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My Take: On gay marriage, Obama, Billy Graham, and a tale of 2 Christianities
President Obama cited his Christianity in explaining his support for gay marriage.
May 10th, 2012
11:41 AM ET

My Take: On gay marriage, Obama, Billy Graham, and a tale of 2 Christianities

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

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Not so long ago and not so far away, the culture wars stuck to a simple script.

On questions such as abortion, the Republicans would denounce the Democrats for preaching a "secular agenda." The Democrats would denounce the GOP for injecting religion into politics. Then, because the overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God, the Republicans would usually win.

Things today are more confusing, and more interesting.

After John Kerry’s defeat at the hands of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, the Democrats got religion. Nowadays they too present their public policy positions in moral and often biblical terms, describing the question of taxes, for example, as a matter of “fairness” and in some cases quoting from the Gospel of Luke (“Blessed are the poor.”)

Nowhere is this shift more stark than on the gay marriage debate. In a week that saw North Carolinians inject a gay marriage ban into their Constitution, the nation’s most celebrated preacher and the nation's most celebrated politician weighed in—as Christians.

In full-page ads in North Carolina newspapers, Billy Graham said, “The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman." In an interview yesterday with ABC’s Robin Roberts, President Obama said that when he and the First Lady “think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Both men ignored facts that did not support their cases. Graham did not mention the many cases of polygamy in the Christian Bible. And Obama ignored the many cases in which homosexuality (particularly male homosexuality) is denounced.

Two things are striking about this debate. The first is that both sides are now conducting it in religious terms. Whereas the GOP in prior culture wars was able to denounce the Democratic Party for pushing a “secular agenda,” now it is in the much more difficult position of claiming (as Rick Santorum did of Obama) that the left is preaching a “phony theology.”

Second, it is striking how closely this debate mirrors the slavery debate in antebellum America. Then, pro-slavery forces read key passages in the Bible in a "commonsense" manner and concluded that God was in favor of slavery. Meanwhile, anti-slavery activists, seeking after the "spirit" rather than the "letter" of the Biblical text, concluded that slavery flew in the face of both "love your neighbor" and the Golden Rule.

As Mark Noll argues in his book America’s God, the fact that the Bible seemed to most "commonsense" readers to support slavery brought on a crisis of authority that helped to produce what we now liberal Protestantism. Many American Christians at the time just knew slavery was wrong, so they learned to read the Bible in a different way.

We may be at a similar inflection point today. If you take a literal approach to the Biblical books and focus only at passages on sexuality, the Bible seems to support Graham. But if you focus on its broader message of love, it casts its vote for Obama.

As with slavery in the nineteenth century, public opinion in the twenty-first century is shifting rapidly on the gay marriage question, and not only among secular types. Billy Graham and other evangelicals who continue to insist that “the Bible is clear” in its opposition to gay marriage would do well to heed the lessons of America's most costly conflagration over race.

As they preach what they see as the "clear" meaning of scripture, they are not only swimming against the tide of history. They are putting their own religious tradition at risk.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Billy Graham • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Politics • Same-sex marriage • United States

soundoff (641 Responses)
  1. Bo

    To me it is strange that people have not caught on to politicians—politicans will say anything they think the greater number of people want to hear whether or not the politician really even cares about the issue. Politicians have no compunctions about telling lies. Winning is the goal no matter what.
    The Republicans believe that the greater majority of people are Christians and they will say what they think that majority wants to hear.
    Obama on the other hand has picked an issue that at the present time a lot of Americans are sympathetic with the LGBT. Even though the vast majority of Americans would not even think about engaging in same gender marriage they are split on the issue. I would guess that about half of the straights are sympathetic with LGBT community. I think the other half are split into those who could care less and those who will not budge in their opposition to the LGBT community.
    Even though I don't agree a lot with Obama, he has a very smart campaign manager, because they know even the Christian majority are split on this issue.
    DIVIDE AND CONQUER!

    May 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Obama was always pro-g.ay marriage. if he'd said that aloud, he'd have lost the election. public opinion has changed lately tho. not so much against g.ay marriage. Obama was going to come out in support of g.ay marriage in his 2nd term anyway, but biden forced the issue.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Referencing your first sentence, that applies to politicians claiming to be Christian. It is nearly imossible to get elected to a higher office if you are not Christian, so it is in every politicians best interest to say they are Christian even if they are not.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  2. J.R.

