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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. Tom

    Devin – explain how atheism is silly? I suspect you're one of those new age hippies who can't help but seek some invisible "middle ground" between two diametrically opposed worldviews. Back to reality. There is only one truth. There may be debates until that truth is conclusively established. But mark my words. There is only one truth. It's the reason there are academic discplines, facts, and jobs. At the end of the day, in any debate, there is a winning side and a losing side. Is there a God? There is no reconciliatory position. There either is or there is isn't.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Dee

      Of course, there is God. Without Him, you would not exist. It's that simple.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Tom

      The scientific explanation works perfectly well for me. Dee, why did God create you?

      September 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Jerk182

      Of course there is a reconcilatory position: God is irrelevant. It doesn't matter whether god exists or not. No point wasting any further time time trying to prove or disprove it. It's one flavor of agnosticism.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Dee

      I often wonder why He created me specifically, Tom. And, in fact, I am wondering these days why He created humans at all. However, He knows these answers and at some point, we will be privy.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • bbbbq234

      he is right..cosmological argument..but that in no way shape or form endorses christianity

      September 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Dee... wow. Thank you for simplifying the whole of existence for us. I'll sleep much better tonight knowing that all the stuff I learned in school is just needlessly taking up space in my brain. So by that logic, without him, this man wouldn't be about to be put to death either. Without him, we wouldn't have cancer. Without him, there would be no war. It's all so simple. I can't believe I let reason and logic get int the way of this, for this long.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Tom

      Dee, if God knows everything ("even before we were born" according to the Bible), then why go to the trouble of inventing a universe and populating it with a loyal subjects knowing full well that the majority will end up in hell? Don't give me that BS of "but we still have a choice." I've heard the arguments. Elevate the IQ of this discussion. Again, why create the world and everything in it if you know exactly how the story will play out and ultimately end?

      September 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Dee

      So...now you are blaming God for human downfall? Human mistakes and human error? Human guilt and human pleasure? Human sin and human bigotry? When will humans ever take ownership and stop blaming God for their own hardships. Ever look at a rainbow, at the rain, at the mountains, at fluffy clouds.....?

      September 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Dee

      We are all fighting a battle....all of us.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom

      Dee, you're not answering the question. I'll try to simplify it for you. You're God, right? You're alone in the emptiness. Suddenly, it dawns upon you to invent loyal subjects in your "own image." But since you're God, you already know who will disobey you and will remain loyal. In other words, you already know who you will end up punishing. But you go ahead with this little experiment anyway. In other words, there were no people in hell before you embarked on your little creation project. In fact, there wasn't even a hell! As God, weren't you just better off not producing anything in the first place?

      September 29, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Dee

      Tom, please don't speak down to me. Your self-serving little diatribe was incredibly condescending. That is just your take on christianity and I am not here to dispute nor uphold it. You have actually spoken like most people who do not understand the bible, i.e. taken things out of context. Perhaps its a similar trait to those of fanatic muslim/islam faiths.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom

      Dee – pathetic.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Dee, Please don't be too hard on Tom. What you are hearing as condescension is really just the frustration of thinking people who rely on evidence over feelings. Does that make them superior? That depends on the context, but certainly it does on an intellectual level. Is there evidence to support that statement? Yes. Does it feel good? To someone who relies on emotion over evidence, no.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • fred

      So tell me Tom is there any truth in Ecclesiastes or Proverbs?

      September 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Two Cents

      Tom,

      I hope I am recognizing your argument correctly. This is how I take your argument:

      If God is all knowing and knows who will wind up with him in heaven and who will end up in hell, then why even go through with the whole creation of mankind thing. I am going to respond based upon that presupposition. If I am reading that wrong I am sorry.

      Here would be my argument as someone who believes that God exists and that he has prepared a place called heaven for people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. I know that God does know the future and He will allow certain individuals into heaven–I also know that a large number of people think this is pie in the sky stuff; however, since He did make that place then why would He not allow some people to enjoy the place called heaven.

      I am trying to engage in a logical argumnet without name calling. I believe that people who do this actually undermine any good they may do in this discussion. I hope that this will give you a reason to think about the Bible as being factually true and that I have not spoken down to you or belittled your opinion. I want to engage in an intellectual discussion not one that is based upon name calling.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I notice Dee never did provide an answer to the very sensible questions Tom asked.

