U.S. condemns Iranian pastor's conviction
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani shown in an Iranian prison.
September 29th, 2011
06:58 AM ET

U.S. condemns Iranian pastor's conviction

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The White House Thursday condemned the conviction of an Iranian pastor, who may be executed in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert from Christianity to Islam.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani "has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for people," a White House spokesman said in a statement. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency and breaches Iran's own international obligations."

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent advisory group appointed by the president and Congress to monitor religious freedom around the world, Wednesday expressed "deep concern" for Nadarkhani, the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran.

After four days of an appeals trial for apostasy, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs, the commission said. Chairman Leonard Leo said the pastor "is being asked to recant a faith he has always had. Once again, the Iranian regime has demonstrated that it practices hypocritical barbarian practices."

While the trial is closed to the press, Leo said the commission collects information from sources in Iran and around the world.

The commission's statement also called the trial a sham and said Iran is violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a party.

"A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities' utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens," the White House statement said. "We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion."

Nadarkhani was first sentenced to death in November 2010, the commission said, and in order to avoid the death penalty, he is being asked to recant his beliefs and convert to Islam. Leo said an apostasy trial is rare in Iran; the last occurred in 1990.

Iran's claim stems from the pastor's Muslim parents. According to Leo, the court needed to verify if Nadarkhani had ever been a Muslim. In order to be given what Iran claims is the opportunity to recant his beliefs, Nadarkhani must have never been a Muslim before the age of 15, Leo said.

Because he was given the opportunity during the four-day trial, it is apparent that the Iranian court found he was never a Muslim and therefore Nadarkhani could have converted.

According to a source close to the situation within the Commission on International Religious Freedom, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, would have to sign off on the execution. Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity, the source said such cases in Iran are difficult because of the lack of transparency in leaders' decision-making.

The source also said that in the past, political prisoners have had their prison time and punishment reduced by the Iranian government. Though they did not say that was guaranteed in this situation, the source indicated it was a possibility.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a right-leaning organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson, reported Wednesday night that Nadarkhani's death sentence had been overturned, meaning that the pastor would be receiving a lesser punishment. They sourced the claim to someone in Iran.

Those reports could not be independently verified by CNN. The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United Nations failed to comment on the ruling.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, said the outcry from Christians in America has been loud and sustained.

"American Christians, like never before, are engaged in this," Sekulow said. "This is evidence that Christians in America over the past decade have done a better job engaging in the persecution issue."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Iran

soundoff (2,425 Responses)
  1. hippypoet

    @David Johnson

    you said "No real evidence that an actual Jesus ever existed. Or do you have proof?"

    i am no believer at all but i must correct a misunderstanding when i see it.. there is plenty of prrof to support that act that someone named not jesus but joshua was living and was put to death by pilate. pilate's own writings prove it. as for his name change, thats a sercet of translation – it gets lost – first was his hebrew name – joshua, then greek, then latin, then german, then finally english... it has kept the jesus name thou thru latin into english.

    September 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "i am no believer at all but i must correct a misunderstanding when i see it."

      Okay, so comment on this:
      There were no eyewitness accounts of Jesus. The Gospels were written by god knows who in the third person. The Gospels were written with an agenda i.e., Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God.
      We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The area in and surrounding Jerusalem served, in fact, as the center of education and record keeping for the Jewish people. The Romans, of course, also kept many records. Moreover, the gospels mention scribes many times, not only as followers of Jesus but the scribes connected with the high priests. And nothing about the Jesus. Nada! Not even something chiseled on a wall or carved into a tree like: "Jesus Loves Mary Magdalene".

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

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

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

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

      Some people feel that Paul, not Jesus, is the real father of what most Christians believe today (Pauline Christianity).
      Paul never actually met Jesus. His knowledge and faith was the result of hearsay and an epileptic "vision".

      Questions on the Crucifixion story:

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

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

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

      This is just an embellishment by Mark. A work of fiction possibly constructed to make it appear that some Old Testament "prediction" was fulfilled. Like:
      "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting." – Isaiah 50:6

      Here is another:

      1 Corinthian 15:14-17 – Paul says Christianity lives or dies on the Resurrection.
      1 Corinthians 15:4 "4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures"
      Matthew 12:40 – Jesus said, that he would be buried three days and three nights as Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights.
      Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning is only 2 days at the most. Or, if you count Friday and Sunday as entire days, then you could get 3 days and 2 nights. This is a gimme though. The Mary's went to the grave at sunrise and it was empty.
      Obviously, the fundies spin this like a pinwheel. I have seen explanations like: Jesus was actually crucified on Wednesday or maybe Thursday; The prophesy actually means 12 hour days, and not 24 hour days; The partial days are counted as full days. This one is true, but still doesn't add up.
      At any rate, the crucifixion day and number of days and nights Jesus spent in the grave, is disputed.
      It looks very much like, that Jesus was not in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights. The prophecy was not fulfilled.

