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My Take: Reactions to Cain, Paterno point to a not-so-Christian nation
Penn State students rally around a cut-out of football coach Joe Paterno after he was fired.
November 12th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Take: Reactions to Cain, Paterno point to a not-so-Christian nation

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

In the never-ending debate over whether the United States is a Christian nation, recent events support the nay-sayers. I am referring to the troubles of Herman Cain and Joe Paterno.

How we respond to ethical conundrums often boils down to empathy. In the abortion debate, do you identify with the woman who wants an abortion or with the fetus? Concerning the federal deficit, do you identify with the wealthy person who might see his taxes rise or with the poor person who might see her unemployment benefits extended?

One purpose of the world's great religions is to widen our circle of empathy beyond ourselves and our families to others in our community, and in the wider world. Christianity, for example, has long taught that we should empathize with “the least of these,” and particularly with the poor and oppressed (see Luke 4:18).

The morality plays we are now witnessing—the sexual harassment allegations swirling around Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and the sexual assault charges swirling around the Penn State football program headed by former coach Joe Paterno — provide an opportunity to assess just where our collective empathy lies.

When we look as a nation at the Herman Cain campaign, do our hearts go out to the wealthy businessman and White House contender or do they go out to the women who are accusing him of sexual improprieties? In pondering this case, and trying to determine where we stand, how do we approach the evidence? To whom do we give the benefit of the doubt? To the “least of these”? Or to the most powerful?

When we turn our gaze to Penn State, do our hearts go out to the boys, some as young as 10, who were allegedly sodomized or otherwise sexually assaulted by a former assistant coach under Paterno? Or do we empathize with Paterno, the closest State College, Pennsylvania, gets to a graven image?

I know there are many unanswered questions in both cases. So I am not commenting here on whether Cain is telling the truth or whether Paterno did all that he was obligated to do when he first heard allegations of a sexual assault in his locker room.

I am talking about where are hearts instinctively go in these situations.

When I turn on the television and see “family values” conservatives jumping to Cain’s defense within hours of the first charges surfacing, or Penn State students rioting over the decision of their university’s Board of Trustees to fire Paterno, I have to ask myself, “What has happened to this supposedly Christian nation"?

I know that in the United States defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty. But I am not talking about the law here. I am talking about where our hearts incline, and whether they incline in a Christian direction.

I do not know whether Jesus is a Penn State football fan. He may well be. But if he were here today, would he be laying flowers at the front door of Paterno’s house (as many students have done), or would he be seeking out the boys whose lives have allegedly been so irreparably damaged?

Would he be standing alongside Cain’s lawyer as he issues not-so-veiled threats against accusers who have not yet gone public with their stories, or would he be standing by their side?

In your heart of hearts, I think you know the answer.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Herman Cain • Pennsylvania • Politics • Sexuality

soundoff (2,118 Responses)
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    July 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  3. LarryLinn

    Social commentator and former alter-boy George Carlin sums it up, “Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bull*** story. Holy S***!”

    November 19, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  4. BobC

    Religion,Catholics,jews, Babtists,etc..etc.. How many millions of people have been killed (murdered) in the name of Christ, and or other dieties who are the symbols of any organized religion. I am not talking about God in the spiritual sense : But organized religion's have cause so much suffering and death in this world it is mind bogeling and more importantly HYPOCRITICAL....Isn't one of the ten commandments : "Thou shall not kill"??

    November 19, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  5. Bob Decker

    Religions attract nuts like a squirrel gathers them. Power, money and unqestioned loyality breed contemtable people and actions. Churches are there for money and the power they offer the ministers, rabbis,priests, mullas etc power that incude life or death. Just reading the belief blog is scary and these people are better than the average religionist. Will end up destroying the world. Fictional gods can't help us.

    November 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Marty

      “What has happened to this supposedly Christian nation"? The founding fathers very carefully avoided the United States of American being one religion.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  6. IntlPol101

    Christian churches in NC have just been vandalized, and the rural church hit the worst has suffered terrible damage. Spraypainted across the walls: "God Is a Lie" and black swastikas...