      Why is that, Dee?

      September 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      Tom did not ask a question to get an answer because he already knew the only answer he could accept. Dee was right not to respond.
      His question is a loop in itself. The answer is that God will not draw a square circle for Tom and neither will Dee. Way to go Dee !

      September 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom

      Can you answer the question Fred?

      September 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom

      Two Cents: it seems like your mind is already made up. You said it yourself: you are someone "who believes that God exists and that he has prepared a place called heaven for people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior." The first problem is working backward from a position you already want to be true. The second problem reveals the complete absurdity of your statement and the general religious inability to process logic. Why would God not just make it that all people end up in heaven? Again, if say, 90% of your creation ends up in hell, weren't you just better off not producing it in the first place?

      September 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • fred

      Tom
      Not as well as Dee did that is for sure. If there is a God He would not draw a square circle for you. I assume you know the Bible well and recognize that Nicodemus and the Sanhedrin demanded proof from God. He did not give any but the sign of Jonah. In short Jesus already knew those that would accept the truth. Now, you are asking for an explaination as to how Gods mind works from the same perspective as those who demanded proof from God in the Bible. Note it is your perspective that blocks the ability to see the truth.
      Is it possible for me to explain the truth from your perspective? No. Can you yourself recognize the perspective from which you ask the question? No. This is why it is impossible to express the answer in a way you could understand.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Two Cents

      Tom,

      I would like to thank you for responding in a respectable manner. I am greatly disheartened when I see the anger that is displayed on these posts and responses.

      You are right in that I have "made my mind up." I am trying to prove to you and others that Christians can resond in (I hope some would agree) logical arguments without resorting to bumper stidker theology.

      I understand your argumnet about if 90 percent end up in hell then why even try. But my response to that woudl be–what about the 10 percent that followed your teaching–would that not be worth it. Let's just use the current population of earth of 6 billion people, that would mean that God had prepared a place for 600 million individuals–that is quite an investment. I know that you will be able to logically argue what about the other 5.4 billion people, and I will admit that I do not have the intellectual capacity to respond, but I do know that 600 million is still a large number

      Again, it is my hope to engage in a logical argument and I thank you for not resorting to put downs and personal attacks.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • fred

      Tom
      From my perspective there would be no he-ll if man did not touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Prior to that point both a Holy God and man were eternal beings in relationship (harmony) with one another. Once man rejected God and touched the knowledge of good and evil perfect harmony was corrupted for all time. Note there was already a plan in place before the rest of the Bible unfolded at the time man was ejected from the Garden. The plan was to redeem man and restore that perfect harmony that was. The Bible records the chosen ones journey over generations in that redemptive process. From start to finish it is not that different from the evolution tree where some branches get cut off to where at some point in time a pure “race” remains standing. That group having evolved into Christ likeness is back in perfect harmony with God. Just goodness, nothing else in the same space.
      Now, what to do with all those branches that were cut off. This is the space best described as he-ll. The Bible says many are blotted out so they never existed in the first place (no pain no gain no existence which is what you like to see right?). Others demand justice and eternity without God and the Bible says that is what they will receive. A few such as satin and his demons will have eternity just where they want it, away from God with that eternal hate inside that churns like a never ending worm.

      Finally, we see good and evil in their separate places not allowed to contaminate each other. Sure the entire process could have been avoided if Gods creation did not reject Him in the first place yet, eternity is not a linear function with a beginning or an end. Some see eternity as a loop with no beginning or end. If there is a God would he not be outside this loop looking at it knowing the complete story of man all at once?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Tom

      Fred – "Sure the entire process could have been avoided if Gods creation did not reject Him in the first place." Did god not know this already? And yet he still went ahead with the plan? I repeat my question: Wasn't god better off not having produced anything in the first place?