      And what of this?:

      Jesus had healed a woman on the Sabbath:

      Luke 13 31:33 KJV
      31The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
      32And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
      33Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

      Note that Jesus is saying, it is impossible for a prophet (Himself) to be killed outside of Jerusalem.

      Yet, Jesus WAS killed outside Jerusalem.

      Calvary or Golgotha was the site, outside of ancient Jerusalem’s early first century walls, at which the crucifixion of Jesus is said to have occurred. OOoopsie!

      And there is this:

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

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

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

      An interesting note:

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

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

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

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

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


      September 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • fred

      David Johnson
      I am curious as to why persist in a line of reason that Jesus never existed. The vast majority of respected historians acknowledge Jesus as a teacher, leader of a sect, a thorn in the side to Jews and historic accounts of miraculous events proclaimed by followers.
      As to miraculous events they only acknowledge that followers accepted them historically. The vast majority of respected historians further attest that those who dispute this truth fail to apply the same standards to other historical events of antiquity thus revealing their true bias.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Colin

      Fred – the further back in time you go, the less reliable records become (in general) and the harder it is to sort fact from fiction. For example, it is quite unlikely (but not certain) that Moses, David, Abraham, Isaac did not exist, and pretty certain Noah did not.

      I tend to think JC did live and that the supernatural powers attributed to him were later additions by the Christian cult, but it is possible he never ever existed.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • RFBJR

      So, when do we begin to trust that certain people did exist? So, none of the apostles? Herod? Pilate? Mary? Joseph? It's hard to believe all these smart people think He lived. I mean, the built the calendar off of His birth. Plus, admit it, you call His name everytime you get scared or stub your toe.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "I am curious as to why persist in a line of reason that Jesus never existed. The vast majority of respected historians acknowledge Jesus as a teacher, leader of a sect, a thorn in the side to Jews and historic accounts of miraculous events proclaimed by followers.
      As to miraculous events they only acknowledge that followers accepted them historically. The vast majority of respected historians further attest that those who dispute this truth fail to apply the same standards to other historical events of antiquity thus revealing their true bias.

      I gave a number of scholars, who disagree.

      Give evidence. Not appeals to authority, when others of equal credentials disagree. Many of the ones you would cite, are "in the business". If Jesus did not exist, neither would their jobs. LOL

      I have made my case. So disprove it!


      September 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • fred

      Lookout, I ran into someone on this web site that also believes as you do that God is purple ! Actually, the color purple is associated with the number 3 for those who possessed synaesthesia. Given 3 (for trinity) and in the Bible purple was the color of Kings so the guards put a purple robe on Jesus while mocking Him you may be onto something.
      I never thought of you as a visionary.....

      September 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Give evidence. Not appeals to authority"

      Can't that be directed toward you as well David. You don't really give any evidence. A lot of what you are doing is trying to say that a lack of evidence is evidence. That doesn't work.

      If you feel that Jesus never existed, then what you are suppose to do is to give evidence that Jesus was created by someone. So far, you and every other person that has tried to do this has failed.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "There are way more people, in the world, who are not Christians (67%) than who are (33%)."

      So...if the majority of the world was Christian...you would concede that Christianity is correct? I mean, you are trying to say it is wrong because it isn't the majority. Frankly I think that's a pretty stupid line of thought but hey, if that's what you believe.


      September 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Uncouth Swain

      Not so. I do use experts, but only to strengthen my arguments. To offset other people's claims of expert testimony.

      There is less evidence to support the existence of Christ, than there is for Santa Claus.


      September 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Uncouth Swain
      I said: "There are way more people, in the world, who are not Christians (67%) than who are (33%)."

      You replied: "So...if the majority of the world was Christian...you would concede that Christianity is correct? I mean, you are trying to say it is wrong because it isn't the majority. Frankly I think that's a pretty stupid line of thought but hey, if that's what you believe."

      Actually, I started out by saying: "If Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, who died for man's redemption, then this would be the most important event in the history of man." I bet you agree that this is so.

