Many South Carolina evangelicals focus on piety over politics
Pastor C.L. O'Bryan outside of Cornerstone Pentecostal Church in North Augusta, South Carolina
January 16th, 2012
10:24 PM ET

Many South Carolina evangelicals focus on piety over politics

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast on South Carolina evangelicals:

By John Sepulvado, CNN Radio

(CNN) - More than 150 influential evangelical leaders went to a ranch outside of Houston over the weekend to pick an alternative to GOP presidential front runner Mitt Romney. They emerged backing former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

But in the early primary state of South Carolina, with voters scheduled to go to the polls on Saturday and candidates working the state furiously this week, local evangelical pastors are using their influence to rally church members towards salvation, not electioneering.

"You won't hear me giving any political commentary at all," says Lexington Fellowship Baptist Pastor Don Bell. "I mean, I'll never say never, but God's word is where it's at."

"I consider myself to be a conservative," says North Augusta Cornerstone Pentecostal Pastor C.L. O'Bryan. "But our focus right now is on our flock, not Washington politics."

South Carolina evangelicals have helped boost the candidacies of George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are all trying to rally the evangelical vote in an effort to swing momentum away from Romney.

And it would seem evangelical voters could help them do just that. There's a deep skepticism about the former Massachusetts governor's Mormon faith and evolving position on abortion.

"I do not agree with him on every issue," O'Bryan says. "And I would like to see a president with a more biblical perspective."

Yet, while the candidates vie to present themselves as "true" conservatives, many evangelical voters have concerns about Gingrich's personal life, Perry's verbal gaffes, and Santorum's viability. Many born-again church goers in the state have resigned themselves to the outlook that Romney will be the eventual GOP nominee.

O'Bryan says he believes it's God's plan for the U.S. to "fall away" from Christianity, and is telling his congregation to prepare for "the end times," regardless of who is elected. Fellowship Baptist Elder Brian Hoyle in Lexington says unlike previous years, many of the churchgoers he knows in rural areas around Columbia are keeping quiet about politics and focusing on their own piety.

"I think there's a recognition that now there is only so much man can do," Hoyle explains. "I don't get much into politics."

"At this point," adds Fellowship Baptist's Bell, "if we're looking to Washington for answers to our problems, we're really in trouble."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • South Carolina

soundoff (470 Responses)
  1. phim tam ly

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    July 30, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  2. naklejki

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    April 8, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  3. Iqbal Khan

    Enforcing American Hegemony – A Timeline – Flagrancy to Reason
    "I think there is no real argument that the historical lesson for the United States in the 20th Century has been the need for continued strong American involvement.
    http://www.flagrancy.net/timeline.html – Cached

    January 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Iqbal Khan


    January 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  5. Iqbal Khan


    January 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite global blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  6. Muneef






    January 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Iqbal Khan

      Keep up the good work
      Struggle with pen is mightyer than sword.
      May you continue for long.
      viva Muneef!

      January 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Reality

      " What is Religion?

      What is religion? A maid kept close that no eye may view her;

      The price of her wedding gifts and dowry baffles the wooer.

      Of all the goodly doctrine that I from the pulpit heard

      My heart has never accepted so much as a single word.


      The Prophets and the Priests

      The Prophets, too, among us come to teach,

      Are one with those who from the pulpit preach;

      They pray, and slay, and pass away, and yet

      Our ills are as the pebbles on the beach.

      Islam does not have a monopoly on truth:


      Fools Awake!

      O fools, awake! The rites ye sacred hold

      Are but a cheat contrived by men of old

      Who lusted after wealth and gained their lust

      And died in baseness-and their law is dust."


      Al-Maʿarri ` 973-1058 AD) taught that religion was a "fable invented by the ancients,"[6] worthless except for those who exploit the credulous masses.[6]

      "Do not suppose the statements of the prophets to be true; they are all fabrications. Men lived comfortably till they came and spoiled life. The sacred books are only such a set of idle tales as any age could have and indeed did actually produce.[7]"

      Al-Maʿarri criticized many of the dogmas of Islam, such as the Hajj, which he called, "a heathen’s journey."[8]

      He rejected claims of any divine revelation.[9] His creed was that of a philosopher and ascetic, for whom reason provides a moral guide, and virtue is its own reward.[10]

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1jyDHmxRe

      January 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      What makes of the person you name as being truthful? He just might be an angry man who lost his sight at young age and had nothing but to cry over it blaming GOD and Religion...!
      Tell you even if by any chance any of the Religions or Holy Books were manipulated with...we still believe in GOD..in Angels..in his pure Holy Books...in Prophets...!

