
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/long.htm

      Then get back to your daily animal sacri-fice to your (fictional) big jerk up in the sky.

      August 30, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • God's Grace

      it's ok. Ben. I used to be a non-believer like you and many others. I was always strongly against the messages of God. I am no different from many of you here, wanting proves and evidence before I can believe that God is real. My own ignorance in the past for not spending time to understand the word of God prevented me from knowing His truth. After witnessing many real life testimonies of God's healing and miraculous blessings in my life that it is hard for me to believe Jesus is not real. God has blessed my life abundantly and God wants to bless you in every area of your life too. Jesus loves you, Ben! God bless!

      August 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Ben

      GG, it would be OK but you keep coming here trying to spread your sick fairy tale. So whenever you do that, I and others will point out the horrors of your disgusting and childish bible stories. Shall we start with Leviticus? Which animal did you kill and burn to please your bloody deity in the sky today?

      August 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Ben

      GG, the bible has been thoroughly studied and shown to be mostly nonsense with a lot of horror and a lot of errors thrown in. Here's another good site for you http://evilbible.com

      August 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Ben

      GG, name even one "blessing" that your "god" has given you, and provide solid proof that the "giving" was done by a divine ent-ity. And good luck; so far, no one has ever provided such proof.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      I watched only short portion of the video... It's nauseating.... The old clown KNOWS NOW!
      And he paved his own way to where he is now! He would give anything just to recant all those mockeries! What a shame for a life wasted!

      August 30, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Grant.Peterson

      Prism, you just thrown out a lot of statements without proof, so you must be a religiously deluded fool.

      The "old clown" lived a great, full life, created some brilliant comedy that lives on, and made a mockery of fools who deserved to be mocked. Now he's dead.

      RIP George Carlin. And fsck off, stupid religious dweebs.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Yep, I GRANT it to ya! You sure do show what you're made out of, buster. Wait till your Day comes! You'll play different tune! Till then, live your life – blindfolded!
      .......And do you think you may find enough decency in your wretched self to abstain from using use foul language! !?

      August 31, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Martin T

      @GG, you are quite WRONG, I knew Carlin and there aren't many christians with a more indepth knowledge of the bible that George had.

      August 31, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  4. Reality

    From p. 23:

    "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 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Bruce

      What you see as "wishy-washy" is actually better described as "intellectual flexibility."

      It comes in handy for all sorts of things–especially science.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • D

      If you're not a wishy-washy, "choose what to believe and what not to believe" Christian, then you are a fundamentalist Christian extremist. Either way, argument fail.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Martin T

      @D if you are indeed a Christian and are NOT a fundamentalist then you are NOT a Christian, not at least by the definition set forth in your own bible. How does one pick and choose what to believe? How can anyone say that this is right in the bible and that is wrong? Seriously, who sets the standards?????

      August 31, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  5. D

    Yeah, but who made the storms in the first place? God. Obviously, that means that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Derp, derp.

    August 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  6. SeanNJ

    Would someone please kickstart the Crusades so the religious people will start killing each other again? kthxbye.

    August 30, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  7. EnergyBeing3

    OK so let me get this right .... people still pray to a dead corpse nailed to two boards (morbid) then eat his body and drink his blood in some cannibalistic and vampiric ritual that anyone in their right mind would view as satanic and deeply disturbing? Then in a leap of total logic, this corpse was magically re-animated and then floated off? There is a place for people who think like this... it's called an insane asylum.

    August 30, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • flyshadow55

      Wow, it is true, some people are just plain ignorant. Do you know of anyone else (besides your gigantic ego) that can put together a universe such as the one we live? Cannabalism and drinking blood, REALLY? you use that in That context? I say again, Wow, just plain ignorant

      August 30, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Bruce

      People watch zombie and vampire movies. Some people dedicate a lot of time and energy watching Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and debating the finer points of that story, debating what Whedon's intent was with certain images, what philosophy is supported by that storyline.

      The fact is that this imagery is compelling in our culture. It does not make us merely "insane". To dismiss these cultural phenomena as mere insanity is to miss out on some very important truths regarding what it means to be human.

      Check out Carl Jung and discussions regarding cultural archetypes. A good introduction is Joseph Campbell's "Masks of God" series.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      @ Bruce

      Yeah, I know Joseph Campbell's works (pretty awesome) and have read Carl Jung's book on man and his symbols. Love the parts about the Archetypes and with that, I've also followed extensive teachings by OSHO and Deepak Chopra and many of Carolyn Myss's works. I'm just throwing out the totally ridiculous rituals that Christian's use that are a bit outrageous but they simply pass off. To have a symbol of torture to pray to is rather morbid. Imagine if Jesus died by guillotine and that being propped up in a church or dangling around people's necks as jewelry. How totally absurd.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Bruce

      But I think it's important that the image is NOT one of decapitation, and for similar reasons the myths of, say, the Headless Horseman are not as popular as zombie and vampire myths.

      It's not insanity. It's a compelling image, born from cultural archetypes that have managed to retain their (rhetorical?) power for thousands of years and still captivate our imagination.

      Even Harry Potter dies and comes back from the dead in the final book, after an act of self-sacrifice. Zombies have their selves sacrificed, though not willingly. Vampires lose something of themselves, and in some cases they do so willingly, however usually not for selfless reasons.

      Be that as it may–don't lose the forest for the trees, here. In spite of the morbid nature of the images themselves, it's not the morbidity that is compelling.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Laughing

      @Bruce

      SPOILERS!!!!!

      August 30, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      @flyshadow55

      Look up 'Psychological Projection' and then you'll get a hint at the total made-up absurdities that humans have created over thousands of years in order to understand something that is beyond understanding along with their minds over rationalizing events that in a time without the understandings of basic science, they used imagination to ease their fear based cognitive dissonance.

      Your mind NEEDS a REASON for the things it cannot explain. Humans project and as they evolve, re-project, but still humanize the Universe any way they can. The problem is this is grossly false and a deep dysfunctional self-deception. Then we get people that are delusional trying to have others believe in the delusions with power plays and control. More people are waking up to the madness though. They are understanding the religious CONS and SCAMS of spiritualism.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      @ Bruce, ... totally agree that it is great that in our human process of history, we can learn from the stories, myths and legends. There are templates from those stories that pertain to many of our lives. We can learn a great deal from Greek Mythology or even from the stories of the Hero and the Damsel in distress. They all have underlying meanings and lessons. The problem is that people think these things really happened and then we have religious fanatics who can't discern metaphoric made up stories from reality. They push delusions onto people or indoctrinate children who don't know any better. But by all means, yes, we can learn from the imaginations of our ancestors. But lets just realize the truth that it was all just IMAGINATION.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Bruce

      "But lets just realize the truth that it was all just IMAGINATION."

      There is nothing "mere" about the imagination. It is quite powerful, and in fact it is what makes the human species great.

      All great theories start out as products of the imagination. Sure, they gain their credibility with experimental verification, but they wouldn't get off the ground without imagination. Moreover, it is key that this imagination affects the emotional side of ourselves (the aesthetic, if you will), or we would lack the will to pursue this knowledge.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Bruce

      Look at it this way: whether or not there was actually a guy named Jesus who died on a cross and rose from the dead some two thousand years ago, and whether or not you or I believe this story to be historically accurate, it doesn't really matter.

      We both, along with most of our culture, have our moral intuitions informed by this very image and images like this. Buffy the Vampire Slayer dies and comes back not once, but twice. In spite of the fact that everyone now agrees that this was from the imagination of Joss Whedon, we all still view as heroic the person who sacrifices their own life for the sake of others, and this heroism is understood in the moral sense.

      Whether or not we believe in Jesus, we DO believe that what he allegedly said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." We DO take that moral lesson to heart, and moreover we are captivated by the idea that our heroes not only lay down their lives for their friends, but that this is also not the end of the story.

      So, whether or not you believe in the story in the historical sense, it seems irrelevant to me because you already believe it in a moral sense. I would argue that the moral sense (not the metaphorical sense–that's something entirely different) is more important than the historical sense.

      That said, the historical sense of the story is crucial to the Christian. The moral and archetypeal sense of the story, of a story that absolutely needed to be expressed in some way in our culture, however, does not exclude the possibility that, in addition to the story being morally true, it might also be historically true.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Bruce, I would love to sit down with you and discuss issues over a cup of coffee. You are have a fantastic perspective and it is evident you've done a lot of critical thinking with some knowledgeable thought processes. I agree with most everything you've responded with in this discussion. What I find fascinating is that various of ancient civilizations that were separated from each other, had very similar underlying themes to their own stories, myths and legends. There are to this day still so many supernatural occurrences that even Science cannot explain away. How does one explain the remarkable works of Edgar Cyace or the profound findings by the hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton. I think we can't just dismiss these people as genius con artists but then again, it's OK and VERY healthy to have suspension of disbelief in various situations. So that has led me to believe, through my findings, studies and personal mystical experiences that we do indeed have an energy called the soul and there is a consciousness beyond and out of a human body. I just don't believe in any organized religion, even though many of the worlds religions all speak of a spiritual realm.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Bruce, thanks again for your comments and thoughts. I'm deeply appreciative that you shared some very wonderful perspectives and ideas. Another author that I admire is Howard Bloom. He has interviews on YouTube that will give you a glimpse at his ideas and teachings on world biology and discovery that applies to the human condition. Even if you don't believe in his views, it's highly interesting information. Also, on YouTube, check out Andy Thomson discussing his fascinating topic of ... "Why We Believe in Gods"

      August 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bruce

      Thank you too, EngergyBeing3. 🙂

      I've always considered Jung's idea of the "Collective Unconscious" and Plato's discussion of memory in Meno quite interesting, with the idea that we have access to information beyond what we've personally experienced and that we are not born completely tabula rasa, that education is not one person giving someone else some bit of information, but rather simply reminding them of something they already knew since before being born. It's a neat way to think about it, and also points to a collective-personality with a memory and an interaction that takes place between individuals, almost a meta-observation on what it means to be human, if you will.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @EnergyBeing3

      The supernatural does not exist. ESP, Ghosts, or other paranormal things are hogwash.

      When a person tells you they have psychic powers, feel free to kick them in the nads. It what Jesus would do. If He was busy being dead.

      The James Randi Educational Foundation offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.

      Win it, and then I'll be impressed.

      You are like the "preachers" who post comments here. They act as if they have a direct line to their god. They give their interpretation of their holy texts, as if they could not be wrong. They, like you, pretend that what they say is a fact. Facts require evidence. When I ask them, they either offer up weak arguments or start blathering about humans not knowing the mind of god. Or on many an occasion, condemn me to burn in hell for questioning them.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey Bruce, Buffy was a great show, at least for the first five years. It wasn't really about vampires; it was about friendship, loyalty and duty. It was also a terrific metaphor: High School as hell. It was only in the later seasons, when the show romanticized vampires and made power more important than friendship, that the show became just a silly soap opera.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  8. Muneef

    Az-Zukhruf sura 43:
    When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: "Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me. (63) "For Allah; He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship ye Him: this is a Straight Way." (64) But sects from among themselves fell into disagreement: then woe to the wrongdoers, from the Penalty of a Grievous Day! (65).

    August 30, 2011 at 2:43 am |
  9. Muneef

    Al-Araf sura 07:
    Say: The things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which he hath given no authority; and saying things about Allah of which ye have no knowledge. (33) To every people is a term appointed: when their term is reached not an hour can they cause delay, nor (an hour) can they advance (it in anticipation). (34).