      I then point out that there isn't even enough evidence to convince the majority of the world that Jesus existed or was the son of god.

      I have seen many idiot Christians use the % of believers in the U. S. to make a claim that Jesus was the Messiah. They usually point out what a small percentage is represented by atheists.

      I think a 33% believer rate is ridiculous for an all powerful, all knowing god, who Christians believe planned the Redeemer since the fall of man. LOL

      So, since it is you Christians who are positing a demigod, It should be your burden to prove Jesus wasn't as made up as Thor or Odin or Isis or Zeus.



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

      @Uncouth Swain

      I also have a set of arguments against the existence of god. Want to debate that? Or Prayer working? Or the existence of Satan? Or god's health care plan? The Christian faith is a joke.

      Or you give me an argument for the existence of Jesus? Where's the beef?

      Hoping to hear from you!


      September 29, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • fred

      David Johnson
      You said "I started out by saying: "If Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, who died for man's redemption, then this would be the most important event in the history of man." I bet you agree that this is so.

      Let's see David what year is it again....................oh, I see 2011 AD (the year of our Lord). Is there any more of a universally accepted date known to mankind today? Note I said universally accepted date.

      Let's see David what is the biggest all time world wide selling book..........oh darn its the Bible.

      Let's see David what is the longest running successful recovery program, darn a God centered AA program. Please don't tell me about "higher power" because 80% are Christian based God as higher power. I know you would prefer no God or higher power but that is the problem. You do not think you need anyone higher than yourself so AA would not be a good starting place for you.

      Let's see David the biggest superpower in the world to date still is ......Yep America and on our money, anthem, motto, pledge "in God ....................oh,

      Just out of curosity what was the most important event in the history of mankind?

      September 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • silas

      @david Johnson
      you have thought quite a bit about the authenticity of Jesus. To mean that means you care a great deal about truth. You have put a lot of research into something you disagree with...which i think is a very good thing. People love to listen to their particular choir and never honestly seek to hear "the other side"....so i am impressed. My one advice is that if you want to REALLY get a good response to your questions you should spend some time with believing, well educated, sensible theologians from a respected school-i swear they do exist! Try Fuller, Union, Duke, Boston College...these are full of intelligent folks who have asked the questions you are ....but have exhaustive research that supports their faith. There are also plenty of non-believing or agnostic or pluralist professors who also find in their research a great deal more support for Jesus than you have found. Honestly i just have an undergraduate degree that i earned almost 10 years ago....and even i know the stuff you gleaned from is largely very dated.....thoroughly countered....and in some cases flat out rejected by the greater theological community. Every field has places to go to acquire a good education on the subject. You wouldn't go to wikipedia or Barnes and Noble to answer neurological questions regarding your loved one's recent aneurysm or stroke. Don't go there to answer questions of history that involve the fields of theology, anthropolgy, archaeology. BTW, did you leave Josephus out of your post on purpose...or have you just never heard of him?

      September 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • God fearing

      "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it".

      September 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Reality

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      September 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • fred

      Ah, once again some reality, thanks!
      Now, we can all agree Jesus was a real person died a brutal death and all his followers ran for the hills. Only the supernatural acts of the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus, could account for the sudden power and preaching of His followers just 50 days after the resurection of Jesus. At Pentacost 3,000 were saved and it started a wave that washes over our souls today !

      September 30, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus Christ (J ehoshua') (born 4 B.C.) The Son of God, born of a virgin. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; hippypoet,

      Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." [Isaiah 7:14] (written in 631 B.C.). Immanuel in the Hebrew language means 'God with us'. And Jesus (J ehoshua') in The Hebrew language means 'Jehovah (God) savior'. They are one in the same.


      September 30, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • JoeS

      The only way to know personally that Jesus Christ is the savior of mankind is you must have a Testimony of him. And what is a testimony? And whereby by the power of the Holy Ghost that He send him, He will reveal to you the truth.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Reality

      Was Pentecost an historical event or simply more myth concocted by Luke to gain members to the newest cult in town??

      Twas the latter !!!

      e.g. Luke, the only gospel writer to note the Pentecost, started this tale in Luke 24:49 i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically unreliable.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • esteban

      JK Rowling said it best " you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!"

