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My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?
Many evangelicals want to ban abortion, but does that mean they want theocracy?
October 15th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?

Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

By R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Special to CNN

Here we go again.

Every four years, with every new presidential election cycle, public voices sound the alarm that the evangelicals are back. What is so scary about America’s evangelical Christians?

Just a few years ago, author Kevin Phillips told intellectual elites to run for cover, claiming that well-organized evangelicals were attempting to turn America into a theocratic state. In “American Theocracy,” Phillips warned of the growing influence of Bible-believing, born-again, theologically conservative voters who were determined to create a theocracy.

Writer Michelle Goldberg, meanwhile, has warned of a new Christian nationalism, based in “dominion theology.” Chris Hedges topped that by calling conservative Christians “American fascists.”

And so-called New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris claim that conservative Christians are nothing less than a threat to democracy. They prescribe atheism and secularism as the antidotes.

This presidential cycle, the alarms have started earlier than usual. Ryan Lizza, profiling Rep. Michele Bachmann for The New Yorker, informed his readers that “Bachmann belongs to a generation of Christian conservatives whose views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians.”

Change just a few strategic words and the same would be true of Barack Obama or any other presidential candidate. Every candidate is shaped by influences not known to all and by institutions that other Americans might find strange.

What stories like this really show is that the secular elites assume that their own institutions and leaders are normative.

The New Yorker accused Bachmann of being concerned with developing a Christian worldview, ignoring the fact that every thinking person operates out of some kind of worldview. The article treated statements about wifely submission to husbands and Christian influence in art as bizarre and bellicose.

When Rick Perry questioned the theory of evolution, Dawkins launched into full-on apoplexy, wondering aloud how anyone who questions evolution could be considered intelligent, even as polls indicate that a majority of Americans question evolution.

Bill Keller, then executive editor of The New York Times, topped all the rest by seeming to suggest that conservative Christians should be compared to those who believe in space aliens. He complained that “when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little squeamish about probing too aggressively.”

Really? Earlier this month, comedian Penn Jillette - a well–known atheist - wrote a very serious op-ed complaining of the political influence of “bugnut Christians,” in the pages of The Los Angeles Times, no less. Detect a pattern here?

By now, this is probably being read as a complaint against the secular elites and prominent voices in the mainstream media. It’s not.

If evangelicals intend to engage public issues and cultural concerns, we have to be ready for the scrutiny and discomfort that comes with disagreement over matters of importance. We have to risk being misunderstood - and even misrepresented - if we intend to say anything worth hearing.

Are evangelicals dangerous? Well, certainly not in the sense that more secular voices warn. The vast majority of evangelicals are not attempting to create a theocracy, or to oppose democracy.

To the contrary, evangelicals are dangerous to the secularist vision of this nation and its future precisely because we are committed to participatory democracy.

As Christians committed to the Bible, evangelicals have learned to advocate on behalf of the unborn, believing that every single human being, at every stage of development, is made in God’s image.

Evangelicals worry about the fate of marriage and the family, believing that the pattern for human relatedness set out in Scripture will lead to the greatest human flourishing.

We are deeply concerned about a host of moral and cultural issues, from how to address poverty to how to be good stewards of the earth, and on some of these there is a fairly high degree of disagreement even among us.

Above all, evangelicals are those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and are most concerned about telling others about Jesus. Most of America’s evangelical Christians are busy raising their children, working to support their families and investing energy in their local churches.

But over recent decades, evangelical Christians have learned that the gospel has implications for every dimension of life, including our political responsibility.

We’re dangerous only to those who want more secular voices to have a virtual monopoly in public life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (5,318 Responses)
  1. Skeptic

    Evangelical Christianity is dangerous because it wants to force itself on the government. These people are simply denying reality on several levels. They deny the separation of church and state, something that Thomas Jefferson explicitly wrote IS implied by the first amendment. They deny astrophysics that tell us the age of the universe to be vastly older than 6000 years old. They deny evolution and believe that several thousand years of interbreeding after Adam and Eve is a plausible theory. It's funny to me that Evangelicals are the largest segment of Americans in favor of torture and the wars in the Middle East on account of that being a few steps wayward of "do good to those who wrong you" and "love your neighbor as yourself."
    Basically, there probably isn't a god. Just sayin'.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • Bob O

      Love them or hate them, these Evangelicals just like you vote with their morals and their beliefs. They are a force that has to be noticed.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • Boffo97

      Atheism (which IS a religion, as it is a set of beliefs on the nature, origin, and purpose of the universe) has long been trying to force itself on the government as well, and violating separation of church and state just as much.

      And yes, we take our faith as more authoritative than science's latest guess (which is full of holes).

      And yes, there is a God.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • Anon

      ^ Hey it's Ken Ham.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Captive Audience

      Atheism is not a religion. Just because you make the assertion does not make it so. Most of the time I'm not even consciously aware of it unless someone else says something that brings it to my attention like "I'm praying for you." It's a very nice sentiment but I usually think that they should pray for a someone that will appreciate it.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • Skeptic

      @Boffo97
      I assume you're trolling, so this is probably a waste of effort to type.
      First off, atheism isn't predisposed to have its own theories about the origins of the universe. By your definition of religion, science is more of a religion than atheism. It, after all, has ideas about how the universe came to be.

