March 11th, 2012
01:20 AM ET
My Take: Jesus would be OK with card counting
Editor's Note: David Drury is featured in the documentary "Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians” and is writing a book about his card-counting adventures.
By David Drury, Special to CNN
(CNN)–“Shackled by a heavy burden/'neath a load of guilt and shame/ then the hand of Jesus touched me/ and now I am no longer the same.”
So begins the popular William Gaither hymn. By popular, I mean Elvis once recorded a version of it, which is what it takes for a hymn anymore.
When I stumbled into a church on the outskirts of Las Vegas one Sunday morning in 2007, I was shackled with my own heavy burden of sorts. I had $80,000 in cash hidden on my person. It was crammed into pockets, stuffed into socks and strapped beneath my clothes. The pastor was just getting his sermon fired up when I slipped into a back row with all the grace of a stiff-limbed Frankenstein.
So much for going unnoticed.
The pastor stopped midsentence and stared my way. Had he cleared his throat or even made an offhanded comment about punctuality, I would have understood. Instead, he called my first and last name into the microphone, and every head turned.
Believe it or not, I had never been to this church. While I traveled to Vegas often, my time was spent in casinos, not churches.
Blackjack is a beatable game. With card counting, perfect decision-making and plenty of capital, you can gain and cash in on an advantage against the house. East Coast college students, known as the MIT Team, used the method to plunder casinos in the 1980s and 1990s, inspiring books and movies and making card counting famous. But people have been employing this winning strategy in casinos for 50 years.
A card counter assigns a value to every card as it is dealt out of the shoe. This creates a running count that always changes and allows a player to determine when a statistical advantage falls to him or her, by virtue of more aces and face cards than usual being poised to appear. More faces mean the dealer will bust more often.
More aces mean more natural blackjacks, which pay the player at a higher rate. A card counter keeps bets low when the casino has the statistical advantage and raises them high when the advantage shifts to them.
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When I lost my Seattle office job in 2006, this was the strange career path down which I found myself traveling. I was not alone.
It started when I met a guy at church named Ben. He had made a small fortune counting cards. Ben was putting a team together comprising people he’d found through mostly church connections — pastors, worship leaders and students of theology. This was the team I trained for and joined. As card counters, our common faith was incidental, but as team members it held us together.
We took our craft to casinos, from Vegas to Atlantic City to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Bremerton, Washington. We won millions of dollars. The money was not funneled into any ministry or religious consortium.
Instead, the winnings were split between those who invested in the operation, those who managed the team - which ran between 10 and 25 players – and the players, who didn’t risk any of their own money at the tables. As a player I made what amounted to a modest annual salary with no financial risk and maintained, on average, a 10-hour workweek.
We returned home with the gift of time to our ministries and families and, yes, to plenty of questions.
If the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, as the Bible suggests, what business did a bunch of Christians have throwing around big money on a game of chance? For us, chance had nothing to do with it.
To count cards is to remove the gamble. Anything can happen in one hand or on one night, but slowly, over time, the advantage you earn by executing perfect playing decisions and betting according to your advantage bears itself out. Playing the stock market is much more of a gamble.
Yes, money is attractive, and we dealt with a lot of it. Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. You can’t withdraw $50,000 from a casino ATM and it can take a half -day of red tape to get as much out of an account at a big bank. Our assets had to be liquid.
Until we had the better sense to put it in safety deposit boxes, we kept our cash in freezers and under mattresses. For our investors and for tax reasons, we were tasked with reporting our wins and losses accurately, but at any time any one of us could have pocketed thousands without a hint of suspicion.
While we were left to weigh our own motives, as a team we were forced to trust one another with money that could have collapsed the business if it ever went missing.
We were an uncommon fellowship, to be sure. But while we never claimed a full understanding on how God viewed our activities, I felt that he never left the room. He was ever present in our musings, discussions and deliberations. With the math on our side, we took confidence in the fact that that we lacked any of the traits of wild gamblers. But were we deceptive by hiding our intentions at the tables? Were we providing a service to the world by playing a card game? The answers varied.
Which is worse? To declare your path the righteous one and retire all questions of God’s will to the back of your mind, or to seek them out?
