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.
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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.
The doctrine of original sin, pretty much indicates we are all swine and dogs until we know these pearls. Does that mean such powerful knowledge should only be given to those who already know it? How can they trample them or turn again and rend you, if they are true and you fully understand them?.
We like everything to have a reason. In the absence of a good one, we'll make one up. Can't understand why your home and belongings are waterlogged and scattered across two counties? Why you? What did you do to deserve this? Who did you ever hurt? Must be...something! There has to be a reason. Bad is a form of punishment and since this is bad, it must be punishment. If it isn't for punishment of your sins, it most be punishment for your neighbor's sins. Somebody's sins. Must be. Nothing else makes sense. It can't be random, chaotic weather patterns come to kick your tail for no reason. If things happen for no reason that means we have no control of it. We can't stop it from happening. If it's punishment for our sins or someone's sins, then we can change it. We can prevent it. We can appease God and he won't do this to us anymore. If it has a reason, by golly, we can fix it. Without reason, there's no end to it and no hope of stopping it through simple behavioral changes. That's not an appealing idea. Let's go back to "God did it" because that means we have control over it. All we have to do is be good to God and he'll make it stop.
Very insightful and really enjoyed your well though out comment. Please write more responses in the future!
Actually, I must admit, you have a good point. And (unfortunately in my opinion) you are probably correct about a lot of religionists out there. I do have to say that you have entirely got me on one point. The notion of an "appealing belief." I truly find a notion of an existence after this life appealing. I also find it appealing to think that injustice and suffering will eventually, someday be "made right." But is this really something wrong? After all, it seems to be programmed into our instincts to hold to beliefs that are appealing, is it not? Instincts aren't always something to ignore. (And before you jump on me, I'm not saying that all instincts are correct all the time.) But it certainly is something to consider. And furthermore isn't it a little one-sided to solely accuse religionists of merely "clinging to appealing" ideas. I mean, every Atheist became an Atheist because the notion was somehow or another appealing, true? Yes, yes, I've heard all the arguments about logical reasoning and scientific research. But in the end none of those things disproves the idea of God, or of an afterlife, or whatever. In the end it comes down to following an idea that one finds personally "appealing," right?
Regardless, once again I must say that it is an excellent point, and one that should be considered. Even as a "believer" I completely agree that one shouldn't adhere to a faith, solely because it is the more "convenient" thing to believe.
What do you and those you have talked conclude as to what was before God? Is the consensus nothing was before then God was or was there never nothingness?
Well personally, I don't believe there was a beginning. I know it's a hard concept to swallow. But before there was a Big Bang, I believe something always existed. I simply see God as an instigator of many of the creative forces of the Universe. But to answer your question more directly... God always existed... and so did the energy and matter of the universe. I don't believe in Creation Ex-Nihilio (in fact, a closer reading of the Bible dissuades that idea.) I believe that God, matter/energy, spiritual matter (meaning yours and my "souls") all such things are eternal. No beginning, no end. Can they be shifted or transformed? Absolutely. But ultimately, I believe in conservation of energy and all that...
There are two ways to interpret "Omnipotent." 1) The Greek Gnostic way (which many Christians believe actually) which is that God has no limits. This, however, is proven to be a logical fallacy: "Can God create a stone he can't lift?" I personally adhere to:
2) Omnipotent, "All powerful," as in God has power over all things that are. All things that positively exist. I'm more inclined to believe this second idea. When a builder constructs a house, he doesn't make it out of nothing; he builds from existing materials. Those materials have always existed, but not perhaps always in the same form. I believe God works the same. We were ultimately created through existant matter. Whether that process was through evolution or whatever, doesn't ultimately diminish from my faith in God himself. I simply see Him as the ultimate Intelligence behind all creation; and to me, our Universe certainly exhibits intelligent design. (Though I do acknowledge that as a personal view, based on my personal experience...)
"Has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain."
I just have one question to pose to the "skeptics?" How do you know? You speak so assuredly that your ideas are right, and all others are wrong. Many of you spout off Richard Dawkins dogma and recite his creed of "skepticism" and "open-mindedness" (which ironically are contradictory... since "skepticism" in the truest sense of the word is defined by a lack of open-mindedness) Have any of you actually prayed to God Himself, and asked Him if He exists? And I'm not talking about merely going through the motions. I mean, truly putting "open-mindedness" to the test, and "open your mind" to the possibility of a God, and then ask Him if He is there? I promise that if you do, He will answer you, and you will know for yourself once and for all— no longer will you have to rely on the word of anyone but your own personal experience. A truly "empirical" (according to the oxford definition) experiment for you try. I urge you to do it. This personal witness has blessed my life more greatly than anything anyone could have said.
How are you so sure you are right?
Because I have seen miracles. From the truly magnificent, to the subtle daily ones. However, most importantly, because I have prayed for myself, and felt that prayer answered. =) I speak only from my own experience.
There has never been a miraculous claim that has been verified in the history of the world..... you've seen what you want to see
@Samsword – Anecdotal "evidence" is not evidence. There are lots of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists and Shintoists who can give you similar anecdotal evidence. Would you convert to their respective religions just because you hear their miracle claims?
>>>"Would you convert to their respective religions just because you hear their miracle claims?"
Unless you hold the belief that it might be the same God. 🙂
This is why I'm not asking you to simply believe my word. I'm not even asking you to convert to my particular religion. (As far as what you say concerning Muslims, Taoists, Buddhists, etc. I personally enjoy studying as much as I can about others' religions and I ideas. I truly believe that many religions have seen the "hand of God" as they have tested their faith. Of course I would interpret these manifestations through the lens of my faith, as they would do the same through theirs. I personally don't believe that particularly matters.) What I am asking each of YOU to do. Is to pray and ask God for YOURSELF (with an open mind) Find out for yourself if He is there and if He will answer you. I'm saying DON'T simply take my word for it. Find out for yourself. Pray, what have you got to lose?