      What proof do you have of your god? Before you regurgitate the generic "What proof do you have that he doesn't exist?", bear in mind:
      1. The burden of proof is on the claimant (you).
      2. I didn't state god's nonexistence as a fact because I can't prove it, just like I can't disprove unicorns, Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, etc.
      3. You have no evidence to support your position.

      Also, if by "full of holes", you mean "not purporting to have all the answers", you'd be correct, because unlike religion, science doesn't make bold assertions it can't back up, and science is able to change its position when it's proven wrong instead of choosing to box itself away from reality and be ignorant like you.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Skeptic

      Poor phrasing on my part. I should've said "when errors are made in scientific attempts." Science can't be wrong by definition.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:35 am |
  2. clearfog

    The Earth is 6000 years old. The evidence for evolution was put on Earth by God to test our faith. Man is not an animal and was made in God's image. Human life begins at conception when the Holy Spirit enters the fertilization. The Bible is infallible. If you do not believe in God, you will die and suffer eternal torment. I know these things because I was told them by a talking snake in a magical fruit tree.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • Andrew

      I was gonna call poe but your last line kinda ruins it.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • WilltheFree

      LMAO

      October 16, 2011 at 3:54 am |
  3. André

    God. Is. Imaginary.
    End of discussion.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Anon

      Has always been, shall always be. Convincing the Christians to admit it is the hard part.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Robert

      Atheists have a lot of faith. Saying "God is imaginary" is quite the statement of faith since you have no proof that God is imaginary.

      Also, it is impossible that the universe produced itself out of a steady state of absolute nothing. Atheists reject known science in order to cling to their religion.

      The first cause, the uncaused cause, had to be self-existant, immaterial, spaceless, independent of time, powerful, intelligent, and wise. The being theists call God. End of discussion.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Anon

      The abrahamic god is imaginary. As a person of science I admit I don't know how the universe began but scientists are working on it little by little.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • Greg

      ...and the world always existed and things are moving because all the world is perpetum mobile. And we know there are people that are trying to prove it all the time.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • Bob O

      Andre, neither you nor the Christian can prove that God exists or not. Because neither of you have been to the other side of the curtain and back. At least the Christian admits that his belief is based on faith. Where is your proof?

      October 16, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • Anon

      One gamma ray burst would be enough to make humanity extinct thus making Christianity irrelevant.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  4. John

    We all have our own worldview, and we should live our own lives as well as possible in accordance with that view. But, in this blessed country of ours, we have no right to impose restrictions on the behavior of others in order to reshape society so it's more consistent with our worldviews. This is such a clear distinction, yet the religiosity industry pushes and pushes to blur the line. Live your life the way you want, and I'll live mine the way I want. It's ironic that conservatives are the ones so determined to have government intrude into the personal lives of others. It's also foolhardy for religiosity industry executives such as the Mr Mohler to seek to reduce the separation between church and state in this country, when the evidence from around the world is that when there's an official religion in a country, church participation drops drastically. We have such a strong religious tradition in this country precisely because we don't let religion play in governmental decisions.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Riley

      "In this blessed country of ours, we have no right to impose restrictions on the behavior of others in order to reshape society so it's more consistent with our worldviews. This is such a clear distinction..." John, let me ask you something: how has anyone ever shaped society? why has anyone ever shaped society? How has anyone ever been inspired to do this? Do you think they might have been influenced by their own world view?

      October 16, 2011 at 3:54 am |
  5. Greg

    So much energy spent to defend being worthless and an incident in creation.
    But I tell you, my brothers, and sisters, God does exist. For some reason incomprehensible to me, He sees something worth in me, which I don't see myself, and He sees something in you, which you completely reject, worth so much that God gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    And the eternal life start now. Live the truth and love others for who they are – children of Our Father. Get out of this dark place where is whiling and grinding of teeth. Love people instead of using them or fighting with them. People are NOT your enemies. The happiness is not what you can do before you die. You are already walking dead without seeing Christ in other people. It is your choice. Christ is the bridge between Earth and Heaven. But you still have to walk on it. And it is not literal bridge and literal walking. Use your hearts, hear them beating.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Bobmma

      Thanks, but unconvincing.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Andrew

      Do you have actual evidence to support your assertion or are you simply preaching your own satisfaction with what may, in fact, simply be a comfortable delusion?

      October 16, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • WilltheFree

      Well Greg. Because you said it and believe it, it must be so.
      Or... you read a little book of stories and took them a little too literally. I'm glad you read the Bible instead of the Lord of the Rings – otherwise you might have us all running around looking for elves and magic rings...

      October 16, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • Greg

      🙂 Yay, finally reasonable answers. I cannot make you fell loved, I cannot convict you or convert you. All of that is the hands of God. I simply attest to my faith as you attest to yours. As long as you satisfied with your life you will be defending whatever you want to defend. If you are not satisfied then I ask you NOT to believe me but turn to Him in opened heart asking to be changed. Not for your sake but for the sake people whom you supposed to love (your family in the first place.) Ask Him that you want to change and be better. If you don't care about being better then you will need to wait until some day you will need. God Bless You, guys!