We chose the latter, engaging the hard questions as they arose rather than pretending to corner the market on righteousness. We wrestled with them in a way that we came to know intimately the stink of our own individual natures. But there was something pure born out of abandoning an easy, comfortable existence for a true fellowship with my teammates that came with plenty of hard questions.
Casinos have a dubious reputation as the gateway to vice and temptation. I think that’s unfair. I had Internet access and a bar around the corner from my home, so the casinos never represented any particular threat to my morality I didn’t already have at my fingertips.
Maybe that day I stumbled into that Las Vegas-area church I was looking for a familiar face in a strange town. For all the secrecy and questions, maybe I was looking for a little validation, too. I knew two of the pastors on staff because they had served at the church of my childhood.
One of those pastors was at the pulpit that day. He called my name out when he recognized me. After the service I had a brief conversation with the other in the church lobby.
“What brings you to Las Vegas?” he asked.
“I’m on a card-counting team.”
“Well, God can change anyone.”
What? I thought.
“I know a young man,” he said, “who came to Las Vegas for a dodgeball tournament. Now he’s on staff with us. Who knows what God has in store for YOU?”
This man of the cloth had essentially stuffed the cloth right in my mouth, as if to say that even I could be saved from whatever silly game I was playing. But he needn’t have tossed me a lifeline because I didn’t need saving.
Engage me. Ask the hard questions. Be confounded as I am confounded. But don’t write me off. We are all in the water together. Faith is a journey, and God calls us into relationship.
I remember a man at my table once who was furious with the aggressive way I was playing. “A fool and his money are soon parted,” he said in a huff. For six years I stood ready as ever to be the fool. But me and the money, by way of card-counting wins, never parted.
The team ended with the making of a documentary about our journey. My blackjack career ended with it. I have taken to writing my tales in the hopes of forging a new journey that doesn’t involve stacks of cash. I guess I am a gambling man after all.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Drury.
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.
IN GOD WE TRUST
Too bad I don't get it 🙁
Too bad you're a d-bag.
Physics, mathematics, science and logic all point to no god existing. Just because when you think about your god you get an imbalance of chemicals in your brain, that is not proof. The fact that theists use this to justify bigotry and creating legislature against people who don't believe as they do is terrible and must be stopped. Fight to keep religion out of our government in 2012.
Yeah Yeah.... you sound exactly like Joseph Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
Please seek a pshychology
What the hell is pshychology?
The gods of all organized religions, if true, would all be horribly unjust and evil deities to send billions of people to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong one or being born in the wrong place. Looking at organized religion objectively, they are myths from stone age societies that were trying to explain the world, and there is virtually no chance any one is truth.
Rationally speaking if there is a just god and an afterlife, you will be judged on how you lived your life. Rejecting reason and deluding yourself in blind faith does not help your case.
Please reference when and where any of those leaders ever said anything like that. And it's not a *pshychology*, it would be psychologist. Are you really as stupid as you sound ? You do your cult no good, making yourself look THAT dumb.
I'm just saying out of the government, let everyone live as equals like this nation was initially founded to do. Mao et.all want it out of their country because it poses a threat to their power. I'm not looking for communism, just a secular nation. Completely different ideas. Please seek an education.
ITB- "Fight to keep religion out of our government in 2012."
I'm not sure how realistic it is to hope that religion will play no part in government when so many of the candidates and office-holders profess deep religious faith. But I agree. Just as science is properly atheistic, government of a diverse society should be secular so long as it operates according to a set of moral standards that serves everyone. We should work toward a minimal system that provides for peace, order and equal recourse to the law.
"Yeah Yeah.... you sound exactly like Joseph Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
Please seek a pshychology"
Good God. And people like this one can vote.
the U.S. is a Christian nation with freedom of religion. Period.
Nope. The fact that a majority of people are Christian doesn't make this any more a Christian nation than it is a "male" nation because a majority of its citizens are male, or a white nation because a majority of its citizens are white.
Stop trolling, dolt.
– Christmas is a federal holiday, Good Friday in 13 states, Easter is recognized as flag day (No other religions have their holidays recognized).
– All presidents swear on the bible, and all presidents have been Christians (Only few Deists back then).