And to @Ian, By that same logic you have NOT seen, what you choose NOT to. True?
Sam, spent over half my life in the church. I can honestly say I never felt the "spirit" move on a single occasion nor experienced anything which might not be rationally explained. This was not the reason for my leaving the church. It was through my ability to question things freely and seek out answers for myself. I stopped taking everybody's word for it and delved into a little history of the good book. To this day, i have not come across a better argument for skepticism than the actual bible itself. There's some truly unnerving concepts located within, and if you examine the book from an unbiased direction you should clearly find the flawed voice of man. You're asking us to try prayer out, but i think you must concede some effort also. How about you do a little research into the writings of some of the great authors outside the religious sect. I would also recommend examining a little history of world religions. You will find some glaring and unavoidable similarities Christianity shares with predecessor pagan religions. I will also admit I am a scientist and this certainly helps in filling in the "God of the Gaps". QUESTION EVERYTHING SAM! "Not caring where your happiness came from is morally wrong as not caring where your money came from as long as you have it."
@Alfred. I truly respect you for answering my suggestion. (Although, I will continually maintain that everyone should at least try sincere prayer once in their life!) You're answer shows to me that you have tried to find out for yourself. You have studied the words of great thinkers, and from what it sounds like you have compared what you have learned to your own experiences. As long as you have tried what I suggest, (pray with a sincere desire to know if God is there) and you feel that you have had no answer to that prayer, I can honestly say I respect your initiative and that you are following your own convictions and experience. =) As far as your suggestion to do my own research, I can assure you that I most certainly have. I have read a lot of Nietzsche, I have read Darwin's Origin of the Species, I have read most of Richard Dawkins' "God Delusion," among many others. Outside of the Atheist realm, I have read the Tao Te Ching, the Confucian Analects, the writings of Chang Tzu, the Quran, the Bagvad Gita, the Book of Mormon, and I am currently reading two Buddhist Sutras. I have studied much of the basics of modern Psychology, Physics, and Biology. (In fact I was debating becoming a Psychology major before I decided to go with Asian Studies and International Relations) However, outside of schooling, my experiences have been my best teachers. I can honestly say I have walked the jungle paths of Borneo. Conversed with the "dukun" (shamans) about "spirits." I have been inside the national mosques of Brunei and Malaysia. Discussed religion with Imams. Meditated with Buddhist monks. And even been blessed by Hindu Gurus. I have also spoken with many many atheists and agnostics about their beliefs. I'm sorry if that was long winded, and I don't usually like to pull this card, but I must say that I DO consider myself fairly well read and experienced. =)
I still believe in the God of the bible.......even if you don't want too.
I would rather say I believe in the GOD of all the Holy Books...?!
That's an interesting way to put it.
Mark from Middle River.
That's how we Muslims put it after all we believe that all the Holy Books or say scriptures that were with Moses,King David,Jesus,Mohammed are from GOD Allah...!
**Counts to ten as all of the Atheist dog pile on him with examples of Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu Faiths. 🙁
Mark from Middle River.
As per the Quran...Jesus was teached the Books of Wisdom then the Holy Books.... Which means there were Wisdom books but which one's were they is not known...beside GOD in the Quran has only referred to the Four Books as Heavenly Holy Books and they were those came upon those above prophets...
After all the contents of the Holy Books had traveled every where and quoted from beside wisdoms learned and written by people considered as Holy Men...
=========@EnergyBeing3.10:25============= are you predicting the end of Christianty? Join the crowd.There have been predictions about the end of Christanty since at least the15 century: Sam Harris being among the latest. After his prediction failed h said the the Christian movement must be stronger than he thought. It's stronger than you think also.
Anything followed blindly and continually produced blindly will stay for a very ver long while... The case of Christianity, I don't see it disappearing. Or any of the major religions either. It's sad but most likely true.
On a percentage basis, non-belief is on the increase, religion on the decrease. It's just a matter of time before religion takes its place beside astrology, its predecessor on the fairy tale evolutionary tree. The biggest factor in what cult someone becomes a member of is the cult their parents are members of and subsequently indoctrinates their children into, without giving them a chance to develop their own opinion, and that is largely a matter of geography.
Hmm... I don't recall Sam Harris making a prediction that has failed...?
Could you please provide a link to your claim.
Peace2All, do you really expect a reply from Bo? He, along with herbie j, is pretty much a "write and hide" blogger. But I do find it amusing that he hides behind poor technology.
@ HotAirIce.... Your prediction about the end of religion, especially christianity is amusing in its naivity. You should recall the predictions of the great Soviet Empire which upon entering the era of science and reason claimed that the only place in Russia where people would be able to find a Bible would be in the museum. Today, Christianity is spreading like wild fire across Russia with millions of people embracing it. It seems that the crabby, empty, hopeless life of an athiest isn't as good as the propoganda promised.
Did Carl Sagan seem "crabby" as an atheist?
Do atheists advocate that if you don't do exactly what they say, than you are such a lowlife that you deserve to spend eternity in hell? Sounds kind of crabby, doesn't it?
An astute reader would notice that I did not predict the end of religion, nor did I mention christianity. As much as I hope for the end of religious foolishness, I recognize that it will always have unexplainable appeal to some.
Observer. I would not say all Atheist are crabby just like I would hope that you would decline to say that all Faithful do not go around preaching that your not being of Faith will burn you in Hades. It is just another one of those times when the loudest and most vocal get the attention. On both sides we have our anal core and just as much as they try to say they speak for the group as a whole, those opposed on both sides ...will attempt to define the entire group by these ones on the fringes.