      October 16, 2011 at 4:07 am |
    • Adam

      And where is the hard proof that God doesn't exist? Both ancient and modern philosophy, debate and research all culminate to one simple fact:

      The statements "God does exist" and "God doesn't exist" cannot be proved with 100% accuracy.

      Therefore, in the end, even if one of those statements has a 99% probability, it is still just a gamble.... a choice... a faith.

      No one on this planet can say with 100% accuracy that God does not exist. In reality, the atheist and the believer are all just taking a gamble.. making a bet. When individuals claim to know 100% I think it hurts their image of intelligence. In fact, I am willing to believe those who claim 100% accuracy (still difficult to believe) that God does exist more, because perhaps they have been witness to something that proves it beyond doubt, while it is logically impossibly for unbelievers to claim 100% knowledge of his nonexistence (they can only claim to not know, with a 99.99% probability of him not existing).

      Everyone is just casting their bets. I put my bet on faith.. God does exist 🙂 "So youre saying theres a chance..." 🙂

      October 16, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • Andrew

      I am satisfied only with that which can be demonstrated to be true. If you cannot provide evidence, than a testimony of your faith is meaningless, because it has no baring on the truth of your claims.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Voig Nederlander

      There is a simple reason why religion must stay out of politics. There is ONE government, but many religions.

      Whatever laws one religion pushes to pass to its own satisfaction is at the expense of the others. Therefore, government should always ignore religion so that everyone is treated with equality.

      Also, this is 2011 and anyone still believing in all-powerful sky kings is just plain silly.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • Greg

      @Andrew That is humankind old answer. You cannot prove anyone that you love that person for you have it in your heart. You can try but they always can reject it telling that you do whatever you do only to manipulate them. When you get married you put faith in your future wife that what she promises she will do. It's faith. Now, I became Christian not beacause of intellectual thing. I have been thrusted into the Church for I have witnessed mercy that broke my heart int pieces. And then I witnessed the biggest miracle of my life – a change of my heart. And now, if I had to, I would relive any, even the worst moments of my life to be where I am (where my heart) is and I will not change it for no matter what. I love my enemies not because I am good, for I am not good. I love them for God loves them so much that I cannot defend myself from this love any more. And I share my faith not out of intellectual pride but out of love for God and desire that others shared this amazing love I experience. But talk is cheap, of course. Love requires acction in real life, and no online. I write here simply to share and not to win. I leave seeds of faith here. God will do the rest. God Bless you.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Andrew

      No, I simply really do prefer facts to comfortable delusions. And if someone's willing to marry me, I'd believe that's generally indicative of love. Now, I could be wrong, but it's strong enough evidence for me. God is a little bit bigger a claim though. 'The creator of the universe thinks your special' is a lot harder to substantiate than 'this person loves me'.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • withoutgod

      "Adam

      And where is the hard proof that God doesn't exist? Both ancient and modern philosophy, debate and research all culminate to one simple fact:

      The statements "God does exist" and "God doesn't exist" cannot be proved with 100% accuracy.

      Therefore, in the end, even if one of those statements has a 99% probability, it is still just a gamble.... a choice... a faith.

      No one on this planet can say with 100% accuracy that God does not exist. In reality, the atheist and the believer are all just taking a gamble.. making a bet. When individuals claim to know 100% I think it hurts their image of intelligence. In fact, I am willing to believe those who claim 100% accuracy (still difficult to believe) that God does exist more, because perhaps they have been witness to something that proves it beyond doubt, while it is logically impossibly for unbelievers to claim 100% knowledge of his nonexistence (they can only claim to not know, with a 99.99% probability of him not existing).

      Everyone is just casting their bets. I put my bet on faith.. God does exist 🙂 "So youre saying theres a chance..." 🙂 "

      All of this just to say Pascal's Wager? Very unconvincing argument.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:11 am |
  6. withoutgod

    http://www.whywontgothealamputees.com

    October 16, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Greg

      Because God is more interested in your heart. We are here temporarily. You have the eternity to live by your choice. You will be judged not how much you suffered but how much you loved.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • bobdelany

      @Greg

      He won't heal those either.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • withoutgod

      LOL at Greg's response. typical. As confirmed by the verses below, Jesus says that if you ask anything from him, he will do. Say a prayer, get what you want.