    November 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      The report can be found on MSN. Windows busted out, feces everywhere, spraypainted slurs, and graves demolished People (and the rest of the earth), destroyed by their own evil and hate.

      November 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Evidently a racially motivated crime, if you investigate further. Racial slurs and swastikas on the side of a predominantly black-congregated church. Blame atheism as you will, but it sounds more like good ole racism to me.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Karuna

      The toughest thing is to just be quiet and fgruie we'll destroy them in the bowl game like we usually do. But this year, USC is far worse than the Big XII is (oddly enough, the Texas fans seem to remember the kicking we put on them in 1997 better than USC has remembered the transitive whooping we put on them in 2008).

      November 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  7. Dr. Bones

    This article was both badly written and a waste of time, not to mention incredibly premature and suggestive. The entire article is pitting A vs B (i.e. "Do you identify with the woman or the fetus?" As if we are unable to empathize with both!) Then of course pits wealthy vs poor as if wealthy means powerful and poor means their victim. Our first desire is to get to the bottom of the situation and know the truth. It seems Prothero's ultimate goal is to assume guilt before a verdict has been made in 2 completely different stories, to ultimately say what exactly? "See! See! Turns out we're NOT a Christian nation!" Several times he explicitly implied something, only to qualify it with a statement saying he didn't mean it (i.e. "I'm not saying they're guilty, but..." right after he frames the story as if they were. Or "I'm not talking about whether they're innocent, but our hearts don't incline towards the truly innocent.").
    Thumbs way down.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Power Corrupts

      I agree with Dr. Bones – This was a very poorly thought out and written article.

      November 19, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  8. will

    What writers like these (in my opinion) fail to see is that the contemporary whistle stop saying America is a Christian nation is brief attempt for us to acknowledge a Judeo/Christian past. And how it can point us to truth, biblical truth to govern us both privately and publicly. This is clearly a prophetic word but has been blasted by contemporaries from both sacred and secular sources. Study the history of revivals in America and see what they always pointed to. Salvation first, role of faith in public square, minority and women participation, international evangelism, social justice for the poor, a strong national economy. Oh, I think America was supposed to be much more than a Christian nation, but a refuge for the lame, halt, withered and weary. But we would rather identify with Sodom rather than Jerusalem. God help us!

    November 15, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  9. hippypoet

    i did execpt this article to run so far, i guess thats my fault for thinking that most would AT LEAST know this...my bad! ok, so this has gotten great results so far...so here it is..

    the first line in this article is a complete showing of how ignorant our country has become... was this country founded by religious people – yes and no... some were and some weren't...the first settlers came here to be "their" type of religious rather then stay in england and be Henry the 8th's version of belief... so in the sense, yes this country is started by nut jobs, but this country is not yet a country at this point – its a colony of England. The founding fathers put into the const!tution a separation of church and state, so there is a very clear difference between the colonists and the founders... This is in my opinion beyond clear that our country was founded not as a christian nation, not even a religious nation, but one that allows for any belief but has laws that are not bound to any dogma – they are instead voted in and changed by vote over time as to stay up to date for the times. The fact that some morons have the "10" commandments outside a house of justice is sad and @ssbackwards... So with the first sentence of this article – "In the never-ending debate over whether the United States is a Christian nation" we the people show our ignorance of our own land and founders – thats insulting to the core. I wish people if they are going to talk, let them please at least try to know half of what they are talking about! All i am asking for is half, but apparently thats asking too much!

    Sad and further insulting as i am a citizen of this nation!

    November 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      except it? What? You mean EXPECT?

      November 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not my post, hippy. Poor little puppy-dog is having trouble getting attention from girls again.

      November 15, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  10. Whatever

    Do you suppose that Jesus would expect us to have compassion for both Paterno, who had a second-person account of the event, and the victims? Where are the winners in this story? And, why are we so addicted to having a winner that we would have to choose one victim over another?