No, all Christians don't "go around preaching that your not being of Faith will burn you in Hades". That being said, however, it still seems to be the sometimes subtle underlying concept of Christianity. As likely any discussion on gays will show you, it is sometimes much easier to bring that concept up into the light.
Dan, you are making as.sumptions on a subject you know nothing about. It makes you look foolish.
I can't believe what I read, I usually don't read anything in the belief section because I think it's silly to say the least, like the horoscopes. But the comments, I am flabbergasted, I mean, the huge number of stupid people gaining access to a computer is amazing. People, open your eyes, toss your bibles out the window and realize there are no fairies, no dragons, no unicorns and no gods. And yes, I do think that following and believing in this ancient cults is STUPID, and you all are the proof of that.
"Y o u . .k n o w . .w h e n . .y o u . .s a y . .t h i n g s . .l i k e . .t h a t . .y o u . .a r e . .s t e r e o t y p i n g . . . . .Y o u . .a r e . .p r e d i c a t i n g . .y o u r . .i n c o r r e c t . .i d e a s . .a b o u t . .e v e r y o n e . .n o t . .l i k e . .y o u . . . . .B a c k . .i n . .t h e . .6 0 ' s . .i s . .w a s . .n o t . .u n c o m m o n . .f o r . .s o m e . .p e o p l e . .t o . .s a y . .t h a t . .( A L L ) . .b l a c k s . .w e r e . .l a z y , . .u n t e a c h a b l e , . "i n c a p a b l e , . .u n c i v i l i z e d . .a n d . .l e s s e r . .p e o p l e . .( a n d . .i t . .w a s . .r e a l l y . .c r u d e ) . . . . .W o m e n . .w e r e . .o f t e n . .s t e r e o t y p e d . .a s . .s t u p i d , . .f o o f i e , . .h o u s e – m o u s e , . .c u p c a k e , . .s w e e t i e . .p i e , . .h o n e y . .b u n , . .b o o b y , . .b i m b o . .. . . .a n d . .t h a t . .w a s . .c h a u v i n i s t . . . .S i m i l a r . .s t e r o t y p i n g . .w a s . .d o n e . .a b o u t . .h i s p a n i c s . .a n d . .a . .l a r g e . .n u m b e r . .o f . .e a s t e r n . .E u r o p e a n s . . . . .S o . .w h y . .d o n ' t . .y o u . .s t o p . .a c t i n g . .l i k e . .i t . .i s . .t h e . .1 9 6 0 ' s . .a n d . .y o u . .a r e . .b e t t e r . .t h a n . .e v e r y o n e ? . . . .( y o u . .a r e . .n o t ) . ."
Gotta' love our very own @RightTurnClyde !!! 😀
" you're stupid" is not much of an argument- could you add some words or thoughts or comments that make sense to back up your claim?
Well if anyone was listening to the crazies in texas at parry's " the response " realize the possibility of a shill like him becoming the prez of the USA is something to be freaking about. God is his best little trick, so ya'll better get to praying that someone kicks his ass out of the campaign,or will all end up in a concentration camp.
"Professor" Prothero is a "wishy-wash" disaster who continues to speak of god when he is actually a professed atheist!!!!
Is this my buddy -Reality...? Cut/paste -Reality...? Or someone using the moniker.
This just doesn't seem like something the real @Reality would say. But, maybe he will come back and set the record straight here.
Hey Martin, I hope that you are doing well this evening...?
"Professor" Prothero ends his column with "But our God has." using a capital G and also 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. … "
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
The author obviously believes that we must chose between between either God OR science. Unfortunately for him and his blogging career, this view is totally, totally absurd.
" The author obviously believes that we must chose between between either God OR science. "
Hmmm... I didn't quite get that 'either/or' message from Professor Prothero.
However, it does bring up very valid questions as to how do 'believers' know 'when' it's God cause he's pis-sed, or trying to teach a lesson, etc... vs. just the world and natural phenomena doing it's thing.
I mean you have to admit, there are countless mouth-pieces of God, claiming this calamity is because God is mad at the gays, and this calamity is because God is mad at people having abortions, and even as he (Professor Prothero) cites the story of listening to the radio, and ministers claiming that all of the earthquakes, and hurricanes are because of..."Barack Obama."
So... I'm curious, maybe you can shed some light here on this...?
Unfortunately for him and his blogging career, this view is totally, totally absurd.
***Apologies*** Forgot to delete : "Unfortunately for him and his blogging career, this view is totally, totally absurd."
You said "it does bring up very valid questions as to how do 'believers' know 'when' it's God cause he's pis-sed, or trying to teach a lesson, etc... vs. just the world and natural phenomena doing it's thing."
Since all things go through Gods hands so to speak believers know God was in on it. Even if it be the devil jerking Job around or lack of rain in Texas God is in on it. Good things or bad things will bring about what the real condition of your heart (soul, spirit etc) is . Events will test you and refine you or crush you under the mask of Christianity / atheism / or whatever you are putting yourself out there to be in this world. No one will leave this life without haveing the full opportunity to reveal their true character.
Good evening -Fred.... Sorry I had to stop the conversation last night... I was definitely tired. I've been at it here tonight for several hours already, and don't know that I have much steam left, so if you want to talk, you better get it in quick, and don't make me think too hard 😀
O.K... So, your opinion or philosophical/theological world-view is that it is 'all' God, and these things/events are meant to test you, etc...