      If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. [Matthew 21:21]
      If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. [John 14:14]
      Ask, and it will be given you. [Matthew 7:7]
      Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. [Mark 11:24]
      For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. [Matthew 17:20]

      Yet in spite of this, and in spite of numerous followers who believe in medical miracles, no amputee has ever, or will ever, regenerate a limb in response to prayer. All medical miracles are false. It is not a miracle that someone is healed of cancer, or survives a horrific car crash, or comes out of a coma. We know that these things happen naturally, when they happen after a prayer is said it is merely a coincidental relationship, not a causal one. When you remove any ambiguity, prayer NEVER works, as in the case of amputees. The reason prayers are never answered is that God does not exist.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Greg

      I'm so sorry for you, man. I assure you, He heals anyone who comes to Him. But that requires opening your heart to let Him heal you. He is not created in image of man and plays games. He respects your free will and if you refuse His healing He will not be able to do it. The ball is in your hands. Take the umbrella down. The Sun is out there all the time.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Greg

      @withoutgod. Dear whoever you are. Yes, you can typically reject God who didn't do what you wanted without any belief in Him. If you simply test Him, so know that He is not created in your or my image and is not here to prove anything so you can then wave your hand and go your way. But there is a way to meet Him. Talk to Him and let Him know that you don't really (or at all) believe in Him, and that if He really loves you and others so much you would like to know Him. At least you will tell the truth, and that all that matters. But if you don't care to know the truth but rather want to fight and prove people being wrong then you will have what you have right now. And that is a very sad place. I assure you there is a better place. God loves you.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • withoutgod

      @ Greg

      "I'm so sorry for you, man. I assure you, He heals anyone who comes to Him."
      Why sorry for me? I'm not an amputee. Still, God has not healed any amputees, have none of them "Come to him"?

      "But that requires opening your heart to let Him heal you."
      I prefer an open mind to an open heart.

      "He is not created in image of man and plays games. "
      Yes, God is in fact created in the image of man. That's why all believers have different views about God. even if those views are exclusive of each other (in spite of support of each in the Bible. It's called "Self Projection as God" or SPAG.

      "He respects your free will"
      How could you possibly possess knowledge of this?

      "and if you refuse His healing He will not be able to do it. The ball is in your hands. Take the umbrella down. The Sun is out there all the time."
      But no one has ever been healed by God. It's not limited just to non believers.

      "Yes, you can typically reject God who didn't do what you wanted without any belief in Him."
      You haven't any notion of the variety of reasons I reject God. Him not doing what I wanted him to do is not really even an issue.
      "If you simply test Him, so know that He is not created in your or my image and is not here to prove anything so you can then wave your hand and go your way."
      A couple problems with this: Isn't every prayer a test? Are you saying that prayer doesn't "prove anything"? If God answers someone's prayers, isn't he proving to them that he exists?

      "But there is a way to meet Him. Talk to Him and let Him know that you don't really (or at all) believe in Him, and that if He really loves you and others so much you would like to know Him. At least you will tell the truth, and that all that matters. But if you don't care to know the truth but rather want to fight and prove people being wrong then you will have what you have right now. And that is a very sad place. I assure you there is a better place. God loves you."

      I am very concerned with knowing the truth. My beliefs are all based on evidence that exists in the real world, evidence that is consistent, and provides predictable, meaningful, useful results. God does none of those things. There is no evidence for the existence of God. There is plenty of evidence contrary to what is written in the Bible and believed by God's followers. The Earth is not 6000 years old. There was never a 5.5 mile rainfall in 40 days. The Earth is not a circle. Plants were not made before sunlight. Bats are not birds. Slavery is not moral. Misogyny is not cool. Killing babies is wrong. Genocide is wrong. Yet the Bible and/or its supporters say (or have said) the opposite of these things, in spite of them being false.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:46 am |
  7. Da King

    OK class. This is it. If you are following the word of god and you believe, that is good. If not, not so much.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:34 am |
  8. Bobmma

    I love that atheists and secularists have such a strong voice online. I just wish it were true in reality.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:32 am |
    • withoutgod

      A couple of my (now ex)co-workers were commenting one day as to my being an Atheist. They were both Christians. They asked me how I could believe in nothing. I told them that I believe in things that science can show through supporting evidence to be true, like gravity. I removed my keys from my pocket and dropped them, and said "see? it works every time. Too bad prayer doesn't."

      October 16, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  9. Adam

    Yes, they are dangerous. All religions are dangerous. Anyone who talks to invisible people should have their head examined.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • JohnKouts

      See below post...thank you for proving my point...

      October 16, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • Da King

      That is very funny.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Adam

      Just because I state the fact that religion is dangerous does not in any form infringe upon your rights to freedom of speech or religion. The fact is, many laws are based on religious doctrine, and everyday more and more over this is pushed as fact, when it is anything but. Atheists believe in your right to worship a magic sky wizard. Have at it, enjoy yourself. But do not think that you can force your fictional bible baloney on the rest of us.

      What is the #1 complaint against gay marriage? God says.
      What is the #1 complaint against abortion? God says.
      What is the #1 complaint against sooooo many of todays issues? God says.

