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February 9th, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, February 9

By Dan Merica, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

At the heart of the controversy is birth control and contraceptives.

CNN: Contraception controvery ensnares military chaplains
The still-lingering controversy over the Obama administration's mandate about health insurance coverage that includes contraception spread to American Army posts all over the world before the matter was settled.

CNN: Retired New York Cardnal Egan retracts apology on Catholic priest sex abuse
A decade after the sex abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic Church across the country, retired Cardinal Edward Egan has taken back his apology for how the church handled the issue.

Over the past two weekends, the American Catholic hierarchy have distributed letters that harshly condemn the HHS policy to be read at parishes nationwide during Mass.

CNN: Obama administration looking to resolve contraception controversy
After an avalanche of criticism, the White House is working on a way to thread the needle on a new health care policy which will require all employers-including religious institutions-to cover contraception in their health insurance plans.

CNN: Santorum talks faith with Texas pastors
The day after winning a three state primary sweep, Rick Santorum largely avoided politics during a visit to the Bella Donna Chapel and instead talked candidly about his faith before a crowd of more than one hundred local pastors.

Belief on TV:

Tweet of the Day:

From @jeromesoco: Homegrown #terrorism down; study author says #Muslim threat to public safety in U.S. was "miniscule" last year bit.ly/xb6LUR

Enlightening Reads:

Herald Sun: US Air Force draws criticism for removing ‘God’ from logo
A US lawmaker in Virginia is calling on the US Air Force to reverse a decision to remove a Latin reference to God from a logo after an atheist group complained.

Jewish Journal: Jewish groups split on gay marriage ruling
The National Council of Jewish Women, welcoming the appeals court decision, said it “marks a milestone in the effort to provide full rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.”

Religion Dispatches: LDS Church Response to Prop 8 Begs Questions of Polygamy
On Tuesday, Mormons—the religious group that invested most heavily in the 2008 California Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage—responded to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision finding the measure unconstitutional.

Salon: The making of gay marriage’s top foe
How Maggie Gallagher's college pregnancy made her a single mom, and a traditional marriage zealot.

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum addresses a group of pastors Wednesday in McKinney, Texas.

U.S. News and World Report: Rick Santorum’s Win Fueled By Evangelicals
No small part of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s trifecta of success on Tuesday was his support among evangelical voters and other social conservatives that were attracted to his campaign. His appeal to those voters on issues such as abortion and gay marriage allowed him to overcome what he lacks in campaign infrastructure and war chests when compared to his three rivals.

Today’s Opinion:

CNN: My Take: Welcome back, culture wars (and Rick Santorum)
So much for the cease-fire in the culture wars. With the rise of the tax-focused tea party, the slump into recession and the emergence of Occupy Wall Street, U.S. politics was supposed to turn to economic matters. But recent developments on the Holy Trinity of bedroom issues — gay marriage, abortion and contraception — demonstrate that the culture wars are alive and well and (among other things) propelling Rick Santorum to a clean sweep on Tuesday in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

Join the conversation…

CNN: 10 reasons religious conservatives love Rick Santorum
For all the attention paid to the clout of fiscally focused tea party conservatives and of the primacy of jobs in the 2012 election, Rick Santorum’s trifecta victories Tuesday night are a good reminder of the powerful role religious conservatives play in the GOP. They fueled Santorum’s wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado – and his earlier victory in the Iowa caucuses.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • hippypoet

      God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact!
      Until you have evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas.
      And thats a factual statement!

      February 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs."""""`

      February 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • hippypoet

      God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact!
      Until you have evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas.
      And thats a factual statement!!

      February 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demon oppose prayer out of fear

      February 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Nope

      "demon oppose prayer out of fear"

      Christians lie in desperation.

      February 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  3. Poll

    To all the atheist posters on here, I'm inviting you to list your arguments about the scientific evidence against Christianity, not lack thereof but against, as a reply to this post.
    This should be fun for all of us to read.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Sure!

      Our entire universe is made of atoms and all these atoms are bound to this universe and must abide by the forces (strong force, weak force, electromagnetism, and gravity). Now if you have 2 atoms in a vacuum, they will abide by these forces and end up a certain way in the future, all based off these forces. This applies to 3, or 4, or even a trillion atoms, even enough to make a human being. So all the atoms that make up a human being are still bound by these forces and if all the parts of something are bound by forces then the whole thing is also bound by these same forces. So you will just act based on these forces acting on the atoms in your body.

