Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution
October 10th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) –-  The possible hanging of an Iranian pastor, who may face execution for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs, reached the highest levels of the Iranian government over the weekend with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei being asked for his opinion on the possible death sentence.

Mohammad Dadkhah, attorney for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, told CNN that Nadarkhani was still alive and that the court has asked the highest religious leader in Iran for his input. Though Khamenei has the ultimate authority in Iranian affairs, the move is unusual for a case that was supposed to be decided Monday.

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial last month at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs.

After the trial, however, reports by the semi-official Fars News Agency on September 30 indicated that the charges against Nadarkhani have since changed and the pastor is now charged with rape and extortion. "This issue has nothing to do with his abandoning his religion," reported Fars.

"He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes," Gholomali Rezvanii said in the Fars News report. Renvanii is the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted.

In a 2010 Iranian Supreme Court brief obtained by CNN, the charge of apostasy is the only charge listed.

"He [Nadarkhani] has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim," states the brief.

"During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir – olvasileh."

The case has drawn international attention, with governments from around the world, including the United States, Britain and France, issuing statements on the fate of the pastor.

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."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Iran

soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. BoldGeorge

    There is a huge irony here. This faithful Christian pastor has not maimed nor killed anyone in name of his belief, he has not deliberately offended anyone with his belief and he has not bombed any government building (or any building for that matter) for his belief. Yet, this Islamic regime has sentenced to hang him for not believing in killing in the name of his faith and for not being a participant of wrath against anyone who would be considered an infidel by them.

    What a stark contrast. To be a Christian is to lay down your life for others, any other. To be a Muslim is to lay someone else's life to get credit in the 'afterlife'.

    October 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Sam

      To be a Christian is to lay down your life for others, any other?

      Thanks for the News!

      October 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  2. Charms

    A Pastor in a predominantly Islamic country is the true definition of courage. I mean why? This Pastor is so brave and I hope he gets saved but I'll consider fleeing as soon as i get off the hook if i were him lol

    October 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  3. HugoCorv

    Enough of this! If Iran denies religious rights to non-Muslims, then Iranians should not enjoy religious rights in other countries. In Western countries, citizens of Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. have full religious rights. Yet citizens of Western countries are denied these basic fundamental human rights in these countries.

    I propose that every country should pass a law that says that no matter what rights it grants to its citizens and foreigners resident in it – the rights it grants to the citizens of other countries would not exceed the rights granted to its own citizens in those countries. E.g. if a country denies religious freedom to American citizens, the citizens of that country would also be denied the same rights in the U.S. Every country should do the same.

    Automatically, the countries that are the worst offenders would be under pressure to correct themselves, because they wouldn't want their citizens to be treated the same way in every other country.

    Such a law would also help minorities in countries. If minorities are denied rights, then it goes to say that foreign residents would be denied the same rights and thus the Reciprocity Law in other countries would take effect against that country.

    The end result is that every community in every country would gain increased rights and fewer atrocities would occur.

    October 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • LV

      How about we just pick a list of countries from which we will accept zero immigrants for any reason, ever, instead?

      Conversely, have a list of democracies which truly have 'free' trade policies, and their people can immigrate, after paying a $100K per person fee to apply.

      As for putting pressure on other nations to change - that has proven to be a huge waste of time and money. The American Error was to believe that we can, or should, try to save other people from themselves.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Fundie


      Your idea is good in theory, but here's one problem: the principle of reciprocity doesn't always work because some leaders are inherently irrational. Real dictators would not care that their citizens are suffering abroad as long as they can inflict as much or more harm to the citizens of other nations within their own territory. As much as I hate to say this, a modern-day crusade is the only long-term solution that would work. (And yes, I do realize that Christianity as practiced in western democracies is not perfect either, but the extent that Islam is a threat to world peace is much greater than that of Christianity nowadays.)

      October 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • wcb2009

      Two wrongs dont make a right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

      October 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Robert

      We put our head in the sand a couple times last century and ended-up in world wars with millions killed. America must stayed engaged in helping to shape democratic and human life values. If not, China and Russia will be happed to lead. Ask the Syrian freedom fighters what they think of this option.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • HugoCorv

      @Fundie I agree, but it will still have significant effect in most countries where these atrocities occur. It's a step in the right direction.