      January 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Some thing for the Negative one's ;

    Keep your thoughts positive, 
    because your thoughts become your words. 

    Keep your words positive, 
    because your words become your actions. 

    Keep your actions positive, 
    because your actions become your habits. 

    Keep your habits positive, 
    because your habits become your lifestyle. 

    Keep your lifestyle positive, 
    because your lifestyle becomes your destiny 
    The most selfish 1-letter word is "i" avoid it.
    The most satisfying 2-letter word is "we" use it.
    The"most poisonous 3-letter word "EGO" Kill it.
    The most used 4-letter word "LOVE" Value it.
    The most pleasing 5-letter word "SMILE" Keep it.
    The fastest spreading 6-letter word "RUMOUR" Ignore it.
    The hardest working 7-letter word "SUCCESS" Achieve it.
    The most enviable 8-letter word "JEALOUSY" Distance it.
    The most powerful 9-letter word "KNOWLEDGE" Acquire it.
    The most essential 10-letter word "CONFIDENCE" Trust it."

    January 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Muneef

      With One Tree you can make a Million Sticks of Matches, while with One Stick of Matches you can Burn a Million of Trees...! 

      January 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Reality

      More Positive Thinking:

      (from the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi)

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      January 19, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  8. Prior

    "Blessed are the Ori."

    January 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  9. Muneef

    They say man's enemies are Five:
    An infidel confronting him.
    A Satan misguiding him astray.
    A hypocrite de-spising him.
    A believer that envy's him.
    A soul conflicting him.
    May God protect and assist us on those five with which man can not find """"Peace on Earth nor Spray Love Around"""""
    "Life is what you make out of it.
    If you do good you shall be rewarded as such and some times in Multiples, if you do bad the reward will be the same".

    . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . ,.-‘”. . . . . . . . . ."~.,
    . . . . . . . .. . . . . .,.-”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“-.,
    . . . . .. . . . . . ..,/. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ”:,
    . . . . . . . .. .,?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\,
    . . . . . . . . . /. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,}
    . . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`^`.}
    . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:”. . . ./
    . . . . . . .?. . . __. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :`. . . ./
    . . . . . . . /__.(. . .“~-,_. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`. . . .. ./
    . . . . . . /(_. . ”~,_. . . ..“~,_. . . . . . . . . .,:`. . . . _/
    . . . .. .{.._$;_. . .”=,_. . . .“-,_. . . ,.-~-,}, .~”; /. .. .}
    . . .. . .((. . .*~_. . . .”=-._. . .“;,,./`. . /” . . . ./. .. ../
    . . . .. . .\`~,. . ..“~.,. . . . . . . . . ..`. . .}. . . . . . ../
    . . . . . .(. ..`=-,,. . . .`. . . . . . . . . . . ..(. . . ;_,,-”
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    . . . . . . \`~.*-,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..|,./.....\,__
    ,,_. . . . . }.>-._\. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|. . . . . . ..`=~-,
    . .. `=~-,_\_. . . `\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
    . . . . . . . . . .`=~-,,.\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
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    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .`=-,. . . . . . . . . .,%`>–

    January 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Really? That's pretty weird

      Muneef, if you are going to "spray your love around," maybe you should start using condoms.

      You look bald in that picture.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Cool picture.
      Now Muneef, please don't spray on me. Tell me all about love when muslims quit throwing acid in little girls faces ok?

      January 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • The Phist

      Hey there muneef. Thanks for the stupid post. As soon as I read the word "infidel." I knew we were in for a meaty treat. Thanks for that thick, juicy nugget of idiocy. Just for future reference, the usage of that words automatically means you can't be taken seriously. Your religion is based on christianity which is a myth.

      January 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • KayLess is More

      Pickard suddenly realized that he'd never make Admiral after converting to Islam. The best he could ever hope for was a diplomatic posting on the Klingon garbage moon.


      January 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Reality

      The Cheat of Sacred Rites

      "O fools, awake! The rites you sacred hold

      Are but a cheat contrived by men of old,

      Who lusted after wealth and gained their lust

      And died in baseness—and their law is dust."