    August 30, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  10. Muneef

    Al-Hadid sura 57:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence: that is truly easy for Allah: (22) In order that ye may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult over favours bestowed upon you. For Allah loveth not any vainglorious boaster― (23) Such persons as are covetous and commend covetousness to men. And if any turn back (from Allah's Way) verily Allah is free of all needs, Worthy of all praise. (24).

    August 30, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  11. Muneef

    Al-E-Imran verse 03:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not of well-established meaning. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not of well-established meaning. Seeking discord, and searching for its interpretation, but no one knows its true meanings except Allah, and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it is from our Lord"; and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. (7)..

    August 30, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • Sporkify

      Muneef –

      What you (and most Christians on this blog) simply cannot seem to understand is that trying to prove your holy book to be right and true by quoting...your holy book, just doesn't fly for rational human beings. You may as well be quoting Mother Goose at me for all the effect you're having. If you have a sane, coherent and logical point to make about the merits of your belief systems over any other than please, present it here.

      If not keep the drivel from your worthless book of doggerel to yourself, be it bible quran or talmud, or any other bit of scripture you can think of.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Muneef

      Spark.

      Is was not about proving Right or Wrong....it was about what do we take as a say within our Holy Book and what could have been your Holy Books saying....Can we take it that we are in front of Puzzle that has to be sorted out by combining our knowledge it to ticking out what we agree on before trying to resolve what we disagree upon....?! As the above verse speaks of us leaving out the foundation of the Holy Books and dispute over that no one has knowledge of other than GOD the Creator of Universe the GOD of Abraham and the Sons of Abraham...!
      But if you are an extreme unbeliever then I hope that you give some room or space for us believers in faiths of GOD to discuss their indifference's by gathering the Puzzle to lay out the base of the "Foundation of the Holy Book" before that which no one knows of but GOD just as the verses speaks of here....!?!

      If you as believers and non believers think that what I call for is wrong or not a right of prevlage to think of or try to establish thinking in between then I must have been in the wrong place all this time and efforts... Religion is not Completion but rather Correction...!?! It is only then with such knowledge of foundations can mankind use the senses they been gifted to tell which is which for them selves rather than following blindly what ever they been told and not allowed to discuss or look further...!?!

      Education Graduations start from Down to Upward while between religions they want it from Upward to Down....Why here we hold to the past so dearly..... Isn't it just like holding to Classic cars and ignoring Modern cars....!?

      Guess we should take an example of a successful country such as Turkey towards here multi cultured religious or non religious groups....how is that becoming more successful than those countries where confrontations are found as religions or in between branches of each religion or with secular groups ....!? We should move forward to some where some how we were one nation might we be back all as one mother nation of all nations...!? Beautiful Dream to Hard to Reach when living of some people depends on producing what the man use to kill his brother man what ever his beliefs were?! Sad Really...! 😦

      August 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sporkify.

      Why is it that I feel it is you who are in the wrong Blog that we share as believers...?!?

      August 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • fred

      Sporkify
      The Quran combined the holy words of the Jews with that of Jesus then twisted it up a bit. Much like Catholics did you need the priest or a holy man to tell you what it says. Either way there are parts that are proven true so you canot discount the entire thing. Let me give you an example. God promised 5,000 years ago to bless both Ishmael and Isaac (these are the ancestors of the Arabic peoples and the Jews. Well they are still there. God said the Arabs would be a constant pain and attack against the Jews. God said the fanal battle will be over Jersalem. Well guess which too peoples now have nukes.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      Fred.

      You are not right about the Quran being the twisted words of the Jewish or Christian Holy Books...but rather was the Correcter of Both that strayed from Path of Abraham towards GOD...!!
      You are right about being the Children of Israel and of Ismael out of which came the Jews and the non Jews who you reffered here to by Arabs...
      The tale of the Books that there will be wars and finally at Jerusalem between two groups consisting of "Believers" who would recognize and believe in Jesus when he returns they are of "Jews/Christians/Muslims" and the second group are the "Non Believers" who wouldn't recognize or believe in Jesus when he returns they are of "Jews/Christians/Muslims".... That is the fact because not all Jews are Jews nor all Christians are Christians nor all Muslims are Muslims....!!!

      August 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • fred

      Muneef
      I was speaking with a Muslem Iranian who said the virgians promised in the Quran were boys. Is this so as far as you know or does it mean something else? I was also told it takes an Imam to interperate the meaning of the Quran not common believers is that true?
      Seems there is as much misinformation about the Quran as there is about many religions. How do you reconcile the Old Testiment where 5,000 years ago it was Isaac the good son whom Abraham was to sacrafice vs. in 600AD when a dream said it was Ishmael that was the good son whom Abraham was to sacrafice. In the latter to put it into context I was told this came about after Mohamed met with leading Jews (which offended him) and Christians (which he feared might attack). Also, neither group offered any assistance to him when facing pending attacks.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Muneef

      Fred.
      This is not right you are being misinformed or manipulated the Quran spoke of both $exs from Angels will be serving in heavens is right but couldn't it be that female Angels are for male humans while male angels for female humans?
      Beside another thing your Iranian friend is not Arabic nor he speaks Arabic so meaning he needs to ask Imam but for educated Arabic speaker is not that  much needed for plain things....

      About sons of Abraham the elder was Ismael since his wife Sara was not giving birth and that's why she married him to Hager her servant whom gave him Ismael and then he took Hager and Ismael to Mecca as a new found land for them to live on...
      At later stage at a different place when Abraham was visited by the Angels whom were heading for the people of "Lut/Lot" that they promised him that Sara will give birth towards which Abraham and Sara were surprised being at old age but Angels told them that for GOD is easy to give them same...

      While Hager and Ismael were living in Mecca...Sara was living with him in another place upper north... When Ismael grew up Abraham visited Mecca and started with Ismael to clean and mend the worship house of Mecca...for which then he had a revelation of sacrificing Ismael...

      Never in the History it was mentioned that Sara or Isaac had visited Mecca so how could it have been Isaac that was to sacrifice...?!          

      August 31, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • fred

      Muneef,
      Thank you for your help. I was puzzled by the very different writtings.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • Muneef

      Fred.
      Verses of the issue;
      Al-Baqara sura 02:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma`il that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round or use it as a retreat or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). (125).

      As-Saaffat Sura 37
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      My Lord! Vouchsafe me of the righteous. (100) So We gave him tidings of a gentle son. (101) And when (his son) was old enough to walk with him, (Abraham) said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee. So look, what thinkest thou? He said: O my father! Do that which thou art commanded. Allah willing, thou shalt find me of the steadfast. (102) Then, when they had both surrendered (to Allah), and he had flung him down upon his face, (103) We called unto him: O Abraham! (104) Thou hast already fulfilled the vision. Lo! thus do We reward the good. (105) Lo! that verily was a clear test. (106) Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim. (107) And We left for him among the later folk (the salutation): (108) Peace be unto Abraham! (109) Thus do We reward the good. (110) Lo! he is one of Our believing slaves. (111) And we gave him tidings of the birth of Isaac, a prophet of the righteous. (112) And We blessed him and Isaac. And of their seed are some who do good, and some who plainly wrong themselves. (113).

      August 31, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • fred

      Muneef,
      "Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim. (107)"
      This sounds like the promise in the new testiment that Jesus was the sacrafice for the chosen ones. Is that possible?

      August 31, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Muneef

      Fred.
      Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim.107. Was the tremendous Lamb that was given to Abraham by GOD to slaughter instead of slaughtering his son Ismael.. Which has became a practice for believers to slaughter lamb and other animals on Eid days such as Eid AlFiter after the fasting month and on Eid AlAdha which comes after the pilgrimage at Mecca at the House of GOD which was built by Abraham and Ismael....!

      August 31, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Muneef

      Fred.
      For more detailed informations about Prophets find this site page which you can read about Ismael and turn pages to read about Abraham or Isaac;
      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/Prophet/ismail.htm

      August 31, 2011 at 4:18 am |
  12. Andrew

    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 | Report abuse |

    I came back and you are one delusional self righteous old man, sad the world you choose to see and live in. I pity you.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  13. Asklepios417

    "But their God no longer acts out his fury as in Bible days. Our storms have not yet been tamed. But our God has."

    It's human ignorance that has been tamed (somewhat).

    Any modern political figure who claimed to be able to raise the dead, walk on water or cast out demons, would rightly be judged mentally unbalanced.

    Odysseus did not really escape from the Cyclops' cave, and Aaron's staff did not become a snake that ate the snake-staffs of Pharoah's priests. Those are just fanciful yarns spun in an age that lacked scientific historiography.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • JOregon

      It is amazing that you know all those things..........You must be very very old.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • sisterchristian

      Respectfully, there is a God. One true God, Jesus Christ. I pray you meet him, he's right there waiting for you to surrender to him and accept his love. He wants to take your pain,shame,guilt and condemnation. He is calling you. For those of you who do not belive, i have a challenge for you. ASK THIS Question and see what happens. "GOD if you are real show yourself to me"

      August 30, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • Know What

      sisterchristian, "ASK THIS Question and see what happens. "GOD if you are real show yourself to me"

      I, and many other non-believers, have done just that at one time (or many times) during our lives. There is no-one there. If someone answers you, either you are REAL special, or it is in your imagination and fantasy.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:45 am |
    • David Trosclair

      So, you deny the EXODUS. Israel Slaves for 400 years delivered, not by REVOLT, but by SUPERNATURAL means. In a court of law it takes two witnesses. How about TWO NATIONS (Israel and Egypt). Not to mention the other nationS that confirmed the accounts of what God did. You psuedo intelectuals drive me nuts. Over two billion people on Earth believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet you few (self supposed) enlightened by science (falsely so-called), psuedo intellectuals deny History, and Eye Witnesses (see the Passover Feast) to the events that happened. Someone has a guilty conscience for sin and creates an elaborate 'scientific' explanation to deny God. Ho-hum. Same ole' same ole'. Just because we have the technology to understand the workings of high and low pressure systems etc. does not mean that GOD is not in control of those systems.

      August 30, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      I agree with Asklepios417. It would be like people claiming there really was a Hogwarts and a Harry Potter. Well, they seen it all with their own eyes so it MUST be real. Then you throw in all the indoctrinations and torture to believe in the myths throughout history and there you go... BRAINWASHED NONSENSE with some warm fuzzies and lots of wannabe do-gooders thinking they are better than everyone else with priests in power and control positions. TOTAL RUBBISH

      August 30, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @David
      Nowhere in Egyptian historical records is there any mention whatsoever of frogs raining down from the sky.
      Can you give any evidence of supernatural intervention from that era that DOESN'T come from the Bible?
      The Bible is ONE source – ONE "witness" if you will.
      Find another reference and perhaps your argument could stand up.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Magic

      sisterchristian,
      "ASK THIS Question and see what happens. "GOD if you are real show yourself to me"

      I have a little exercise for you too. When you pray (or talk to "God"), do it in front of a mirror. Who is really there? Who is 'answering' you? I know that we can't see alleged 'spirits', but you might just get a better idea of what's going on with you in reality.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Magic

      Doc Vestibule,

      Actually, I might believe the 'frogs raining from the sky' caper. Frogs, fish and other strange things have been sucked up into tornadoes and dropped elsewhere several times. 40 years of manna dropping from the sky... that's a little trickier. Talking burning bushes... nah. I too have never seen anything from Egyptian history (or any other) chronicling or proving the Jews 40-year desert journey or any of their purported interactions with supernatural beings.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Sporkify

      Hey David – there's no historical evidence that the Israelites were ever even in Egypt. At any point, en masse or otherwise. You can look it up, you've proven you're a big enough boy to type things on the internet.

      But yeah keep looking down on us "pseudo-intellectuals."