      September 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • fred

      Tom
      Not as far as Christians that actually have the Holy Spirit indewelling in them. As far as atheists when the day is done (regardless of it there is or is not a God) was your life worth it or would it have been better you were never born?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  2. Jerk182

    bbbbq234: I don't want 17 virgins in MY paradise; I want 17 experienced women who already know exactly what to do.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  3. Tom

    JustRead – nice. You've just regurgitated the most-oft used phrase at Fox News when an atheist makes a guest appearance. I suspect you're a Christian since you can't say anything original. Did Mao, Stalin, and Hitler (who certainly was NOT an atheist) kill in the name of atheism? In other words, does atheism mandate the killing of innocents? Conversely, can you think of an incident where religion (any religion) has explicity sanctioned or influenced murder against someone?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  4. ken

    I'm curious, if Osama Bin Laden wasn't a true Muslim why were we "USA"worried about Muslim traditions concerning his dead body. I'm asking because Muslims on t.v. said he didn't follow the teachings of Islam. So why would Muslims care?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  5. Mike

    I'm confused, Christianity is a protected minority, although not well protected, in Iran with many churches and representation in government. What exactly is he being charged with?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • ken

      apostasy

      September 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Blessed & Loved

      Mike, if I understand correctly, it has something to do with whether or not he claimed Islam as his religion before he was considered an adult.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  6. bbbbq234

    i dont get how christians can laugh off muslims getting 17 virgins then talk about this ark with 2 of each animal

    are you "believers" really that dense

    September 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • JFritz

      Personally, I always had trouble with how the world got populated if there were only Adam and Eve and one of their sons got killed, and another left town for places unknown.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Tom

      It's 72 virgins. And the Muslims believe the Noah myth as well.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Dee

      FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

      Love love love.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Dee... also freedom of ignorant bliss... don't forget that one.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  7. fairandsquare

    Why does one has to renounce his/her faith is beyond me. This guy is the craziest dictator in history.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  8. If I had a penny for every stupid republican

    Islam is such a wonderful religion – why don't we call convert?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • John

      *all

      September 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  9. Tom

    Blessed & Love – read my last comment. Can you disprove that the toothfairy's favorite ice cleam flavor isn't strawberry? Some "debates" are not worth having. The laws of physics operate just fine without your deity.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  10. Hoofleau

    Iran is a totally insane country. Don't know why they even allowed Ahmadinejad to speak at the UN. They should have held him hostage for 1 million dollars or until he shaved and wore a tie. I read he has a terrible body odor problem as well.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • fairandsquare

      Not surprising at all!

      September 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  11. sam

    Renounce your idiocy and become an imbesil...or you will be executed. Either way MORON

    September 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Jerk182

      LOL!!!

      September 29, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  12. Jscott

    This is all very concerning. I hear all of the time that the Muslim faith is non violent and that it is only the extremist who are radical...yet, let's look at every country that is ruled by Muslims...They are intolerant to other faiths, oppress their women, and have extreme rage and animosity towards America and other Western nations. If this is a peaceful religion then I am not seeing evidence of it. This case just symbolizes what we fear about the Muslim faith. Maybe Muslims should help us out here and releive our concerns. Our fear and apprehensions of the Muslim Faith isn't born out predjudice but out of past history and out of the hate that we hear coming from their leadership. Name a Muslim lead country as an example of tolerence and peace and hope and love. I am sorry...but I just don't see it.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Dee

      Jscott....exactly. I am so incredibly tired, as a north american (leave christianity out of this), of having to watch my p's and q's amongst the radically inclined newcomers to our countries. Yet they kill our people in their countries with no ounce of justice or common sense consistently. Why oh why has North America allowed this to happen? Democracy fails us.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  13. Jerk182

    If the U.S. had at least made some attempt to minimise any further alienation between itself and president amadenijad (sp?) but not walking out on him while he was having his little tantrum during the UN meeting, we might be in a better position to request he return a favor by exerting some influence in the pastor's favor. It would make him look better internationally, which he could always use. Mahmoud is a total whacknut by Western standards, but he's positively sane compared to the ayatollah's little clique. At least you can sometimes talk with him.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • If I had a penny for every stupid republican

      RIght, accede to this raving maniac so we might be in a better place. Get real, dude!