      "Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri (born AD 973, died AD 1058 /) was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1jsMQjmtN

      January 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Prior

      "Those who abandon the path are evil."

      January 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      Just waw guys you seem filled with hatred or rather socked in it... Wonder if all Americans are like that ? Wonder as well which race of the many races you contain is like that? Well that might give us an idea how to treat our fellow Americans visiting our countries ! Shame on you haters... We watch your movies and think Americans are good and civilized but only from such blogs I began to realize how mislead I was... But I should admit I came across many others who had not been as rude and arrogant as those I met here...
      Any way if you think or take it that we Muslims are the same and should be treated the same so I guess we as well should think of the non Muslim Americans as the same...!?

      January 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Muneef: While I do not consider your post or your belief accurate, I do consider you a friend with good intentions.

      I hope you and your family are safe in Yemen.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      A Story with a Moral that could explain why the West is Going Down the Drain;

      Three old wise men,   
      A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said 'I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.'

      ' Is the man of the house in home ?'  they asked . 
      ' No ', she replied . ' He's out  ' 

      'Then we cannot come in ', they replied . 

      In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened  

      He said: ' Go tell them I am in home and invite them I! N  ' 

      The woman went out and invited the men in . 

      '  We do not go into a House together !' they replied .
      'Why is that ?'  she asked .
      One of the old men explained : 'His name is  Wealth ,' he said as pointing to one of his friends, and said, pointing to another one , 'He is Success, and I am  Love ' Then he added, 'Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home .'

      The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed  . ' How nice !'  he said . ' Since that is the case, let us invite  Wealth . Let him come and fill our home with wealth  !' 

      His wife disagreed . ' My dear, why don't we invite  Success ?' 

      Their daughter in law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion : ' Would it not be better to invite Love  ?Our home will then be filled with love  .'  

      'Let us heed/follow our daughter in law's advice,'said the husband to his wife !   

      'Go out and invite  Love to be our guest.'   

      The woman went out and asked the three old men , 'Which one of you is Love ? Please come in and be our guest .'   

      Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success : 'I only invited  Love ; Why are you coming in?'   

      The old men replied together : 'If you had invited  Wealth or Success , the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love  , wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also...Wealth and Success !

      January 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      Eric G.
      Dear friend we are all fine over here although we still suffer a lot of electrical blackouts but we are fine and thank you for asking. Am sorry for what I've been pushed to say above but really those had pushed me to the limits with their total ignorance... They are just good in turning even the good moderate Muslims into becoming what they are not...!
      Should admit that me and Reality had disputed for years now but at least he has more manners than those dirt bags..

      January 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression That Is Islam With Added Bad Actors:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      And the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

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

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

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

      and more recently

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

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      Continued below:

      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

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

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      January 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  10. Rev. Rick

    Quoting from the article: "O'Bryan says he believes it's God's plan for the U.S. to "fall away" from Christianity, and is telling his congregation to prepare for "the end times,....."

    It has been my experience that the world will usually give you what you expect, and it has little to do with God. Fundamentalist Christianity's message of fear from God's vengeance and eternal damnation has outlived its usefulness (if it ever was useful at all). I believe we have killed enough human beings in God's name. "Religion" has done nothing other than separate us from God, and separate us from each other. We must learn to live together in peace regardless of our individual religions or spiritual beliefs. If we cannot, even God Himself can't help us. God will not destroy us – we will do it all on our own through ignorance and superst-ition.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  11. Reality

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror

    -One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    -Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    -Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    -The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    -Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    -All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "will no longer be tax exempt."

      Thus no more separation of Religion and State. Good going Reality....now they can create their own SuperPacs and work to elect ppl to the govt right in their own places of worship.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Tax them now!

      They already do, Uncouth.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Tax them now!-No they don't.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • The Phist

      Uncouth, uh, yes, they do. I've been to many churches. Many of them have brought up politics and have made public who they feel should be voted for. I've been to churches all over the country. It's definitely not limited to geographic location. I'm guessing most pastors don't realize they're breaking the law. Of course, they either feel they are above the law and only have to answer to god, or they're just incredibly stupid and ignorant. I imagine it's a mix of both, since they're stupid enough to believe in a made-up being from a book written by cave-dwelling primitives.