      Lol.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  14. Reality

    From p. 23:

    "Professor" Prothero ends his column with "But our God has" not noting that he (Prothero) 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 11:57 pm |
  15. I believe there is a higher power

    "I would rather live my life believing there is a God to find out upon death that there isn't one, than to live my life not believing there is a God or higher power and discovering that there is."

    August 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • SciGuy

      But if that's the basis of your faith, you ought to do some deep thinking on the subject.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Free

      Depends on if your belief in God leads you to harm others, be bigoted, or taken advantage of, amongst other things. Then Pascal's Wager fails because the price of belief just becomes too great. Personally, I'd rather risk the slim chance of Hell than march against someone's rights.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Free, I don't subscribe to the wager of pascal as a valid basis for faith, but I don't follow your logic. The point of the wager is that the cost of belief is infinitesimally small compared to the cost of unbelief. I think your statement about the price of unbelief is contrary to pascal's premise.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @I believe there is a higher power

      You said "I would rather live my life believing there is a God to find out upon death that there isn't one, than to live my life not believing there is a God or higher power and discovering that there is."
      You either appear to be uncertain of your beliefs, and are merely hedging your bets, or are trying to convince others to believe like you do?

      If you are uncertain in your beliefs, how do you expect to have picked the right god? There have been tens of thousands of gods and tens of thousands of different interpretations of what these gods want from their followers. How do you know you're doing it right? There are some mean and vindictive gods out there that don't look favorably upon unbelievers in them.

      If you are certain of your beliefs, wouldn't it be easier to just say so? Tell us what it is that convinced you. Who knows, maybe you'll save a soul.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Free

      SciGuy
      "I think your statement about the price of unbelief is contrary to pascal's premise"
      That was my intended point, actually.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Asklepios417

      "I would rather live my life believing there is a God to find out upon death that there isn't one, than to live my life not believing there is a God or higher power and discovering that there is."

      Which God ?

      What if you pick the wrong one ?

      Besides, God may be very angry at people like you, who make calculations like that about "beating the odds".

      August 30, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • David Johnson

      If I had a dime, for every time an idiot believer pulls up Pascal's Wager, I'd be able to afford beer and a ho_oker on Saturday nights. *sigh*

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Peace2All

      @SciGuy

      " The point of the wager is that the cost of belief is infinitesimally small compared to the cost of unbelief. "

      That is certainly 'one' of the points of the wager.

      However, most, if not all Christians use Pascal's Wager as a valid reason for believing in the Christian narrative. However, many of these same people assume the wager 'has' to be within strict guidelines of the Christian narrative of, once you die, and you didn't believe, then you go to hell, etc...

      When, in fact, should there be a 'life after death' and a God, there are a multi-tude of potential scenarios that could be the prevailing reality, and 'none' of which involve eternal torment, etc...

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • John Richardson

      Believing in a higher power doesn't guaranteer that that higher power doesn't think you're a loathsome jerk deserving condemnation.

      August 30, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Peace And there are a multi-tude of possible scenarios in which Christians are all sent to hell. Ditto everyone else.

      August 30, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Peace2All

      @John R.

      LOL !!!

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • myklds

      "Believing in a higher power doesn't guaranteer that that higher power doesn't think you're a loathsome jerk deserving condemnation." True but somewhat, on the other hand...................................

      Unbelieving in a higher power sure did guarantee that the higher power think you're a loathsome deserving condemnation. Definitely true!

      August 31, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Mykids Your premise is true only if the higher power is an insecure jerk who needs people to fawn over him. ANy higher being who doesn't have severe psychological issues of his own to worry about would know who and what he is and not care what any finite beings think one way or the other about him. Your god, of course, is modeled on paranoid monarchs who knew they weren't supreme anythings, but needed the public to think they were lest the public rise up against them. And you not only believe this is the true supreme being but worship the jerk? Sorry, but don't go around assuming that you've won any wager at all.

      August 31, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  16. Phil in Oregon

    God has intended everything that has happened in the history of the world to bring people closer to Himself. We humans keep messing it up and trying to figure Him out, but considering He created everything, understanding Him won't fit into our pea-sized skulls.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • SciGuy

      On what do you base the truth of your opening statement?

      August 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Free

      Considering the rapidly growing population of non-believers I'd say that God's plan needed some work.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Free's point is substantive, Phil. If your opening statement is true, God appears to be failing. This is not the God that is portrayed in his revelation of himself in the Bible. He is rather the mighty God who accomplishes all his pleasure. Our God is in the heavens, he does whatever he pleases.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      You said "Considering the rapidly growing population of non-believers I'd say that God's plan needed some work."
      Don't forget the end times are triggered when the remaining believers can no longer withstand the beast. At some point in time there will not be any new believers just old ones falling off due to internal and external pressures.
      The history of Gods chosen over the last few thousand years shows God continually bringing a remnant through. It was not that long ago that Noah and his family were the few that made it. History repeats itself, God repeats himself. Jesus said the gate is narrow and few find it. You have confirmed that statement.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Phil in Oregon

      You said: "God has intended everything that has happened in the history of the world to bring people closer to Himself. "

      Yep. Nothin' makes people feel warm and fuzzy toward god, more than seeing their loved ones being swept away in a flood.

      The Christian god is like the abusive father who beats the cr_ap out of his family, demanding they love him.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > God has intended everything that has happened in the history of the world to bring people closer to Himself. We humans keep messing it up and trying to figure Him out, but considering He created everything, understanding Him won't fit into our pea-sized skulls.

      For the sake of this argument, let's assume your God actually exists and did create all of us. Isn't it rather silly for a God to blame humans for not being able to understand God given that God created us with what can only be seen as a "pitiful intellect"? Furthermore, wouldn't God know that the only way we can try to think about God is through our frame of reference and through our minds?

      Lastly, if God created us imperfect and able to commit sin knowing what we'd do exactly through our lives, then isn't it silly for God to blame us? Just as it's silly for a programmer to blame the program he created for not working correctly?

      August 30, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Bruce

      Bobinator: I don't think it's so much about "blame" since heaven isn't a reward for virtue and hell is not a punishment for vice.

      Also, it is written that God causes some people, almost directly, to do the bad things they do. One example is Pharaoh, and we learn in Romans chapter 9 God says to Pharaoh: "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (and if you go to Exodus 9, God is speaking to Moses and not Pharaoh, which is an interesting re-interpretation of scripture going on while Paul writes this passage)

      That is, it's not about blame. God's causing it all. If you or I go to heaven, or to hell, it's not because we were virtuous or vicious, and it's not because of belief or unbelief–it's because we were prepared by God for mercy or for destruction, for the purpose of glorifying God.

      Most Christians miss this. I don't like Calvinism, however I have to admit it is one of the few theologies out there actually consistent with scripture in these matters.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Free

      fred
      If Christ is waiting for the time when people stop joining churches before coming back, none of us living today are very likely to see his return. Not that I expected to anyway.

      The closest thing to this today are the remaining 'traditional' denomination congregations that are losing all of their young members to mega-churches that offer services with more pizzazz. Walk into any of those 'dead churches', as their rivals like to call them, and all you see are retired folks. Maybe those are the remnant you are speaking of, which makes the Beast the rising populist evangelical movement, I suppose. Think about that before getting a religious tattoo like all the hip young Christians seem to be getting these days. 😉

      Besides for the Noah story, where in Christian mythology has humanity been brought close to extinction?

      August 30, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”The closest thing to this today are the remaining 'traditional' denomination congregations that are losing all of their young members to mega-churches that offer services with more pizzazz. Walk into any of those 'dead churches', as their rivals like to call them, and all you see are retired folks.”

      Maybe the pizzazz is that many traditional churches are housed in much older structures. I know in the African American community we have some that are still worshiping in the same wooden buildings that were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

      In some ways it is sad and in some ways it is great. In the past we were told how our ancestors would come home from sharecropping or working some other similar job and would help to maintain the church building. They used their blue collar skills and equipment as their own general contractors.

      Now days the African American community is more affluent and now when the roof of the church leaks we can pay a contractor to come out and fix it. This has moved to the building of new churches as well. It takes less work now days for a church board to look at a vacant lot, know that their church is expanding in church members, … buy the lot, contract the building of a new church and in a few months be worshiping in a new structure.

      Now there are old churches that do not move forward, and continue to worship in the same building that their great great grandparents did. Those churches are interesting to visit but many prefer churches with more amenities and facilities to help the community. The pizzazz you speak of also includes things, such as modern kitchens to feed the community.

      For a side note though.... my church lost power during Irene and we held our Sunday service by candle light with the doors and windows open. That was awesome, all of our tech down... the projectors...the monitors ....the sound system.... the electrical instruments …. all sat idle.

      ..and it was one of the best services I have experienced at that church.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Fred1

      So why don’t Christians get a better break then non Christians during a natural disaster? Isn’t jesus looking out for his flock?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Free

      Mark
      No, I'm actually talking about the abandonment of what are called the "Mainline Protestant" denominations, like the American Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Congregationalists / United Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians, which have been losing membership percentages to the newer evangelical and fundamentalist Christian groups. In the historical context, these churches housed the vast majority of American Christians from the colonial era up until the early 20th century where they began to lose membership due to their being labeled too 'liberal'. Interesting, isn't that?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  17. Michelle Bachmann

    “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’

    August 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      What is scary is that the Earthquake was felt as far north as Toronto but it barely was felt heading down South towards the Red States. We had a Hurricane that normally runs into Southern Red States skip most of them and slam deep into Blue state country.

      I am not one to say it is God's will though but just one of those strange things.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Free

      Mark
      One rare double instance of natural disasters hitting the Blue States only serves to illustrate just how routinely hurricanes and tornados whip the Red ones. I think that if God has a favorite region to cast his wrath upon we know which one the data supports, now don't we? 😉

      August 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hmm... since the final Election in Florida that went to GW Bush ... have they been hit with anything major 🙂

      I still say it is not God's will for these things to happen.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Free

      Mark
      Ship out all the retired northern Jews out and ban all the Canadians who winter down there and then we'll see how well Florida does? 😉

      August 30, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • SciGuy

      Mark, if it was not God's will that they happen, then they would not happen.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Free

      Mark
      But seriously, we can both agree that God doesn't cause storms and other disasters, but do you think that folks are right when they credit him for their surviving something devastating? I mean, doesn't that imply that God is controlling the disasters enough to ensure that certain people are protected?

      Let's say, for argument's sake, that prayers like this work. A tornado cuts through your town so you pray and, miracle of miracles, it veers away from your house. Now, it has to go somewhere so it destroys a neighbor's house, killing all of them instead. Now, in order for your prayer to be answered didn't someone else have to die?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Mark from Middle River

      Hey -Mark...

      " What is scary is that the Earthquake was felt as far north as Toronto but it barely was felt heading down South towards the Red States. We had a Hurricane that normally runs into Southern Red States skip most of them and slam deep into Blue state country. "

      So, now you are skating around the potentiality that God is starting to make his will known on the Political landscape.

      It's just not fair you 'believers' bringing in a "ringer" and all ! LOL 😀

      Peace brother...

      August 30, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Free, ok seriously, my thoughts are that such things as hurricanes, typhoons and the lot, I often come to reasoning like I put forth early. Some things just do not add up. Sorta like the freak storm in Wash DC that held the British down and destroyed their supply lines and northern progress and possibly saved Baltimore from a more organized attack. Something that until these days we do not see the likes of. Was God on our Masonic side … who knows but thanking God when testimony after testimony, people can not explain how they made it through a disaster and thank God that they did make. If you want to ask me if I believe in miracles, I will proudly without shame say yes. Do I question why one families loved one is found alive after a twister and another's is found deceased, I do question why but I do hold that there is what I believe to be a bigger plan.