My question was specifically a more 'global' question and directed to the people that claim to know what each disaster is for, as in what God is angry about. I'm speaking about the people that seem to think that a certain (name your disaster here...) happened, "because" God is (fill in your opinion of what God is mad at here....) 'He's mad at the gays, he's mad at the non-believers(anyone other than a 'true Christian'), etc... etc...
It seems that it is very easy for a lot of so-called 'mouth-pieces' of the Lord to have a direct pipeline to exactly what the Almighty is pi-ssed about, and hence often can cause a lot more strife in the world.
I mean, if you get these mega-pastors that come out and blame world disasters on gays, you can bet that there will be a certain amount of people that will buy into that nonsense...and... it just does nothing to further building bridges for understanding and tolerance, yes...?
BTW- Since you are a 'believer' what is the prevailing notion going around about the drought in Texas, btw...
Regarding the drought in Texas Christians I kno shrug their shoulders or just laugh that the nonsense surrounding those that want to figure out what God is thinking.
As to God bringing wrath on gays I recall spending a great deal of time with a friend who died of aids. We concluded aids was brought to the community thru sinful behavior and high risk activities. Repented and accepted the consequenses. What we could not figure out is why so much pain had to be inflicted or allowed. Guess we will allways stumble across that one.
the fact that today in the USA there is more religion (or religiosity) is only a clear clue about the fact that there is more ignorance.
Here how is it goes: less ignorance means less religion. More ignorance, more religion. I would add, more ignorance, more GOP power. Less ignorance, more democrat power (at least in today's cultural contest)
Now to be clear: God has NOTHING to do with religion. I know you don't get it .. well, grow up and you will (or rephrased: first evolve mentally, then you will get it).
To say that our God has been tamed is a dangerous accusation. However, to say that his wrath has been inacted is correct. God's wrath for sinners was on Jesus. #thankfulforthegospel
Josh, you're right... God's wrath for sinners was poured out on Jesus, so that He would bear our iniquities,, and through His stripes, His rejection, and His sacrifice we would be accepted. But God's wrath is still kindled against ungodly mankind. And the Book of Revelations specifically speaks of God's coming judgments on this earth, and those who reject Him, and hate him, who also make alliance with the Man of sin, who is to come on the world scent. And if anyone thinks this is just a poetry written in allegory, it's the lie of the devil himself. Jesus came the save sinners, but His sacrifice and atonement allies only to those who received Him, with humble and repentant hearts. The others will be judged by the Old Testament laws, because they hav no sacrifice nor covering for their sins. This is the reality we must accept! Otherwise we're making God up according to our own imaginations! I believe the guy who wrote the article here fits this description, and I say this because of his other writtings also, from the past....
P.S. There were things I needed to correct, so I will repost...
Josh, you're right... God's wrath for sinners was poured out on Jesus, so that He would bear our iniquities, and through His stripes, His rejection, and His sacrifice we would be accepted. But God's wrath is still kindled against ungodly mankind. The Book of Revelations specifically speaks of God's coming judgments on this earth, and on those who reject Him and hate him, which will also make alliance with the Man of sin, who is to come on the world scene.
And if anyone thinks this is just a poetry written in allegory, it is the lie of the devil himself.
Jesus came the save sinners, but His sacrifice and atonement applies only to those who received Him with humble and repentant hearts. The others will be judged by the Old Testament laws, because they have no sacrifice nor covering for their sins. This is the reality we must accept.... Otherwise we're making God up according to our own imaginations!
I believe the guy who wrote the article here fits this description, and I say this because of his other writtings I've seen from the past....
" Otherwise we're making God up according to our own imaginations! "
Philosophical Musing Here: Aren't you in essence making God up in your imaginations regardless...? I mean, God, is allegedly this being that is soooooo far beyond comprehension...infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc...etc...
So, 'anything' or in 'any way' that you "Think" about God, is being generated from your "imagination", yes...?
I mean could one even comprehend God's reality...?
So, in essence, it 'is' all in you own mind.
What do you think...?
Happy to see you are back...all my best of wish's and respect to you.
Think what he meant by imagination is to create a stories of who is GOD connecting things to him...but was not as how to imagine GOD picturing him in our minds which can not be done except by some one that might crack insane any time...!
You said "Aren't you in essence making God up in your imaginations regardless...? I mean, God, is allegedly this being that is soooooo far beyond comprehension...infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc...etc..."
I know that some things are hard to explain to some who don't understand them, and as much as one tries, the other person won't understand them. This is the case with the things of God, because things of God can not be understood by marley natural mind.
But I will reason with you this way: Think about the TRUTH, the concept of it, how you define what it is? Webster defines it as REALITY, ACTUAL EXISTENCE.
Then think, if this is so, then all else, that does not conform to the TRUTH is FALSE..that is, all man's opinions are measured by it's standard, and if not found agreeing, remain just opinions, with no value, compared to the truth.
Now, comming to conclusion that there is this Standard, this TRUTH to compare all things to it, and measure their value in light of it, it is a logical thing for man to ask himself WHAT is TRUTH, and toseek to find it for himself. But HOW?
Here is HOW....To a person who is sincere, and who really seeks to find the answers to his/her questions, they will have this understanding somewhere deep in their soul, that if they truly search for truth, they WILL find it. They will set out to look around themsleves, observing adn analizing things around them, and because they ar not looking at tehm marely through their eyes, but with something deeper that lies withing them, they will gain this understanding that all things their eyes behold bear a witness, a testimony of something, or rather Someone who has designed and created them, and that they are to-wonderfully made to be just an accident of some freak cosmic explosion... In other words, they see the FINGERPRINTS of this Great Designer all around them..