      Since we know nothing else can physically interact with what makes you, you, it not only disproves god but also disproves free will.

      Have fun!

      February 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Now prove me wrong, don't just say I'm wrong because you don't like the answer, I want scientific evidence against my claim.

      This should be fun for all of us to read.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Gus

      Poll, list has already been done. Start your reading here:
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

      e.g.
      "I have given you every herb ... and every tree ... for meat."
      Since many plants have evolved poisons to protect against animals that would like to eat them, God's advice is more than a little reckless. Would you tell your children to go out in the garden and eat whatever plants they encounter? Of course not. But then, you are much nicer and smarter than God. 1:29

      All animals were originally herbivores. Tapeworms, vampire bats, mosquitoes, and barracudas - all were strict vegetarians, as they were created by God. 1:30

      "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." He purposefully designed a system that ensures the suffering and death of all his creatures, parasite and host, predator and prey. 1:31

      "A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads."
      Rivers generally don't split; they converge. 2:10

      God fashions a woman out of one of Adam's ribs.
      Because of this story, it was commonly believed (and sometimes it is still said today) that males have one less rib than females. When Vesalius showed in 1543 that the number of ribs was the same in males and females, it created a storm of controversy. 2:19

      All of the animals boarded the ark "in the selfsame day." 7:13-14

      "And the Lord smelled a sweet savor."
      Noah kills the "clean beasts" and burns their dead bodies for God. According to 7:8 this would have caused the extinction of all "clean" animals since only two of each were taken onto the ark. 8:20-21

      "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." Although this would have been good advice for the mythical Noah, it is deadly advice for humankind as a whole. Overpopulation is one of our greatest problems, yet there is nothing in the bible to address it. 9:1

      According to this verse, all animals fear humans. Although it is true that many do, it is also true that some do not. Sharks and grizzly bears, for example, are generally much less afraid of us than we are of them. 9:2

      "The whole earth was of one language." But this could not be true, since by this time (around 2400 BCE) there were already many languages, each unintelligible to the others. 11:1, 6

      "Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."
      God worries that people could build a tower high enough to reach him (them?) in heaven, and that by so doing they will become omnipotent. 11:4-6

      According to the Tower of Babel story, the many human languages were created instantaneously by God. But actually the various languages evolved gradually over long periods of time. 11:9

      "Abram ... pursued them unto Dan."
      This is an obvious anachronism, since the city of Dan was not named "Dan" until the time of the Judges (see Judges 18:29). In fact, Dan (for whom the city was named) was not even born yet (see Genesis 30:6). 14:14

      "And they returned to the land of the Philistines." But the Philistines didn't arrive in the region of Canaan until around 1200 BCE - 800 years after Abraham's supposed migration from Ur. 21:32, 26:1, 8, 15, 18

      Jacob displays his (and God's) knowledge of biology by having goats copulate while looking at streaked rods. The result is streaked baby goats. 30:37-39

      It took the Israelites 40 years to travel from Egypt to Canaan, yet such a journey, even at that time, would have taken no more than ten days. 16:35

      The Israelite population went from 70 (or 75) to several million in a few hundred years. 1:5,7, 12:37, 38:26

      Why are some people born with disabilities? Because God deliberately makes them that way. 4:11

      God led the Israelites through the land of the Philistines, hundreds of years before the Philistines were established in Canaan. 13:17

      If you do what God says, he won't send his diseases on you (like he did to the Egyptians). But otherwise.... 15:26

      "The manna referred to in the Bible, in Exodus 16:14, seems to have been the dried exc-re-ment of Trabutina mannipara, a scale insect that feeds on tamarisk trees." Benjamin B. Normark, The Se-x Lives of Scales, Natural History, Sept. 2004. 16:14-15

      "In six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them."
      Believers often say that the "days" of creation should be taken allegorically, but this verse is quite clear. God created the universe in six 24 hour days. 20:11

      Leviticus

      The bible says that hares and coneys are unclean because they "chew the cud" but do not part the hoof. But hares and coneys are not ruminants and they do not "chew the cud." 11:5-6

      Bats are birds to the biblical God. 11:13, 19

      Four-legged fowls are abominations. 11:20 Be sure to watch out for those "other flying creeping things which have four feet." (I wish God wouldn't get so technical!) I guess he must mean four-legged insects. You'd think that since God made the insects, and so many of them (at least several million species), that he would know how many legs they have! 11:23

      The Israelite population went from seventy (Ex.1:5) to several million (over 600,000 adult males) in just a few generations! 1:45-46