      Check out the story about a Jasper family. I am not sure of the name, I heard it on NPR. There was this kid who was right out of a Final Destination movie. The family just seemed cursed, when the storm hit he thought he was done but he made it though the storm. In the two weeks between the filming/recording of his story this kid was dead. Freak car accident. It is these little nuances with life that points to something that science and atheist can not fully explain no more than the Pastor of the local church, after a storm, looks upon his town and has to field questions of “why my house” while at the same time having to field “Thank the Lord my house was spared.” It is not chance Free. What I described...the path of the Earth Quake, the path of the Hurricane.... just do not add up. Sorta like the first World Trade Center plane was thought at first to be a accident, the world changed when the second plane hit the other tower. Two natural disasters, almost a week apart following the same basic path?

      We won't go into the increase in solar storms and a few planets that will be aligned coming up.

      I am a person of Faith so I hold that Noah's flood happened so another disaster is within the possiblity. . I also hold that if what folks claim, that many Faiths outside of Christianity describe the flood and some describe a ark type of vessel, and also that Evolutionist state that the Earth was created out of a mixture of materials after the Big Bang ...and the Bible centuries ago described the Earth as a mass, without form.

      In the end I do not know and there are things science does not know. That some Atheist say other sof Faith and myself are using Faith as a crutch, I always find interesting because they themselves are often speaking from their own wheelchair.

      Peace >>> “It's just not fair you 'believers' bringing in a "ringer" “

      My friend, the way folks pumped up Obama during the election I thought he was going to walk on water. 🙂

      L'Chaim

      August 30, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Mark from Middle River

      "My friend, the way folks pumped up Obama during the election I thought he was going to *walk on water*. "

      Well, maybe he will 'walk on water' metaphorically speaking when he gets re-elected ! 😀

      Peace brother...

      August 30, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Mark The epicenter of the quake was in Virginia. Earthquakes in this country are mostly a west coast, not a southern thing. Around the world, many of the worst have been in communist (eg China) and Muslim (Iran, Indonesia) countries, but have left few groups unscathed. You've got to be a true tin foil cap type to think that this wimpy quake was a message by god to "blue states". Hurricane Irene did a lot more damage in NC and VA than anywhere but VT. It was a piffle in NJ. Should I declare myself favored by god? NONE of these things ever have ANYTHING to do with the political or religious beliefs or lack thereof of the people they affect.

      August 30, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Free

      Mark
      Did you happen to watch the movie Valkyrie? Hitler's survival of Stauffenberg's assassination attempt depended on about a half a dozen factors going wrong in an otherwise excellent plan. Was God's providence working to save Hitler that day? It's the same thing as your story, or any Christian testimonial, but sometimes the improbable really does happen. However, for every very rare improbable outcome benefiting somebody there is an equally rare improbable outcome ruining somebody's life, yes? Isn't it more likely that these kinds of things just form the ends of the probability curve, and that the vast majority of things that happen in the world are just 'average'? Really, these stories mean nothing special then in the larger context.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Free, ok seriously, my thoughts are that such things as hurricanes, typhoons and the lot, I often come to reasoning like I put forth early. Some things just do not add up. Sorta like the freak storm in Wash DC that held the British down and destroyed their supply lines and northern progress and possibly saved Baltimore from a more organized attack.

      I don't think you have the slgihtest idea of what reason is given that statement. You're comparing one event and saying "Isn't this special?" while ignoring all the events that aren't.

      > Something that until these days we do not see the likes of. Was God on our Masonic side … who knows but thanking God when testimony after testimony, people can not explain how they made it through a disaster and thank God that they did make.

      Either God is responsible or God isn't. If God isn't, then the people shouldn't thank him. If God is, he should be condemned. God may be our creator, but that doesn't give him the right to inflict people with harm just because it's what he/she wants to do.

      > If you want to ask me if I believe in miracles, I will proudly without shame say yes.

      Then you're a tool. What charateristics does a miracle have, that is to say, how do we determine what is and isn't a miracle? If you don't have a method for determining what is and isn't a miracle, then it's subjective. And if something is subjective, it's quite possibly wrong.

      > Do I question why one families loved one is found alive after a twister and another's is found deceased, I do question why but I do hold that there is what I believe to be a bigger plan.

      It's easier to deal with life believing that there is some greater plan. That way, you don't have to confront the sadness of bad events. I mean, it's all according to God's plan. It's all cotton candy farts and lollipops. A family member who dies of cancer goes to a wonderful happy place. It's clearly not that he/she suffered for a while, died and no longer exists.

      > Check out the story about a Jasper family. I am not sure of the name, I heard it on NPR. There was this kid who was right out of a Final Destination movie. The family just seemed cursed, when the storm hit he thought he was done but he made it though the storm. In the two weeks between the filming/recording of his story this kid was dead. Freak car accident. It is these little nuances with life that points to something that science and atheist can not fully explain no more than the Pastor of the local church, after a storm, looks upon his town and has to field questions of “why my house” while at the same time having to field “Thank the Lord my house was spared.” It is not chance Free. What I described...the path of the Earth Quake, the path of the Hurricane.... just do not add up. Sorta like the first World Trade Center plane was thought at first to be a accident, the world changed when the second plane hit the other tower. Two natural disasters, almost a week apart following the same basic path?

      That is the most idiotic rambling I've ever heard. Cudos. If you think an individual story is a reasonable concept to base your idea of a God off of, you're a knob.

      > We won't go into the increase in solar storms and a few planets that will be aligned coming up.

      We had better not, I'm near my stupid threshold for today.

      > I am a person of Faith so I hold that Noah's flood happened so another disaster is within the possiblity.

      Noah's flood did not happen as described by the bible. Our natural world shows it did not.

      > I also hold that if what folks claim, that many Faiths outside of Christianity describe the flood and some describe a ark type of vessel, and also that Evolutionist state that the Earth was created out of a mixture of materials after the Big Bang ...and the Bible centuries ago described the Earth as a mass, without form.

      It also describes plants being created without light. It also prescribes animal sacrifice to cure leprosy. You have to take the book as a hole, not pick and choose. If you do pick and choose, you should worship me, because I'll make millions of claims and when some of them come true, people like you will ignore all the times I was wrong and focus in on when I was right.

      > In the end I do not know and there are things science does not know. That some Atheist say other sof Faith and myself are using Faith as a crutch, I always find interesting because they themselves are often speaking from their own wheelchair.

      Except that we're not. I don't think you understand atheism, because you sure as heck don't understand what it means to be rational.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Good Morning John. Some wrong number woke me up but before heading back to sleep I saw your post.

      >>>”The epicenter of the quake was in Virginia. Earthquakes in this country are mostly a west coast, not a southern thing. “

      Ok, John... That is just confirming what I was saying about the Earthquake being very strange in that it was not where major Earthquakes happen.... but even then John....being half asleep here… does not you saying that natural disasters happen on the West Coast …. Washington, Oregon and California... The headquarters of the Blue States... just confirm folks like Beck's possible belief that this might be a message from God?

      >>>”Hurricane Irene did a lot more damage in NC and VA than anywhere but VT. “

      From CNN : “– Gov. Bev Perdue said Saturday that Hurricane Irene has "pounded the state all night." But, she added, the force wasn't as great as originally forecast.”

      John, looking at the reports also from Virginia, it also does not back up your claim. Also, if we want to get morbid, VA and NC have lost 11 people. The blue states … 27. With pictures this morning from and other New England states it just adds another brick to the thoughts that it is very strange....

      You see John, we have Christians that will point things such as this. They will take maps and super impose them over maps of destruction and they will …. and I know you might not believe it … they will point to the rest of us Christians and declare that we have a vengeful and angry God. Remember Katrina and then Hatti..... we still have Christians who point to Voodoo and God sending his message to the citizens of those areas. Most Christians challenge them and point to Bible Belt regions and throw these other Christians a DVD of the movie Twister 🙂

      The point I just wanted to make is that I do not believe my God is the “Hand of an Angry God” deity but, for those that do believe that God operates as such this month has given them prime usable examples. So while you are saying there is not a God and I am saying that God is a God of peace and mercy, instances such as two natural occurrences happening back to back will lend more to the “hand of an angry God” sects of Faith than both of our words put together. It is easy to say there is not a God when the Earth is not moving under your feet. It is easy to say God is a loving and happy Father in Heaven, on bright and sunny days.

      >>>”It was a piffle in NJ. Should I declare myself favored by god? “

      My Friend, …. New Jersey … hmmm...... You got me there my friend....

      …..**cough** Republican Governor Chris Christie …... **cough .. cough** 😀

      August 30, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Bruce

      Mark: "Hmm... since the final Election in Florida that went to GW Bush ... have they been hit with anything major"

      Yes, in fact they have. I remember seeing a picture of county-by-county damage estimates after one of the hurricanes, superimposed on whether that county went red or blue in the 2000 election. If one were judging only by that map and believed hurricanes are sent by God to punish people, they would come away thinking that God was punishing people who voted for Bush instead of Gore (2004, three hurricanes in a month, Charley, Francis, Ivan).

      Of course those hurricane paths were doctored so the county-by-county thing wasn't an issue, however there have been a ton of hurricanes hitting Florida and a lot of other states that voted for Bush after 2000.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Isn't it more likely that these kinds of things just form the ends of the probability curve,”

      My example was a freak... almost since unheard of tornado in Washington DC that may have saved Baltimore and further conquest of the country by the British....

      Your example, a failing military dictator that escaped a assassination attempt....

      With Quaddafi on the run and a bounty on his head, and a steady history of world leaders ...before and after Hitler ...who get shot at...

      Respectfully Free, ...you are comparing something ubber rare, a tornado in DC, to something that happens quite regularly, in the world. In fact I do not recall any storm damage from Irene, in the District.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Free

      The Bobinator
      "God may be our creator, but that doesn't give him the right to inflict people with harm just because it's what he/she wants to do."

      He/she would have the right according to the Simulation Argument.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Free

      Mark
      You don't consider Hitler's survival of that assassination attempt 'freakish'? If both charges had been armed, or if the table hadn't been quite so thick, or if the case holding the explosives hadn't been moved, or if Hitler hadn't bent over the map at that precise moment, or any number of other factors, history would have been changed, and millions of lives would have been spared. If this had been an attempt upon Churchhill's life then people would likely have claimed divine intervention. As it was, plenty of Germans and Hitler himself took his survival as a sign of God's providence, and he had as much justification to do so as any Christian who survives a serious accident today has. You just choose not to see these things as the same because you dislike the implications. Hardly a rational evaluation, right?

      Face it, humans evolved the capacity to evaluate things. Our ancestors, looking at a herd of game, could easily see which of the animals were above or below average, and chose which to target accordingly. Thus anything that is not average stands out in our minds as special. This lead to the magical thinking that rare examples, like four leaf clovers and white buffalo, are 'lucky' or a 'sign' of something, where the reality is that they're just not average.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      > If you want to ask me if I believe in miracles, I will proudly without shame say yes.

      "Then you're a tool."

      Bob, then we have come down to simple name calling of those that believe differently? Are you serious? Come on dude, I was the only African American kid in an all white school and I am a African American Republican that sat out of the last presidential election.

      There is no "chances are",... Bob you WILL have to dig deeper, much deeper than simple name calling.

      Those kind of feelings were killed off back in the 70s.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”You don't consider Hitler's survival of that assassination attempt 'freakish'?”

      Hi Free, not really. Since the “freak” tornado that night that the British were to progress North, I do believe that many leaders have escaped assassination.

      In my lifetime I have seen a president shot point blank …. and survive his assassination. We have also had leaders such as Saddam, Bin Laden, and now Quaddaffi survive how many missile and guided bomb strikes.