      @wcb2009 That verse applies to people, and is not an objection for a state to have a Just Law.

      Something has to be done about these atrocities, people!

      October 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • HugoCorv

      @Fundie I just want to clarify that the "I agree" was to the point you made that dictators may not care. I didn't agree to the crusade thing.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Scott Hill

      The problem is religion. Until the day that the newest form of fairy tales in mans long history of searching for an answer to his little fears (religion) disappear as did belief in ogres and witches and zeus, this idiocy will continue. The nastiness of humans never suprises!!

      October 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Fudie


      I guess I should have made my post clearer as well. By a "modern-day crusade," I do not mean starting a religious war against predominantly Muslim countries. Rather, I'm talking about spiritual warfare, namely actively targeting Islamic countries *where Christians are being persecuted* for evangelism. In other words, try to convert them, but not by force.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Joe R.

      "Automatically, the countries that are the worst offenders would be under pressure to correct themselves, because they wouldn't want their citizens to be treated the same way in every other country."

      Sadly, the worst offenders most likely would not care about their citizens wherever they are.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Greg

      @Scott Hill: You gotta tell this to more than 50 million people who died in Soviet Union, this wonderful country that officially rejected any religion except. You gotta say this to 11 million people who were killed by Nazis who rejected God and replaced it with whatever-it-was defined by Hitler. The biggest darkness of any time, the largest number of people ever killed were in XX century, and it happen by those who rejected God (include China, BTW) and thus made others means to achieve what they called happiness (which is really emptiness.)

      October 11, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  4. esmith1001

    Hey Chuckles, please tell me how dying for your beliefs alone and dying for your beliefs and trying to take as many innocent people with you as you can are exactly the same thing? Are you serious?

    October 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Oh dear,

      It looks like we have someone who has the reading comprehension of a 2nd grader. You do realize I said the phrase your pointing out IS the difference between this sacrifice and a terrorist bombers sacrifice.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  5. TJ

    The salem witch trials weren't so long ago. Only about 250 years.... So it just goes to show that even though Irans technology is about 50 years behind the west. Their moral and societal beliefs are about 250-300 years behind the west.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • RossTrex

      Theology in Islam was created to subjugate the Muslim not free him or her. Mohammed was illiterate and only responded to what he was told (or witnessed) regarding Christianity, Judaism and Paganism. Mohammed took concepts from all three religions and created the ideology of Islam. Sadly... Islam at its foundation will remain 1500 years behind Christianity and Judiasm and retain the Paganism that so heavily permiates Islam. Islam is clearly a construct of a man and not inspired by God. We see this in the constant conflict that Islam brings with it. Every single Islamic State imprisons and murders people of "other" faiths.... Pagan religions did the same for centuries prior to Islam. Islam incorporated the violence inherent in Paganism and used it to eradicate Paganism and every other faith.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • LV

      Islam needs a reformation movement. Even if they had one underway today, it would take hundreds of years to see any substantive change. So, we have only one good choice: label them as an enemy, permanently, and prepare to deal with them as an enemy.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  6. john c

    evil and islam go hand and hand....just like christianity in the dark ages...primitive is primitive regardless of religion

    October 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Steve

    It's kind of depressing that everyone is using this board to bash others. A mans life is on the line because of his beliefs and we just go about the typical bickering over who is smarter because they either believe or don't believe something. Oh the problems that we Americans face everyday. Just to clear something up, religion is not some ultimate evil. Humanity does a good job of killing people no matter what. We have the crusades from Christianity, multiple terrorist attacks from Islamic militants, and don't forget that there has never been a peaceful government that enforces atheism.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • RossTrex

      So the Crusades are From Christianity....... You are parsing history a little oddly.... The Crusades were a response to 463 years of Islamic expansion by the sword. The Crusades were also a way for the Kings of europe to excersize more cotrol over trade routes using the Christian Knights and the Churches desire to protect the Christians being slaughtered by Muslims and the Christians peacefully living under Muslim rule. Ultimately the Crusades happened because of Islamic expansion and European "Christian" Kingly greed not "from Christianity".