      Your god has no business in my life, and as such, has no business being involved in the laws that govern my life.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Greg

      I guess you need to stop believing in electricity or air. Oh, I understand, you can see pictures of electrons and that, obviously, does not require any belief.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • JohnKouts

      Adam, I suggest you try reading what I say a bit more carefully. And when did I state any personal beliefs other than that in individual freedom. But again, you just feel the need to troll around trying to get a rise out of people, and that is kinda cute... Also, insinuating that anyone with a bit of faith, "Anyone who talks to invisible people should have their head examined.", sounds like you are the one attempting to impose you beliefs on everyone else. Just saying kid...you are going to have to grow up and learn how to function in the real world someday. Today is a good time to start.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • Greg

      Dear Adam. God does not bless you because you are good. You are good because He is blessing you.
      When you do good things it is not because you are such a great and wonderful man. You are actually only responding to God's graces.
      And because of this God is telling us (and you) that you need Him or else, you will be livining in hell – which starts here on earth because people refuse loving others but rather fighting with them.
      This world is created in purpose. We ought to adore God, love people, and use things. But most of the people love things, use people and fight with God (only a few say "I don't care if God exists.") I promis you as long as you fight with Him you will be in the dark place where is willing and griding of teath, for it will be you who will be refusing God's blessings.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • Andrew

      Greg, a PICTURE of an electron would cause a lot of disbelief for me. I do not believe in electrons because I can see pictures of them. I instead believe in electrons because I can perform experiments to validate their existence. I happen to have read about Thomson's cathode ray tube experiment, and I'm fairly sure it's undergone enough independent verification to confirm that Thomson did not make up the results. I believe in a nucleus because of Rutherford's gold foil experiment. I believe in science because I can go back through the literature and discover "how we know that".

      The only 'faith' I have is that these experiments have not been massively forged and manipulated by a vast scientific conspiracy. And, being a physics major, I'd imagine I'd have heard about said conspiracy from my professors by now. After all, this conspiracy would have to have been carried out through the academia in physics, so you'd imagine that at some point you'd hear a 'you know those electron thingies are all bunk, there was no cathode ray tube experiment, hell there's no such thing as a cathode ray! Televisions are really run by magic!"

      So do I believe in science on faith? Maybe, but it's certainly a lot easier to believe in electrons than to believe in a massive scientific conspiracy since the dawn of time.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Adam

      The 2 of you make me exceptionally happy that each and every day, more and more people reject religion in its entirety. I hope that I live long enough to see the human race finally set free of the bondage that has held it down for tens of thousands of years (far longer than the existence of your current god). That day, will be the greatest achievement ever by mankind. Already, large parts of Europe and Asia have thrown off the blinders. Even here in America, religious leaders have been decrying the precipitous declines in their "flocks".

      Good night to you both, and may the flying spaghetti monster bless you.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Andrew

      I should mention... the problem with a picture is that electrons are too small to be captured with a picture. You simply cannot get the kind of resolution to take a picture... but you can make a graphical representation, but that's taking a lot of liberties. Really, we understand electrons based on their properties, not their physical appearance.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Greg

      Dear Andrew. Yes. That is what I ask you to do. Not to believe in what I said. I am simply human and you are not to change your life because I or anyone else says so. You have a reason and heart. You need to use both. Using reason is good to tell that there has to be someone that created all this world or else it simply flies against physics. Making religion out of theory of evolution is also wrong for we learn why we have been created and not how, and theory (still) of evolution says about how we have been created. They are not in contradiction. Souls do not leave fossils. The faith really requires relationship the same ways as, well, relationships. Believing in things just to believe is simply stupid and there is no point to believe in God for the sake of choosing a side. I ask you, without arguing with me for my role is not to convert you (it is beyond my abilities) is to seek God by telling Him that you don't believe in Him but if He is really love (and don't lie to yourself that you don't want to be loved, for we all want that) then you want to know Him. That's it. God loves.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • RD

      Dear Greg,
      I couldn't have put it any better. My favorite is when people constantly talk about the Big Bang Theory, and you have all this research and theories of how it happened, but why? And where did all that energy come from to start with? You can't have something from nothing, which it the theory behind the Big Bang. Where did that hot, dense state come from? It just appeared out of thin air? This is where my religion fills in the gaps.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Andrew

      Greg, a word of advice, NEVER say something "flies in the face of physics" if you are not capable of supporting it. As far as physics goes, the creation of the universe is outside of its scope. Physics has NOTHING to comment on during and 'prior' (if that even makes sense) to the planck epoch. Without a model of quantum gravity, physics is simply not equipped to comment, and so if physics can't comment, NOTHING can 'fly in the face of physics'.

      Just saying 'physics doesn't allow it' doesn't make it true. I've heard so many 'second law of thermodynamics says evolution is impossible' arguments that it makes me want to scream. I hate it when people simply misinterpret physical laws and principles based on a shallow understanding as though that solidifies their point.

      If physics really directly implied a god, I'd question why Feynman wasn't religious. Few people had the intuitive insight into physics with the math skills to boot like him.

      Now, to your evolution bit, a subject I am less qualified, though still generally qualified to talk about. First, you don't understand the use of the word 'theory' in science. 'Theory' is a large explanatory body based on copius amounts of evidence. Theories are the HIGHEST status an idea in science can take, higher than 'laws' which could in fact be wrong. Ideal gas law, for example, is NEVER physically true, hence 'ideal', Newton's LAW of universal gravitation was replaced by Einstein's General THEORY of Relativity, which better explained things like the precession of Mercury's orbit.

      Now, evolution is not religious, no one has turned it into a religion, it is simply an explanation for the diversity of life. And it is better understood than gravity is.