      A freak storm come out of no where and stop the advance of one of the most powerful armies on the planet at that time? That would be as if the Russian country side had the weather of Jamaica , when Germany attacked and then a sudden blizzard came in.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark from Middle River

      You said: "So while you are saying there is not a God and I am saying that God is a God of peace and mercy..."

      Hmm... So saith the blogs Moral Compass.

      First: In answer to Christians saying natural disasters are somehow conveying god's wants / displeasure
      So an all powerful, all knowing, all loving god sends earthquakes, tornadoes, floods etc. to show his displeasure. The problem is, He doesn't make it absolutely clear what exactly He is unhappy about. The earthquake and flood could have been for His displeasure in the verdict in the Jeffs trial. Or the atheist billboards. Or whatever you want. Why would a god kill people and not make it clear why He is doing it? Discipline only works, if you know why you are being beaten.

      2nd: God is a God of peace and mercy

      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 merciful?

      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 merciful?

      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 merciful?

      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 merciful? 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 merciful?

      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.

      If you whine that I am taking these examples out of context, then I invite you to read the examples of god's behavior again. Tell me in what reality or under what circ_umstances, these actions would not be evil?

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Fred1

      If the chance of random events stacking up to look like a miracle today are 1 chance in a million then 300 people in the US should see what looks like a miracle because there are 300 million Americans

      August 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Free

      Mark
      Are you talking about a tornado during the revolutionary War, because if you are then I can't find any source of it, or the reported tornado that prevented the British from destroying all of Washington on August 25, 1814? If the latter, then the fact that the local Washingtonians knew enough from the early signs of the storm's development to take cover long before a funnel cloud appeared indicates that tornados were not exactly unheard of in the area. The British soldiers, on the other hand, did not have such experience and suffered for it. Get back to me if you have a source for a miracle Revolutionary War tornado, OK?

      “All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe”
      Thomas Paine

      August 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Mark, What concerns me is the cherry picking here. First, yes, quakes are rare in this country away from the west coast. But no one ever claimed they were exclusive to the west coast. I myself experienced an earlier quake in PA. There are very few places where there aren't at least minor tremors fairly frequently. In any case, just consider how stupid it is to simultaneously claim that the blue states on the west coast must be targeted by god because quakes are common there AND that this quake was obviously a sign from god because it happened where quakes are UNcommon.

      Next, if you sum up ALL natural disasters, ie hurricanes, quakes, tornados, floods, blizzards, wildfires, etc things tend to even out a bit, But the red states are still notable for being hurricane (hence flood) and tornado magnets. What does this say about the political and religious beliefs of people living there? NOTHING. It's all about prevailing climatic conditions.

      As for this hurricane, the proper metric isn't simply total death, but deaths as a percentage of population. Like all hurricanes, this one tended to dissipate as it went north for reasons having nothing to do with religion or politics and everything to do with temperature gradients and jet stream wind shear. It just happened to dissipate even faster than predicted. Our main concern all along in NJ was rain-based flooding, as we had had such a wet August already. But we even got lucky on this score. And for the record, I neither like nor dislike Chris Christie as much as most people do, but I give him high marks for being pro-active in the case of the storm. Our shore casualties might have been a lot higher had he been as slow, stupid and lazy as various governors and presidents have been in the past about contingency planning for worst case scenarios.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”God killed every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah and his family, because man was wicked. “

      Interesting, a God that could have started all over decided to show mercy on Noah and his kin and allowed them to live and begin mankind again. You know there was written another reason for the Great Flood. It is pretty interesting.

      >>>”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?”

      I would think that if it were you and you knew that it with out a doubt that it was God that had vocally commanded you to... I think the trauma of that alone would do it. The ordeal of doing God's commandment to sacrifice his son, was shown that God made the command and then commanded that did not allow it to happen. It is circular David, if you know that it was God, then you accept that Abraham was sending his child back to he who created him. It was harsh and traumatic and I would hope never to be in that position.

      The trials of Job, yes I would still honor and worship God. Sorry, my ancestors were brought over in bondage to work in the fields of the South, then they had to face the likes of Jim Crow and other hardships that I could not imagine. If they can hold on to God's hand .. I know I can. 🙂

      >>>“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 person denies God or God's existence... then the same should not have any concern of such a place, should he. 🙂

      >>>”If a puppy wet on the floor, would you hold it over a burner? Even for a second? I couldn't do that. “
      That is the puppy doing wrong. Let us move it up to a dog, can we. If even the grown dog continued to bite at your family would you not caste the dog out of your home? Turn your back on God and denying him is seen as the same thing. Sorta biting the hand that feeds you.

      Now for the testimony phase. If we look upon all of God's actions with your predetermined definition of evil then I would be more inclined to acquiesce. The problem that you will continue to face is that you have to think of oneself as a God, David. Not a mortal human. I know, for a Atheist this is hard to do, but in the spirit of dialogue I am taking time on my day off to help you.

      If you were the God... a God that created all, can recreate all after destroying all. If you were the one who held the keys to everlasting afterlife... If Issac had died that day... to a Athiest, he ended that day. The question that Atheist, such as yourself have asked many times... if God commanded you to sacrifice your child, would you? The question is to them, as soon as Abraham confirms that it was God, then he knew that Issac was in God's hands. If God did impress himself to you as a Athiest … I mean showed up at your doorstep, knew things about you that no one else did, and did some sorta of miracle or deity type of act... some set things that would crumble and vanquish your doubt that he or she is God... could you deny such a presence? Would you? If you know it is God, then the conformation of an afterlife is established.... what would do David?

      >>>”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 merciful? Is this a just God?”

      Ahh.. Kings 2 23-24, I take it you are speaking of. I had to confirm it but if I remember that scripture is debated on the word “children.” The translation of the word children seems to be in question. Was it a group of what we consider today children or a group of 42 young men?

      The story about Jephtah’s daughter, is a interesting account. Why did God stop Abraham and not stop Jephtah? On that one I am not sure, since God did not require Jephtah to sacrifice his daughter or to sacrifice anyone. That his daughter understood the vow to God and saw it as a sad honor to fulfill her fathers vow, how much of a hand did God have in it?

      Lastly, in your Isaiah 45:7 argument.

      > “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7

      On the creation of evil in the world I have never seen this passage before but it does make sence. The devil is one of God's creations so I can see that. The interesting this is that in a passage that says that God created evil and peace, you wish for folks to naturally conclude that God is then evil. If the text says both then many would conclude then that God is then peaceful. So David, what is your reasoning that we should see the glass as half empty instead of half full? Or that maybe the philosophy of why God created or allowed Evil might just be there to find out who are those of Faith and who are those not of Faith. As they say “separate the wheat from the chaff”.

      Good respectful and thought out response though David. I am honored. 🙂

      l"Chaim my friend

      August 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Free. It was the war of 1812. The bombardment of Fort McHenry would have been in 1814.

      >>>“if the latter, then the fact that the local Washingtonians knew enough from the early signs of the storm's development to take cover long before a funnel cloud appeared indicates that tornadoes were not exactly unheard of in the area.”

      Well Free, two things.

      First since the citizens of Washington were under siege by the British military including the firing from the British Navy on fortified positions around the city with troops on the ground burning the city to the ground it would more appear that the citizens had already taken cover in the city.

      Second, even before seeing a funnel cloud do you not think that the rapid increase in storm activity would have caused the citizens to take cover as soon as the winds and rains picked up?

      >>>”The British soldiers, on the other hand, did not have such experience and suffered for it”

      On that one I would call suspect. The British empire at that time was one of the worlds largest on the way to becoming the largest territorial empire in history. This was a seafaring military force that held positions around the globe, so I am pretty sure that history would show that they had encountered violent weather events before. Maybe not arctic blizzards but I am pretty sure a storms of various degrees.

      Also, if your claim of Washington citizens were aware of such storms, then would not the British, who occupied much of the colonies and had recently fought a eight year war 30 years prior, would they not also be as aware as the citizens of Washington?

      🙂

      August 30, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Free

      Mark from Middle River
      I'm afraid that you're still barking up the wrong tree, my friend. Here is part of an account of that tornado from the Air Force Weather Observer http://www.afweather.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123042444

      -Dawn rose the next morning and the remaining Washingtonians felt the day's warmth not from the sun but from the heat of the fires. While the British soldiers continued to set fires and destroy the stores of ammunition found, they failed to notice the early afternoon sky begin to darken. Westward beyond the city, large clouds were forming, beginning to swirl, and soon the sky intensified with lightning and thunder signaling the approach of a thunderstorm. The British soldiers familiar with thunderstorms in England and preoccupied with their orders discounted the Americans watching the sky.
      As the storm front neared the city, Washingtonians took cover. The winds dramatically increased and a tornado developed over the city that produced a "frightening roar." The tornado ripped through Washington and headed straight toward the British occupation. Structures were torn off their foundations, other buildings were blown down. Feather mattresses were sucked out of windows, trees were uprooted, fences were blown down, chimneys collapsed, the heavy chain bridge across the Potomac River buckled, and many British cannons were picked up and tossed around. Panic ensued; many British soldiers did not have time to take cover and were killed by collapsing buildings and flying debris.-

      The article does go on to say that tornados are indeed rare in Washington, and that this one was providential, but the beginning of the article clearly lays out the unique weather conditions that preceded it, including the observation that the summer was one of the hottest on record. So, sorry, there's nothing really miraculous here.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”The article does go on to say that tornadoes are indeed rare in Washington, and that this one was providential, …..So, sorry, there's nothing really miraculous here.”

      Hmm... once something is admitted too as “indeed rare” and at the same time “of, relating to, or determined by Providence “... you argument is that because the temperature was hot and there were clouds in the sky..... that the rare Tornado was not miraculous that disrupted the advance of the British military... was not rare? Interesting.

      Would that be the same as if we took the story of Jesus walking on water.

      “And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.” Mark 6:48.

      What was the miracle Free? The building of the conditions or the actual act of Jesus walking on the water/sea? I will say it was Jesus walking on the water just like I will say the miracle was a admitted rare tornado.

      🙂

      August 31, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      What is scary is that some people read divine intent into natural phenomena.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      It goes to the state of your being Tallulah which is what this journey is all about. Christians like anyone else get it wrong sometimes. What is revealed is that one person sees a miracle or tragic event and ponders upon God with a humble heart. Another will look at the same event and spit on God or not even give God a thought. This is the difference between the two men that hung on each side of Jesus in His final moments. This is the difference between the sheep and goats in the end times. If you wish to go back 5,000+ years it is the difference between Isaac and Ishmael. The concept is important an is repeated over and over to each generation and each individual.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Free

      Mark from Middle River
      Ah, the word 'providential' does not actually appear in the article. The actual conclusion simply states:

      "What can be said for certain is that a powerful tornado with destructive winds did hit downtown Washington at a crucial time; forcing the British out of the city, and saving what was left of our Capitol."

      People writing historical accounts tend not to give credit of events to the divine, as such things are unprovable. My use of the word was more in line with the meaning 'opportune', or even 'lucky', which it certainly was. Sorry to confuse the issue with a misleading choice of words.

      Just because something is rare only means that it's not average, or ordinary. Assigning any other meaning to that is just being subjective because whether or not you benefit from the thing defines it in your mind as being either miracle, or curse; good or bad luck; or what have you. In this instance, our side benefitted from the poor weather. A couple of hundred years earlier the British benefitted from the weather over the Spanish Armada. All three nations held a majority of Christians. If God were responsible, then which nation of his believers is he choosing to aid? No, I think that you are on much firmer theological ground to just assume that the weather is random, and that God isn't actually favoring some Christians over others, which I think you began this discussion asserting, right?