      October 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  2. bobcat2u

    The christian community is so up in arms over this. But they don't stop and try to remember the atrocities commited by their own sect. Remember the inqusitions, the salem witch trials, etc. You have no right to be acting so self righteous when in the name of god, your religion put to death so many innocent people. It is so easy to turn the blind eye and point that finger. Religion is religion is religion. Every one of the different religions all claim to be the right way, the only way. Doesn't seem to me that everyone can be right. So if you really do beleve, you better hope you've chosen wisely. Because like you like to say, you only get one chance.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Robert

      Like on cue, you distract from this man's struggle for religious liberty and possible execution. The Mullahs would be proud of you.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      Thank you Robert. That means a lot to me coming from someone like you.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "Like on cue, you distract from this man's struggle for religious liberty and possible execution. The Mullahs would be proud of you."

      Verily I say unto you, this man has (or believes he has) his reward. Just like the terrorists that blow themselves to pieces, believing in an afterlife teeming with succulent virgins. This fellow wants to die a martyr.


      September 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • RFBJR

      Would you be willing to die for what you believe, David? Better yet, what do you believe? Not many people are remembered for having no conviction.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You asked: "Would you be willing to die for what you believe, David? Better yet, what do you believe? Not many people are remembered for having no conviction."

      If I said yes, I could be telling a lie. I believe that the two best ways to determine how the universe works, is by empirical evidence and logic. Faith is worthless without evidence.

      I am not trying to be remembered. I am just one lone voice crying in the wilderness: "There are no gods".


      September 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Jesus

      One religion huckster gets off'd by other religion hucksters.....that's been going on for centuries.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  3. Colin

    In other news, a group of evolutionary biologists who subscribe to the Punctuated Equilibrium theory of evolution, which proposes that most species will exhibit little net evolutionary change for most of their geological history, attacked a rival group of evolutionary biologists, who subscribe to the theory of phyletic gradualism, which states that evolution generally occurs uniformly and by the steady and gradual transformation of whole lines.

    A group of fanatical “Punctuationists” as they call themselves, broke into the Cambridge University’s biology department chanting “Gould is great, Gould is great,” an apparent reference to Stephen Gould one of the champions of Punctuated equilibrium. Once inside, they broke lab equipment, and burned Richard Dawkins, a well known gradualist, in effigy.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • tallulah13

      Those wacky Brits.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Robert

      It's like the debate of New Earth vs. Old Earth Creationists...except less civil, lol.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • J.W

      This is good news. I assume it is all true.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • mb2010a

      Hallelujah...I Believe...

      September 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yo, Colin. What are you talking about? You have a link to some story? I tried googling all sorts of possibly relevant key words and nothing remotely like this story ever came up. Was this supposed to be a joke?

      September 30, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • John Richardson

      This is the only case of Dawkins being burnt in effigy I have found: http://theframeproblem.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/baptist-fundamentalists-hold-mock-richard-dawkins-funeral-burn-him-in-effigy/

      A Baptist did it.

      September 30, 2011 at 7:04 am |
    • BG

      Good job, Colin.

      Find his "source" yet, Richardson? 😆

      September 30, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • JohnR

      @BG No, I haven't.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • JohnR

      I even checked The Onion, albeit only quickly and cursorily ...

      September 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  4. Robert

    Tragically, a case of obvious injustice will be used by some as an excuse to attack the Christian faith. Clearly the Mullahs have powerful allies around the world, even in the West. But if we are going to triumph over Sharia then we will have to start banding together. Let's pray for this courageous man and hope that he does not become a martyr. God bless the Iranian people!

    "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

    September 29, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • claybigsby

      Romans 13:1-7 states: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established."

      So according to the bible, God established the Iranian government and everyone living under that rule must submit to it.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yep, and that would be true of Obama to. I bet that really stings the Religious Right's buns! LOL


      September 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Jesus

      Romans 13:1-7 is one reason why Christianity was allowed to exist over the centuries--it dovetailed quite well with every cruel and destructive regime.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • hope

      Dear Mr. David Johnson. You call Christians delusional! Look. We have hope. Unlike you, we have something to believe in. And who are we without something or someone to believe in?