Now, to a person who sees all these things and ponders them in their heart, some more lingering questions are remaining. And as he thinks about them, in awe and wonder of his observations, he comes to amazing conclusions...He looks at himself, even the wonderful make up of his own being, and he begins to understand that there is more to him then it meets the eye. So, in awe, inspired by the witness he sees in and around him, he begins to SEEK this Someone, whose witness he sees with his eyes, and feels in his own soul. AND THAT'S HOW IT ALL BEGINS, Friend.
God, who created this infinite universe, and all that's in it being reflection of His infinite attributes, with even the smallest things so detailed in their design, that it would be total absurdity to think they have gotten that way by evolving themselves....this Creator would have never created us, human beings, giving us such abilities that we posses, without giving us a way to understand Him, His nature and His character and to KNOW Him, as we are known of Him.
And He did do just that!
There is one thing for sure, that I can stake my life on: that if any human being seeks to Know the Truth, and pursues relentlessly, not willing to settle for anything less, and seeks it with a humble heart, God will REVEAL HIMSELF to this person, and this person will ultimately come to the knowledge of Him – through Jesus Christ, His Son whom HE sent to this world to reveal, and declare to us Him, God the Father, the Creator, to declare who He is, His nature, and His character. It is He who came to dwell among us, to partake of our humanity , so that HE thought the offering of His life for us, fallen mankind, would reconcile us to God whom we, through our sin and rebellion forsook and turned away from.
That, friend is the truth that God, the Creator, the Divine Designer of all that was, is and ever will be, will reveal to the soul that seeks Him, to find Him and to know Him.
So, for those that can't find any reasoning in this, there is one thing that is revealed about them... They HAVE NOT sought to KNOW the Truth. And if they think they have, they have sought it at the wrong places. There ar many voices out htere and many aths. But just as there is one TRUTH tath towers above any man's oinion, thsoea re only paths that lead AWAY from the REAL ONE.
But there is no excuse for none who have missed it, becaue God has put in every human heart something of Himself, so that by this tokan of him, we would be drawn to Him, and pursue to seek Him till we find Him. And those who do, know anf recognize Him, because His Spirit bears witness in their spirit that the things shown to them are of God and of Truth. I hope that things I said here will answer some of your questions I find in your posts. I have posted another post on page 5, for poster named Julian. There too you will find some things taht may answer some of your questions.
Thank you, friend! It's good to see you too! I do hope that things are well with you also.
Peace to you and your family!
Ther are some corrections I didn't get to make "continued" post (paragraph 3)
So, for those that can't find any reasoning in this, there is one thing that is revealed about them... They HAVE NOT sought to KNOW the Truth. And if they think they have, they have sought it at the wrong places. There are many voices out there and there are many paths. But just as there is one TRUTH that towers above any man's opinion, those are only the voices and paths that lead AWAY from the REAL ONE.
Thank you dear,we are well and today Tuesday 30 will be the first days of "Eid AlFiter" after Ramadan Fasting is over...and hope by the Will of GOD things will become fine at our side although we still find some difficulties but at least no casualties are heard of as was before.... GOD be with you and all those believe in him. Amen.
Yes, Muneef, God's Truth WILL prevail...That's the promise we can be sure of!
...and, Muneef, thank you for the kind words to me... I am also very glad that things are somewhat better there where you are. Just be wise in all affairs, and stay safe, keeping out of rowdy crowds. I know that things are in uproar in that part of the world, so one does well to be alert and keep out of troubled spots. May the Lord protect you and yours!
“because things of God can not be understood by marley natural mind.
But I will reason with you this way:”
Yet you think you do and go on and on about it so this statement is pretty humorous.
“They will set out to look around themsleves, observing adn analizing things around them, and because they ar not looking at tehm marely through their eyes, but with something deeper that lies withing them, they will gain this understanding that all things their eyes behold bear a witness, a testimony of something, or rather Someone who has designed and created them, and that they are to-wonderfully made to be just an accident of some freak cosmic explosion... In other words, they see the FINGERPRINTS of this Great Designer all around them..”
Uh…duh…it’s called science.
“So, in awe, inspired by the witness he sees in and around him, he begins to SEEK this Someone, whose witness he sees with his eyes, and feels in his own soul. AND THAT'S HOW IT ALL BEGINS, Friend.”
It’s really just the energy of the universe, not a god. There is a scientist Dr. Emoto at the forefront of the study of water has proved that thoughts and feelings affect physical reality. Since we are made up of most water it’s why you can feel your thoughts throughout your body, it has nothing to do with a god.
you go your way, have your faith in man's science, and I 'll believe what I do, because I KNOW that it is Reality..... There is much more to be said about the subject YOU are talking about, AND what I"M talking about.
But you and I live ( are part of/operate in) in two different worlds, andf I'm saying this in thsoe words, becaue of the lack of finding others to explain myself.... So, that statement is a deep subject to tackle, yet to discuss it with someone with mind-set as yours, I think it is futile to do so.
I am not an opposer of science, not by a long shot! It's wonderful that mankind has progressed in knowledge this far in so many aspects. But man's science is LAME, because it rejects the spiritual aspect of LIFE ITSELF. And so long it does, it will ALWAYS be lame, never comming to the satisfying answers, remaining always as a frame of a puzzle put together on all four sides, filled only few layers from the frame, yet the heart of it being missing, and never comming to understanding what it is the HEART of it, and what it's theme and purpose is!.... I wish that you and scientists you look up too, would see the perplexed situation of your problem....
Americans have a sick kind of Christianity complex. The reason they cannot excel anymore.
That's pretty funny, coming from you.
Tallulah, I think Xenia was referring to a kind of deficient, anemic and stale Christianity in America, that has lost its flavor and power to transform society, failing in pointing it to direction of justice and righteousnes, but instead has compromised...... She is RIGHT!
I think You misunderstood....