– We use the Gregorian/Christian calendar, not any Islamic or Hebrew or Chinese etc.
– IN GOD WE TRUST is our motto.
– Courts have the 10 commandments from the bible hanged on the wall
– Blue laws in some places.....
"hanged on the wall" ?? Ok we get it. St. Louis did not graduate 3rd grade. OK. Next.
Yeah, and the troll is responding to its own posts-Agnostic Lady and Saint Louis Retard are the same dumbazz.
Agnostic lady/St Louis resident = captain america/just sayin
Another "loving"... "Christian"...
Ask the Native People about “Christian love”.
You know nothing of God.
You only believe in your "concept" of God.
Saint Louis resident,
"America IS a CHRISTIAN nation.... God is mentioned several times,"
FACT: The words "God, Jesus, Christ, Christian, Bible", etc. are NEVER mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or, more importantly, in our Consti-tution.
It is mentioned several times. Stop being arrogant and believe in that.
http://www.usc o n s t i t ution.net/states_god.html
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ (Remove space)
"It is mentioned several times. Stop being arrogant and believe in that."
Article 9, Part 2, Section 3:t 2, Section 3:
... in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-one ...
Chapter 5, Section 1, Article 1:
Whereas our wise and pious ancestors, so early as the year one thousand six hundred and thirty-six, laid the foundation of Harvard College, in which university many persons of great eminence have, by the blessing of God, been initiated in those arts and sciences, which qualified them for public employments, both in church and state: and whereas the encouragement of arts and sciences, and all good literature, tends to the honor of God, the advantage of the Christian religion, and the great benefit of this and the other United States of America ...
Article 9, Section 2 (Denial of Office):
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.
Look at the website!!,
I said the Consti-tution, meaning the U.S. version.
Get serious. Do some research.
Martin, does the L stand for "Lunkhead"?
Oh, mercy me. So when someone says "bless you" after you sneeze, I guess you consider that proof God exists. And you do know that "Good bye" comes from the words "God be with you", don't you, nitwit?
Pretending that common usage of a word proves this is a Christian nation marks you as a complete idiot.
He was met with the response "We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus!".
Saint Louis resident,
The Massachusetts consti-tution is not the one that rules MY state.
I believe the U.S. is a Christian nation because Christmas is a federal holiday, Good Friday in 13 states, Easter is recognized as flag day (No other religions have their holidays recognized).
– All presidents swear on the bible, and all presidents have been Christians (Only few Deists back then).
– We use the Gregorian/Christian calendar, not any Islamic or Hebrew or Chinese etc.
– IN GOD WE TRUST is our motto.
– Courts have the 10 commandments from the bible hanged on the wall
Actually God is mentioned in U.S. const.itution....
So you're Agnostic Lady and Saint Louis Retard, apparently.
Citing an essay is not acceptable proof of anything except the fact that someone wrote an essay and posted a link to it.
"All presidents swear on the bible, and all presidents have been Christians (Only few Deists back then)."
FALSE. It is not a requirement and not ALL of them did.
"We use the Gregorian/Christian calendar, not any Islamic or Hebrew or Chinese etc."
Correct. We are current in the month of March, which is named in honor of Mars, the god of war.
– IN GOD WE TRUST is our motto.
From 1776 until 1956 the motto of the United States has been "E Pluribus Unum".
Not until the 1800s was "In God We Trust" first made part of the national consciousness – as part of Francis Scott Keys' "Star Spangled Banner".
It wasn't until the 1950s that "In God We Trust" was on US Currency. It was added in the mid 20th century as a reaction to the Cold War. Joe McCarthy had so often used the phrase "atheistic communism" that Christianity and capitalism had become conflated. During that same commie witch hunting era, references to God multiplied in America, IE: the phrase "under God" was added to the otherwise secular Pledge of Allegiance and "So help me God" was added as a suffix to the oaths of office for federal justices and judges.
I love it when teenagers are home from school. "Hanged on the wall."
The Love of many grow cold because they are thinking about tomorrow rather than today. If u can love your neighbor as yourself today, tomorrow will take care of itself. Why kill yourself with anxiety when you can live with emotional maturity and moral fulfilment. I love u as myself.
Nii, you have made many bitter attacks against others on the religion blog.