      October 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      "never been a peaceful government that enforces atheism."..... I am pretty sure China is relatively peaceful and successful.
      And yes, religions give the ultimate excuse for horrible acts.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • LV

      @Hasa – You think Chiina is peaceful? You think killing about 10% of its own population is evidence of that? China is a police state with an absolutely shocking record of wiping out people in the most passive-aggressive means imaginable. Calling them peaceful is giving them far, far too much credit.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Steve

      China is not that great. I have friends who are Christians in China and they live in constant fear of the government. Also just take at look at Mao. And as for Christianity and the crusades, yeah I know about everything with Spain and Charles Martel, etc. History can be shown in almost any light. You can argue that 9-11 came from European colonialism and it's effect on the Muslim Brotherhood.
      My point is, why argue about how someone is more evil when it is evident that humanity itself tends to be violent. Religion is just used to align people in this violence. Social and political views can be used the same way. Man will always find a way to create violence and get people behind them in it. If there was no religion, the world would not become some peaceful haven.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Fundie

      @Hasa Diga Eebowai:

      "I am pretty sure China is relatively peaceful and successful."

      Successful, yes. Peaceful, no. Just ask the people in Taiwan, Tibet, or Xinjiang.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Steve

      I just realized that I have begun to argue needlessly which is the one thing I wanted to discourage people from doing. Sorry. I just want to pray for Youcef and his family. Yes, I am a Christian

      October 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      hahaha, I knew I would get a rise with that one..... "relatively" peaceful

      October 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Joe R.

      Hasa: ""never been a peaceful government that enforces atheism."..... I am pretty sure China is relatively peaceful and successful.
      And yes, religions give the ultimate excuse for horrible acts."

      China is relatively peaceful because if you disagree with the government, you disappear.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Greg

      @Hasa Diga Eebowai: Please, tell that to those who disagree with China and are in prisons. Tell this to all the women who were had forcible abortion to kill their children. Tell this to families who were separated as a form of punishment for disobedience. BTW. Tell this to Catholic Priests imprisoned at the very moment for refusal to participate in China's People Catholic Church.
      Let me clarify things – I am 100% sure you wrote what you believed in. It is perfectly okay not to know. Now, when you see, that China is not so peaceful, please research. Do not believe in what we (I) wrote, for that would be the same as believing in what you wrote because someone else told that to you. Seek the Truth, and you shall find it. It's promised.

      October 11, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  8. saopaco

    The U.S. issued a statement, talking about universal rights. Is this the same U.S. that executes prisoners and bombs the hell out of other countries?


    October 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Robert

      USA is the democratic hope of the world. Just ask the people in Taiwan and South Korea.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  9. Alex

    iran's government just uses islam as a mean to oppress its citizens. that way the ones who are in power most likely wont be challenged by the people. in iran, there is no seperation of church and state. so any thing you do, if someone else doesnt like it, you could be arrested and killed for "blasphemy."
    america was once similar to this, anyone remember the salem witch trials? where men and women were burned at the stake for blasphemy and witch craft?

    October 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Ehall

      That wasn't the United States and it wasn't 250 years ago. It was a colony.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Jesus Is Lord

    You cannot be a rapist and a TRUE Christian. They are mutually exclusive. If this man were a rapist, he would have already renounced his faith and thereby save his life. Since he is unwilling to recant his faith in Jesus Christ, it should be OBVIOUS to the world that he is indeed a Christian who is willing to die for his beliefs. Bush was right about Iran being part of the axis of evil – I am speaking of the Iranian government, not the people.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No True Scotsman fallacy.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Red

      So if that's the case, and you believe in the Bible, you must agree, logically, that St. Paul was not a TRUE Christian either...as I'm sure you cannot be a murderer and a Christian. They are mutually exclusive.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      You can be a Christian greedy pedophile rapist murder thief as long as you go to church a repent. In other words Christianity is essentially useless for morals, if not actually damaging because it tells you that you can get away with anything. The hypocrisy of the bible is just as bad as any other Middle Eastern mythology.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Fundie

      @Hasa Diga Eebowai:

      "You can be a Christian greedy pedophile rapist murder thief as long as you go to church a repent. In other words Christianity is essentially useless for morals, if not actually damaging because it tells you that you can get away with anything."