      January 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I said, "...now they can create their own SuperPacs and work to elect ppl to the govt right in their own places of worship"

      The Phist said, "uh, yes, they do. I've been to many churches."

      Name me one church with a SuperPac.
      As for your claim of churches openly trying to elect someone....either you are mistaken or you did not have the civic minded att_itude to turn them in.

      January 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Reality

      There are different opinions as to what a religion really is or what a non-profit is. To be fair therefore, there should be no tax-exemptions for any group and that includes the Democratic and Republican Parties. Faith and community initiative grant monies should also be cancelled and there should also be no tax deductions for contributions made to charities and non-profits

      January 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer angers the demons

    January 18, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • Reality

      Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, it is not possible to alter life with prayers. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variability/randomness of Nature..

      So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca five times a day or blowing your Moroni horn. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the proper rules of your religion or any good rules of living as gracious and good human beings.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Jack Napier

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      On the contrary, Atheism is knowledge and logic. The basic principle's of how to/we live. Why is it that we use logic for every aspect of our lives except when it comes religion? The Lack of knowledge and logic is what's not healthy for children and other living things. Knowledge and logic is what can save an individuals life not religion.

      Also prayer doesn't change anything, Knowledge does.

      As a proud Atheist, I only wish to implore people to simply ask more questions. Even the questions they feel they should not question. If nobody did this we wouldn't be were we are today, and if religion didn't exist, no one could even fathom where we could have been.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  13. GodIsTheWay

    I have to wonder, since the athiests are at their most sarcastic and hateful tonight, why do you bother coming onto the belief blog onto openly christian blogs and post all the negativity you can think of?

    January 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Since when is the "Belief" blog only for Christians? Are you the only one with beliefs?

      January 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Oh, it's you.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Here's what Jesus has to say about it:
      Matt 12:33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

      January 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Well keep me away from the Christians cuz I don't want all that evil up near me! Good advise Bob's.....er....friend is it?

      January 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Um... isn't Jesus the same dude that killed that poor tree because it wouldn't give him fruit? And it wasn't even in season either. What a mean, mean man!

      Anyway, I no longer trust anything he says about trees.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Openly Christian blog? Um... I think you're mistaken about that @God. It's a Belief blog, where we openly discuss beliefs.

      It's a great topic, and we all get to say stuff. Okey dokey?

      January 18, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Evangelical_Atheist

      @God – Because we're trying to encourage you to remove the blindfold that has obscured your view of the real world since childhood. The real world is so much more wondrous, exciting, and invigorating than anything portrayed by religion, and you're missing out. Trust me as a recovering christian when I say that the water of un-belief that fills the pool of understanding is cold, but refreshing.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

      January 18, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • bigot

      "Here's what Jesus has to say about it:
      Matt 12:33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

      actually, men said those things, jesus didnt.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • GodIsTheWay

      Well, I did say to openly CHRISTIAN blogs..

      January 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      I'll bite.... Reality Why is

      "Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic" but not the rest of the book?
      After all this is a single attention

      January 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      But then again you know by your standard that Jesus was not illiterate because Luke 4:17 is listed as a Multiple Independent Attestation... isn't a pis.ser when your own standards convict you.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • rick

      It is a belief blog, not a Christian one. Try to keep up.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Reality

      o The illiteracy of the simple preacher man aka Jesus, as per some contemporary experts:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton's commentary in his book, Rabbi Jesus, An Intimate Biography, p. 99,

      "What Luke misses is that Jesus stood in the synagogue as an illiterate m–amzer (pp. 98-102) in his claim to be the Lord's anointed".

      Note: Luke 4: 16 is a single attestation. No where else in the NT does it say Jesus could read thereby making said passage historically unreliable. (Luke 4:16-24) has been compared to a number of other passage and found to be equivalent with the exception of Luke 4: 16 which is the only passage in the list of equivalents that mentions reading:

      http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=022_Prophets_Own_Country (leave out the hyphen in "t-itle" if you access the reference)

      1) GThom. 31 & P. Oxy. 1.31
      (2) Mark 6:1-6a = Matt 13:53-58
      (3) Luke 4:16-24
      (4) John 4:44

      Professor JD Crossan notes that Jesus was illiterate coming from a landless peasant background, initially a follower of John the Baptist. e.g. The Excavation of Jesus (with Professor Reed), pp 30-31..