The West repeats its stupidity. They mock Christianity and commit the most heinous crimes against humanity and then come back to Church weeping. Now the secular Westerners are so perv they don't even know how to lament.
Please answer this question – if a mass murderer "comes back to Church weeping" and REPENT, is he still going to heaven?
Xenia, the "red-neck" lady of many names continues in her cloud of inanity !!!
@Gup, I'm referring the civilization, not in-di-vi-duals. Genuine repentance and faith in Jesus alone grants salvation to anyone. Westerners are stupid; you are only okay com-paring to illiterate sa-va-ges. See the human history. We all need God's forgiveness and grace.
Gupsphoo, I can answer that one. It's not truly a yes/no answer since your understanding of church and repentance may be off. The "church" in the Bible is considered a group of people who are Christians. It does not mean a building with a steeple. Next, repentance means to turn away from something. Now to answer your question more clearly, a mass murderer can ask God for forgiveness and turn away from his sins (repent) in seclusion and "yes" he will be forgiven and go to Heaven. He does not need to do this in front of people. Only God and that person knows if he was sincere. It's not for other people to make that decision.
@Xenia – So your god will forgive Hitler (a Catholic) and send him to heaven even though he murdered millions of Jews if he repented before he died? Oh man I can't think of anything that's more immoral than your religion!
Well no one call tell you that no one can tell that not even Prophet Mohammed nor Jesus would know if they would go to heavens with out any punishment...
But can say if this example killer had declared,admitted to his wrongful doing and sincerely repented from doing same ever again...he might stand a chance of not going to hell for those particular crimes...
In Islam Prophet Mohammed informed that Ten individuals on that time GOD Allah has promised them Heavens...
@TheTruth72 – you need to read your Bible instead of making stuff up. LOL
@Gupsphoo Look up Jeffrey Dahmer. If he asked God to forgive his sins and meant it, I believe he is in Heaven now.
Also, I think you need to actually read the Bible before you try to argue a case. Your blabbering things that are clearly explained in the Bible. What you are talking about boils down to this. If a child steals candy from a store, then gets caught, says he's sorry and does it the next day. Then he wasn't sincere and did not intend to change. If he was sincere, then he intends never to steal again. Now apply that to Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeffrey didn't have time to go back into society, so he never had a chance to commit crime again, but if he was let back into society, and he was sincere about the wrong he committed, then he wouldn't have killed anyone else. Now do you get it? It's not about what you have done previously, it is about asking forgiveness from God how you will change your life once you know the truth.
Jesus alone grants as-su-rance of salvation to mankind: He said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24
@Gup-, I don't think Hitler had a room in his heart to repent. It was really Germany AND Europe's failure to protect the Jews.
TheTruth72 – "@Gupsphoo Look up Jeffrey Dahmer. If he asked God to forgive his sins and meant it, I believe he is in Heaven now."
Thanks. It proves how immoral Christianity is – you can kill and dismember a dozen people and can still be REWARDED if you choose to believe some religious crap.
What can be more immoral than that?
@Xenia – I don't care what you think. I'm asking a hypothetical question – If Hitler repented and accepted Jesus as his savior right before he died, would he go to heaven?
Answer that question honestly.
@Gup, Hitler didn't repent. And suicide sends one right into hell unless it was done to preserve the life of others.
@Xenia – I'm asking IF Hitler repented, would he go to heaven. It's obvious that you're avoiding to answer my hypothetical question. Why?
"suicide sends one right into hell unless it was done to preserve the life of others."
Can you quote the verse from the Bible or did you just make that up?
Gup, your question is as stupid as "What if the sun was a moon and the moon was a sun." Worry over your own godless filthy life, not Hitler's.
LOL! I wish everyone can see the Christian mental gymnastics here.
@O-, if the last deed on earthly life is a murder, the person has no grace of God with him thus no salvation. The Word of God excepts all humans to value their own lives and protect themselves, not over others though. Some exceptions apply such as testifying the vital truth even facing executions, etc.
I mean "the Word of God expects."
So it's not in the Bible and you made it up. Thanks.
I am willing to bet you are uneducated.
Once again the Bible reveals it is the Divine word of God. There were two hanging next to Jesus one was like the rest of the people of that day and continued to deny Chirst and mock Him. The other recognized the truth and simply said "we deserve this punishment you do not". Note how simple it really is. In our final moments our hearts are revealed before Chirst and He determines who is with Him and who is not.
Once again the Bible reveals it is the Divine word of God. There were two hanging next to Jesus one was like the rest of the people of that day and con-tinued to deny Chirst and mock Him. The other recognized the truth and simply said "we deserve this punishment you do not". Note how simple it really is. In our final moments our hearts are revealed before Chirst and He determines who is with Him and who is not.
@fred – The Bible said the Earth was flat, and I hope you continue to believe that –
1 Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.”
Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm ...”
Psalm 96:10: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable ...”
Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.”
Isaiah 45:18: “...who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast...”
@O- read Acts chapter sixteen. It says not to harm yourself. @Gup, the quotes have nothing to do with roundness of the planet. Read the book of Job as he teaches on round earth. Atheists must have taught you humans are living on waters or something.
So, you wish to reveal which of the two types you are hanging with Chirst? Good news is you are still alive with time to simply look at the truth of Christ instead of following the crowd. The foundations of the earth is that which God has made and holds in the palm of His hand. In the security of God (Chirst) you are on a firm foundation. The power of God is shown by the ease at which he can hold the earth and nothing can shake what God holds firm. There is no attemp to say the earth is flat or immovable as you imply. Further, the earth was referred to as a sphere and any reference to 4 corners was simply a mid eastern symbolic term as to all encompasing.
The Bible talks about seeing all the earth from a mountains top which is impossible on a sphere.