    Only 2 Christianities? Did this guy time warp from seconds after Luther put a nail in the curch door?

    May 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      No doubt.

      There are over 30,000 different flavors of xtianity. PIck your favorite delusion.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  3. TruthPrevails :-)

    These are the days when our local yo-cal xenophobic 'CA' can kiss my ass when he dares put down Canada. No offense to my wonderful neighbors but wow, listening to your politicians makes me thankful to live in a Socialist country.
    oh btw: if the republitard supporters on this board hate Obama that much, we'll gladly take him...his next 2 steps if he really wants to upset the masses will be to decriminalize pot and admit he's an Atheist.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      If he did that, he'd be one of the best troll presidents ever.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Crom

      To be honest, I think it doesn't matter if he is a closet atheist or not. It matters more, a great deal more, that he is willing to support equal rights and civil rights. If he gets his ideas about compassion from some Jesus illusion of a religious authority that proclaims love and equality to all humans, I'm good with that.
      It is only when a religious belief goes against equal rights for all and against equal rights to follow one's own 'legally supportable' ethical principles that we see these conflicts arise in the public square.
      The First Amendment is extremely important to protect us against the madness of religious people even as it allows them to worship freely as individuals. It is not a free pass to religious tyranny, whatever they may say about it.
      (and a big hello from a fan. You and AtheistSteve are my sort of people. D)

      May 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Crom: I couldn't agree more. I'm quite flattered and AtheistSteve is a terrific person that I am beyond fortunate to have in my life. (just to freak out the fundiots, since they already believe we're sinners: we're not married and we don't go to church but yet we're happy) All we really want to see is more minds opened and people to try to comprehend that the laws in their 2000 year old have no pertinence anywhere. I don't understand how they remain so blind when the facts and evidence is so abundant. The whole political circus in the States is just a little odd to us. Canada has its own problems but thankfully equal rights across the country is not one of them.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Crom

      @TruthPrevails
      Equal rights is still a problem in Canada. But not to the extent it is here in the US.
      There's more to equal rights than just marriage equality, if that's what you meant.
      Canada has plenty of oppressive thugs in law enforcement, oppressive laws, wacky right-wing politicians who should never have been allowed to run for office, etc.
      But I'm glad it's nicer than Mexico there. Have a great day, eh? I'm not able to post much today. tl;dr f m l

      May 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  4. Snow

    If they are so devout and follow the word of bible so closely, I would like to see any christian push for a consti.tutional amendment banning divorce or making adultery punishable by law.

    But I am sure no christian would support such amendment. Why? even though their god commands/demands them in the same book, they would not support it, because it effects them directly. Hypocritical cowards who only want to push morality laws that effects others.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      “banning divorce”, except for the cause of fornication.

      “making adultery punishable by law”, except the punisher must be sinless.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Robert – “making adultery punishable by law”, except the punisher must be sinless.

      I don't follow. We punish millions of Americans by imprisoning them. Yet we do not require that the correctional officers be sinless. Why would you single out adulterers?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • momoya

      Snow's point still stands: Christians aren't pushing for "no-divorce-except-in-infidelity" laws as they should if the truly cared about the legal system following god's laws as they pretend when it comes time to acknowledge other unions/partnerships.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "“making adultery punishable by law”

      This makes sense, how? Are you not aware that your countries prisoners are already overloaded? And you want to add more to that because someone breaks some stupid 2000 year old rule from a book that doesn't hold water in a court of law?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Primewonk and momoya,

      You are both correct. We could delve into the injustice of the legal system.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if biblical law was followed, non-virgin brides would be stoned to death, along with disobedient children. g.ays and adulters would also be put to death. and anyone working on the sabbath must also die. yup, anyone at the malls working the weekend should die. anyone that actually followed the bible would be amongst the worst murderers in history.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    marriage is a legally binding contract between two people. it has NOTHING to do with religion or lack there of. you can add ritual and ceremony as you see fit, but it is not necessary.

    married in a church with church approval but without a gov't issued marriage lisence = not legally married
    married in a courthouse without church approval but with a gov't issued marriage lisence = legally married

    religion, stay out of our government.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Tom Richards MAmoderate

      Well said!