      Jesus supposedly walking on water is in a category quite apart from rare weather occurrences, however there is some evidence that such feats are indeed possible. 😉

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBQLq2VmZcA&w=640&h=360]

      August 31, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Free

      fred
      If someone narrowly escapes death then it is only natural for them to reevaluate how they are living their life, but I don't see why you have to bring God into the picture. That's a specific religious interpretation held only by some people. Others might be apt to reconsider what form they might have been reincarnated into had they died at that moment.

      August 31, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • fred

      Free,
      Mark on the River
      I think Jesus is way ahead of both of you: "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Jesus was speaking of how to handle enemies................Let the blues and the reds do a group hug.
      As to miracles Jesus allways performend them with a purpose. Jesus made it clear that there are those who will not believe even if they see miracles and demand them as proof.
      Mark I see miracles all around and Free sees low probability events outside 2 or 3 standard devieations. The good news is that your entry into the kingdom is not based on a bell curve of your performance or your party affiliation.

      August 31, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Ah, the word 'providential' does not actually appear in the article. “

      I know 🙂 …. you are the one who summarized it. Do you not remember your own words

      “and that this one was providential”

      >>>”Just because something is rare only means that it's not average, or ordinary. Assigning any other meaning to that is just being subjective because whether or not you benefit from the thing defines it in your mind as being either miracle, or curse; good or bad luck; or what have you.”

      Umm yeah it is subjective. You have just defined yourself as a Atheist and me as a person of Faith. You look at the article that provided:

      Three tornadoes striking on the same night
      “British cannons were picked up and tossed around “
      “British soldiers killed by collapsing buildings and flying debris”
      “Downed trees across roads hampered their journey “
      “ two (British ships) had broken free from their moorings and were washed ashore”

      ….but you just write this off as some rare happened and chide me for holding that this was a miracle and a blessing? I would think that you just strengthened my Faith by tons.

      >>>”couple of hundred years earlier the British benefited from the weather over the Spanish Armada.

      Are you speaking of: “The spectacular but unsuccessful attempt by King Philip II of Spain to invade Elizabethan England.”

      Hmm... Let me playfully guess.... a military force was defeated and aided by a similar freak act of nature?

      “As the Armada reached the lati'tude of Ireland, it encountered a large hurricane. Hammered by the wind and sea, at least 24 ships were driven ashore on the Irish coast where many of the survivors were killed by Elizabeth’s troops. The storm, referred to as the Protestant Wind was seen as a sign that God supported the Reformation and many commemorative medals were struck with the inscription He Blew with His Winds, and They Were Scattered.”

      >>>”If God were responsible, then which nation of his believers is he choosing to aid?”

      Possibly “not” the ones invading. I do not feel God is nationalistic. It is one of those reasons that the current anti-war community does have cautious Faithful that are concerned about the US military being used to invade so many other countries.

      >>>”No, I think that you are on much firmer theological ground to just assume that the weather is random, “

      Umm.... I am on more solid ground to look at these two events, especially the events in the District, and sit at amazement of the Power of God. 🙂

      >>>”...and that God isn't actually favoring some Christians over others, which I think you began this discussion asserting, right?”

      LOL.... which discussion. My exchange with John, Peace, Bob, David or you. Even Tallulah jumped in there a bit. Also which post did I say that God favored one Christian over another?

      Was it this post:
      “You see John, we have Christians that will point things such as this. They will take maps and super impose them over maps of destruction and they will …. and I know you might not believe it … they will point to the rest of us Christians and declare that we have a vengeful and angry God. Remember Katrina and then Hatti..... we still have Christians who point to Voodoo and God sending his message to the citizens of those areas. Most Christians challenge them and point to Bible Belt regions and throw these other Christians a DVD of the movie Twister”

      That one I am explaining to Atheist that about the internal struggle within the Faith. Remember me saying that I do not follow the “hand of an angry God” view of God? To use your phrase... “Get back to me if you have a source”.

      Ok, gotta go play (work) …. Free, also... we both need to try to stay on .. track I guess. We went from recent events to the War of 1812, to the failed assassination of a German dictator, back to the War of 1812, then to the defeat of King Philips Armada.

      All I know is that these latest events I still call strange but now I have more Faith that what happened in Washington DC in the summer of 1814 was a miracle.

      l'Chaim

      August 31, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Free

      fred
      You might want to check into the history of miracle claims. They extend way beyond the Abrahamic world, and are a feature of Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as other ancient mythologies. Even the Roman Emperor Vespasian is recorded as having performed miracles. It was simply something that was expected of great figures in the past. Just think of all the larger-than-life tales that were credited to Davy Crockett while he was still alive.

      Did you watch my Criss Angel video? He amazes people with his illusions at a time when we generally do not believe in actual magic, but imagine what reaction a talented illusionist, or even a gifted doctor would have gotten in the backwater territories that Jesus roamed? If the Bible is so vocal about magic then magicians had to be active back then, and since it never describes their feats as being mere tricks, it's assumed that people really did believe in actual magic, right? A good illusionist would have either been stoned for being in league with devils, or admired as a miracle worker back then.

      August 31, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • fred

      Free,
      I bring God into the picture because those that have died asked me why would God do this and those that survive think it a miracle for a period of time at least. If you know God then you see only the one true God and as you brought to my attention I then view the world through that lens. As to other beliefs or non-belief I remain somewhat naive and at best my view is slanted. This would agree with your thoughts that miracles are subjective not objective events.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Free

      Mark
      I'm really having trouble pinning down what you believe about this tornado. First you said:

      "Three tornadoes striking on the same night
      “British cannons were picked up and tossed around “
      “British soldiers killed by collapsing buildings and flying debris”
      “Downed trees across roads hampered their journey “
      “ two (British ships) had broken free from their moorings and were washed ashore”

      ….but you just write this off as some rare happened and chide me for holding that this was a miracle and a blessing? I would think that you just strengthened my Faith by tons."

      But then you said:

      "Possibly “not” the ones invading. I do not feel God is nationalistic."

      Obviously, this event was a disaster from the British perspective, and since the British were equally as likely to read God's hand in the storm the question remains: How can this be seen as a miracle, an actual divine intervention, for our side if it isn't also understood that by working this miracle God chose to aid one group of Christians by sabotaging another?

      August 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      In what sense did dead people 'ask' you about God?

      As to viewing things through a 'lens' would you say that your belief is like a person's love of another, where that love essentially prevents them from seeing the faults in their loved one that everyone else can plainly see?

      August 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      I have to agree with you and if not for personal experiences this magic, legend or illusions of old cause me to scratch my head. However, think about how Gods prophets outshined the others. Pharaohs magicians were outdone by Moses………………..even his stick turned into the biggest snake of all and ate the rest. Elijah not only made fire appear like the others he first soaked the wood with water. Moral of the story my God is bigger than yours.

      Jesus did not walk on the water for the amazement of those lounging in the pool as Chriss did. This event was to show God has power over the seas and is not constrained by the things of this world. It goes to the short sightedness of man in bondage to their own limitations and fears even in the presence of an almighty God. His presence was insufficient He had to calm the seas. Free, you do not recognize His presence so you rely on facts. Jesus said; “you know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time.”
      It has less to do with what you, Mark or I see in the storms back East or some military advantage from weather than it does with who is the center of our focus.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      The dead I referred to are not Like the movie I see dead people. One good friend dying of aids thought God cruel until the last few days. Another waited for a miracle right up to the last few hours that never came. One young atheist finally grasped the Bible with but weeks to live, began to read and accepted Christ. He believed God would give him a new liver. I said anything was possible with God even though I knew he was not a candidate for transplant. I do not know how those two thoughts could coexist in my mind at the same time but they do to this day. I knew objectively without doubt there would be no liver yet I know anything is possible with God. Yieks.
      Yes, it would be as you say love is blind. However, there are times when you know the honeymoon is over and it seems she doesn’t love you anymore………….Humm maybe she never did. Then you go back to the days when the love was strong and relive the moments then all the feelings come flooding in again. In the Old Testament we see a tradition where the Jews would repeat at certain times or festivals all that God had done for them. Seems like I need to do that so as not to loose faith.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      Houdini is considered the greatest of all illusionists, but even if we were to compare him to all the others one of them would emerge as being the best, but that doesn't translate to that person's illusions being any different in kind than the others, yes? Moses could have just been a better magician then Pharaoh's men. Either that, or people's tendency to favor their own is shining through in the pages of the Bible. It doesn't matter the sport, but hop into any sports bar in the nation and, odds are, the majority will be of the opinion that their team is the best in the league.

      The motives of miracle workers really shouldn't matter. When it was proven that Peter Popoff was using radios to fool people into believing that the Spirit was communicating secrets about his audience to him it could still be argued that he did so to demonstrate God's power. People certainly 'believed' that before he was revealed to be a fake. All it would take for Jesus or Moses to have been a fakes is not getting caught.

      "Moral of the story my God is bigger than yours."
      I don't have a god.

      August 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Free

      fred and Mark
      I'm starting a new tread on page 25 as this one is getting a bit tedious navigating, OK?

      August 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  18. Sue

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

    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 |
    • gman

      Sue – you sure are not acting like a phd (I doubt that is the case). I came back one more time to see if you finally responded. What takes so long for you to respond anyway? First, there was no challenge for you to throw irrelevant subject matter into the mix like second quantization – tell me how this is relevant to the origin of life forms? Obviously a person can not know everything about all subjects and I fail to see how it is relevant ot the origin question that I asked originally. After a superficial googling – I see that it is not relevant at all. Why are you acting like a 2nd grader(wimp, I win, etc) – is it because you really live in your mom's basement and are able to search for topics around quantum physics?

      August 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Sue, I think Gman really rattled you pretty bad. You made one sentence post:

      at 9:12 pm
      at 9:13 pm
      at 9:14 pm
      at 9:20 pm

      Respectfully I think you got a bit unhinged there.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Sue, your emotional rants and ad hominem attacks aren't serving you well. Maybe you're out of your league here.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Sue

      You go girl! You won the bet!

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • John Richardson

      Sue won fair and square! Gman and SciGuy have ego problems and are in denial. But anyone with an ounce of objectivity can see that Sue smacked Gman around like a punching bag.

      August 30, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • A Theist

      Winning? That's where we've gone to? Way to go adults, you have made a mockery of intelligent debate and academics in general. If you're going to play games and decides who "wins" and who "loses," at least don't pretend that you're doing it in the mindset of open-minded pursuit of knowledge. To those of you who intended to have an serious debate, I am sorry the oppotunity was lost.

      August 30, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Sue

      I won. and gman (gboy would be a better handle for him) lost. He made an open challenge, and lost it. Clear as the day. And he still lacks the ability to try to answer the questions with any substance.

      gman is stupid and is a coward. That's not merely an ad hominen statement; it is actually supported by the case history and subject matter here.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Sue's Mommy

      Ok Sue, first we have time-out for the tantrum, then nap-time for the grumpies. Maybe when you get older and stop playing these little games you can talk with the grown ups.

      August 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @A Theist: You lose! 😀

      August 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • uSe

      @ Sue..

      YES! YES! YOU WON! As the most st!pid poster of the day.

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Oh wait..you must be an atheist, they are reigning and depending that category since the CNN created the belief blog.

      August 31, 2011 at 7:09 am |
    • John Richardson

      Funny how SciGuy and Gman disappeared after suffering humiliating defeats at the hands if SciGal and Sue. You two spoiled their whole alpha-male-theist-on-a-rampage days! Bwahahahaha!!!

      August 31, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Sue's Mommy

      Now little Johnny Richardson! Does your mother know you're on this board? We to get you to a nap right now mister! All this talk of winning and losing is getting you weird and antsy!