      The question of Jesus's literacy has also been much discussed by the Jesus Seminar and others and they note that references in the Gospels to Jesus reading and writing may well be fictions.

      The only Gospel reference to Jesus writing is John 8:6 in the Pericope Adulterae, widely considered a later addition, where it is not even clear he is forming letters in the dust, and the Greek "εγραφεν" could equally mean he was drawing.
      Luke 2: 41-52, the twelve year old Jesus in the temple- As per Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 275, " the episode is unhistorical" (again, a single attestaion). See also http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=433_Jesus_at_Twelve

      It is very unfortunate that Jesus was illiterate for it resulted in many gospels and epistles being written years after his death by non-witnesses. This resulted in significant differences in said gospels and epistles and with many embellishments to raise Jesus to the level of a deity to compete with the Roman gods and emperors. See Raymond Brown's book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (Luke 4:16 note on p. 237) for an exhaustive review of the true writers of the gospels and epistles.

      Of course, Muslims believe that Mohammed was also illiterate. This way, they can claim that the only way he could have received the "angelic", koranic passages of death to all infidels and Islamic domination of the globe by any means, was orally since he could not read and write.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Jack Napier

      Simple, because in the end nobody needs to die over religion, no one for any reason or for any purpose. For the people who comment I can't speak for them but for me personally, if only one person of the faith can read a comment that changes the mindset of that person, to just simply ask more questions about their religion. In the end, the formality or contradictions and misleading guidance will ultimately fall against logic.

      The real question is, can those of the faith ask the questions that they feel they should not ask? Most are to afraid and others don't dare.

      As a proud Atheist, I only wish to implore people to simply ask more questions. Even the questions they feel they should not question. If nobody did this we wouldn't be were we are today, and if religion didn't exist, no one could even fathom where we could have been.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Out of one side of your tongue you confirm the passage by quoting one person
      "What Luke misses" inferring there was truth to the statement but Luke misinterpreted somehow, even though he is not interpreting his own work

      Then in the next paragraph you say that it is historically unreliable.
      Pick a side man. Did Jesus read from the scroll, or did he not.

      "Professor JD Crossan notes that Jesus was illiterate coming from a landless peasant background, initially a follower of John the Baptist"
      First, and this is why you should not listen to Crossan, is that Jesus was not a follower of John not is there any historical doc.uments to back up his claim on page 30... therefore, you guess it, makes it a single attestation.

      Second, hopefully you see the bias and bigotry in the statement "once a peasant always a peasant", even if you don't believe He was the son of God.

      For those who never read our discussion, the Jesus Seminars have been invalidate by many secular scholars for it polemical rhetoric that is attacking opponents vs debating the issues, falsely claiming to speak as the majority...

      Richard Hays states that the Seminar's "attempt to present their views as 'the assured results of critical scholarship' is-one must say it-reprehensible deception". Similarly, Howard Kee states, "The Seminar's claim to speak for the majority of scholars is grossly inaccurate".

      And again using non-canonical gospels to prove there point when critics agree that Thomas contains independent saying.

      Probably the most acerbic criticism of the Seminar is that its Jesus is not Jewish.

      Richard Hays charges that the Seminar's portrait of Jesus is "an ahistorical fiction achieved by the surgical removal of Jesus from his Jewish context. The fabrication of a non-Jewish Jesus is one particularly pernicious side effect of the Jesus Seminar's methodology.

      Some critics take a dim view of the Seminar's practice of voting on the authenticity of the sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus. For example, Ben Witherington complains that only in a country where majority views are assumed to be right and where "truth" is decided by voting could this idea of voting on Jesus have arisen.

      So given this shoddy "scholorism" why would we hold value in Crossan's work.

      Now Calling anything in Luke a single attestation is humor in itself, if you ever made it to Luke 1:1 you would see

      Inasmuch as many have undertaken to ***compile*** a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,

      So how is a compilation a single attestation?

      But let's get away from this silly claim of illiteracy because you have the crowd claiming his teaching in Mark 1:22-27 which even crossan gives credit to as a double attestation.