      When the tabernacle was set up, it was covered by a cloud during the day and by fire all night. 9:15

      God sends quails to feed his people until they were "two cubits [about a meter] high upon the face of the earth." Taking the "face of the earth" to be a circle with a radius of say 30 kilometers (an approximate day's journey), this would amount to 3 trillion (3×1012) liters of quails. At 2 quails per liter, this would provide a couple million quails for each of several million people. 11:31

      God strikes Miriam with leprosy. (In the Bible, leprosy is caused by the wrath of God or the malice of Satan. 12:10

      It took the Israelites 40 years to travel from Egypt to Canaan, yet such a journey, even at that time, would have taken no more than a few weeks. 14:33, 32:13

      God's cure for snakebite: a brass serpent on a pole. 21:8

      "He made them wander in the wilderness forty years."
      It took the Israelites 40 years to travel from Egypt to Canaan, yet such a journey, even at that time, would have taken no more than a few weeks. 32:13

      To the biblical God, a bat is just an another unclean bird. 14:11, 18 Bats are not birds.

      "And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron." 28:23

      "The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed." 28:24

      "An eagle ... beareth them on her wings."
      Do eagles carry their young on their wings? I know of no evidence (except for the single anecdote provided here) that they do. 32:11

      and on and on and on

      February 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      You left out the uncertainty priciple. The nuerons in your brain are controlled by elctric impulses, so electrons. Electrons are subject to the uncertainty principle, meaning your actions are subject to the uncertainty principle. So the actions dictated by your brain are not limited to simple newtonian mechanics.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ lunchbreaker
      That's not really what the uncertainty principle means... What the principle says is that the better you know a sub-atomic particles position, the less you'll know its momentum. Electrons are still bound by the same forces, its just harder to tell where they are or how fast their moving. Now there are things called virtual particles that appear to break the laws of physics based on this uncertainty principle but they break it every time and in a very (ironically) certain way.

      If you could know the position and momentum of an electron you would be able to see that they follow these laws just like any other particle. All the uncertainty principle says is that we can't know both of these values with absolute certainty.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Poll

      @I'm the Best!
      Here's a scientific argument, popular with Christians, that counters yours. It's called the Cosmological Argument.
      It states three things:
      1. Everything which begins to exist requires a cause.
      2. The universe began to exist.
      3. Therefore, the universe requires a cause.
      I could pick up from there, but again, it's fun to read the posts.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ poll
      I see no problem with that argument, the universe had to have a cause, sure. I can name a few theories, none of which involve a god. I have as much proof for my theories as you do for yours, but mine don't start with an eternal being which in itself is illogical. How could this being have always lived forever? And if he isn't eternal, what caused him to come into existence? The idea of a god doing it just raises more questions. Making the scientific theory the better of the two. But since there is no proof at all for either, its not really scientific evidence now is it?

      February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Poll

      @I'm The Best
      If you could, would you mind listing the alternate theories mentioned so we could go over them? And don't hold back on any questions, please.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Sure,
      String theory and brane theory state that there are multiple dimensions separated by branes. One theory is that two of these branes bounced off each other at one tiny point creating energy at that point to start the big bang.

      Another theory states that cause and effect are things bound to this universe meaning before the universe there was no cause and effect meaning a very dense, very energetic area could have just formed leading to the creating of the universe.

      I'm not a big fan of the second one, I feel like its kinda a cop out without coming up with something better. But there's two for you. But since there is little to no evidence for any of these claims, including the claim that god did it. It's not really a scientific argument. It's more just arguing which theory you like more.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @I'm The Best!: You said, "All the uncertainty principle says is that we can't know both of these values with absolute certainty."

      Jumping in late, but this is correct. Measuring the velocity or location of a particle will alter its velocity and location. That's where the uncertainty comes in.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Poll

      @ I'm The Best!
      String theory and brane theory totally lack evidentiary support. The collision of these "branes" is not theoretically observable or testable, and fails to explain the age of the universe(15 billion years), the cause of the dimensions' existence, let alone the "branes" somehow colliding with each other 15 billion years ago to form our universe, on and on and on.