      My heart tells me that I wish to only hold beliefs that I can support. Thus, whenever my established beliefs are shown wrong, I cast them out, as I don't wish to believe things that I cannot support. If god cannot be supported with emperical evidence, then it would go against my heart to believe in it. I like fact, always.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • Andrew

      This is why religious individuals who have never studied the big bang should not be allowed to comment on it.

      The short answer is "we don't know how the universe got here". If that's not intellectually satisfying enough for you, feel free to read the long answer. If you can accept 'we don't know', then at least you're taking an intellectually honest position.

      Ok, so the big bang says the universe started small, and expanded. But the problem is that we don't have physics to describe the earliest state. We have physics to describe inflationary models, but we're not really sure which is right. We have a lot of physics to describe the electro-weak epoch when E&M and the weak force were united, and everything after that is fairly well understood.

      Now, we have physics to describe, in principle, the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) epoch. We have an idea of what strong, weak, and E&M unification would look like. But we don't have any high energy physics experiments to confirm it, the LHC is multiple orders of magnitude too weak.

      Then we have the planck epoch, the planck time after the big bang. This is where we need a "theory of everything", IE, a quantum gravity theory. But we simply don't have one. There's string theory, but that's unsupported, and there are other viable candidates like quantum loop gravity. So, we have no idea what the universe was like then, or before, that's when science literally breaks down.

      So without physics to describe it, what can we say? Well, not much. The idea that the universe didn't exist, for example, is unsupported. Who is to say there was a 'creation' at all? After all, time is a dimension of the universe, so how do you get 'before time'? Or consider another option, perhaps the universe was created thanks to a pocket of ultra-dense dark energy in a high entropy universe. One massive quantum fluctuation which started everything. Or, perhaps, the universe really DID come from nothing, because we don't have any physics to describe 'nothingness'. Who are we to say "no, nothingness cannot spawn something", maybe nothingness is an inherently highly unstable configuration? Again, we don't have any way to describe the universe at this state, at all, 'god' is just as good as an explanation of anything.

      So if we have no way to describe the universe then, the only really intellectually honest thing to say is 'we don't know'. You're free to believe in a god, but god is by no means the only explanation for the universe as far as physics is concerned.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:46 am |
    • RD

      Andrew~

      So are you basically saying that they can't not co-exist? That you have to believe in one or the other? If you believe in God then there is no Big Bang Theory; if you believe in the Big Bang Theory there is no God?

      October 16, 2011 at 4:51 am |
    • Andrew

      Didn't work properly, sending it here again...

      RD I said nothing of the sort, in fact, I explicitly stated that your god IS a possible explanation.

      Instead, I was arguing that it is intellectually dishonest to claim 'god did it' because the fact of the matter is, 'we don't know'. Yes, it's possible, you're free to believe that, but it's possible that your god didn't create it, it's no better an explanation than any other explanation because right now there is simply no science to comment on the subject.

      I prefer the honest approach to subst-tuing an answer just because 'we don't know' isn't satisfying enough for people. But again, to stress, your god is in no way necessary for the big bang. It's possible, but not a needed explanation. Certainly does not go against physics to see a universe without a god.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:04 am |
    • withoutgod

      "I guess you need to stop believing in electricity or air. Oh, I understand, you can see pictures of electrons and that, obviously, does not require any belief."

      Uh no, not at all. Belief in air and electricity does not require faith, because those beliefs are supported by evidence. Faith, by definition, is not based on evidence, but exists in spite of evidence. Much like delusion.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:07 am |
    • RD

      And Andrew....

      Why do you have to be an expert to refer to a consept such as the Big Bang? It is obvious you did not fully comphrend what I was saying. I was refering to it because of the fact there are so many gaps in the theory. And it is funny how Scientists always say that "We don't know." and constantly push that and don't even take a glimpse at the fact that the possible reason you don't know is because it did happen because of a God? You throw all this giant scientific mumbo-jumbo and still deny the fact one possible explanation is that of God. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to at least comprehend the concept of the Big Bang or any other Scientific theory, all you need the reading comprehention to understand the basics of it.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:09 am |
    • Andrew

      Because when people who haven't studied a concept like the big bang say "there are gaps in it", they don't have any knowledge on the implication of said gaps, and try to use it to support statements that aren't supported by the concept you discuss. It's the same reason why whenever you hear a "new age guru" talking about "the double slit experiment", you should run and hide. People take concepts from physics and mangle them up badly.

      I gave you the gaps in the theory. The "gaps", in concise form, are thus:
      a) We do not have the full range of electro-weak energy physics tested, but we've got still a mostly firm grasp on it.
      b) We do not know which model of inflation is correct, but strong evidence to believe inflation happened, especially given WMAP results, and likely Planck results soon.
      c) We do not have ANY experimental physics to test GUT epoch energies. But we have coherent theoretical models.
      d) We know NOTHING about the planck or 'pre-planck' epoch, and we fundamentally won't until we have a model of quantum gravity, which we currently don't have.

      Those are, more or less, the gaps. Saying "there are gaps in the theory" doesn't really help, because none of those gaps require we substi-ute a god as an explanation. None of the physics implies a god in any way shape or form, and filling in those gaps with religion is a far weaker solution than simply being honest and admitting 'we don't know', and is also a weaker solution than either waiting for physicists to fill them in, or doing big bang cosmology yourself and try to answer those questions.