    There are no winners in the whole story . . . pass the shame around.

    November 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  11. Todd Epp

    I think some of you are missing the point. Regardless of your religion, unless it is the religion of football, many people, particularly in Happy Valley, made an idol out of Joe Pa. Alas, he was a man, a very flawed man, who preached ethics but when the time came to practice those ethics in a very real and meaningful way (like call the police and follow up on what the hell happened), he did not act as the "god" some made him out to be. He was simply a small, scared man looking the other way to save his program, his friend, and his university. That is not WWJD.

    November 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  12. ItnlPol101

    Passages of Mark 14:32-65, Jesus arrested and tried before the Sanhedrin- Mark 14:60-62 Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son Of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Amen.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN THIS CRAP?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Why do you ask?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Reality

      The Judas stories and related trials are mostly legends created by M, M, L and J.

      For example:

      See: http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=189_Better_Not_Born:

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 96:

      "Jesus never spoke the words about the betrayal of Jesus e.g. Mark 14: 17-21. Rather, from the fact the Jesus was betrayed, early Christians concluded that Jesus must have known this in advance and therefore prophesied it. "

      Jesus is arrested:

      From Ludemann, p. 99 and p 102

      "The historical value (Mark 14, 32-42, Mark 14, 53-65) is nil. "

      The thirty pieces of silver and suicide legend: ex. Matt 27: 3-10

      "The historical value is nil." p. 246

      Said scholars have read all of these second and third hand accounts, checked them for attestations and year of publication and concluded much of it has no historic foundation.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Not having a "historical foundation" does not mean it did not happen.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Reality

      "And you will see the Son Of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Amen.

      And of course there are all those angels serving said Mighty One.

      Putting more bite into the reasons why Christianity and religions in general are so flawed:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      1 John 2:9 "Anyone who claims to be in the Light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, for the darkness has blinded him."
      Hebrews 12:14-15 "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

      November 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  13. Kay

    Mark, first let me clarify by saying that my interest in religious doctrines stems from being a student of psychology and cultural evolution. It's all a part of following the chain of human development from the time our species evolved to the present day. That said, the fact of the matter is that the Judaism that Jesus would have been taught was and still is decidedly anti-idolatry whereas Christianity is the very epitomy of idolatry. The fact that Jesus was a Jew who would likely have been mortified at being turned into an idol is just another piece of the picture.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  14. Kay

    The OT books of the Bible do NOT prophecy the coming of Jesus, they predict that someone will arise from amongst them who will save them from their enemies and establish lasting peace. Such a prediction is something anyone with hope can make, regardless of the place or the era.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Isaiah 7:4, 9:6, 50:6, 53:1-12; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9 and 12:10; Psalms 22:16-18.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Kay

      Those passages are not predictions of Jesus' coming, but of the coming of a hero to save Israel. The hero is anyone who comes with power to overthrow those who spitefully or willfully use, abuse, and/or neglect others. Such people are always idolized, but the fact that people turned a Jewish rabbi into an idol, given all the things the OT says about the perils of idolatry, is just a sad misuse of what has been left to us.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      JESUS PROMISED HE WOULD COME BACK IN HIS OWN WORDS. THERE ARE A FEW SCRIPTURES YOU CAN WASTE YOUR TIME READING IF YOU'RE INTERESTED.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Why would you care what anyone read?

      November 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  15. Kay

    The Bible is NOT a message from some extra-universal alien to us. It's a message from men to other men.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Cynthia Vail

    I found Mr. Prothero's thesis that our decisions depend on where our attention and our empathy lie to be both fascinating and true. This then depends on how our brains work. I have just seen a TED presentation by a brain scientist (Jill Taylor), who describes the two sides of the brain and the differences in where their attention focuses. Compare the sides with the moral question Mr. Prothero raises.
    # http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html (see "stroke of insight")

    November 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  17. IntlPol101

    TRUE Christianity: Matt. 7, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Matt. 5:33-:45, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven." Galatians 5:22-:23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." And finally, Psalms 23:1-:3, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Amen.