      Imagine a giant lever that when pulled, the universe is created. There are three possibilities for the lever;|1. It may never be pulled, so that no universe is created; 2. It may be pulled from eternity(i.e. the lever is always down);3. It may be pulled at a certain time, say, 15 billion years ago.| Option 1 is false because the universe exists. Option 2 is theoretically possible, but it would result in an eternally existing universe, which has been demonstrated to be false. This leaves Option 3. How could this lever be pulled down after waiting for an eternity at a certain time? Let us postulate a Rude Goldberg machine, in which an extraordinarily complex chain reaction lasting trillions of years leads to the eventual pull of the lever. Could this explain the origin of the universe, in theory? No, because even an extremely long Rude Goldberg machine would not cause the universe to be created a finite time ago. From the standpoint of eternity, a machine that takes up 10 trillion years has no effect. Infinity – 10 trillion = Infinity. There is simply no way for the machine to effect the infinity. Thus, even a Rude Goldberg machine lasting 10 trillion years would result in Option 2, which is untenable. Thus, a personal agent with the free decision to create the universe (or, to follow the example, pull the lever) is required.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Apologies, what I meant to refer to was quantum superposition. I mix those up all the time. Accoring to this principle, instead of electrons orbiting around a nucleas, they exist in ALL possible combinations of position and momentum simultaneously until they are observed. It's similar to the "many worlds" idea. So it's not that we lack the knowledge to know the newtonion motion of subatomic particles, they don't behave that way.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Poll: You said, "Thus, a personal agent with the free decision to create the universe (or, to follow the example, pull the lever) is required."

      Even were I to accept this as the only possibility (I don't), we're still not remotely close to equating your "personal agent" with the Christian god.

      If you want to use this as an argument for deism, you might have more luck. The attributes you've assigned to the Abrahamic god make it logically untenable. Free will cannot coexist with an omniscient, omnipotent, infallible god. Short of redefining those words or redefining your god, they cannot be reconciled without contradiction.

      And if your god is truly "beyond comprehension," then why should I give a shit about it? Horrible waste of time.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      There are 2 possibilites for the formation of the universe:

      1. The universe was always there.
      2. God was always there and created the universe

      Neither theory holds more merit than the other, other than that the 1st statement makes fewer assumptions. Stating that the universe had to have a beginning does not exempt you from explaining the existance of God.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ poll
      Not necessarily.a new universe could be created every so often. Which could be from these branes bouncing around or from your rude Goldberg machine example. And I realize that there is no evidence for these branes to exist, but there is equally no evidence for your god to exist. So logically the better of the two theories would be the branes because it doesn't involve a free-floating conscious that can live for eternity.

      But, like I said before, this is still not a legitimate argument for or against god because none of these theories contain any real scientific facts. If brane theory had been proven then I could use the argument against god but other than that this is just us arguing which one we think makes more sense

      February 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @I'm The Best!: You said, "If brane theory had been proven then I could use the argument against god but other than that this is just us arguing which one we think makes more sense"

      M-theory wouldn't disprove god. It would simply shift the discussion to "who created the membranes?"

      I should copyright the phrase "the clap of God" for t-shirts and stuff now.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ lunchbreaker
      I do like superpositon theory. I've also heard it called the quantum enigma. But that doesn't change the forces that act on atomic particles. They will still act exactly as predicted in a vacuum. The position and momentum of the electron holds no sway in what the atom that its circling does or even how it interacts with other atoms. This means my original point still stands that there cannot be such a thing as free will.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Poll

      @SeanNJ
      I never claimed that I could absolutely prove that the Christian God exists with reference to the Cosmological Argument. So, even if the argument leaves open the possibility of multiple gods, it is still successful. However, it could be argued on the basis of Ockham’s Razor that we should consider it more likely that one God is responsible for the creation of the universe rather than many gods. So, we are still compelled to believe in the existence of one God on the basis of the Cosmological Argument.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ SeanNJ
      Is buy one of those.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Sorry, 'I'd'. Stup.id autocorrect

      February 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Poll: You said, "I never claimed that I could absolutely prove that the Christian God exists with reference to the Cosmological Argument"

      Then I made a poor assumption that you were heading in that direction, however, in my defense, you did ask for evidence against the Christianity in your original post. I thought you would make an attempt to tie it all together.

      And Occam's Razor would be even better served with zero gods, instead of one.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @poll
      But ockham's razor would suggest no god, not one. It's simpler suggesting there was no cause and effect and it just happened on its own. The idea that even one god was there to do it complicates the theory

      February 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Best, That may hold for atoms in a vacuum, but not for individual electrons on the nuerons in your brain. It's about the effect of those electrons on your brains decision making process.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Poll

      @ I'm The Best
      As previously explained, the universe began with a cause, not a random *JUST HAPPENED POOF*. It has an age, roughly 15 billion years, that disproves the theory of an eternal universe. So what turned the universe?
      At least three characteristics of God line up perfectly and essentially with the necessary characteristics of the First Cause, including the all-important attribute of being a personal agent with free will capacities. We are forced to conclude that God is the only reasonable solution to the question of why the universe exists, if in fact the three premises of the Cosmological Argument are valid. It is unscientific and illogical to state that the universe "just happened" with no follow-up explanation.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @lunchbreaker: You said, "Best, That may hold for atoms in a vacuum, but not for individual electrons on the nuerons in your brain. It's about the effect of those electrons on your brains decision making process."