You do not exhibit love for others as yourself.
Only for the newbies:
Do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man or a card-counting follower would do or say?
There is only one place in the NT that suggests Jesus could read i.e. Luke 4:16. This passage is not attested to in any other NT passage or in any other related docu-ment making it a later addition or poor translation as per many NT scholars' analyses.
See also Professor Crossan and Professor Reed's book, Excavating Jesus, p. 30.
See also Professor Bruce Chilton's commentary in his book, Rabbi Jesus, An Intimate Biography, pp 99-101- An excerpt:
"What Luke misses is that Jesus stood in the synagogue as an illiterate ma-mzer in his claim to be the Lord's anointed".
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 878 page 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
"We do not grant this idea that the Bible cannot be considered a source of evidence for the existence of Jesus. " In that case, I can PROVE that Frodo really existed by using Lord of the Rings as absolute proof. Sorry.
To all of these people out here pretending to know for a fact that Jesus existed, lets hear your evidence of this "fact".
There is NO contemporary, extra-biblical evidence that a person named Jesus ever existed and performed the miracles attributed to him. NONE!
You totally sound like a zionist Jew....
If Jesus did not exist, he wouldn't be the most famous historic person today, and 2.3 billion Christians + 1.6 billion Muslims wouldn't believe in him. We cannot prove he was God, but we can tell he was an amazing person.
In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed, worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).
There is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and biblical history. Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the twelve apostles, were willing to give their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie.
Typically, when this question is asked, the person asking qualifies the question with “outside of the Bible.” We do not grant this idea that the Bible cannot be considered a source of evidence for the existence of Jesus. The New Testament contains hundreds of references to Jesus Christ. There are those who date the writing of the Gospels to the second century A.D., more than 100 years after Jesus' death. Even if this were the case (which we strongly dispute), in terms of ancient evidences, writings less than 200 years after events took place are considered very reliable evidences. Further, the vast majority of scholars (Christian and non-Christian) will grant that the Epistles of Paul (at least some of them) were in fact written by Paul in the middle of the first century A.D., less than 40 years after Jesus' death. In terms of ancient manuscript evidence, this is extraordinarily strong proof of the existence of a man named Jesus in Israel in the early first century A.D.
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 scholars 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 left 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.
"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 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
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 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 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.
10. 7. The Gnostic Jesus
Actually, as you probably know, there are several extra-biblical 1st and 2nd century references to Jesus. Scholarship is difficult when applied to any person or event of two thousand years ago. The question is, what are reasonable standards for accepting such early references? Should we apply special standards to accounts relating to Jesus?
"If Jesus did not exist, he wouldn't be the most famous historic person today, and 2.3 billion Christians + 1.6 billion Muslims wouldn't believe in him."
LOL Santa Claus doesn't exist yet I would be willing to bet Billions of people have heard of him. #youignant
"Should we apply special standards to accounts relating to Jesus?"
If you are going to claim Jesus is God then yes you should have special standards.....the first being that the stories told by different people of Jesus should coincide, when in fact they do not.
One needs to read the studies of contemporary historians and NT scholars to see how they decide the authenticity of historical events and passagess. Rigorous conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence. Professors JD Crossan and G. Ludemann's studies are top notch in this regard with respect to the NT.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
Said passage, as per many contemporary NT scholars, was not said by the historical Jesus. One reason for this conclusion is that it appears no where else in the scriptures.
Actually, all of John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.
From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,
"Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......
"Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus. "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous," and date it to 90-100."
"The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."
And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,
"Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "
See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html
Please note for example that the "raising" of Lazarus appears in only John's Gospel, the least historic of the four. Such an important event would have been noted in all the gospels and other related docu-ments from the time period.
What's most scary in this video is that woman having her PHD ... her speaking wasn't all that cohesive and she wasn't even able to win her point against the show host. Is that the quality of person the U.S. is giving PHD degrees to this day ? THAT is really scary !
What a strange and largely incoherent article. I'm not that concerned about the ethics of gambling or what role religion could/should/might play in it...I'm just puzzled by the lack of focus shown here. What exactly is the point of this piece? It doesn't really address any specific point or question, it just kind of wanders around aimlessly. If it's just meant to plug his book it doesn't really do a good job of it, and it certainly doesn't address the supposed moral crisis in any in depth way.