      September 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  5. Bo

    =====================@TomTom (From yesterday: it was late) Thank you for your concern. I'm not a Bible scholar nor am I trying to pretend to be one, but I know what I believe and why.(This Blog site has been good for me because it helps me review what I believe.) I have a reasonablely good command of spoken English. My spelling is terriable, I often need to refer to a dictionary. I have learned that poor spelling is not an indicator of intellect, there are many intelligent people who are poor spellers. Gen. Eisnhower made fun of himself. A notoriously poor speller. He told how for a term paper he used a lot of dialogue of a 'country 'hick' and got away with badlly spelled words. As far as "effect" or "affect" I generally say what I mean. If you are refering to my post to David, I meant what I said. I ment sin had had an "effect" on both good and evil, not how it affected their lives. How one is affected by the effect of sin is another topic. I'm not offended. P.S. I can't do paragraphs on my cell.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  6. petercha

    I applaud this brave man for standing by what he believes in, even to the point of death. I hope that I will have that courage if I am ever in that situation.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  7. David Johnson

    It has been asked, would someone die for a lie? Apparently, they would.


    September 29, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Juan

      We all must die, and then we will all see the truth. This man apparently has already seen it, and knows his death is not the end, only the beginning, like planting a seed.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Robert

      @ David Johnson You must be very comfortable with death, or at least avoiding believing in anything that will bring you death.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • craig hampton

      David, I pray that some day the spiritual blindness that Satan has blinded you with will be lifted so you can finally see how much God loves you. I pray for you

      September 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "You must be very comfortable with death, or at least avoiding believing in anything that will bring you death."

      No one is "comfortable" with death. Everyone fears the unknown. That was how the god(s) were born.

      If I stuck a gun to your head and offered to send you to Jesus, I bet you would rather not go.

      Having examined the evidence, I believe there are no gods. No soul. No afterlife. Again, my belief is based on evidence, not faith. But, I will put off my death for as long as possible.


      September 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @craig hampton

      You said: "I pray that some day the spiritual blindness that Satan has blinded you with will be lifted so you can finally see how much God loves you. I pray for you"

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

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

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

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

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

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

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

      But more importantly:

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

      God, with these superlative attributes, could not be surprised or defeated. He could not be wounded. He is almighty! He is not vulnerable. Right?

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

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

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

      But, Christians never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities, that they give to their god. If god has these qualities, then most of the bible, most of the Christian's beliefs are impossible.

      Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.
      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning. This number must the total, or the Christian god is not all knowing. This number would be so, no matter how hard Satan worked or didn't work.

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

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

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

      Ha, Ha, Ha! I laugh at you and your silly beliefs!


      September 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • RFBJR

      @ Dave Johnson
      You said "What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god?"

      You would. Can you see that?


      September 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • LUNA

      Hey David. You seem to know a lot of nothing, but when the time does come. I and many others will be a witness to all of the lies that you have posted here. I't better to believe in the lie you so call, then to not. Will be seeing you burn when the time comes. You didn't know him, and guess what he doesn't know you, but remembers all the lies that come out of your @## i mean your mouth. Good Luck Chuck.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Answer

      Evangelists .. all you ever do is preach about fear and death. Wait til you die? Okay. So?

      Is there anything else you want to say to a dead man? Can you convince a dead man that he is going to hell. No.
      You want to think that the person who disagrees you is going to hell and that is your sole consolation prize. Anything you want to comment on? Will you try to vomit on his corpse to show your hate further? Are you that upset that you could not sway a rational man to your point of view? Maybe then the fact is that you are not being rational? There are other possibilities to explain it. So go ahead and please make them.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      from davids post, u should be able to comprehend that he does not believe in god and satan. they are made up. so why would he rebel against something that doesn't exist?

      you said, "but when the time does come. I and many others will be a witness to all of the lies that you have posted here."
      How do u know that after death, you will be conscious?? Believers always act like they KNOW there is an afterlife, but in reality u dont know that there is an afterlife. you have no proof.
      you said, "You didn't know him, and guess what he doesn't know you,"
      do u mean the god of the old testament who ordered moses and his people to kill babies, first borns, and women? was that a moral thing to do? Are you sure that david would want to get to know a god like that?
      Seems likes u have no quams about such a vengeful god.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Ron

      you would benefit reading some of Josh McDowell's books, He was a professor who thought very muck like you and set a goal to prove christanity and jesus a false..after years of hard work and studying and research he couldn't. Keep your mind and heart open and use the intellengence that you seem to have and research his findings.....or not the choice is yours.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • David Johnson


      I said "What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god?"

      You responded: "You would. Can you see that?"

      Yeah, but I have never lived in Heaven or seen god face to face. God's supreme attributes are only rumor to me.

      As I pointed out, Satan and His band of merry angels would KNOW Heaven and an all powerful god exists. They were eyewitnesses.

      Can you see that?