      You might want to read the Book of James, which explicitly says that faith without works is dead. Yes, you're right that in theory, someone could commit all kinds of evil and still get into heaven. But a true follower of Jesus, although still imperfect, will at least be trying their best to living a life consistent with the Christian faith. To put it another way, if someone claims to follow Jesus but still acts as a "greedy pedophile rapist murder thief," you have to doubt their salvation.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Fundie.... read James...
      How about Acts 3:19
      Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

      ie bible is useless hypocritical nonsense

      October 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Greg

      How long does the bicycle need to stay in a garage before it becomes a car?
      How long do you need to sit in the Church to become a Christian?
      How many times do you need to go through the Bible to convert?

      Thins do not happen on its own.
      The bicycle will not change for it does not have free will.
      People have free will, and they will not to change.
      The Church is the place of change. But people refuse to change. And ultimately they drop the Church, the drop the Bible, and fall into the darkness where there is willing and grinding of teeth.

      If you look at those people, then you could also look at a person in a jail and tell that all people of his nation are bad.
      No. People are not bad. They do bad choices. They reject God and are refusing His Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Graces. And then they blame God for loss of it.

      And BTW – It does not matter how many times one went though the Bible. What matters is how many times the Bible went through you.

      October 11, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  11. Alan

    Iran hates Jews and Christians. One day they and Russia will start WW III by attaching the U.S. and Israel.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • LV

      WW III is likely to be very short. When missiles fly at Israel, they'll launch and wipe out most of the middle east, and then it will be over.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  12. Colin

    Muslims killing Coptic Christians in Egypt, Christians and Mormons debating whether Mormonism is a cult in the USA, Iran wanting to execute a Christian pastor for rejecting Islam.

    Makes me so happy I am an atheist.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • paganguy

      Be careful, all religious people hate atheists.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Dee

      Hope you enjoy that sense of denial. You might think you have a free pass by choosing atheism, but what if you're wrong?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Please google "Pascal's Wager" and how it is soundly de-bunked.


      October 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Pascal's Wager, Dee.

      I'm sure your god just loves cowards.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  13. maria

    joejoe (October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm ):

    "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

    In the name of Jesus, naturally...

    October 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  14. Bill Collins

    Deafening defense of atrocious behavior (islamic or otherwise) is not the way to win friends and sway the masses chuckles. Christianity like any religion can be painted in a bad light by those claiming to be following it's tenants. But the truth is I have a Savior who will judge the world. One who surrendered his life to redeem all of mankind including you and all who follow the tenants of ISLAM. Thus, he doesn't need me or anyone else to kill anyone in his defense (unlike ISLAM). You have the right to believe or not believe (unlike in ISLAM). No one is going to ever force you to convert to Christianity (unlike in ISLAM). And since you have never been forced to become one, you somehow seem to pretend that you have been. Now isn't that a lie? But as for the Pastor, he may very well be martyred for his beliefs (unlike you). Still you may sleep safe and sound tonight because, I suspect that we Christians aren't going to so much as throw a piece of paper in your direction. Therefore, I think that it just might be time for you to examine the hate that is welling up inside you over Jesus and those of us who believe that he is GOD incarnate. P.S. Have a nice day!

    October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Yikes! I'm sorry, when did I ever start DEFENDING Islam? I'm merely pointing the breaktaking hypocrisy that is displayed by the "good christians" that somehow seem to think their god (the same one as the muslim one) is somehow better and they themselves are better in one way or another.

      Also you are sadly mistaken about christians not trying to convert me. They may not have held a gun to my head in the physical sense, they do emotionally every time I have to hear about how I'm going to burn in hel.l along with my family unless I repent. Bill, try actually taking a third party perspective and realize that the average christian is no better or worse than the average muslim and its specifically this sort of hate that has caused problems for centuries.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dee

      Emotional abuse, Chuckles, really? I am a refugee of war. I seriously doubt that you and your family and community have ever had to run for your lives from anything. If someone 'thinking' you are going to hell is that scary to you then maybe you are feeling real conviction. My Hindu neighbors probably think I am going to hell. So do the Muslims in my community, and I could care less. Why is Christianity targeted for this, then? Maybe because it's the real deal. You are being used whether you like it or not for one side or another.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles we offer you the gift of asbestos underwear. How is that offensive?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Don't be daft. First of all, you don't have to be a war refugee to have feelings. To use your experience as way to discount mine is lame in the extreme. Also keep in mind, it's not exactly that this really upset or offends me (well it offends me a little) however to say that christians are blameless and want everyone to join but they don't prosletyze is idiotic.