      Religion is a crappy answer. Scientists don't really use it because it leaves no real room for further investigation. Sure, it's possible god created the universe, but how can you test that? How can you test for a god? If an idea can't be tested and can't be falsified, it is utterly useless in the sciences. Scientists will always prefer 'we don't know' because 'we don't know' means 'there's still more we can figure out'.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • withoutgod

      "I was refering to it because of the fact there are so many gaps in the theory. "

      Here is a link that shows the "gaps in the theory" of the bible. Prepare to be shocked.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  10. JohnKouts

    Why so much hatred? Even if you don't believe in God, don't you believe in America? A country that guarantees all citizens a right to their opinion and the right to go out there and express it? Or does a man's freedom end when he mentions God? If those are your beliefs, you have EVERY right to campaign for them, vote for them and post articles online. And no one should be taking those away from you. Looking at this board, all I see are so called "Americans" accusing other people of being fascists, and attempting to limit one's free speech. Come on now people, religion is a serious and important factor in people's lives...can't we have a more serious, important and respectful dialogue on it? Or is this ridiculous name calling the best we can do?

    October 16, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • WilltheFree

      I'm with you. The challenge is when people project their religious beliefs and they get in the way of science. The world is flat, stem cells are somehow still alive, contraception is evil, etc, etc. But you are dead right about people having the right to their own opinions.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:32 am |
    • Anon

      Patriotism is nothing but primitive nonsense.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      It seems that the fear of opposing sides is always that the other side will project their power as a group. It is never a fear when it is just one or two folks but when the other group begins to exibit pride in who they are and the shame vanishes .... then folks get scared. Look at how people feared when the Gay and Lesbians when they went from the shame of being in the shadows to stepping out, finding that they are not alone and speaking in one voice.

      The Evangelicals are just like any group good or bad, but they have found that they are not alone in how they feel.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • JohnKouts

      Religion getting in the way of science is a major issue, especially because the vast majority of people in America who have faith in God do not reject science. I personally believe that they science and faith can go hand in hand. But my main point is that we live in a country of freedom. And the American public, whether or not they are "religious nuts" have a fundamental right to push their agenda forward (as everyone else has a right to oppose it). I don't know, I think I'm just sick of logging on to a pretty legitimate news sight and reading certain posters comments...

      October 16, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Bobmma

      Freedom works both ways. Christians have the right to believe, and I have the right to mock them. However, I'm not trying to silence them.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Anafiel

      Yea, right. The thing is, it's you christian fascists that want to control the REST of us. You demand a stop to individual choice. Look, you believe whatever you want, and you abstain from activities and procedures as you see fit, but let the rest of us decide for ourselves what we can live with.

      If I don't want an abortion, I won't get one. Trust me, I won't tell you that you MUST get one, so don't tell me that I CAN'T get one. I don't want one, but that's not the point. Stay out of my choices, and I'll stay out of yours.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • JohnKouts

      Anafiel, somebody doesn't mock Christianity, so suddenly they are a fascist? Really? Wow, I must not know what the word means. And who is the "you" that you are so adamantly against. Did you read anything in any of those posts that suggested I was trying to force you into anything?

      October 16, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Andrew

      JohnKouts, umm, the number of religious individuals who reject science is disturbingly high. According to a Gallop poll, 41% of weekly churchgoers deny evolution. So 4 in 10 devout christians reject science outright. That should indicate a problem.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • RD

      Andrew~
      I am proud to say that I am completely the opposite of that. I believe that if God didn't want his makings of the world known then he would have made us completely incapable of understanding it. I believe that it is God's will for evolution to be capable of happening. I believe the same thing with stem cell research, that if God didn't want us to understand it then he wouldn't have allowed us to.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      What if we took the steps of Evolution and then the text of Genesis. I think that there can be a severe agreement on the steps.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • RD

      Mark~
      I fully agree with you. I am not saying that Big Bang is fully incomprehensible, I just believe that God (or some sort of higher power) was the driving force behind it. I believe it was God's will to get the ball rolling, and he let evolution take it from there.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:44 am |
  11. EricKuma

    "Detect a pattern here?"
    Yes! We are all tired of being -rickrolled- by your Christian BS!

    October 16, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  12. Daiv

    http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm

    October 16, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  13. AdmrlAckbar

    The real danger is pushing off fact as opinion. You can be an Atheist or a the an incredibly devout monk. Most scientists and statisticians in this world will tell you nothing is completely subjective and there is much we still yet understand as a species. But without empirical data and theoretical constructs to begin to back it up an opinion can be a very dangerous thing. when believed by many as fact. And no, science to date as yet to disprove the null hypothesis of religion... And yeah... this statement is just my opinion =()

    October 16, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • withoutgod

      It's a trap!!!