      September 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  14. michael

    the worst part of all of this is if the head line read "man to be put to death for his beliefs" no one would care but you stick christian in there then its shocking

    September 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • JLP

      Regardless of his beliefs,he should not be put on trial for for his faith, no matter if he is Christian, Jew, Hindu,Muslim or Buddhist.What is happening to this man is just plain wrong.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  15. ken

    Being a citizen of Iran he has to follow the laws of the land like we do as stated in romans 13. No one is in power that god hasn't put there. His parents are the muslims that have put him in this situation.honor your father and mother the bible says. If he doesn't recant he is committing suicide and will go to HELL for that. If he doesn't become a muslim he is sinning against his parents and against what the bible teaches. To commit apostasy he had to be muslim before 15 years old then convert to christianity. the news I read said they haven't proved he was ever a muslim but they will probably do whatever they want.This guy is screwed no matter what he does

    September 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • John Richardson

      He's going to hell for refusing to recant his Christian faith????????? Yeah, I'm sure his Muslim executioners think so, I sure hope no one else does.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom

      You are a complete idiot. Alah is a big fake

      September 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • dan

      Ken, you are being overly legalistic and taking romans 13 way out of context. You are confusing carnal authorities with spiritual authorities. When we smuggle bibles into a country, we are clearly breaking the law of the land. If the apostles didn't "break the law of the land and get martyred" then there wouldn't be any Christianity. so your logic doesn't pass simple tests of clarity.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • ken

      Tom, my 14 yr old daughter said you spelled Alah wrong. I don't know.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • huddy

      You're twisting the Bible. Jesus says in John 14:15 that if you love him, keep his commandments. In Joshua 22,:5, we can see that we are to cleave to God and serve Him with all of our heart and soul. The only unforgivable sin according to the Bible is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and thereby reject Christ. If his parents have chosen to reject the gospel and therefore commit an unforgivable sin, what honor is there in following them?

      Jesus very clearly has stated that he is the way, the truth, and the life and that there is no other pathway to reach God and never commands anyone to follow the wishes of a human over the commands of God. Your argument contradicts itself.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • ken

      Tom, I was trying to make a point about the bible. It doesn't make sense and is totally irrelevant for anything.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  16. victor

    whether you atheists like it or not, there is a God. most of you complain about religion so much that you forget that your rants only make you what you rant about...you are atheism evangelists, and that's just like being religious! let people worship who they want, don't condemn them, just shut your mouths and mind your own

    September 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Tom

      There is no god. I challenge you to prove otherwise. Produce tangible evidence. If you can, I'll shut up. If you can't, you shut up. There is no middle ground.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • bbbbq234

      exhisting...unreal you're a grown a ss man

      September 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • The Realist

      I can't remember the last time I have heard of an atheist executing someone for their religious beliefs.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      I don't think any atheist has an issue with evangelism. There are string theory evangelists, and genetic evolution evangelists. The difference in the evangelism of atheism or science is that it's based on verifiable evidence to support those theories.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • SurRy

      Prove it and I'll admit I am wrong : )

      September 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • SurRy

      You comment is funny. It is not atheists who are persecuting him, it's another group of "believers".

      September 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom

      Not my call to disprove a negative. The world works fine without a deity. You religious nuts invented him. So you prove his existence. I don't have to disprove anything.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Blessed & Loved

      Tom, produce tangible evidence there isn't a god. Not that you "think" there isn't a god. But indesputable evidence that there isn't a god. The same kind of evidence you're asking for to prove that there is one.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom

      We atheists don't "persecute" people the way you religious bullies do. We would rather you see the error of your ways. Because to follow religious doctrines without critical analysis is to fail as a human being.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Devin

      I don't even consider myself to be an atheist. Doing so would be just as silly as believing in a higher power. Instead, I reject the concept of conforming to the ideas of any spiritually driven group. I don't believe there is any difference separating the radicalism of atheism to that of the belief in any deity.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • JustRead

      Can't remember the last time you've heard of an atheist executing another, as in it is something that rarely, if ever, occurs? I don't know, Stalin, Castro, Jong-il, and Mao Zedong come to mind, no? Face it, all people, regardless of faith, are capable of remarkable cruelty.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Blessed & Loved

      Tom, I was unaware that I had persecuted anyone. Please tell me which instance, in which I persecuted someone, you are referring to.