    November 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Get Real

      IntlPol101,

      You do know why a shepherd tends his sheep, don't you? He ultimately sells, eats, or fleeces them.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Matt. 5:10, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

      November 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Huh?

      ""Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

      Yes that means atheists have a get out of jail free card from all the persecution they receive from christians. LMAO!

      November 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Wow, I can't believe I have to clarify this text *sigh* Matt. 5:10-:11 "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF ME." Translation: this Scripture is specifically directed to the BELIEVERS in Christ.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • American Atheist and Proudly Both

      And THAT fun little verse has made a smug, holier than thou, ignorance loving mess of a religion of peace and love. There is no debating or intellectual investigation with a fundie because the minute you say something they disagree with, you are persecuting them. Any resistance or rejection of any portion of their particular dogma causes their egos to swell and their hearts to throb with the idea of being "persecuted" for Jesus. Never mind that the worst of these officious and noxious creatures have never been close to actual persecution. Show these whiny pretentious yobs a lion and they'd convert to The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      November 15, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • IntlPol101

      American Atheist, I've read the American Atheist website (and an atheist site that is http://www.infidel.org) which currently is running articles like "Arguing with a Theist is like arguing with a child," (a bit narrow-minded, according to some atheists who have commented on that article). The articles mostly address arguing effectively with others, not solving global problems or treating others of different beliefs (those who are non-believers) with dignity and respect. I did not see any name-calling or aggressive posts, or actually any posts, from Christians or those of other faiths. And actually members of my immediate family have witnessed the devastation in the Middle East (constant church and mosque bombings, PERSECUTION) caused by the evil lack of tolerance. Peace be with you.

      November 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF ME." Translation: this Scripture is specifically directed to the BELIEVERS in Christ."

      Blessed are those who are persecuted because of being gay, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF being gay." Translation: this Scripture is specifically directed to the BELIEVERS in Christ.

      November 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      American Atheist and Huh? you both seem so bitter. Huh? it sounds like you've endured some painful experiences in your life. Do you have someone that you completely trust to talk to? Acknowledging your anger and sadness may help you let go of your pain and allow you to forgive. Bitterness completely overtakes and suffocates you. Forgiveness leads to peace in your life. Peace be with you.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  18. Aaron Hinkley

    While I agree the Christian thing to do would be to show mercy and compassion to the Penn State victims, the Christian thing would also be not to judge Joe Paterno for his role. While Penn State students rallied and rioted in support of him, most Americans have been incredibly harsh and judgmental.

    November 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Kay

      That's not a very good arguement given that Jesus passed his own judgement on the Pharisees and the Sauducees as well as the money changers in the temple and all those people who simply didn't accept the things he taught.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Kay

      To be clear, I am talking about Jesus as a man, not the idol that others have made him into since his death.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  19. Kay

    Jesus, having been a devout and practicing Jew, would not have been a follower of Paul, and, IMO, would have been absolutely mortified that people started a new and wholly idolatrous religion in his name. The OT books says OVER AND OVER again that the poor, the hungry, the fatherless, the alien, etc should be taken care of, not outcast. In the "Books of the Prophets" there is much talk against the kind of paganised Judaism that most Christians follow, and much more talk about the people being led astray over and over by both false prophets and their own ignorance, greed, malice, pride, etc.

    November 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If jesus actually existed and really was a god then he new exactly what was going to happen with respect to the creation of a cult based on his name and alledged behaviours.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      It amazes me why people would chooses to believe in just some parts of the bible and not the bible as a whole. The whole bible is a complete message from God to us. To believe and accept just parts of it is like reading a warning label and stopping midway and say, "Ah, I don't want to read the rest of this because it's not going to suit my needs anyhow."