Prayers DO work. What Atheists don't know is that they think prayer do not work because God will not give them what they ask for since they don't believe and trust in God.
If you Atheists believed in God 100% from your heart, you would have seen that prayers do work. Look what happened in Southeast Asia last year and few years ago.... that's their punishment for not believe in God.
So all those Ja-panese babies didn't believe enough. What a crock.
I'm a believer, but I don't think God is in the business of bringing about catastrophes as punishment for people's unbelief. Natural disasters are a consequence of living in the natural world.
There is NO evidence at all that prayer to your god works more than praying to the milk jug in your refrigerator. NONE!
How dare you suggest that God punished an entire nation because you claim that they didn't pray. You cannot judge their hearts, and you do not know the reasons for God's actions.
We're not living out Old Testament anymore.
Seriously? Look how much your faith has caused you! You obviously have no compassion or humility left.
amazzing how many of you idiots fell for Grandma troll
If you've ever read the Old Testament then you'd realize that God punishes a lot of large groups of people for their uncleanliness and disbelief. That was the entire reason for the great flood. Those that think God is "all loving" and doesn't cause harm doesn't know the Christian God.
"Look what happened in Southeast Asia last year and few years ago.... that's their punishment for not believe in God." So it's 'believe in Me or I'll kill your babies?' God must be a monster. We need to figure out how to shoot it when it appears again to destroy our homes. There's no reasoning with it.
"Prayers DO work." SURE they do. I guess everyone killed by the recent tornadoes was an atheist?
@ Bible Clown ~~ Not to make light of something as tragic as an entire family perishing in a tornado (my sympathies for all affected)... BUT did anyone catch the news about the family who was huddled together praying when the tornado struck and killed all but one of them (the neighbor, actually). Again, really sad, but prayers didn't do a whole lot to change their unfortunate situation. Guess god was busy elsewhere. Actually, I think that was the same day he showed up on somebody's french toast....
Finally, an in-depth story on an important issue, reported in the narrative.
While I am atheist, I still put a lot of stock in morals and ethics. I believe that character is the true mark of a good person. To that end, I see no moral or ethical dilemma with regard to counting cards. While the "house" may not approve of counting cards, it is not cheating. A card counter doesn't somehow magically know what the next card in the deck will be. The card counter is simply keeping track of the changing statistical odds and taking advantage of those. It's hardly different than a basketball player choosing a 3 point shot over a safer layup; no different than an investor buying more oil futures because he has reason to believe the price of oil will rise.
Whether playing cards for money goes against your personal morals or ethics is a separate question. But when you are sitting at a table, there is nothing immoral or unethical about using the information you have at your disposal to decide whether you will bet more or less. As long as that information was not acquired through immoral means.
You should convert to Christianity... Jesus is our Lord and Saviour.
Yup, granny wants you to *say* you believe, even though you really don't She has a really dumb god.
Thank you. You prove the basic understanding that morals and ethics have nothing to do with religion. This is why we see religious zealots constantly doing immoral and unethical activities, but proclaim that since they're religious it must be OK. Bull. It makes me sick every time I hear someone say someone has high moral standards because they're religious. If that were true, we wouldn't have the priest scandals, and there would be very few wars.
I don't understand why Atheism exist? I don't get why Atheists don't want to be saved and convert to Christianity. It's the largest religion and Jesus Christ is proven. He died for our sins.
You cannot prove that God does not exist, so please shut up with your whining.
Whining ? And THAT'S *not* whining. It's not their fault you are too stupid to see your beliefs are founded in ignorance.
So at what point did "so please shut up with your whining" seem like the Christian thing to post?
Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. While I may not be able to conclusively prove there is no god, I can site numerous examples of science providing a better explanation that the idea of god – or Christianity. Furthermore, there is far more evidence there is no god, than there is evidence to support the idea of god.
Finally, the point you fail to understand is that being "saved" means nothing to someone who doesn't believe the idea is valid to begin with.
We don't understand why you can't just leave us alone. Stay the hell out of our lives and leave us alone.
You can't prove God exists just like atheists can't prove he doesn't. Apparently you missed that.