You know enough about the Bible to know mountain top means close to God in most cases and has nothing to do with a flat earth. God looks and can see all from His mountain top, Moses from the top of the mountain saw the promised land. Jesus went to the mountain top to be with His Father. The 10 commandments came from the mountain top.
You may now rejoin gupsphoo and continue mocking Christ while you can.
Oh, brother! satan surely twists God's word, an the intent of it, just as he did it in the beginning, so he's doing it now, and those with pride and rebellion in their hearts are being his mouth pieces!
satan surely twists God's word, an the intent of it, just as he did it in the beginning...
Yes GOD did mentioned that in the Quran as well..but also said that still that the truth will prevail...!
you said, "You know enough about the Bible to know mountain top means close to God in most cases"
Ah, the typical believer response. If u take the passage literally, the bible is wrong. Therefore the literal mountain top becomes the 'heavenly', imaginary mountaintop where god is apparently sitting, lol. In space there is no top or down, so your mountaintop argument of heavenly fails.
Our God is the same, yesterday today and for ever more. He is the "Soverign." Unfortunately, Mr. Stephen, you and your like ones are " the tamed," ones. No one, including science cannot tame the Almighty. Voice like yours may be heard everywhere, thanks to CNN. There is a silent majority in this country who fall on their knees and intercede for the sin of the nation including the sin false phrophets like you. Though they may not be heard in CNN, there is the ONE who hears it.
Hubris and ego at its finest. You state with certainty, but you know nothing. period.
yes, gogd almighty, blah, blah, down with science, burn a few few books.
Yet when you get sick you go to your TRUE church. The one you TRULY believe has the power to heal you. And that is what makes liars at of people like you who quote such nonsense. Prayer to your god all you want, pretend he makes everything happen, AND you have free will and you make everything happen (a lovely contradiction). But if you really believe in a POWER, you will believe that POWER and only that POWER is going to heal you. The power you really believe in is the one you go to WITHOUT HESITATION. The one you KNOW YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT.
I'm sure that power is the god that live in your church. Please stay out of the halls of science, the hospitals with medicine that churches considered heresy and once murdered men who made medical discoveries. Be true.
Just wonder why it is the Americas that is mostly hit by natural disasters more than other continents ? It is the location on the map or the sins registered...?!
Muneef, the land of USA is large. Chine gets hit a lot, too. Russia and Canada are mostly vacant. Natural disasters are okay comparing to having men enslave women and children.
Muneef.. its geographical, you notice that Africa tends to starve , and Australia bakes and burns and middle eastern countries have issues with natural humans destroying society in the name of gods.. so no one is really immune.
Do you watch chinese news? How about russian? Howabout indian news? Austrailian? South american stations?
You don't hear about other countries problems because Americans don't CARE about any country other than themselves. They fail geography lessons, they don't speak any other languages, they don't understand history outside of their favorite sports team's history. A generalization, but too easily applied to too great a group.
Watch BBC, for a slightly more worldly view.
American News (including newsfeeds fed to stations all over the world) is obsessed with America. I was in Europe when O.J. trial was happening and europeans didn't understand what the obsession was. None of them cared about this stupid, totally unimportant story. But so many news agencies fed off u.s. feeds or were run by U.s. interests that they had to hear about it. Most europeans didn't know who he was... yet he kept showing up on their newswires.
The world is a reflection of your perspective. But your perspective is not reflective of the world.
Well then if it does happen often due being a large country and for some location issues where heat meets coldness producing all those funny natural disasters then it is normal and we shouldn't panic claiming it to be due earthly corruption nor due sinful corruptions...!?
Dear I know each of us pay his dues in different ways...which comes finally like Ca-u-terizing a failed to cure case...
Nice and easy on the guys please am not American nor live in it...but was just trying to find out some thing I had in mind otherwise yes we know what happens here and there...even Islamic countries like Pakistan was not immune from such natural disasters...!? Although to tell you the truth the roamers now that certain regimes use science in creating such natural things artificially in some new sort of war tactics to look as natural..Including that last happened in Haiti or Ja-p-an...and that could be a genuine possibility with so much science and developed weapons...!!?
Secularism was only immoral and stupid in seventies. Secularism this century is perverted and demonic.
It's pretty clear that you have no understanding what secularism really is.
I dare you to give the correct definition of SECULARISM.
Secularism = abandonment of anything moral.
See what I mean? You simply can't have a rational conversation with a brainwashed Christian.
Huh? What the heck is that supposed to mean?
Mr. Gutsepoo Is so proud of being so blind. He needs a little light.
Let's see, so you define "secularism" as abandonment of anything moral. How about I define "christianity" as hunting down and killing unbelievers, like your Norwegian brother?
Ninety percent Norwegians claim that they are Christian. I have no idea which Norwegian guy you're talking about.
You are right here about the present Secularism system...when Secularism was invented to keep all the Morals or Eggs in one basket in some new formation to live all by it with out dominion of one over the other....but unfortunately what is seems they have done was to throw all Morals/Eggs behind their back..which has brought that seeds of hatred among the Morals/Eggs in the baskets since there was nothing there to regulate things between morals/Eggs...
Which means that this Secularism is not running in the right direction of building bridges among the baskets nations of Morals/Eggs with out breaking each other spoiling and rotting the basket...!!
Xenia is deluded and unpleasant.
the proper definition you moron is:
secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.
the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.
nowhere does it say 'without morals'...however from reading your posts under the numerous aliases you have, it is obvious that you would not know the meaning of the word moral.