      October 16, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  14. susan m

    I am a very spiritual person, and believe in a Divine presence. Being Christ-centered has brought great healing to my life. But I find conservative Evangelicals to be dangerous. They have a narrow sense of reality, and believe they can deny the rights of others. Their belief system is set up to distrust any information that challenges their worldview. They align themselves with the rich and powerful, which is very counter to Christ's teachings. I could go on and on.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Anon

      Wake up to reality, Jesus has always been a myth.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:41 am |
  15. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    News flash, Albert. When it comes to government, secular voices are supposed to have a monopoly. Not a virtual monopoly. A monopoly. Outside of government, you Christians can and probably will continue to dominate every aspect of society. But our government was setup to "respect no establishment of religion".

    What part about that do you religious zealots not get?

    In terms of the status quo, this country isn't anywhere close to having a true separation of church and state. Our government grants tax breaks to churches, there's not a single avowed Atheist that's been elected to be our President, a Supreme Court justice, or a member of our Congress (Rep. Pete Stark does not claim to be an Atheist, and his views on God weren't even known until after he was elected), religious beliefs are actually coded into our laws, in the form of limits on stem cell research and abortion, and our government conducts foreign policy based on Judeo-Christian biases.

    So, sorry, but you people already have more than your fair share of representation in this crazy nation. Non-believers account for 15% of the population, and get nowhere near that in representation.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  16. jinx

    The Christian god is false. The sooner you Christians learn this the better your sorry lives will be.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Bob O

      Wow jinx, great insight. You're wrong, I'm right. Don't strain yourself.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Da King

      My life can't get any better. I am in Christ and He is in Me. You can have the same. That's the good news.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • Anon

      I see "Jesus" every day, sadly he'll destroy the earth in around 4-5 billion more years when he evolves into a red giant. Some divine plan...

      October 16, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • America on the decline

      Da King and Christ are g@y lovers

      October 16, 2011 at 3:41 am |
  17. Greg

    Interesting. The article is about Evangelicals and the picture presents Catholics. What's the point of discussing anything if the most important things is to fight to win regardless if this is truth or not?

    October 16, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • Bob O

      We all look the same to CNN.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  18. Seth Hill of Topanga, California

    Jesus said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple." But R. Albert Mohler, Jr. wrote: "Most of America’s evangelical Christians are busy raising their children, working to support their families and investing energy in their local churches." He is obviously not a Christian.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  19. Da King

    Wow. Things of God are not logical. They are spiritual. Until you believe you will never have discernment of the things of God.
    So you can try to figure it out for the rest of your life and never will until you know the love of Jesus and believe.
    The gate is narrow and few will enter through it.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Anon

      Your imaginary heavenly paradise would be my hell torment.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • Da King

      Anon, you will likely know that. But all "can be" saved.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • EricKuma

      I am born and raised Buddhist.
      I will never bow down to your God or your God laws.
      I will pray that someday you will turn to face the light and stop hiding from the truth.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • RD

      Da King, if all you are going to spew out of your mouth is fire and brimstone then no one is going to listen to you. And it is people like you who take the Bible way to literally. The Bible is way too open to interpretation to be taken as literally as you take it.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • Anon

      I always put the bible in the mythology section in libraries and book stores.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  20. Tom

    The scary thing about Evangelical Christians is that they believe they are the only Christians. This type of thinking makes tham dangerous to other religious people, not just secular folks.

    October 16, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • Da King

      No. Jesus said spread the good news of my gospel. These were his last words to all believers. I you do not believe Christ you are not with him.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • Sam

      Da King, people like you are why all the other people in this country are freaked the f*** out right now.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • RD

      Every Chrisitan denomination believes they are the only true Christians. Which is why I don't associate myself with anything denomination other an Christianity. Catholic's believe only they are right, same with baptists, and Evangelicals. And while I do agree with seperation of church and state, it is hard pressed to find any politician that doesn't hold an agenda on what their beliefs are.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • Da King

      SAM, that a good start. Why don't you really go crazy and read the New Testament. And, go to a nondenominational Cristian church tomorrow morning and feel the Spirit of God. I dare ya.

      October 16, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Da King

      RD, you are right. But here is the solution. They all use essentially the same bible which is the word of God. So who ever is in alignment with the word of God is to be believed. The Catholics have an official Bible with the Popes seal published in 1970. It is called The New American Bible. You can order one from any major book store. It is almost the same as the others. But most Priests don't have one. They stick to the liturgy which has a little bible in it. Nondenominational christian church's are your best bet. Once you believe the Holy Spirit will help you learn.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • RD

      Funny you should mention Catholic, because I was raised one and I am well aware of their version of the bible. I am also well aware of the fact that they worship Mary (even though the will swear up and down they don't) and claim that you have to go through her, to get to her Son, to get to God. I could get into that more deeply (I don't fully discriminate against her, I just don't think she should get as much attention as she gets).

      But your point of the different versions of the bible only backs my point. Besides, what bible does the a nondenominational church follow? The New American? The King James? The American Standard? This is my point, everyone seems to believe in what THEY believe is right.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • RD

      Besides, I don't believe that you HAVE to go to church to be 'saved' or to live a Christian life. Where in the Bible does it say you HAVE to go to chruch? No where!!! This is why I stay home and take the Bible I have on my coffee table with a grain of salt and don't believe everything inside of it. For one, I don't believe in Revelations AT ALL, only because I think it is only a story of faith.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:59 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.