At least I'm on the comfortable side..... I cannot prove God does exist, however I can tell you that's what I believe and that God created the world. However, YOU atheists cannot tell me how you got here and how the universe what created 🙂
Actually, science can offer a reasonable explanation for most things that have happened from the big bang to now. While science can't provide all the answers (yet), the gaps in our knowledge are closing as we create better tools which allow us to study questions in greater detail.
The question of how the universe was created may never be satisfactorily answered because the evidence may not actually exist any more. However, simply attributing it to "god" only adds a level of complexity, rather than resolving the question. If you believe god created the universe, then you must also ask who or what created god. If you say that god has always existed, then why can't the same be said of the universe? As far as I'm concerned, it takes a much larger leap of faith to believe in a being of sufficient intelligence existing outside of the universe than to believe in the universe resulting from natural laws.
So she would rather make up a fable, and buy it, instead of studying Physics 101. No one can fix that sort of stupidity.
Being "comfortable" is better than being "true". Yeah. We get it. Sad.
Becuase it's the largest religion, it must be true?
Truth is not determined by consensus.
Who is to say that Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama aren't true gods?
How can the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, New Testament, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, or Revelation X be dismissed as Holy Books since they all claim to be The Truth?
If you're a Bible adherent, how do you know whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, oriental Orthodox, As.syrian, Byzantine, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Anabaptism, Brethren, Methodist, Pietism, Apostolic, Pentocostal, Charismatic, African Initiated, United, Quakers, Couthcotti.tism, Millerism, British-Isrealism, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, 7th day Adventism, Kelleyism, Co.oneyism, Shakers, Methernitha, Strigolniki, Yehowism, Christadelphians, Christian Science, doukhobors, Iglesia ni Cristo, Makuya, Molokans, Subbotniks, Ebionism, Martinism, Rosicrucians, Rastafarianism, Santo Daime, or Umbanda is the REAL interpretation of your God's words?
If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.
JazzyMom these heathens are just out to attack us. I have been personally attacked in these forums and called every name in the book. These people are all judgemental bigots!
SueEllen=JazzyMom=Grandma=St Louis Resident...I'm thinking there's two teenage girls and one PC and a lot of giggling. School got out early, right?
"which is what it takes for a hymn anymore"...It's "nowadays", or "these days", not "anymore." This is one of the worst grammatical errors currently making the rounds among tweens on the Internet. I had to skip the rest of the article once I read that line. It's bad enough that the writing of children on the net is barely readable; Do we have to endure it articles from a major news outlet as well?
I'm not a grammar police type but that one is a serious offense.
You done gots more gooder grammer then CNN.
Another believer in invisibile friends. I have an invisible friend to, I call it the Spaghetti Monster and Mr. Mushroom. When I was a kid, I had lots of these invisible friends; then I grew up and realized they didn't exist. I realize reality is very tough for some people, but it is still reality. Stop the god BS and get on with your real life.
You will go to hell unless you convert.... not too late
Post by MartinL is a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.
You should take a physics class. Then you'll realize that whether people, gods, etc., of any religious belief system "actually exist", the belief in them existing alone gives them no less of an existence than a physical body. Does the belief in the person/god/demigod/spaghetti monster affect reality? The answer is yes.
Christianity is the only truly religion... all others are fake and terrible. Proven.
If you want me to believe in your heaven and are trying to use Pascal’s Wager you are losing. In fact, if you want to use Pascal’s Wager YOU should be a musIim. Their heaven, getting 72 vir-gins, is much cooler than your heaven. Now if you really want the best deal then you should be a Pastafarian. The FSM heaven has a beer volcano and a stri-pper factory. And even if you don’t go there, their heII is the same as their heaven except the beer is flat and the stri-ppers all have V D.
Can I get a R’amen?
How has this been proven? I'm an atheist and if you have proof I will convert right now. Most atheists would. So please provide your proof.
I'm The Best! @ If you really believed in God for your heart 100% and prayed for good things, you would have known that God helped you. I promise that. There are many evidence that Jesus did exist. We believe in God, and we believe God created the earth. Whether it's true or not, it's what we believe and if God exist, I am the ones' being saved, not you. Christianity is also a comforting religion.