      And why oh why must you always put on the persecution hat and say that only christians are targeted. Not the case, I will say the same things about jews, or muslims, or hindus etc... but its christians who are most offended and defend their religion, I'm just trying to speak your language. I mean, would it really help you if I said "here is why I believe Judaism is phucking crazy" and you would say "ok cool, I disagree, because thats Judaism, and being a christian that has no bearing on me" and that is where you miss the point that pointing out outrageous things in any reilgion is damning to all religion.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  15. joejoe

    "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. That's a catchy tune isn't it?

    October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  16. joejoe

    They're all lunatics who use their religion to enhance their personal interests, probably monetary.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Sean Russell

      You're 100% right. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

      October 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Irony

      Wow!. Way to insert your foot in your mouth there, skippy!. And the sad part you will never get the double entendre you just wrote =)

      October 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Irony

      Of course this above paragraph is for JoeJoe, just in case of neuron malfunction

      October 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  17. Central Scrutinizer

    My fellow Americans! Take up the cause. Phoock the mormons and christians and Islam, etc. Let truth guide you! We are running out of time. The country and the world is falling apart!! It is up to US!!

    Until such time as an Atheist, an Agnostic, an openly ho-mose-xual person, or any other minority can be seriously considered for political office, particularly the presidency, then I hang my head in shame as an American. Sure, Obama is half black and that is a step. But where are the Asians, Africans, Mexicans, Gays, Atheists, Agnostics and all other minorities? Scr-ew the Christians! Let some intelligent folks move the country forward for a change. The Christian Right are liars, cheats, thieves and charlatans. The Dems just lie to fit in. Americans, let’s take back our country! The time is now! Call out the politicians on their lies. Call out the banks on their thievery. Take Wall Street money away from the politicians. Smart people in Congress, that should be our mantra, Carry on with common sense or we are doo-med. It is up to us to remove them!

    October 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Proud American

      Yea its all up to the gays and atheists! Right on! If that's the case just shoot me now.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      @stupid american
      Under our current system, only the most ignorant or dishonest can run for office. How does that help our country?

      October 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Cogito

      Central Scrutinizer: I think you meant to say "Plook," not "Phoock"...

      October 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Irony

      @Proud American

      Oh come on, Proud, it will be a festive and FABulous shooting! ^-^ *Glitter*

      October 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  18. BoldGeorge

    A religion that has to force someone to follow them (or not leave them) says doctrine and belief system is weak and unconvincing. Unlike true Christianity, Christ knocks and you can choose to open your heart's door or not. And in this great country, we are blessed to have that freedom; though sometimes freedom is usually taken for granted.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  19. fred

    Many Christians were dragged away after Christ revealed Himself resurrected to over 500 people over a 40 day period following His crucifixion. People do not die for what know is a lie. Most people do not die terrible deaths and risk their lives (and families lives) without some very strong internal power that overrides the survival instinct. In Christians it is being filled with the Holy Spirit that leads them to all truth. Christians able to suffer for Christ because He is life and they are united as Christ was with the Father. In short they have seen the truth.
    A suicide bomber is one who kills innocent lives for his own personal glory or reward. Be it virgins or money for his/her family it is evil and for selfish reason. Some were professionally brainwashed, some seeking the only power or glory they could find for themselves in this life, Some for tasty virgins all with the same purpose of selfishness and pride.
    Contrast this with one who lays down his life for his friend.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Hypatia

      Ummmm.....people can and do die for lies all the time. Try learning history first, fairytales later.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Your post would be laughable if it wasn't for the fact that you actually believe that garbage you just wrote. Someone dying in the name of Jesus is the exact same as a person blowing themselves up in the name of Allah. Both are dying to glorify their supposedly different gods and both expect to be amply rewarded because of their devotion. The only difference this pastor isn't taking anyone down with him directly, but will probably be the cause of others deaths later on who are caught supporting this guy.