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


      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist. Do you have any proof, that I am wrong?


      September 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I would guess she has as much proof about her opinions on God as you do.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  8. MKE Dave

    Apologies, that should have said "Reality:"

    I'd adjusted my comment and forgot to change the beginning.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • cosby

      @HeavenSent theres always room for jello!

      September 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Yes, Cosby, and you too can own a subaru!

      September 30, 2011 at 6:01 am |
  9. hippypoet

    i completely agree with WHO CARES, he is dead on balls accurate... its an industry term!

    September 29, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • BRC

      I applaud your ability to work a quote from that movie into the belief blog.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • hippypoet

      you want religious freedom, ok, but heres the deal – belief can stay at home, in a shoe box filled with the toys and dreams of a child and left there to become dusty and forgotton like the myths of our ancesters. i can agree to this, can you? after all its a matter of faith, so materials are below the religous person, aren't they? they don't seem to be below the pope thou with his silk ropes and near slave type people beconing his every call.. good man to view as your faithful leader in this world, may your faith lead you to better days... lol

      September 29, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Brandon

      It seams your ignorance clouds your mind. The pope is the leader of CATHOLICS he is an abomination to Christians and to this world.
      People say Obama is the Antichrist, well if they would study they would KNOW the papacy (and not one man) is the Antichrist.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • David Johnson


      If you look at it Brandon, you would realize it is all just B.S. Or do you have proof that this is not so?


      September 29, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  10. William Demuth

    Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion.

    Otherwise we get bloodshed.

    One cult kills the other cult, and the whole world suffers.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Robert

      Historically, Communist persecution of Christians (among many of their victims) has been far worse in one century than the entire history of Islam combined. Islam has more staying power than Communism, and so the struggle for liberty continues.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Ed

      I have to agree William freedom of religion must include freedom from religion. No one should be forced to beleive or not beleive in religion. Each person should be allowed to decide for them selves if they beleive or not and what they beleive or don't beleive in.

      Although I am surprised I expected you to be cheering about the fact they are killing a Christian. I guess even your hatered has limits.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  11. Woody

    This is a preview of the USA if the fundies wildest dreams came true and we became a Christian Theocracy. The Founding Fathers were very wise men, they well understood the dangers of state sanctioned religion. Unfortunately, there are many people in this country that just don't get it.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • HellBent

      It's also a window into this country's past, as many people like to conveniently forget. See: Witch Trials, Salem

      September 29, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • HeavenSent

      We know you non-believers don't get it. Too focused on your ego to learn His wisdom.


      September 29, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • HeavenSent

      HellBent, the witches trials were mid wives that were seriously putting physicians of the times out of business.


      September 29, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • HellBent

      @HS – do you actually have anything of substance to contribute to any conversation? Or do you just like to demean and insult?

      And not sure what your reply to my post was suppose to imply, though you're historically inaccurate.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      That's the first thought I had, Woody. It is ridiculous that people who believe in one myth will kill those who believe in another. It is horrifying that there are politicians who want to force their mythology on this country.Talk about spitting on the Const-itution.

      Speaking ridiculous, Heaven Scent's excuse for the Witch Trials are a hoot. Were the men who were killed for being witches midwives as well? Learn a little history before you try to rewrite it, HS.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "We know you non-believers don't get it. Too focused on your ego to learn His wisdom."

      No real evidence that an actual Jesus ever existed. Or do you have proof?


      September 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Woody

      HeavenSent writes:
      "the witches trials were mid wives that were seriously putting physicians of the times out of business."

      Your probably right. I'm sure this was a plot by the SMA (Salem Medical Association) against midwives, to protect the hundreds of doctors that must have lived in the village of Salem in those days.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Anyone else notice how frequently HS accuses everyone else of having a "big ego"? Seems she sees herself as exhibiting humility. What a laugh. I've rarely seen anyone who thinks as highly of herself as HS. And with so little reason to do so.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Know What

      I watched "The Crucible" a couple of days ago. I dare you and challenge you to watch it. It is a hideous story - and based on real events and people.

      I thought of you (and a couple of other posters here) as I watched it - unfortunately.

      Some of my own ancestors in Germany - both male and female - were arrested, some tortured and executed, accused of deviltry because they chose the wrong flavor of christianity. Barf!

      September 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Know What

      * that was for HeavenSent

      September 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Robert

      Pay no attention to those 'tolerant' Communists behind the curtains! They sure know how to make republics based on Atheism turn into nightmares on earth!