      September 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Iceman

    @David Johnson

    Re: Satan does not exist? check the link below...

    dwsilver.com/Videos/html/ruleworld.html

    August 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Iceman

      And this shows what exactly...?

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Jungle foot

      @Peace2All
      you asked: "And this shows what exactly...?

      Well, if you watched the video =). You will observe a collection of newsreels whence give testimonial evidence of the fact that there is an invisible, h ate ful, mur der ous, being. who is orchestrating the evil events taking place here on Earth among humans.

      Peace

      August 30, 2011 at 4:41 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Jungle foot

      Of course it does, -Jungle Foot. Of course there is an 'invisible,' 'hateful', 'murderous' being causing 'evil events' etc... I mean how could we even doubt that such an 'evil and invisible being' exists...?

      **face palm w a deep sigh happening now**

      Peace...

      August 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Iceman

      There are videos of people who swear they were abducted by space aliens. There are people who swear they have seen the virgin Mary, Angels, Jesus, Fairies, etc.

      I stand by my post on there not being a Satan. If the Christian god is all powerful, it means He cannot be defeated. Nothing is impossible for Him. If the Christian god is all knowing, He would have known Satan was going to rebel, since the beginning of time. If the Christian god is all knowing, He knew, also from the beginning of time, who would be saved and who would go to hell. Satan taking as many humans as he can is dumb reasoning. God already knows the number. The number, if god is omniscient, can not be changed. It has been predetermined.

      In light of the attributes that Christians assign to their god, Satan could not exist. In light of the attributes that the Christians assign to their god, God Himself, could not exist. No being can be both omniscient and omnipotent.

      Most people are at least somewhat familiar with Greek mythology. There have been movies, comic books etc. The good and bad gods are plentiful. The gods seducing humans is common. The gods battling creatures is bountiful. They are fiction!!

      The bible is just like Greek mythology. The Christian god creates and then does battle with the Leviathan. He later brags about it, like a human might. God seduces and produces a demigod. God is said to be all good and all just. So Satan does the bad stuff that happens to people. Just like the Greek gods. God befriends some humans. The Greek Gods befriends some humans. I could go on, but my point is: All gods are human creations.

      Satyrs, Unicorns and talking snakes. Oh, my!

      Its all B.S., dude.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  20. John Richardson

    "Ist Zwifel Herzens Nachgebur ..."

    And so forth ....

    August 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • *frank*

      lol...

      August 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • rene

      god died long ago laffing watching us doing things wake up dude

      August 29, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Rene, if God were to cease to exist, all being would cease to exist. That is, there would be nothing. For it is only in him that we live, move, and have being. He is the self-existent one from whom all creation derives it's being.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • David Johnson

      @SciGuy

      You said: "if God were to cease to exist, all being would cease to exist. That is, there would be nothing. For it is only in him that we live, move, and have being. He is the self-existent one from whom all creation derives it's being."

      Cool! Where is your evidence? Otherwise, it is just your opinion and like anuses, everybody has one.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • David Johnson

      @SciGuy

      Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist.

      No one can prove a negative. I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we see in the real-world.

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

      I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. I can't prove vampires or werewolves or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you would agree, that they are not real. They just don't fit in with the reality we see all around us.

      So, we can look for attributes of god, that should provide evidence that He exists.
      If positive evidence is found, we should conclude that god probably exists.
      If positive evidence is not found, then we should conclude that the Christian God, beyond a reasonable doubt, does not exist. Just like Santa. Just like fairies. Just like vampires.

      One of the most compelling reasons for rejecting god, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      Christians claim their god is Omnipotent ( all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnibenevolent (all good).

      1). If god is Omnibenevolent, He would WANT every human to believe in Him.

      The bible says He does:

      2 Peter 3:9
      9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. King James Version (KJV)

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

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

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

      Yet, ~ 67% of the world's population are not Christians.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      In the same vein as the above, 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? Is the will of god, subjective?

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled. So far, science has found no need for a god. The claim, that God Did It, has always been wrong in the past. On this issue, I think the future will look a lot like the past.
      Belief without a reason or evidence, is called "delusional".

      Christians often quote:
      John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?

      I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes and evolution, but my explanation fails when I include an all loving Creator in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.

      Christians say their god is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)

      1. If the Christian god is all knowing, He would be AWARE of all the suffering on earth.

      2. If the Christian god is all good, He would WANT to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      3. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be ABLE to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      4. Yet, evil persists.

      Therefore, The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.

      If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.

      1. If the Christian god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.

      2. If the Christian god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.

      3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another.

      The Christian god with these attributes cannot exist. No being can have these attributes at the same time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      LOL, which is why the Creationists fight so hard against evolution. And why many Evangelicals are reinterpreting Genesis to encompass an old earth.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes or Santa. And you don't believe in any of those, Right?

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist."

      Normally yes, but here on the Belief Blog the first strike of the debate is often the Atheist stating that there is no God. Should it be then on them to prove their claim?

      August 30, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Mark, We are not the ones claiming there is a god(s)...the burden of proof always lies on the one making the claim.
      My stand point is rather simple...I see no evidence for a god and until that evidence is provided, I refuse to believe there is one.

      August 30, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Normally yes, but here on the Belief Blog the first strike of the debate is often the Atheist stating that there is no God. Should it be then on them to prove their claim?

      If they say so, yes. If they don't, no.

      I personally think that there probably is no God, because I have never seen any evidence for the supernatural, which is what God would be. I have never seen a suspension of natural laws as deposited by religions and I have yet to see any religion in existence that isn't flawed.

      Given that, I'd say that even if a God existed, it clearly doesn't care if we know it or not. And to me, an unknowable God is the exact same as a non-existant God. Therefore, I say there probably is no God.

      Now, I don't say that with 100% certainty, because nothing is ever 100% certain. However, I'm 99% sure there is no God.

      The difference between a rational mind and an irrational mind is that the rational mind can be convinced otherwise by reason. The irrational mind cannot.

      I will accept a God when I see evidence of one. Will the faithful reject their religion when there's evidence that it's wrong (Ie, Christianity and Noah's Flood, Garden of Eden, etc).

      August 30, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • Bruce

      David Johnson: "Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist."

      Yes, however you need to understand what consti.tutes "evidence" in this case and see it for what it is–most-likely unconvincing for those who are prone to not believe.

      A couple of things about belief and evidence for belief from the scriptures: (1) the gospel of John encourages us to believe based on the testimony of others who were "eyewitnesses" to key events, and (2) the same gospel of John shows one example of someone (Thomas) who refused to believe until he was given a very specific kind of evidence, who didn't believe mere testimony of witnesses, and who wasn't punished for having the audacity to ask for specific evidence and instead was given exactly the evidence he asked for. Another example of evidence accepted was Paul's personal experience in Acts, and again this caused him to believe in spite of testimony of witnesses, because he never believed the witnesses until after this personal experience.

      So, while the gospel of John calls upon us to believe based on testimony, scripture as a whole provides very few (if any) solid examples of people who actually did this, and simultaneously provides examples of a few (if several) solid examples of the contrary.

      Further, look at the language Jesus uses: "for those with eyes to see and ears to hear." What does this mean? What I think it means is that there are those predisposed to a certain message who will pick up on that message and it will resonate with them. Likewise there are those that are both blind and deaf to the message who will not pick up on it at all.

      Christians often miss this, or misunderstand this. They think that the message is so compelling that everyone should, if they hear it the way they heard it, believe it immediately. It is compelling–for them. However, their own scripture records the prediction that many (maybe most) will not only not see it, but will be predisposed against the message and will react negatively (sometimes violently, as in Saul who later became Paul) to the message.

      So, in short, this "evidence" that proves Christianity isn't so much scientific evidence as it is idealistic/philosophical/rhetorical resonance that may or may not occur when an individual encounters the Christian idea of Jesus and the death/resurrection story. Christians by and large have already received that "evidence," so the notion that they will receive "evidence" that would prove their religion wrong is quite beside the point. That is, to use the scientific paradigm on this is a category error.

      August 30, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • QuestionEverything

      @ Bruce "A couple of things about belief and evidence for belief from the scriptures: (1) the gospel of John encourages us to believe based on the testimony of others who were "eyewitnesses" to key events"

      We're talking about a book that has been edited, then re-edited, then re-editted again, then re-interpretted, then edited, then re-edited, then edited again, then re-interpretted... and over again. Eyewitnesses? What Christianity has done is transform the "story" in ways that fit the ever changing human landscape that has evolved over time. What was "believable" some generations ago (the old testament) was conveniently "RE-EDITED" so that it could be accepted in today's culture. The Old Testament, which would most likely be the true word of god if there was one, is the most vile piece of writting ever conceived. Any Christian should be embarrassed that the roots of today's religions derived from such drivel.

      August 30, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Bruce

      "We're talking about a book that has been edited, then re-edited, then re-editted again, then re-interpretted, then edited, then re-edited, then edited again, then re-interpretted... and over again."

      Yeah... so what?

      "What Christianity has done is transform the 'story' in ways that fit the ever changing human landscape that has evolved over time."

      Yup. That's what makes it so powerful. The bare outline of the story is universal enough to transcend history and culture so that it can be adapted into a new relevance with every generation. It has to do with cultural archetypes. Check out Carl Jung–he had some very interesting things to say about this.

      I'll make a similar observation regarding the U.S. Consti.tution. What makes it powerful is that it can be changed (amended). In fact, what is killing the Consti.tution today (and this is somewhat ironic if you think about it) is that politically we are paralyzed to make amendments to it any longer, so it stays in a stasis until it starts to get irrelevant.

      Scripture that is meticulously controlled and not re-interpretted or even re-written from time to time is dead. A living body is much more powerful, and much more lasting.

      August 30, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Bruce

      I find it interesting that the fact that scripture has been rewritten and edited and reinterpreted over time is considered a BAD thing by people who claim they favor science.

      Science is powerful BECAUSE you get to go back and rewrite all of the books once you find evidence for a theory that better-explains things than previous theories do. Think of Newton's laws, and how F = dp/dt was reinterpreted after relativity theory gained experimental verification.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bruce
      What makes The Bible any more credible as the innerrant guide to Life, The Universe and Everything, than the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, or Revelation X?

      August 30, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Bruce

      Doc:
      (1) I'm not sure why you are asking me this. I never said it was any more credible as a guide to life, The Universe and Everything. I was only using it as a guide to what Christians (should?) believe about things like "evidence" for their faith. In this sense, I think it is pretty clear that the scriptures are a better guide to Christian religious ideas than, for example, the Bhagavad Gita.

      (2) Even if the "Bible" is a credible guide for such a thing as living the good life, this doesn't mean that it is the only such guide. But of course you know this already, don't you?

      I think you've somehow gained the wrong impression of me... Did you know I'm an atheist?

      August 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @Bruce

      But should the scriptures that are supposedly the "Perfect Word of God" be changed by men to fit society? How can I be sure that God is working through these editors of the bible to change the words to his liking and not for their own personal gain?

      Who gets to make the decision on when to re-write scriptures?

      I think that rewriting the Bible as the Code of Conduct we should all live by would be fine. It's just that if that were to happen, it can no longer be claimed as the "Word of God".

      August 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Free

      Bruce
      Of course WE know that the Bible, more recently it's interpretation, as well as the Christian faith itself, has evolved throughout the ages to match social values, but there are those who still insist that none of it has changed a single bit and base their belief in it's authority upon some non-existent timelessness of it's message. This is analogous to modern day chemists insisting that the real 'truth' about the elements can only be found in ancient books of alchemy.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Free

      I = rubber, U = glue
      If editors of the bible were capable of changing the words to their liking and for personal gain, then the original authors were also capable of crafting the scriptures to match their personal ideas in the first place, yes?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Bruce

      IRubber: "But should the scriptures that are supposedly the "Perfect Word of God" be changed by men to fit society?"