      I think what Best is trying to say is electrons will still act as electrons regardless of their underlying quantum makeup. I see no reason to think that electrons are going to behave differently when my neurons fire than, say, when I throw a light switch in my house.

      With all due respect to Shroedinger and his cat, while I understand that quantum mechanics describes extraordinarily weird things, in a practical sense and at some sort of "aggregate" level, particles still behave reliably regardless of any indeterminate quantum state. It almost seems like a red herring.

      Yes, I'm an atheist that's also a fatalist. Go figure.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Poll: You said, "It is unscientific and illogical to state that the universe "just happened" with no follow-up explanation."

      At the risk of stepping on his toes and answering for him, I'm fairly certain that's not what he meant even if it was phrased that way.

      The correct answer is "we don't yet know." Why is that answer insufficient, and why are you so eager to stop looking for a better one?

      February 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ Poll
      I have also head the theory that the universe has always been and just expands and contracts regularly leading to the illusion of a universe that came from an infinitesimal point because we're currently in the expanding phase of this. That is also a solution that I believe to be simpler than the thought of a supreme being.

      @ lunchbreaker
      What SeanNJ said is basically the point I was trying to get across. Just because it's happening in your brain doesn't mean it's going to act any differently. You won't be able to make a decision and therefore have an electron move one way rather than another. It's always going to go that way so you never really could have made a decision in the first place because no matter what it was going to move that way.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ SeanNJ
      that is what I meant that it came out of nothing. I was just throwing it out because I have heard it as a theory, I don't much like it because it's not really a good explanation but I am saying that it's simpler than the idea of a supreme being doing it and therefore the better theory because of Occam's Razor. I was just trying to make a point

      February 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      1st, we know lvery little of how nuerons actually create the reality we percieve and act within, I won't even pretend to have a clue about that. But that leaves uncertainty (no pun intended) as to the role electrons play in your consciencesness, and therefore decision making process. now I'm not arguing for free will, just the possibility of either every possible choice affected by quantum uncertainty may occur (multiple universes, keep in mind that only applies to sub atomic particles) or we make a certian choice accur by simply observing. In case anyone is wondering I'm not arguing for thiesm, just like reading about theoretical physics. key word: theoretical. I don't necessarily think these theories are correct. I have enjoyed the input.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ Lunchbreaker
      I see what you're getting at. I enjoy theoretical physics too. I guess a better way to get my argument across is with an example. If you see an event transpire, the energy from the event (the light it gave off, the sound of it, the smell, the feel) is just going to charge some of the atoms in your body which will follow their path to the brain and it will charge it in such a way that it will follow a set path and give a set output (you ducking, or saying hi, depending on the event).

      Another way to think about it is this: Say someone is standing in front of you with his hands in clenched presenting them to you and asks you to pick a hand and you pick left. If you could go back in time to a few seconds before you chose the hand but you don't remember doing it the first time and your thought processes are just where they left off. So you have a few seconds there before you choose again. Your thought processes will follow the same pattern that they did the first time and you will once again pick the left hand. Since you will always pick the same hand in that scenario, did you ever really have a choice to begin with?

      February 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      well I'm done for the night, if you guys want to pick up in tomorrows speed read I'll probably jump in at some point.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  4. Query

    So let's say that Santorum wins and immediately begins his religious rampage and violates every bit of the Consttution he can get at – just like Bush did.

    What will religious people do about it?

    A:
    Nothing. They don't understand what "Supreme Law" means when stated in the Consttution and wouldn't agree with it anyway – their "supreme being" will tell them when its okay to kill and when to violate any real-world laws – they might even have visions and see portents everywhere. Look! A sign of the End Times! Kill a non-believer today!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • V.R.

      Just by reading this post, I can tell you know nothing about the Bible or it's contents, so until you take the time to research what you are arguing against, don't comment.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  5. GOD

    Whoever proves I exist will be a trillionaire and boss of the world – guaranteed!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • V.R.