      I should also point out that is not "tangible" evidence.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Devin, most atheists don't consider themselves atheists. It's just a word that's applied to people that don't believe in the magical sky king. There is no word for example for people that don't believe in fairies. If we did come up with that word, it wouldn't be a monolithic definition of everyone who doesn't believe in fairies.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Devin

      @Ashrakay
      Call it or don't call it whatever you want. I'm not participating in it.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Devin, it's fine, s it seems you weren't invited.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • fairandsquare

      Agree!

      September 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • dan

      Atheisms dark ages happened more recently than Christianities dark ages. Grant it, most western atheists don't put guns to your head in the name of sociological reform and purging the mother land of the harmful philosophies of theism, demanding you recant your beliefs. It happens more often in the eastern world by dogmatic communists (atheists who are fed up with those crazy Christians ruining everything). You can disavow and hold in disdain that practice all you want, but you are just as close in relation to the slaughter of millions as most Western Christians are to the Crusades. Any atheist who denies that is not logical enough to reach an unbiased conclusion to such a deep question as the existence of a creative force behind the universe.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • John Null

      I like your position Victor, especially the part about athieism being a religion. OF COURSE ATHIEISM IS A RELIGION. They spout off about it like evangalists expound the virtues of Christ. Athiests love to say to believers of God to," prove there is a god and I will believe." I say, look at the human being, our innate ability to heal our own mind and body from within. Proof of God is in every natural element of existance yet, athiests refuse to see the proofs. Why? Because they refuse to see the obvious. Athiests look for ways to deny God, they never to see God in any thing and any way.

      The key is this, when you are an athiest and want to see the proof of God, simply follow the Christian code to be honest with God. Be willing to tell God that you reject Him unless you see proofs and be willing to throw your soul into the fire of sin being destroyed, then ask God for help, and mean it.

      In Mark 5:36-43, Jesus says," Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
      Jesus said this to a ruler within the Judaism church ( whom God made Christ to be the ONE who would later remove Judaism as the NOW church of God ) and showed no favoritism against the ruler for his beliefs. Don't be afraid, Just believe, was His response and in a nutshell welded this fact into the structure and framework of the new testament church who also Just Believe that Jesus is the Lord.

      By accepting the offering that Jesus extended to him," just believe," and you will get what you ask.

      There are a lot of examples like this in th Bible. The truth is that athiests refuse to acknowledge God in Christ or even God alone because it goes against their better judgement to do so. They can't see Christ beyond their flesh. They are afraid and unwilling to even try it.

      The truth is this, when a person commits his or her self to God in Christ for real, God will see their honesty and faith. When that happens, God Himself will show you countless proofs of who He is and why we are so weak. In the end, an athiest will become a believer in God and refuse athiesm, boldly. Then they are inside the Christian world looking out when before, they were trying to look in but could not without God touching them.

      You want proof? Ask for it and see what happens!

      J

      September 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Blessed & Loved, can you disprove fairies and Zeus for all of us here?

      September 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll go you one better. Blessed and Loved, prove that I'm not God.

      September 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Two Cents

      to Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      I know that there are a large number of Christians who resort to name calling and I hope any of my arguments are logical and non argumentative.

      You asked to prove that "I am not God." I cannot prove to you that this not the case. What I would argue is that there is a God and that He calls us to be different. I think you would agree that based upon reading many people's statements that they allow their personal feelings to get offended and therefore have the need to be hurtful to others. This is what the Bible refers to as man's human nature. Even if you do not believe in the Bible, I think you would agree that man is mean and vindictive. The fact that the Bible calls for man to be different "love your enemies" and that someone is to "turn the other cheek" is a different tact that human nature. That is what Christianity is about–renouncing human nature and proving that God is true based upon the strength He gives us not to be like the world but different.

      I am sorry that many individuals respond with bellitling comments. I am trying to prove that there is a God by making arguments that respect your humanity.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  17. MATTY13

    This article states the pastor is, "the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran".There's the answer. That's why he is being tried. You can't be the head of a network of Christian churches if you renounce your Christianty. That's what they want. Bring down this network.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  18. Learn to Spell

    Why cant we stay away from the internal matters of other countries?
    Do you think that this christian pastor can walk freely in rural Alabama without having a bunch of racist redneck teens harassing him?
    Lets concentrate on our issues first.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  19. John Null

    I am sad to admit that today is the first time I read of this scenario exhisting. I must also say that it doesn't surprise me
    considering which country is the location of the event. As a Christian Pastor living in America, I must admit that I learned
    of the torrid Iranian political vehilce is one that secures meek individuals like Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to then use as an
    offering or lamb ( dare I say scapegoat ) to be a sacrifice to reprove the Iranian position and to be respected ( feared )
    around the world. According to the Word of God, this activity only proves the guilt of islam to be counter to Godliness.