      September 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • God fearing

      You'll be destroyed due to lack of knowledge

      September 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      HellBent, you wrote "@HS – do you actually have anything of substance to contribute to any conversation? Or do you just like to demean and insult? And not sure what your reply to my post was suppose to imply, though you're historically inaccurate.."

      Answer: I have offered inside information that the public isn't privy to on several articles. Sorry you are to arrogant to pick up the subtle tips and passing them off to the side. If you are a reporter on CNN, you suck big time. Stop with your baloney history assuming it's accurate. To prove that fact, look back at the last 60 years of public history books given to students. They change constantly since victors write history, hence want to teach what they want to teach the lemmings, for which you and most of you non-believers are up front and center due to your sin of pride.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, you posted "Anyone else notice how frequently HS accuses everyone else of having a "big ego"? Seems she sees herself as exhibiting humility. What a laugh. I've rarely seen anyone who thinks as highly of herself as HS. And with so little reason to do so."

      Answer for the 4th or 5th time I've written on why I am posting on this site. I write to defend Jesus Christ. Therefore, I have to muster up ego in order to write to carnally minded folks, for, that's all you know. Other than being on this site I prefer to spend my time being and living humbly. It's folks like you Tommie, Tom that believe the lies that spew from your mouth about Christians. I was brought up in this country, I could dish out barbs like the rest of you. Our Lord and Savior ask that we refrain from doing so. When I break His commandment, I repent for my transgression.


      September 30, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  12. Reality

    And the bloody terror that is Islam continues !!!!

    Some other examples:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Robert

      You forgot the 8th century Moorish invasion of France.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  13. who cares

    he choose to live in a religiously run country, rip what you sow!

    September 29, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Rip what you sow"? Well, either you meant "Reap what you sow" or "Rip what you sew." Which is it?

      September 29, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • HellBent

      I think "rip what you sew" is actually more appropriate in this case.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Robert

      He chose no such thing!

      September 29, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  14. Nicholas J McGuire

    Is he still alive, or what has happened concerning his life?

    September 29, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Nicholas J McGuire

      You asked: "Is he still alive, or what has happened concerning his life?"

      Some think He never actually existed. Certainly, there is no real evidence that He actually lived.

      If He did exist, He died 2000 years ago.

      He predicted He would be back in the 1st Century, but there is no evidence that He did.

      Oh wait! You meant the pastor. Sorry!


      September 29, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  15. HotAirAce

    The US Government should stay out of this unless the pastor is a US citizen. As barbaric as Iran's laws and punishments are, Iran is a sovereign country. Of course, private citizens and groups are free to do as they wish.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • mb2010a

      I agree 100%...

      September 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • W247

      So are you one of those people that sit back and say "they deserved it" when you see a genocide happen?

      September 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  16. John Richardson

    I'm rather alarmed that this is the first I've heard about this. I certainly hope that it isn't just Christians crying out about this outrage. The man should be set free to worship as he sees fit immediately and, if not, his persecutors should be held accountable in International court for human rights.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • claybigsby

      human rights and religious rights do not coincide.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  17. well

    I wonder why this isn't higher on CNNs agenda. This should be big news known to all Americans, so that they can develop an informed opinion of what Islam is really all about.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • HellBent

      Change "Islam" to "Iran" and you've got it right. Plenty of Christian nations used to do this as well, so it's not really reflective of the religion more than it is reflective of the barbaric way in which the Iranian government forces it to be followed.

      September 29, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Let's see, this story is brought up when our politicians are on vacation again. Oh, wag that dog.


      September 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • claybigsby

      heavensent is an idiot...what do you think our government should do, spend tax payer dollars protecting this man? Iran has their own laws and the US should stay out of it.

      September 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      claybigsby, you wrote "heavensent is an idiot...what do you think our government should do, spend tax payer dollars protecting this man? Iran has their own laws and the US should stay out of it."

      I never mentioned this pastor on that comment. I just mentioned the sensationalism of this gentleman's plight as being a wag the dog scenario coinciding with the politicians being on vacation aka get the public to focus on something extreme so they don't pay attention that we don't work for our salaries.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  18. brobo sagomo

    Islam is the religion of peace.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • well

      Yay Islam!

      September 29, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  19. chad

    Good for you Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, may God bless you and your family.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • petercha


      September 29, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  20. HeavenSent

    John 15

    15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

    15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

    15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

    15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot * bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

    15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing *.