      Under this claim, is a question you must wrestle with, if Jesus was illiterate, then he existed, if he existed, he then died, if he then died, his burial is recorded, with his burial recorded is the record of the empty tomb, which very few debate did not happen. Even your discovery and history channels are challenge every year to explain the events of the empty tomb and the transformation of the eastern part of the world in the first and second centuries... they have came up with, people stole the body, that the apostles lie, even my favorite last year, well he wasn't really dead he was just badly beaten... I like this one because they are claim a person beat within an inch of their life, could roll away the stone and walks some tens of miles with the disciples, meanwhile football players can perform with a sprain toe... comedy at its best.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Reality

      One more time:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      From ask.com,

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

      Then there are these scriptural references:

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

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Reality

      10. 7. The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:

      January 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Reality

      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:

      January 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Reality

      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      January 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Reality

      "As a theologically conservative Methodist, Professor Richard Hays has throughout the course of his career remained committed to his Wesleyan roots in emphasizing the importance of charity and friendship in the Christian life. Moreover, Hays is a committed pacifist. He makes his position clear in The Moral Vision of the New Testament, in which he argues that Jesus Christ taught his disciples to be non-violent.

      In the field of New Testament studies, Hays has often been identified with figures such as N.T. Wright, Luke Timothy Johnson[ and Raymond Brown. Some of Professor Hays' studies surround the narrative interpretation of Scripture, the New Testament's use of the Old Testament, the subjective genitive reading of pistis Christou ("faith(fulness) of Christ") in Paul, and role of community in the New Testament. Hays is well known for his criticisms of the Jesus Seminar and the modern Historical Jesus movement."

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/richard-b-hays#ixzz1jwCyeD7W

      "Howard Clark Kee is William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus at Boston University and Visiting Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Kee's publications include the first edition of The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, Beginnings of Christianity: Introduction to the New Testament (2005), Understanding the New Testament (5th ed.), and Jesus in History (3rd ed.).[1]"

      The Jesus Seminar after reviewing all the scriptural and non-scriptural doc-uments from the time period, voted red (the event occurred) as follows:

      "Jesus was crucified

      Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate

      Jesus was crucified with the participation of the highest Jewish authorities

      Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem

      Jesus was crucified at Golgotha

      "The ground-breaking work of the Jesus Seminar appears in two texts: The Five
      Gospels (1993) and Acts of Jesus (1998), both published by Polebridge Press.

      The Jesus Seminar is a group of biblical scholars chaired by Robert Funk, PhD.,
      who took the unprecedented step of voting as a group on the authenticity of the
      teachings and acts of Jesus. The following observations are taken from the
      introductory chapters of 5G and AOJ.

      Every individual saying and action was examined and rated by the Seminar as to
      whether Jesus actually said it or did it, or whether it was primarily the
      product of the author of the gospel. Building on the earlier work of individual
      scholars, the Seminar's research represents an unprecedented cooperative effort
      to separate what Jesus really said and did from what gets added on over time in
      the story telling and writing process.

      In addition to the four Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, that we have
      known for two thousand years, the Seminar also included the Gospel of Thomas in
      their considerations. Thomas consists of sayings of Jesus that were discovered
      at Nag Hamadi, along with hundreds of other ancient texts, in a major
      archeological discovery in 1945. Thomas is not in story form, but it is a
      series of sayings. Many of the sayings are very similar to what appear in the
      other four gospels, and it was used by the Seminar as an independent report of
      what Jesus said.

      The Seminar's work assumes that for a period of some years the stories about
      Jesus were passed on by word of mouth as his followers practiced his teachings
      and some anxiously expected his return. Ten years may have gone by before
      teachings and actions began to be written down, and perhaps another ten years
      passed before they were put into larger collections like Thomas. These
      collections were probably taking place about the same time that Paul was writing
      letters (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans) to various Christian communities.
      Eventually the materials were put together in story form, probably first by
      Mark, sometime around 70CE, followed by Matthew, John, and Luke/Acts, in that
      order. Some of the writing occurred as late as the first part to the middle of
      the second century CE.

      When the Seminar members voted, a red vote received 3 points, a pink vote
      received 2 points, a gray vote received 1 point, and a black vote received 0
      points. The colors were given the following definitions: Red = This statement
      is an accurate representation of what Jesus said or did. Pink = This statement
      very likely represents what Jesus said or did. Gray = This statement is most
      likely a formulation of the author, but the content is similar to what Jesus
      actually said or did. Black = This statement is purely a formulation of the
      author. A statement or event was given a final color code based on the
      following percentages: Red = .7501 or more of the scholars agreed that the
      teaching or event was authentic. Pink = .5001 to .7500 of the scholars agreed
      that the teaching or event was authentic. Gray = .2501 to .5000 of the scholars
      agreed that the teaching or event was authentic. Black = .0000 to .2500 of the
      scholars agreed that the teaching or event was authentic.