The problem with articles like this one is that, be it writer or reader, people tend to philosophize and come up with their own logical conclusions as to who God is and what He does or does not. Finally they end up believing God to be whatever their colorful imagination spit out. No investigation, no connecting the dots, no faith, no prayer. That's why people like these, be it writer or reader, are in utter darkness as to the reality of situations such as Irene. But as always, you have a choice: search God with all your heart, mind and soul, or continue enjoying the sweet sounds of your own voice.
Sounds like 'you' have 'the truth'...?
Would love to hear more about 'the truth.'
To Mr. Prothero: mankind never tamed its own nature and death, either. You only tamed your own ideas on God, nothing else, yet the fact does not change anything in the universe. American secularists and hedonists are too haughty against God – their graviest tragedy on earth and for their eternity.
Your OPINION is crap. I don't need an invisible sky fairy to tell me to do the right thing or threaten me with punishment in some fantasy afterlife. You people are scared of dying .. period. Get over it snowflake.
@T-T-, Your opinion is only your dream. Ojective Truth says God will judge a nation like America, though others are worse in different ways. You started out as a Christian nation; your guilt is greater than that of pagan nations. You knew the truth and decided to hate it, stupid American secularists.
More education than you idiot.
Who is this Objective Truth person and why should I trust them?
where is your god? show him to me? why are you unable to show your god to the non-believers? if u insist he exists, show him to us.
also, why dont u believe in ganesha the hindu elephant god? why don't u worship him? the evidence for ganesha and ur god is the same, there is no evidence. so what's the difference?
It's normal morality that secular Americans are calling fundamentalistic Christian today. Anti-God Americans lost their wits altogether from the years of worshipping immorality. History repeats, kind of.
What's immorality? Like ordering people to kill gays, people who eat shellfish, people who work on the sabbath, and disobedient children?
We don't see the need to kill people who violated the laws of your Bible. That must suck for you.
@Gup, read commands with the context. People were executed only in cases of putting the mal-ti-tude in physical dangers, as of today. Atheists cannot read or inter-pret things. It's Christians who halted unlawful killings all over the world. Atheists massacred everyone.
You've never heard of the Crusades, have you, you ignorant idiot.
@Gup, Non-Christendom had countless crusades all the time. You secular Westerners are history-illiterate.
Yeah right. LOL
Xenia reminds me of that crazy religious woman in the movie "The Mist", lol! Crazy, crazy, crazy....
Most Hollywood movies are pure trash. They were bad to human brains. The reason Americans are illiterate on history.
Xenia...it is easy to see why peace, either inner or world, is not attainable while your god exists in your mind. Atheists are here to help you.. if you have a hunger for the truth just let us know. the truth is the real truth not the biblical type that was written by your ancestors. if you stay relaxed and think rationality , the truth will reveal its self and the world will make sense . ranting on about secularism is doing nothing to bring you understanding.
@Evolved-, atheists need help from their despair and evil lifestyles. All creatures should acknowledge the Creator, and it's only American atheists who don't do that knowingly and willfully. Evil species.
Ok my gutspoo. I have read you responses and had figured you out. Now, go to bed. You are up way past your bed time. and brush your teeth.
Xenia ... your reply to me has just confirmed your lack of inner peace. If you are an example of what god wants humans to be, I am glad I am atheist, and very content. You have the same replies no matter which name you post under, each one suffers with the same lack of peace. think rationally and enjoy life.. its short and oh so sweet if you understand it.
Xenia is an ignorant and arrogant piece of trash. Take comfort in that he/she is miserable in life and will be dead and rotten in 100 years with no afterlife. I personally enjoy everyday living and do not need to spend eternity with a fools like Xenia.
Here's a whole other take on the subject: What if the elements are held in check by righteous living the same way that water is kept frozen if you keep the temp below '32 f. Something like a basic law of the universe. When people break divine law, the elements can no longer be kept in check, and natural disasters occur. Not because God is punishing us, but simply because a natural law is violated. When I disobeyed my Mom and touched a hot stove, my hand got burnt, not because my Mom was punishing me, but simply because she understood a law that I didn't, and I suffered the consequences much to her anguish. God, as a loving parent, simply wants us to understand the spiritual laws of the universe and live in such a way that we can avoid these calamities. There might be a whole other set of scientific "spiritual" laws that our race hasn't even come to acknowledge yet.
Yes, god wants us to understand natural law, so study physics and meteorology.
Instead of adding to the amount of religious mumbo-jumbo (aka bulshit), it would be far more logical to admit that the probability of any god existing is virtually zero, and to invest in understanding the natural works through science. But no, we must propagate childish tribal myths rather than grow up...
Interesting... are you merely 'speculating' or is this something you actually believe...?
Well, either way I guess it really doesn't matter. There certainly are natural laws of the universe, i.e... your Mom and the hot stove example. When you speak of "Divine Laws" what would these 'hypothetical' divine laws be exactly...? And would we assume that God, the almighty either 'can't' or 'won't' adjust these divine laws...?
As I understand it, you are basically holding to the 'God as a loving parent wants us to learn, ergo... doesn't interfere with the calamities, as we are some kind of terrible sinful people that need 'teaching.'...?
Since this is all speculation here, I am curious to here more about your thinking.
Interesting but the spirit world and the science world can not communicate with each other. The spirit would is not logical so they can't be compatible. God created man and some are logical and some are receptive to the spirit world. I sounds like you have created a cyber God that is on autopilot. God created us to learn his ways and to worship him. Instant punish is not his way.
Robert.. what then do you think the Africans have done to pee off your loving god? they seem forever to have been out of favour at least since the religious groups invaded and tried to convert them to their god.. did a whole bunch of good .
Oh, Bob. You do realize that you're just making this stuff up as you go along?
So are you stating that if I OBEY my mother I can touch a hot stove without getting burned?