      *proves I do not exist

      February 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  6. just sayin

    They are standing on guard in prayer, it is philosophical,way over the head of someone from NJ, bypasses sad goes way beyond pathetic even

    February 9, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mind translating this gibberish into something resembling English, justlyin'?

      February 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Completely understandable to me are you from New Jersey Tom?

      February 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  7. captain america

    As much as liar prevails would give me extra credit, i do not post the canadian anthem, I do recognize it as a canadian prayer, it is theirs not ours. God bless America .There's your sign

    February 9, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • captain america

      Amerikkka Uber Alles!
      Ja, I am a Naz . . . uh, a nationalist!
      Heil Limbaugh!

      February 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  8. I'm The Best!

    I have a question for all the theists, and this is a real question and one of the main reasons I'm an atheist so if you can give a good logical answer I may convert.

    How does god create miracles? And I mean scientifically. Our universe is bound by physical laws that we can't break and we have never once seen been broken. For god to have any influence on us, he would have to break these laws. So why haven't we ever seen any of these laws be broken? And since this is the only way he can interact with us, shouldn't someone be able to scientifically prove that he exists?

    February 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Brad

      Miracles are, by some definitions, simply unlikely or "wonderful" events brought about by God. I would go further. A miracle is something that is impossible that is caused to happen by God. A miracle goes against physical laws and displays God's mastery over reality. Everything that we can do is constrained by physical laws which are immutable to us because we are confined to reality. We do not have any means of altering or interrupting reality, so we have no means of creating miracle-like events to observe or study. BTW – I have never experienced a miracle nor do I know anyone who has.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      But that's my point, we can't do it, but supposedly god can. So if god exists, and interacts creating miracles, then these events that break the laws of physics should be able to be studied and therefore proving without a doubt that god does exist. But these events don't happen. Everytime someone claims a miracle has happened, it can always be explained by the physical laws that run our universe. Never once has a true miracle been docu.mented by a reputable source.

      The whole idea of god just doesn't make since to me.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Chuckles

      I know you asked theists, but I wanted to add my two cents, in part because I heard a story about a "miracle" that struck a chord with me in terms of the fundamental differences of what I would except to be in the form of a miracle vs. what theists believe a miracle to be.

      My friend's "miracle" was this: We were on a road in the eastern plains when our car broke down. We were stranded for a little and was waiting for a tow to come when my friend started to get thirsty. Neither of us had anything to drink and the longer we waited, the more impatient and whiney he got. I wouldn't say he necessarily was praying in the strictest sense but he kept saying "Dear god, I'm so thirsty, please give me water" and other such nonsense, and then probably 15 minutes later on a clear blue sky day, clouds appeared and the rain just started pouring. after maybe another 15-20 minutes the rain moved on.

      Now, he'll tell you and anyone else that asks that this was clearly a miracle. I'm more dubious for a couple of reasons. First, it isn't uncommon in Colorado for inclement weather to move in and move out quickly. In one day I've seen 70's and sunny, whiteout conditions, some sleet and then the temp climbing back to 60's before nightfall. Second, he was not in any mortal danger and the rain that came only gave him a little water. You can see from a theist perspective that this could be considered a miracle. He was thirsty, he asked god for water and god provided by making it rain. From my perspective (and I'm as.suming yours as well), he was thirsty, then it rained and he was less thirsty and none of this required god to make it happen.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Also, many alleged miracles are just urban legend hearsay. Never offer me "proof" that starts with "I heard about this guy...". Once a Catholic told me about a priest who was shot and his crucifix blocked the bullet. 1st, had that actually happened it is explainable by physical law. But you can tell more by asking for details. What was the priest's name? What church was he from? Since this was a crime, produce a police report. He had no answer.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • J.W

      Well sometimes there are strange occurrences that you may not notice because they happen so fast. For instance, sometimes someone may get in a terrible car accident but not be hurt at all, or get shot in the head and make a full recovery.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I guess that's why I'm an atheist, I see these "miracles" and I think physics and nature whereas a theist would see god. And that's just ridiculous to me.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Sue

      J.W, funny how those "strange occurrences" get more rare, more obscure, and harder to get at to investigate, as science progresses.

      In my lab, we call your silly beliefs "woo woo".