      THE SCHOLARS USED RULES to determine if Jesus really said or did something; for

      1. Primary assumption: Jesus was a reasonably well integrated person whose
      behavior was more or less congruent with his words.

      2. Certain categories, some much more than others, are common to the teaching
      and behavioral materials.

      (a) Itinerant

      (b) Family ties don't bind

      (c) Demon possession and exorcism

      (d) Social deviance

      (e) Association with undesirables

      (f) Embracing the unclean

      (g) Sabbath

      (h) Critics of Jesus

      (i) Healing

      3. Material that reflects knowledge of events after Jesus' death must be looked
      at cautiously.

      4. Material that appears in independent sources is older than the sources.

      5. Material that appears in independent contexts circulated on its own at an
      earlier time.

      6. Similar content that has taken on different forms had a prior life of its

      7. Oral memory best retains short, provocative, memorable material, like
      aphorisms and parables.

      8. It is more likely that the core or gist of a matter was recalled, rather than
      precise words.

      9. The writers likely put their own words in Jesus' mouth under the following

      (a) Story transitions: for example, "Let's go over to the other side." (Mk 4:35)

      (b) Summarizing the message: "The time is up. God's imperial rule is closing
      in." (Mk 1:15)

      (c) Anticipating the story: "The son of Adam is being turned over to his
      enemies, and they

      will end up killing him." (Mk 9:31)

      (d) Expressing the writer's view: "Why are you so cowardly? You still don't
      trust, do you?" (Mk 4:40)

      (e) Underscoring a narrative point: "He was unable to perform a single miracle
      there, except." (Mk 6:6)

      (f) Clarifying current practices: "The days will come when the groom is taken
      away from them, and then they will fast on that day." (Mk 2:20)

      (g) Eliciting a confessional point: "What about you, who do you say that I am?"
      (Mk 8:29)

      WHEN THE RULES ARE APPLIED an emerging pattern reinforces itself:

      (1) Talks distinctively, distinguishable from common lore.

      (2) Teaches against the social and religious grain.

      (3) Surprises and shocks by role reversal or frustration of ordinary

      (4) Uses characteristics of exaggeration, humor, and paradox.

      (5) Uses concrete and vivid images.

      (6) Uses metaphorical language without explicit application.

      (7) Seldom initiates dialogue, debate, or healing activity.

      (8) Rarely speaks about himself in the first person.

      (9) Makes no claim to be the Messiah."

      January 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Reality

      "Crossan analysis: http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=215_In_Capernaums_Synagogue

      1a) Mark 1:21-22 =(!) Matt 4:13-16 = Luke 4:31-37
      (1b) Matt 7:28-29
      (1c) John 2:12

      Item: 215
      Stratum: II (60-80 CE)
      Attestation: Single
      Historicity: –


      (1a) Mark 1:21-22

      They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

      “Καὶ εἰσπορεύονται εἰς Καφαρναούμ· καὶ εὐθὺς τοῖς σάββασιν εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν ἐδίδασκεν. καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ· ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς.” (Mark 1:21–22 GNT-T)

      January 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      It is funny that he list 215 as a single after quoting four text.... but anyway
      I was referring to 112


      I am going to skip over your standard cut and paste parts with early writings. I am interested in the first four paragraphs as that is new.

      As for the voting mechanism. I will have to go back and get you the links to where it has been stated as poor, and bias scholarship. But do not have time now.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Mark 1: 22-27a is not listed per se in Professor JD Crossan's NT historical inventory as only the Mark 1: 21-22 is actually cited. In his book, The Historical Jesus, p. 346. he noted:

      "Only Mark 1:16-38 has the sequence of the inaugral day in Carpharnum. Methodologically, I cannot use it, and historically, I doubt very much it actually was a day in the life of the historical Jesus. "

      January 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Reality


      The key is "independent" attestaions and timing thereof. Again, please read the referenced books which give the details of how each passage was reviewed.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  14. The Central Scrutinizer

    si cajones

    Did you see the South park episode where the sushi guy moved in next to the Chinese guy? Hilarious.