      You've also missed my point, I understand that christians believe this so much they are willing to die for it, clearly many have and I don't know many people who would be willing to die for the sake of a known lie, however to risk your own life and your families life, to ignore your darwinian instinct because of a promised 'second life" with unimaginable reward is good in the sense that at least this will thin out the herd and begin to bring sanity to this insane world.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Very well put. That is the essence of Christianity, laying one's life for another. And that is what Jesus did for us and that is what every true bible-believing Christian should believe and practice. In fact, any true christian who doesn't tell others that they will face God's wrath unless they turn to Jesus for salvation, isn't putting their life down for others. This is equivalent to someone grabbing a lifeboat from a sinking ship and rowing away alone and letting others fend for themselves to only drown.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • What If

      "Christ revealed Himself resurrected to over 500 people over a 40 day period following His crucifixion."

      ... or so said Paul of Tarsus, who didn't even bother to name nor interview and authenticate any of these "over 500 people".

      October 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • J.W

      But Chuckles does it make a difference that Jesus is a real person? If I died in the name of God, you may argue that as irrational because I have not personally seen God. But the early Christians had seen Jesus personally and died for that belief that he was their savior.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Chuckles


      It makes a little difference in the sense that people have a tangible real thing they think is worth dying for, but do you know the real reason these early christ followers were actually dying for? Were they dying in the name of jesus and his divinity? for his message of peace and equality? in protest of the Roman empire? We look at the history in that time and we know that anyone who wasn't a Roman citizen and believed in anything different were dealt with harshly. We also don't know how many of those people tried to recant and were killed anyway.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • J.W

      I understand your point Chuckles. We do not know the whole story and unfortunately we may never know. The biblical writings in the New Testament talk about the activity of the early church, but I suppose there may be a behind the scenes story as well. I do think that at first Christianity may have been viewed as a threat. Personally I think that is why there are not many writings about Jesus at the time outside of the Bible.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Know What


      These writings are such weak and sloppy evidence from a supposedly really, really smart and really, really powerful "God".

      October 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • fred

      What if
      Paul used to kill these followers and drag them off to the dungens. Think maybe he knew enough not to name names?

      October 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  20. Daniel

    And this is why I'm an atheist.
    Go to my blog: http://www.godlessgod.blogspot.com/

    October 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • becca

      You say your an athiest but your eye shall see, your knee will bow and your tongue confess Jesus is lord and not too long from now

      October 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Daniel

      What makes you say that? I'm sorry, but I'm not quite a fan of irrational belief systems.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Colin

      Becca says that becuse (s)he is still hindred from having rational thoughts on the subject by his/her Bronze Age superst.ition.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      becca, why are so many fundies so uneducated?

      October 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Dee

      Why are atheists so narrow-minded? If you truly were an 'atheist,' and there was no spiritual realm, then you seriously wouldn't care what other people believe. That you are disturbed shows that you have a great emptiness inside and are desperately trying to validate your current opinions.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • fred

      That is not why you are an Atheist. You could be agnostic yet have chosen to move beyond I don’t know and I don’t care. You have taken a position on what cannot be proven against another position that cannot be proven. Both require something the other does not have in order to see what they cannot prove. Both agree they will die a physical death. Both agree there is something after death and both agree that same something was there at the beginning. We both agree neither of us can describe that same something yet we believe in it. Christians believe they have some idea of this something based on the Bible yet they cannot touch it or see it. Atheists believe they have some idea based on all the science the world can muster up but they cannot see it or touch it. So it appears to me we are arguing much about nothing.
      No wonder Christians offer a free gift to Atheists and they reject it.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • So

      "Atheists believe they have some idea based on all the science the world can muster up but they cannot see it or touch i"

      They can see and touch it much more than you can dude. The fossils in the ground, the layers of rocks, etc... there is far greater proof of their theory than the existence of a god based on one simple book. Unless you can actually prove your gods existence.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • The Brain Fumigator

      becca: read up on Pascal's Wager. Read it again. And again. -until you figure it out. You'll be doing yourself and the world a big favor.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • The Brain Fumigator

      Actually, fred, the existence of a specific god, such as the Christian god, can be, and has been disproven. This is because specific claims about that god have been made that cannot be true, such as omnibenevolence. Therefore, that particular god does not exist. You either need to redefine the characteristics, in which situation you no longer have the same god case, or the proof of non-existence (or at least, that the claimed characteristics are just contradictory mumbojumbo) is valid.