      Read the book of Isaiah (which as a matter of fact is in the OT), mainly chapter 53 that prophecies of Christ's coming. If you in fact believe that Jesus actually taught us lessons and was killed, this chapter will give you more clarity on who Jesus is and was...and that He resurrected, and is not long dead as you mentioned. Also, in the book of Daniel, Amos and Ecclesiastes (again, all OT books) mention of His second coming, as in He came ONCE already and is coming again. He also commanded us to preach in His name...hence the Christians...can either be a Jew, Gentile, Greek, etc.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • i wonder

      BoldGeorge,

      Don't you think that the writers of the NT (and Jesus himself, if he existed) read or knew about those OT 'prophecies'? How easy it is to manipulate stories to seemingly fulfill them. Jesus even called for a donkey to ride into Jerusalem - expressly to 'fulfill' prophecy.

      (I posted this question to you yesterday somewhere on these boards, but I can't find it... so, if you responded there, I'm sorry)

      November 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Kay

      If Jesus actually existed, he was just a man who is now long dead. The only way a man becomes a "God" is through an act of idolatry. Further, the things he taught didn't come from some extra-universal, literal "Heaven", they came from the metphorical heaven that exists in the minds of those people who nderstand the life and society altering power of things like love, justice, and compassion.

      November 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Jesus isn't even remotely the sort of messiah the Jews were/are awaiting.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Kay

      George, talking about picking and choosing what to believe.. the Bible declares outright that the people are not wise because "the lying pens of the scribes has handled things falsely". It also says that the "Lord" is against those who run around saying that they know the word ("oracle") of the lord, as well as those who run around asking others to tell them the word of the lord. That's "because every man's own word becomes his oracle and you distort the word of the living god." And let's not forget that the BIble also says that we're all flawed, none are perfect, which means that a book of books written by men, put together by men, etc, is bound to contain flaws. To declare that it can't is idolatrous.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      John 10:30, Jesus' reply to the Jews in Jerusalem: "I and the Father are one." Mark 14:61-63: Before the Sanhedrin- "Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

      November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • John Smith

      The books of the bible were hand picked by the Romans... in fact, they actually left some books out that were deemed "detrimental" to the religion. Message from God? While there are good lessons and good messages that can serve men, there are also things in there that are highly political. To be good, to do good and to serve others and your self there is no need to quote any scripture, and more and more we see that those that often quote the bible keep doing the opposite. They violate others, the young ones, they favor the rich versus the poor, they are all in favor of greed and money, when Jesus, there is no doubt about it from the Bible, stood against all those things and in favor of the suffering and the poor.

      November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      i Wonder...If a prophecy is fulfilled whether the fulfiller read about it or not is irrelevant. If the prophecy gets fulfilled, it's FULFILLED. And as far as "manipulating" prophecy, these are men who actually wanted to do the will of God and obey His commandments. So yeah, manipulate all the want, just as long as God's will gets done. Besides, no one else has fulfilled any of the already fulfilled prophecies. And there are many more bible prophecies that have been written and we can read them in the bible that have not been fulfilled as of yet.

      Kay....choosing to believe (or not) what the bible says or even if the bible is accurate (or not) is really your God-given right. You have the right to make your own decisions on what to believe (or not). Knowing the will of God through His word, the bible is not being presumptuous, idolatrous, nor arrogant. God wants us to know His will. He wants us to know what His message to us is, and He wants us to know it accurately. Just read His words below:

      2 Timothy 2:15
      Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

      Now, the following verse is the REAL source why many, I mean, MANY do not understand the bible (some willingly and some not):

      1 Corinthians 2:14
      But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

      John 8:43-44
      Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.....READ THE REST PLEASE

      November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • John Richardson

      BoldGeorge still doesn't get it. The whole point is that the largely fictionalized narrative about Jesus can be retro-fitted to make it seem as though prophecy was fulfilled. The Christmas story would be one fairly obvious example.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Kay

      George, you're idolatry of the Bible does not impress me in the least. You say that you know the will of God, but what is expressed in those pages is the will, the frailty, the wisdom, the basic pshycology of men. To attribute what men have made to what God has done is sanctimonious at best.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Fictionalized or not, I don't want to wonder what the excuses will be when one's life reaches the end of the line. That is something I do not wish anyone to wager on.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Kay

      Further, George, how can you say "I am wise! I am wise!" when even the Lord declares that "the lying pens of the scribes have handled things falsely"?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yay. When all else fails, it's back to Pascal's wager for BoldGeorge!