      The Bible came from the Church. The Church did not come from the Bible. What happened in the 4th century is absolutely critical to understanding the nature of scripture, and the hermeneutical traditions since then, over the majority of two thousand years of history, is equally critical to such an understanding.

      "Who gets to make the decision on when to re-write scriptures?"

      The Church. The culture. We do.

      Free: "there are those who still insist that none of it has changed a single bit and base their belief in it's authority upon some non-existent timelessness of it's message"

      Yes, and they are wrong, except for the fact there are still parts of the message (see above regarding "no greater love has a man than this" moral truth, that still resonates with us today) that have managed to transcend both cultural and historical changes, albeit they need to be slightly recast from time to time so they retain their relevance.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Bruce

      UGlue: "I think that rewriting the Bible as the Code of Conduct we should all live by would be fine."

      I think that is the exact opposite of what we should do. If you read Paul's letter to the Galatians, you will find that this early theology of Christianity served to free us from the bonds of "codes" and "laws." To seek some over-simplified set of rules (e.g. the 10 commandments) is to lack faith (trust) in your newfound moral freedom, a freedom that was given to you by the Christ (if we are to believe any of this garbage at all).

      That is, if you keep going back to some hard-and-fast-and-simplified moral rules, you are placing your trust (faith) in the law and not in the Spirit, the Spirit that now (allegedly) resides within you, the Spirit that is now (allegedly) informing your moral intuitions and your moral imagination.

      Many Christians absolutely hate this. They, as Dostoevsky so eloquently wrote, embody the notion that: "There exists no greater or more painful anxiety for a man who has freed himself from all religious bias, than how he shall soonest find a new object or idea to worship."

      Moral freedom is a heavy burden. Most can't stand it. Those who embrace a "Code of Conduct" are running away from it and screaming.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @ Bruce

      I think we are on the same page. I only asked those questions because i have seen many responses from theists claiming that the Bible is the literal word of god. I was curious how you would address someone with that position. You're answer is that "They are wrong." and i would agree with you.

      Again, using the Bible as a moral standard would be much more beneficial if we could continue to make ammendments to it (like you have said). But wouldn't an amended bible be very similar to our current set of laws? We currently ammend our laws to fit what society feels is right or punishable, is this not in a way a moral standard itself?

      August 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bruce

      IRubberUGlue: "We currently ammend our laws to fit what society feels is right or punishable, is this not in a way a moral standard itself?"

      Yes, but like I say above, it is a moral standard for those who have no faith in their own moral freedom.

      I guess if we as a society want to give up on moral freedom, it really doesn't matter if we use scripture or laws that come from the secular side as our "moral standards." If, however, we wish to embrace moral freedom and to encourage faith in that same moral freedom, then some sort of religion (or at least religious imagery) may be necessary.

      I'm not an optimist on this one, however. History tells me that Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor was spot-on: people hate freedom more than anything else.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @ Bruce

      One issue with moral freedom can be seen in the Jeff's trial. A man believes he has every right to perform certain acts, even if it is against the law.

      I see no issues with people using faith and religion as their own personal set of morals, but the law of the land trumps any moral freedom. Which makes me wonder if true moral freedom is really possible?

      I was not familiar with the Grand Inquisitor. Thanks for the interesting discussion.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”@Mark, We are not the ones claiming there is a god(s)...the burden of proof always lies on the one making the claim.”

      So Truth, what happens in opening post after post when some Atheist is the first to state that there is no God? Should they then have to prove their claim?

      August 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”I personally think that there probably is no God, because I have never seen any evidence for the supernatural, which is what God would be. I have never seen a suspension of natural laws as deposited by religions and I have yet to see any religion in existence that isn't flawed. Given that, I'd say that even if a God existed, it clearly doesn't care if we know it or not. And to me, an unknowable God is the exact same as a non-existent God. Therefore, I say there probably is no God. Now, I don't say that with 100% certainty, because nothing is ever 100% certain. “

      Wow, you Agnostics are a wild bunch. The Atheist.. some hate your bunch because you are not 100% with them that there is no God. On the Faithful side the ones on the fringes are about the same. Then there are those in both the Faithful and Atheist see that you have great potential to be a good Atheist or a good person of Faith.

      August 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bruce

      You try, as others do, to be the "parent" figure. You will tell all of us what is right. What something means. How tall god is etc. Except, it is just your opinion. Pfui!

      You said: " the gospel of John encourages us to believe based on the testimony of others who were "eyewitnesses" to key events,"

      There were no eyewitness accounts of Jesus. The Gospels were written by god knows who in the third person. The Gospels were written with an agenda i.e., Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God.
      There are no known secular writings about Jesus, that aren't forgeries, later insertions, or hearsay. NONE!

      You said: (2) the same gospel of John shows one example of someone (Thomas) who refused to believe until he was given a very specific kind of evidence, who didn't believe mere testimony of witnesses, and who wasn't punished for having the audacity to ask for specific evidence and instead was given exactly the evidence he asked for. Another example of evidence accepted was Paul's personal experience in Acts, and again this caused him to believe in spite of testimony of witnesses, because he never believed the witnesses until after this personal experience."

      The Gospels were written to establish Jesus as the Messiah. The Doubting Thomas experience was only reported in the Gospels. Gunslingers of the old west had many tall tales written about them. Does this mean the gunslingers actually did these magnificent feats? No. They were embellished. Made up. Fantasy.

      Paul's devotion to Jesus may well have been the result of 'Saint Paul's disease' (epilepsy) and hearsay.

      You said: "Further, look at the language Jesus uses: "for those with eyes to see and ears to hear." What does this mean? What I think it means is that there are those predisposed to a certain message who will pick up on that message and it will resonate with them. Likewise there are those that are both blind and deaf to the message who will not pick up on it at all."

      This is more like the No True Scotsman argument. All true Christians will hear and believe the message. Or No true Christian will demand proof that the message is true. They will just know. LOL

      You sound like a Calvinist. I bet you believe in the "elect". And predestination. It's okay to proselytize, but you should come right out and tell everyone your desired outcome i.e., converts.

      Calvinism is just one of over a thousand different denominations of Christianity in North America. All believe they are reading the bible correctly. All believe the other denominations are not.

      Note, that skeptics – at least this skeptic (me), are not impressed with the bible.

      Anyway, this doesn't prove anything. You are just making excuses for there not being any solid evidence.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark of Middle River

      You said: "Normally yes, but here on the Belief Blog the first strike of the debate is often the Atheist stating that there is no God. Should it be then on them to prove their claim?"

      If this is true "normally", then why is this an exception?

      "Doubt" is the default position, when confronted by an extraordinary claim.
      Skepticism is the adult response to anything that doesn't "fit" with the reality we see around us.

      It is not an attack to express disbelief in a believer's claims of the supernatural.

      I can't think of another claim that would be more extraordinary, than the claim that professed by Christians . Especially considering all the trappings that come with this claim:

      God created Adam from a handful of dirt and his wife from a rib; Talking snakes; trees that bear fruit, that imparts knowledge and eternal life; a global flood, that required a pair of each organism on earth, be stuffed onto a boat; people who lived hundreds of years; a man who was swallowed by a fish, only to be spit up 3 days later, unhurt; a tower god was afraid might reach heaven; a woman who is turned into a pillar of salt; talking donkeys; unicorns; satyrs; a leviathan god creates and then does battle with; a zombie messiah, who was actually god incarnate; zombie Saints who left their graves and wandered about the town; belief in a circular, flat earth you could fall off the edge of.

      Certainly, the claim should come with extraordinary evidence. Something to buffer the absolute absurdity of what they posit.

      Cheers!

      August 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”If this is true "normally", then why is this an exception”

      I am speaking of the difference between the Belief Blog and the outside world. In the outside society I will admit it is more often the Faithful that throw the first strike. Here on the Belief Blog, I feel it is reversed. The exception is here on the blog. 🙂

      l'Chaim, my friend.

      Is this a record for the number of post on a single page?

      August 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Bruce

      @David Johnson

      LOL at your guesses as to what I might "want." FYI, I'm an atheist, and even if I was a Calvinist I would think that predestination kinda makes the whole idea of "conversion" silly. I mean, it's going to happen or it isn't. It's not like what I might write in a friggin' blog like this is going to make a difference when God has already predestined what you or anyone else is going to do...

      So, do you normally completely ignore the substance of what is written and respond to some fantasy of yours that speculates on what I might have said?

      I wasn't trying to "prove" anything. If you bother to read what I wrote, you will find that I told you that when Christians hear the word, "evidence," they mean something completely different from what you mean by the word, and the reasons they believe would not be convincing to someone like you.

      Heck, even in the "evidence" case of Thomas, we don't have to even speculate that something miraculous happened. What if Jesus was nailed to a cross, suffered a near-death experience, but was revived and/or survived (he wouldn't be the first, nor the last, to survive a Roman crucifixion) and personally interpreted his experience as death and resurrection? In such a (remarkable, but not-miraculous) case, he could present himself with holes in his hands and feet and in his side, to Thomas, and you and I both know that this "evidence," which does not prove death and resurrection, still would be convincing to Thomas that Jesus both died and rose from the dead.

      At the end of the day, even the marks on Jesus' hands and feet and side do not actually "prove" even that Jesus died, let alone was resurrected. A skeptic can always hold out for more "evidence."

      One of the reasons I'm not a Christian, in spite of having a strong empathy for some of the religious ideas involved, is that I don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and I don't believe in bodily resurrection. One piece of "evidence" that could convince me otherwise would be first-hand experience of a death and resurrection–perhaps my own death and resurrection (if this is actually an "experience"). That said, I think that even that "evidence" might not convince some people. They would find some other plausible explanation and say that their experience does not rule it out.

      Because at the end of the day, truly, it really doesn't matter what you believe, or how you came to believe it or disbelieve it. Either the message resonates with you or it doesn't. This really isn't about something that could be proven through scientific experiments, so what it takes to convince you isn't about "evidence" in the scientific sense. No. These people don't have the evidence you seek. You most likely don't even know what it is that would convince you to believe in this stuff.

      I'm not making any excuses, just telling it like it is.

      (And LOL @ attacking my "authority" to interpret scripture. You should look up "irony" in the dictionary...)

      August 31, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Bruce

      You said: "LOL at your guesses as to what I might "want." FYI, I'm an atheist, and even if I was a Calvinist I would think that predestination kinda makes the whole idea of "conversion" silly. I mean, it's going to happen or it isn't. It's not like what I might write in a friggin' blog like this is going to make a difference when God has already predestined what you or anyone else is going to do..."

      No. Calvinists believe in election, but not all of the elected know that they are. The catalyst may be the person's searching. A blog or you or a chick track could start them on that search.

      That everything is predetermined must be so, if god is truly omniscient. The Calvinists would be right. What I could not accept, is that a god of love, would allow people He knows will someday burn forever, to be born. That is a pretty hideous concept.

      Even more ominous is the idea that god is able to know the future, because He scripted it. This would then mean everything was predestined by Him. We would just be actors in a play.

      Near death experiences are not visits to Heaven or Hell. They are the result of a dying brain. People in religions other than Christianity have experienced them...but, they went to their god's heaven or hell.

      There is no evidence of a soul or of any afterlife.

      It appears I was wrong about you. Please accept my apology. I don't like to offend a fellow atheist. Everyone is precious in the eyes of god.

      Cheers!

      August 31, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.