      February 9, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ jw
      Those instances may be uncommon but there isn't anything supernatural about them. Odds are against a bullet going through a brain and not doing enough damage to kill someone but it does happen. You're confusing statistical possibilities with miracles. That's at least the way I see it.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      But why are either of those things actually miracles? Why not give credit to the car makers who spend day after day trying to create a car for that specific purpose, to completely demolish a car and still have an unhurt individual inside. As for being shot in the head and making a recovery, give credit to the doctors and medics who come onto the scene and keep the person alive long enough to save them.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Brad

      If you do experience something that simply cannot be anything other than a suspension of physical laws, or is impossible for some other reason, you might want to reconsider the existence of God. It's good to be open-minded.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • J.W

      Sue come on now. I know you aren't a scientist. You don't have to pretend to be something you are not. Plus what you are saying actually would supports the idea of miracles. If science can explain more but there are still things science can't explain, then it would be more likely that it would be a miracle.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • J.W

      That's true but usually when a bullet goes through someone's brain they wouldn't even make it to the hospital. They would drop dead right there. But if they not only make it to the hospital, but then recovery from it, that seems to me almost statistically impossible. And as far as the car accident it would depend on each individual accident I guess. Some cars are better than others.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Brad: You said, "If you do experience something that simply cannot be anything other than a suspension of physical laws, or is impossible for some other reason, you might want to reconsider the existence of God."

      I've yet to see anything fitting that description, nor has anyone else I gather. That's a very, very, very tall order.

      @J.W: You said, "If science can explain more but there are still things science can't explain, then it would be more likely that it would be a miracle."

      The shrinking of the gaps doesn't make it more likely that god inhabits the spaces that are left. It just means we don't have a complete explanation yet. At no point will a scientist ever stop and say, "I'm done looking. Must be god."

      February 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      Depends on a lot of things when someone fires a gun and it hits them in the head. Look at Gabby Giffords, she got shot in the head and is basically making full recovery, but it was because the bullet to go right in, but hit at an angle, or something (I'm not well acquainted with the details of the wound), but the point is, being shot in the head has as many details as a car accident and depends on a lot of factors. In any event, those two occurrences like I'm the Best pointed out is just playing statistics. If you know there is statistical probability that a person getting into a car crash or getting shot in the head can survive and make a full recovery, then at one point it's going to happen, god need not be involved.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • J.W

      Well I think the nature of the field of science is that there has to be a natural explanation for everything. The job of a scientist is to find that natural observable explanation. It would almost be like the scientists would be admitting defeat if he said that things had a supernatural cause. I am just saying it is not necessarily completely illogical to believe in a cause that is something supernatural.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • J.W

      Actually I am coming up with a question related to this I think. I just need to think about how I want to word it. I will think about it some more. Maybe it will be tomorrow's question lol.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @J.W: You said, "I am just saying it is not necessarily completely illogical to believe in a cause that is something supernatural."

      I disagree. If supernatural forces could simply alter the natural world at a whim, it would make it awfully hard to function on a day-to-day basis. Scientific explanations would fail to exist for anything at all, because they would all be carrying around an asterisk.

      * subject to the whims of supernatural beings

      The more likely scenario is that any supernatural beings don't affect the natural world at all; and miracles are merely misunderstood natural phenomena or rare, statistical outliers.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Chuckles

      Here's what I don't understand:

      Why do a lot of theists hold up rare statistical outliers as proof of a supernatural being because of its rarity? It's like when Chad says how improbable it would be for life to start on earth and use the odds against it as evidence that it can't be true. Why does something become supernatural just because the odds of it occurring naturally are really low?

      February 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Sue

      J.W, you have erroneously conflated miracles and unexplained occurences. That's stupid.

      And actually, I am a scientist. So piss off, ignoramus.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Sue: J.W is actually one of the decent posters. Cut him a little slack.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • J.W

      But what if something occurred that could not be easily explained by science, but things like that almost never happened, and we didn't even notice them when they did happen. Would it still have just as much affect on the order of the natural world?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • J.W

      Well Sue if you could type an intelligent post every once in a while maybe I would believe you. Honestly most of the atheists on here I consider very intelligent and they could just tell me they were a scientist and I would believe them. But I am not sure that I believe you. I just think you want to make it look like you are smarter than the theists.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @J.W: You said, "But what if something occurred that could not be easily explained by science, but things like that almost never happened, and we didn't even notice them when they did happen. Would it still have just as much affect on the order of the natural world?"