I don't know what you will loose by not being Christian
I can't just start believing. The whole idea of god just sounds dumb to me. Everything I've ever learned points to there being no god, and I grew up in a Christian home. I can't just start believing as much as you can just stop believing. But given enough proof, facts and logic, I'd believe. Can you say the same about not believing?
Ever see the Church Lady do the "superior" dance ? St. Louis is doing it.
It's just the moron just sayin. It's a yawn.
SANTORUM 2012........................................ Only way to make non-Christians more angry 🙂
I really hope Santorum becomes our new president... Obama is a closet non-Christian and very secular. I'm sick and tired of that BS 'seperation of church and state'. That never belonged to the U.S.! We are NOT Europe
secular country not christian country
Saint Louis retard: it's "separation".
Secularism belongs to Europe... We are not Europe
Go get an education :
There are no American patriots greater than the Founding Fathers. The Treaty with Tripoli, (1797), stands as a testament to those founders.
George Washington's administration wrote it and supported it, and by the time it was passed, John Adams was the President. It was read aloud in its entirety and passed by both houses of congress on June 7, 1797. The vote in both houses was unanimous. President Adams signed it into law. Here is the complete text of Article 11.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
In other words, according to a unanimous agreement of America's Founding Fathers, the USA is NOT, was NOT, nor ever intended to be, a Christian nation.
America IS a CHRISTIAN nation.... God is mentioned several times, and they mentioned our Lord when telling the year etc. etc.
Stop being ignorant and face the truth
They used "year of our lord" because that was the calendar that was being widely used at the time. As opposed to "the aztec year of..."
Stop being ignorant and face the truth. America never was a Christian nation.
Then why didn't they set up a State Church ? NOT.
The Gregorian/Western/Christian calendar is still used today; that's what we're using right now 🙂
2012.... approx. date Jesus was born according to Pope Gregory
They did not want to set up a 'state church' because they wanted freedom of religion, but that does not mean that God could not be mentioned anywhere. Our principals, holidays and culture are still from the Judeo-Christian belief and faith.
And there you have it. This is not a Christian nation. There is no state religion. None. It's a secular country.
Just because we have no state religion does not mean we are a secular nation. Our principals, laws, holidays etc. are based upon Judeo-Christian.
All of them? Don't think so. Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. Neither is Independence Day.
This is a secular nation. Theocracies require their citizens to adhere to religious beliefs and laws. Our nation does not do that.
You're full of crap, like most of the dim bulbs who make inane statements.
But you make a great piñata.
Bwahahhhahah! "Our principals..."
Send me a graduation announcement when you get through 8th grade, honey.
The principals of many schools are Jewish.
Oh, did you mean "principles"?
Not true,either. Our principles are found in codes that existed long before the Bible was written or Christianity was founded.
Try again, dear. You're doing SO well.
The founder of American Atheists who got rid of prayers from public schools in the 60s was kidnapped and murdered by another Atheist. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀
99 % of people in American prisons say they are Christian.
"He who laughs last, laughs best."
Don't give me any wikipedia or Atheistic website as a fake source
The results of the Christians vs atheists in prison investigation: Judeo-Christian Total 83.761% Atheist Total 0.209%
I wish all non-Christians died...... they will all go to hell anyway
a.s.s.h.o.l.e...it is your hell, you will be the one enjoying it for being a hypocritical a.s.s....god said do not judge...SINNER!!!!!
Well, honey, we ALL die. So you get your wish. Too bad you'll be in the ground right along with all the Jews, atheists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Mormons.
As for hell, there is no such thing.
Mormons are Christians your moron
Please explain how to "get there", and how long it will take.
You will see the day you die how it will be.... You still have time to convert
There have been numerous "Christians" who claim that Mormons aren't Christian. I don't really care either way.
Regardless, why would I want to "convert"? Who would want to spend any time with donkey-d!cks like you? Why would any sane person want to be anything like you?
When you die, the oxygen to your optic nerves will be cut off, and you will "see" nothing. So sad. Too bad. Try going to school for a week or two.
Ignorance abounds. Mormons do not believe in Original sin. They believe that the Trinity is a Council of Three. Hmm. Not "Christian".