    Look, I have plenty of knowledge. I LOVE everything Asian. My wife is Asian, my kids are half Asian, I love the food, my oldest daughter lives in a Ja.panese culture and I think South Park is hilarious. You don't have to agree, but easy on the kicking, k? If you hurt me the sushi bars where I live will go under.

    May take is family ribs on each other. I like bustin’ balls and I can take as good as I can give. I consider everyone family. I don’t discriminate.

    Domo Arigato Ironicus

    January 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      See, as soon as I go back to CS I can't post in the right place. IDIOT. GOSH.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      You there Ironicus, I am making fun of an idiot white guy, Napoleon D. Hilarious. I love that movie and all white guys know they want tots whether they admit it or not.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Best South Park Episode: Dolphin and Whale.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  15. Mongolian

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes rice
    Prayer reduces anger

    January 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Ironicus

      There's an article about anti-Asian bigotry going around.
      Maybe you should comment on it with your borrowed jokes from South Park.
      They'd just love you for that.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Who would love me?

      January 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      It might be in bad taste. I am very PC.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Ironicus

      You argue from ignorance and not knowledge. When you do that I want to kick you in the nuts. You have nuts right?

      January 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      si cajones

      Did you see the South park episode where the sushi guy moved in next to the Chinese guy? Hilarious.

      Look, I have plenty of knowledge. I LOVE everything Asian. My wife is Asian, my kids are half Asian, I love the food, my oldest daughter lives in a Ja.panese culture and I think South Park is hilarious. You don't have to agree, but easy on the kicking, k? If you hurt me the sushi bars where I live will go under.

      May take is family ribs on each other. I like bustin’ balls and I can take as good as I can give. I consider everyone family. I don’t discriminate.

      Domo Arigato Ironicus

      January 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Oh, btw I have Filipino and Chinese family members for the most part. I have paid my dues brother.

      What is your "knowledge". Maybe we can compare notes.

      O, sige, aalis na ako... (Ok I am leaving now in Tagalog) the cool thing about Filipinos is they have different ways of saying goodbye, or hello or whatever depending on your age or level of respect.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ironicus, I found the article you are referring to and I have to say I am really dissappointed in you. I know you are intelligent enough to discern the difference between joking around, racism, crime and exploitation. Come on man.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ironicus, I kind of feel like you set me up there. I think you know I had not read that article. I hope I am wrong.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Ironicus

      I was only kicking you for your obstinate agnostic stance – "arguing from ignorance" – remember?
      And I think there is something childishly and enjoyably funny about making fun of foreign accents, so I wasn't angry about that part of what you were doing anyway. I laugh at SouthPark's many ways of poking fun at people.
      As for the article, I hadn't read it either, just a hasty skim.
      I thought you'd get a kick out of trying SouthPark material in the comment section of an anti-discrimination article.
      But it's different when SouthPark does it. You know they are just being silly and showing people how silly they are, but with you how is anyone supposed to know of your oriental relatives and friends? You risk looking like a bigot even if you didn't really make those jokes with bigotry in your heart.
      Or maybe you did and so what? Anyone can say insulting things that aren't meant to be insulting and have them taken at face value instead of asking if you really thought that way. This is the internet. Nobody gives a crap about your stories of your personal life. Too many ppl make shlt up. Protesting that your wife is asian or something just makes you look like you're trying to cover your ass. And who does that? Oh, you would never do that. Right.
      But my main intent in "kicking" was about you being an agnostic, not your sudden penchant for saying "mongorians!" which was turning into blog wallpaper. Although I could if you wanted me to. Kicks are cheap. I've got lots of them all saved up.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Ironicus

      And if black comedians can make fun of white stereotypes, SouthPark can make fun of every stereotype, and you can make fun of asian stereotypes, who am I to complain?
      I make fun, sometimes a little coar.sely, of many different types of people, cultures, religions, and just anyone I feel like. So, no, I'm not making a big deal out of this. Even MLKjr had friends that were racist yet forgave and ignored that part of them I would guess, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to draw so many together in looking forward while ignoring the various states of affairs in the frustrations of his followers regardless of ethnicity or mindset.
      You know, this soapbox keeps getting bigger, I swear.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • Ironicus

      Okay, that didn't come out quite right. I think it's time to move on...

      January 18, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ahhhhhh, yes prease to move on. It goo fo you!

      January 18, 2012 at 11:45 am |
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About this blog

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