      I don't know, George. Yahweh didn't seem to want any other gods worshipped, least of all humans that are claimed to be god. And I don't think that it'll put old Yahweh in a better mood to hear that he himself is supposed to be both this guys father and somehow also part of some triune god with this guy and some joker called the Holy Spirit. YOU might have a lot of explaining to do, Bold George, when YOU reach the end of the line! This sounds like blasphemy to me!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Kay...It is not idolatry to know or even want to know what the will of God is through His word. He wants us to know His will through His word just like He wants to forgive us and save us through Christ, which basically is the bible's core message. I can give you dozens of bible verses (but I'm not sure it will make any difference) that state that we can definitely know God's will accurately through His word and we can also be sure of our salvation by grace through faith in His son, Jesus Christ only if you will give me just ONE bible verse where it states that knowing or claiming to know God's word is idolatry....just give me ONE.

      It's quite simple if you think about it. The bible was never meant to be as complicated as we have put it. We were meant to know the will of God and have knowledge of His TRUTH in the Bible. This also means we were meant to interpret the bible accurately, just as God wanted us to, but there is a reason why MANY can't. I will write again:

      John 8:43-45
      43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      John...just so you know, blasphemy is what you are writing referring to God's name and placing adjectives like "old" in front of His name. Yes, I will do my share of explaining to my Creator for things I have fallen short on, but I am SURE of my salvation. The bible has made it clear to me why I am now saved.

      November 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Sue

      BoldGeorge
      God supposedly created the universe. If that doesn't make him 'old' then nobody is.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Sue

      @BoldGeorge
      You're dodging John's question. What if, when you die, you find yourself before only YHWH, and he isn't pleased with people's worshipping Jesus? What do you do then? Answer that wager and maybe people will answer yours.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Abhishek

      Why the dislike of Rollingwood? My wife and I would love to move there. It would allow her to bike to work dwontwon, it would allow me easy access to Town Lake for running and still have an easy commute along Ben White to my work in south-east Austin, and it's just such a pretty neighborhood. Plus the kiddo gets Eanes schools and bikeable access throughout dwontwon through Town Lake. Yes, there are some godawful megahouses going up, but there are still plenty of nice looking old houses for those who want them. As for the driving while clearly from Austin , I drive through the area daily in my very non-Westlake '97 T-bird stickered with a Tibetan flag and a carbon-offset certificate, but I've never had any problems.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  20. Kay

    The problem with Christianity is that Jesus was a devout and practicing Jew who preached Judaism who is now long dead, not the IDOL that Paul and other so-called followers erected after Jesus was killed. The very basic and ethical lessons he taught are always getting lost because people care more about the man than the ethics.

    November 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"The very basic and ethical lessons he taught are always getting lost because people care more about the man than the ethics."

      Kay, I do not believe so but as with many things in the Bible and other Holy text, what is written carries a a very good possibility that each of us will interpret it differently. I think, for many, the following of the teachings of Jesus and his lessons sorta binds your faith in what you see or feel is ethical. The "What Would Jesus Do" phrase/movement sorta goes against your beliefs of those who declare themselves as Christians.

      From, your post it sounds like your problem with Christianity is that it is not Judaism. Which is like the Democrats saying that the problem with the Republicans is that they are not Democrats or the Republicans declaring the exact same about the Democrats.

      Its another, "The problem with this person or that group is that they do not believe, feel, sound, or look like me..." statement that you have made.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Sue

      @Mark
      The problem with playing the WWJD game is that people do a lot of assuming that Jesus would do exactly the same thing that they themselves would, and two people can come up with polar opposite views and still believe that they are following Jesus' teaching.

      November 15, 2011 at 10:23 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.