      I hope that wasn't the question you were trying to craft. lol

      Are you asking if something happened that was very rare that nobody saw that didn't affect anything in any noticeable way should be considered a miracle?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • J.W

      lol no Sean that wasn't the question I was trying to craft. What I meant was that if you are driving and a car come towards you head on, and you turn out of the way so fast that your car should roll over, but instead it just skids and comes to a stop, that could be considered a miracle, but you wouldn't even think about that most likely. Chances are anyone who that happened to would just be relieved they avoided the wreck and wouldn't think another thing about it. You had argued that if a supernatural force altered our natural laws it would completely disturb the natural order of things, but my question was what if these occurrence were very rare, and things like I mentioned above. Would you still argue that it would disturb the natural order, or could things like that still occur, and the world would be the same? I hope it sounds better that way.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ J.W.
      Interesting, it really depends of how god does this whether or not it would disturb the natural order of things. Bit, that being said, if anyone looked into this event they would be able to tell that the laws of physics had not been upheld coming back to the fact that if god exists, there should be scientific evidence somewhere that proves this. And there simply isn't.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      If something that was percieved to be a miracle did occur, why is necessary to assume it was God? If we are basing how we interpret the cause of a miracle based on literature, instead of going to the Bible, how about a comic book? Individuals with super powers are just as likely to be the cause.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @J.W: You asked, "Would you still argue that it would disturb the natural order, or could things like that still occur, and the world would be the same?"

      Yes, it would disturb the natural order. Physical laws are considered laws for a reason: they operate the same way every time, without fail.

      Now, the example you gave is far too mundane to even be discussed in the light you'd like to cast it. The probability of rolling the vehicle under those circumstances is based solely on your perception of its likelihood, and wouldn't ever be considered remotely close to miraculous. The reason is because we have yet to definitively show that miracles occur. It's the same flawed logic that "ghost hunters" use when they walk around with electromagnetic field detectors. Just because you've detected an unexplainable electromagnetic field doesn't even imply let alone prove a ghost is there, because nobody has shown that a) ghosts exist or b) they generate electromagnetic fields. It becomes a case of wishful thinking: this happened, I can't explain it adequately, so this is what I want it to be.

      But, let's for a moment entertain the thought that we can faithfully recreate the exact physical circumstances of that occurrence and in every single case, the car rolls over contrary to your experience. If we could definitively say there was a violation of some law of classical mechanics, such as friction or angular momentum, then we have an enormous problem on our hands. Would you be the least bit comfortable using...well....anything that was engineered that relied on one of those laws being 100% true? Do you think that anything else that demanded that things behave in that manner would be designed or built? If the only explanation you can provide is "god did it," then where do we find the confidence to do anything or explain anything when it can be changed without warning and without reason?

      To be honest, I think this also illustrates why creationists/ID proponents/global warming deniers somehow think their ideas have merit: they simply don't understand just how sure a scientist has to be before they'll say, "I'm sure this is true."

      February 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 9, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      yep, we got that...delusions of grandeur are your only hope for surviving this world.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • O Canada

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBoItR59REQ&w=480&h=360]

      February 9, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • 1 Timoth 2:1-4

      I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs."""~~~~

      February 9, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      gotta love the Anthem...the anthem that was introduced long after we were established as a Secular country and that uses the word 'god' that makes just spewin' think it is a prayer (just proves the delusions of this troll)...thank you just spewin' aka captain america for posting that song

      February 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • just sayin

      At the heart of the Canadian National Anthem is a prayer. "God keep our land..." The simple request honors and acknowledges God as Sovereign and available to provide for all true hearted Canadians

      February 9, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @just sayin: And then the rest of the song is spent "standing on guard" because the prayer isn't expected to work.

      You're not very bright. It's sad.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • A Little Help

      French-speaking Canada doesn't have that problem. Translated, the French lyrics are

      O Canada!
      Land of our forefathers,
      Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
      As is thy arm ready to wield the sword,
      So also is it ready to carry the cross.
      Thy history is an epic
      Of the most brilliant exploits.
      Thy valour steeped in faith
      Will protect our homes and our rights
      Will protect our homes and our rights

      There is still a Christian reference, but the lyrics can't be taken as a prayer.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • just sayin

      Canadians stand on guard in prayer, it is philosophical, way beyond the grasp of someone from NJ, way past sad and even below pathetic.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • just wondering

      Did someone just poke a frog in the ass with a stick?

      February 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @just sepwin aka captain america: it is the same old boring rhetoric...who the hell cares if that is what you believe it to be? The fact remains that this is a secular country, much like your country is secular...go anywhere in this world and you will find some god loving freak who believes prayer is useful. I am proud to be Canadian and thus I stand for that anthem.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • I wonder too

      Ai-je entendu un idiot?

      February 9, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      juste dire est stupide

      February 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.