    I certainly hope for the Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, as I would hope for myself and others with me, if found out to be of
    Christian faith and a modern order, not unlike the Christians who walked with Jesus as a man and Pastor who, as it were,
    was finally offered up as a sacrificial offering to God upon a cross after being found guilty of offending the then Church of
    Israel who then proposed his death sentance to be carried out by a Roman Court, though he was innocent of the charges.

    Once Jesus was dead and buried, his followers, who were also Christian Pastors, went to work offending more and more
    people who continued to practice the Church of Israel, Judaism and Mosaic Covenant to a certain point that emboldened
    factions that would find them guilty of sedition and condemn the followers of Jesus Christ, who were more than willing to
    put them to death as well, usually by MOB RULE.

    The point is that Pastoring via heated preaching of Christ that leads people away from islamic beliefs and practices will
    almost certainly enrage the islamic pressure cooker. I know that the Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani knew full well prior to
    beginning ministering Christ in Iran would very likely if not certainly end with his arrest as he is today. I don't know the
    Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, however, by being willing to preach Christ in Iran tells me that he believes what he preaches.

    That said, it means that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani does in fact know and love Christ, who empowers him to do what he
    has been arrested for, refusing to renounce faith in Christ and in so doing extols the virtues of Christ. This behavior is like
    tossing fuel on an already burning fire in Islam because Christ has already made the sacrificial offering to God by His own
    death, buriel, resurrection and ascention. Like the Saints and Ministers of Christ who were arrested for preaching the Word
    of God and Christ two millennias ago, we believers of Christ may have to endure arrest, conviction and death as sufferage.

    I praise God for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and pray for Christ to empower Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and to uphold Him as
    we hold up Christ as King, Lord, Savior and Deliverer, the one and only Jesus Christ. Amen

    J

    September 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Mark Yelka

      Loquacious

      September 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • bbbbq234

      stopped reading after "exhisting" and scrolled down to see "as a christian pastor" confirming my hypothesis

      September 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      How come the christians always feel the need to write these endless paragraphs? I feel like I'm sifting through a block of lorem ipsum.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Tom

      You're as brainwashed as the mullahs of Iran. If only both parties could see the atheist light.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • humberto

      @tom
      Your just as bad as the self anointed clown you responded to,

      September 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • shane

      shame on you to claim to be pastor and lie. blaming Islam for the wrongdoing of wrong individuals is a lie. read your bible and history to learn how many heads was chopped at the hands of those who claim to be Christians, yet we do not blame Christianity. Those who truly seek the truth, God shall guide them. read the Quran for yourself if you want to seek the truth about Islam.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Blessed & Loved

      @Ashrakay
      How come people who make generalizations always think that millions of people are exactly the same?

      @Shane
      I don't totally disagree with your point, but I'm afraid that all too many people DO blame Christianity.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Dee

      Amen

      September 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Blessed & Loved, I'm sure you're intelligent to realize that a generalization is not the same thing as saying everyone is the same. For example a generalization could be "all dogs are animals." The logic doesn't follow then that all animals are dogs. I think there are all kinds of christians out there. But when reading endless posts by people they are generally backed by christians or 911 truthers. One might ask, if what they are selling is really true, why do they have to work so hard to sell it?

      September 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  20. milnas

    has anyone ever considered that maybe cnn isn't telling the whole truth in this case? as in the case of the Iranian lady put to death bc of "infidelity" when it was actually bc she murdered her husband and in Iran the law states that anyone to commit murder will be executed?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • humberto

      I get the same impression with all the propaganda around to deceive .

      September 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Blessed & Loved

      I've seen this story on other news sites. The information is basically the same on those as the information that CNN has provided, though they were a bit slower to pick up the story.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • humberto

      Just because he claims to be christian doesn't negate what he's teaching without authority.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.