    15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

    15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

    15:8 Herein * is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

    15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

    15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

    15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

    15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

    15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

    15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

    15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever * ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

    15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

    15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

    15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

    15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

    15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

    15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

    15:23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

    15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

    15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law *, They hated me without a cause.

    15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

    15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.


    September 29, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with John's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

      September 29, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Hark, I see realitynot post again.

      1 Corinthians 15:35-44

      35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
      36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
      37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
      38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
      39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
      40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
      41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
      42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
      43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
      44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.


      September 29, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • MKE Dave

      From Reality: A term like "most contemporary NT scholars" is generic and impossible to verify. There is a very wide variety of opinions regarding the NT, and I doubt any one has a majority. You do make a wise interpretation that Jesus could not have been merely a kind preacher. If he truly is not God, he must have been a lunatic.

      Unless, you know, he actually did the miracles and the NT accurately carries his voice. Then he's totally God 🙂

      September 29, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • David Johnson


      Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

      Hmm... Jesus may not have known the day or the hour, but He did predict a 1st Century return.

      A number of New Testament passages indicate that Christ was supposed to return before his generation had died. This would have been sometime in the first century AD.

      First, there is the testimony of Jesus himself, who explicitly stated that some of his disciples would not die until Jesus inst_ituted the Kingdom, and that his generation would not pass away until all his prophecies of the end of the world had been fulfilled:

      Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

      Matthew 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

      Jesus' speech in 24 and 25 was given, when He was alone with His disciples.

      Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

      Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
      In this discourse, Jesus makes a number of assertions about the fate of his disciples. One of the signs of the end would be the persecution of his disciples:

      Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
      While tradition records that the disciples were persecuted and martyred, this was not followed by the return of Christ, as he promised. Would they die for a lie? Apparently... LOL.

      The Apostle Paul, too, seemed to think that Christ would return for his generation:

      I Thessalonians 4:15-17 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
      Note that Paul twice uses the phrase '...we which are alive and remain...'.

      This seems to preclude the theory that Paul was speaking of some far future generation. Paul made a similar assertion in First Corinthians:

      I Corinthians 15:51,52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
      Note that Paul said that '...we shall not all sleep...'. In other words, he expected that at least some of his generation would not see death. Again, there is nothing in the text to indicate that Paul was speaking about some far future generation.

      Paul reiterated his belief in a soon return of Christ in the Book of Romans:

      Romans 13:11-12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

      The other New Testament writers had similar thoughts about the iminence of Christ's return:

      James 5:8 Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

      I John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

      I Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

      The Apocalyptic Book of Revelations repeatedly has Christ saying that he would return soon:

      Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly....

      By no stretch of the imagination can 2,000 years be considered 'quickly' LOL

      To say That a thousand years is like a day to the lord, is dumb. A thousand years is not like a day to humans.

      Jesus was wrong. Jesus has been really busy being really dead, for the last 2,000 years.


      September 29, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Reality

      A list of some of the top contemporary NT scholars:

      R. Bultmann
      E. Kasemann
      Earl Doherty
      Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
      Alvar Ellegård
      G. A. Wells
      Gregory Riley
      Robert Eisenman
      John Dominic Crossan
      Robert Funk
      Burton Mack
      Stephen J. Patterson
      Marcus Borg
      Stevan Davies
      Geza Vermes
      Richard Horsley
      Hyam Maccoby
      Gerd Theissen
      Bart Ehrman
      Paula Fredriksen
      Gerd Lüdemann
      John P. Meier
      E. P. Sanders
      Robert H. Stein
      Karen Armstrong
      Albert Schweitzer (The Quest for the Historical Jesus)
      Mahlon Smith
      Karen Pagels



      September 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • MKE Dave

      Reality, yes, those are some contemporary NT scholars, but saying that a majority believe any one thing is still silly. (Perhaps the majority would agree that the NT exists at all, but that might be stretching it.) There are plenty of biblical scholars who believe what the NT says about Jesus (and that the NT is accurate regarding what Jesus said, and that the NT has been properly preserved and interpreted, and so on).

      September 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. "

      I think the late great Tommy cooper said it better.....bottle, glass....glass, bottle.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      David Johnson, I'm not ignoring you. My phone and I-service has been out since Tuesday and won't be repaired until at least the end of the weekend. My computer access has been a crap shoot of being able to access the Web. I got on early this a.m. hence, why I'm responding with this short note. If we move on to another article, I will post my reply to the above request in said new article.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:41 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.