      It is really not the case that existence of a god with certain specific characteristics cannot be disproven.

      Nice try though. Come again, but we've probably heard all your "arguments" before.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • fred

      So, you made my point, thank you ! Go dig up all the fossils you can find and this proves what exactly? That man is very capable of digging in the direction he is looking and coming up with exactly what he was looking for. Humm what exactly did you find in the dirt? Proof there is a God ..........no, proof there is not a God..........no
      If that is why you are still digging in the dirt someone already exhausted themselves thousands of years ago. Read ecclesiastes in 20 minutes you have the right answer. Solomon did and he had much greater wisdom and resources than we do.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Know What

      " If you truly were an 'atheist,' and there was no spiritual realm, then you seriously wouldn't care what other people believe."

      If you kept your supernatural beliefs inside of yourself and didn't try to rule me, my family, the country and the world according to them, I would say nothing about them, unless asked for my personal opinion.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • fred

      The Brain Fumigator
      You are correct in that the only god you can see does not appear to exhibit omnibenevolence. If you were willing to find the truth about God you would see omnibenevolence that would exceed your highest expectations.
      That is the problem when you limit yourself with the things of man you cannot go beyond where you set your own limits. In other words you need to be open to what the Bible says about God if you are to see His omnibenevolence. If you are closed off then God, god or whatever matters not as your will overides all other inputs.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • fred

      Know What
      Your post screams help me please God will not let me do what I want, when I want and to whomever or whatever I want to do it to or with !
      If we just get rid of God I will be happy. Sorry, that’s never going to happen. The only way you can get rid of the guilt you carry is by coming to Jesus. Works every time. Now, you think you really do not want to change at the moment. Why would you, it is all you know and change is frightening. Change will only come about when you are really ready for it and willing to do what it takes to break free. Until then there is nothing anyone can do.

      Punching Christians does not change anything but, it is a clear symptom that you need to address. Prayer is a good place to start. Pray that you can find someone you trust then pray for Jesus to give you help.
      The common misconception is that Jesus restricts your freedom. In truth Jesus sets you free. When someone has the anger and hate expressed in your comment that is not freedom. That is serious bondage that will eat you alive. This will tear at you physically and spiritually regardless if you are atheist or theist.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Know What


      It's nice that you are happy now. So am I, after having shed over half of a lifetime full of supernatural va.garies.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • fred

      Know What
      What happened? My experience is the reverse I went from a proud non believer down in the gutter where Jesus found me pulled me up and gave me a new life. I have trouble hanging on sometimes but simply recall where I was when Jesus found me, give thanks and charge up the hill again.

      October 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Know What


      I did not land in the gutter when I quit believing - everything is quite the same; but I would never want to say anything to take away your new-found happiness and success. That is your journey. I do bristle at unbridled evangelism regarding certain ideas being proclaimed as the one and only truth, however.

      October 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • fred

      Know What
      Running into this web site was like running into a band saw. Ouch, I can Imagine I did (and I am doing what those before me did) the typical deer in the headlight routine. I came here to see what believers had to say on key topics and found I was quite the moron. Anyway, still feeling my way so do accept my apologies if I sound arrogant. I still have not figured out how to say things without coming off rude at times.
      As you might expect I believe God allowed me to stumble on this site for a reason. Not what I first thought as those on this site know more than I do about religion, so at this point it is still a humbling experience.

      As to truth Pilate had a reply to Jesus about that when he said “what is truth” I felt as if he had given up on trying to figure it out. There is one and only one truth and Jesus had a handle on it yet, I for one do not have it figured out. Looking at the old testament we get a glimpse of God shown to the chosen ones. They were an evolving nomadic bunch who at first could understand God on a mountain top, in fire and earthquakes. Worship was a physical blood related sacrifice. As we became more sophisticated more of God was shown. In comes Jesus when we are ready to grasp a more spiritual side. My take is that the people 3,500 years ago thought they had this God figured out just like I think Jesus has helped me figure God out. I might be just as shocked down the road as those early guys will be when they find out killing the spotless lamb was just a warm up exercise for the real deal. Based on what was done to Jesus I get the picture. God has a plan for us yet we have our own plan that we think is much better.

      October 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
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About this blog

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.