      May 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  6. Crom

    @Stephen Prothero
    That is a very well written article. It's thoughtful, concise, and clearly written.
    One tiny proofreading point. In this sentence: "As Mark Noll argues in his book America’s God, the fact that the Bible seemed to most "commonsense" readers to support slavery brought on a crisis of authority that helped to produce what we now liberal Protestantism."
    I kept wondering if you put "liberal" instead of "label" or left out a word like "call" or "label" between the words 'now' and 'liberal'.
    It didn't distract me for too long and didn't detract from your message on the whole, so I'm not worried about it much. However, you might want to fix that admittedly tiny mistake.
    With that said, I will talk about your message in a different post. This is just my proofreader's rant. Mazel Tov on a good job!

    May 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Not to nit pick your post, but I'd bet that in CNN's haste to get all these pieces formatted and brought online as fast as possible some unpaid intern screwed up.

      On a related off-topic point – I would like for all of CNN's writers to have to deal with the archaic nanny-bot that prevents us from writing the words sèx and hômosèxual in stories about gay marriage.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Crom

      @Primewonk
      I think I love you! Totally agree! That filter is one of the worst things about posting here. If they had to run up against it themselves they'd get rid of it quick enough and put something more intelligent in its place!!!

      May 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  7. Snow

    I like the article.. It details everything that is wrong in christian arguments against gay marriage.. which is none of their dang business to start with..

    It is sickening to think that a person who loves their partner dearly, would now not be allowed to sit alongside their hospital bed or sign for some procedures that may save his life because some schmuck in dress/tutu thinks their love it wrong.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  8. Bootyfunk

    "Second, it is striking how closely this debate mirrors the slavery debate in antebellum America. Then, pro-slavery forces read key passages in the Bible in a "commonsense" manner and concluded that God was in favor of slavery. Meanwhile, anti-slavery activists, seeking after the "spirit" rather than the "letter" of the Biblical text, concluded that slavery flew in the face of both "love your neighbor" and the Golden Rule."

    what cr@p. christians make excuses for the bible supporting slavery. "commonsense manner"? it very clearly DOES support slavery. you have to take the words out of context and make up lame excuses to say otherwise. the bible gives rules for beating your slaves, for selling your own daughter into slavery, etc. jesus himself supports slavery and tells slaves to obey their masters if they want any chance of getting into heaven:

    Luke 12:37-38
    37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
    38 "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”

    christians don't actually follow the bible anymore because they know how disgusting and crazy some of the stuff in that book is. christians practice "christianity light", picking and choosing passages in the bible while ignoring stuff like kill non-virgin brides. that's right ladies, any of you that had pre-marital s.ex should be dragged to your father's doorstep and stoned to death by your would-be husband and the rest of the town. real nice, eh? if people actually followed what it says in the bible, the world would suffer.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Snow

      "Second, it is striking how closely this debate mirrors the slavery debate in antebellum America"

      As much as they like to deny it, it is very very similar to the slavery debate. and just because some prejudiced blacks think it is not, does not change its core logic.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      In the passage you reference Jesus was using the story to tell them to always be ready. He used examples common in that day to convey his message.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      robert, you are clearly making excuses. jesus was telling slaves to obey their masters. it's very clear. stop trying to turn this into a "loving" message from jesus when it's not.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • wait..

      ... so, the god's words change with time? gotcha! and I wonder, why can't it be that what he says changed on gay marriage as well then?

      May 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Read this and see what Jesus was teaching or condoning.
      Luke 12: 35-48, Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
      And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Robert – why didn't your omnipotent, omniscient god just say, "thou shalt not own another human being"?

      How freaking hard would that have been for a god that poofed the whole universe into existence?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes"

      this part kinda sticks out. mostly because a human being is beating another human being that isn't doing what he commands. that's one of the most brutal aspects of slavery. and jesus condones it. wait... that's a point for your side?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Primewonk,

      Love your neighbor as yourself, might cover it.

      Bootyfunk,

      To me, it just says if you know what to do, and don’t, your going to be in bigger trouble than the guy who didn’t know.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • momoya

      Robert, that's a stupid answer considering that god could have as easily just made a commandment about not owning other people INSTEAD of all those other commandments about HOW to own people.. Why do you try to justify such a dumb system of belief?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Bootyfunk,
      To me, it just says if you know what to do, and don’t, your going to be in bigger trouble than the guy who didn’t know."

      take off the rose colored glasses. come on, seriously, you know what those passages say. even you can't really believe the excuses you're making.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the truth of it is the bible was written in the bronze/iron age, when slavery was the way of the world. that's why the book is a product of its time. that's why it's obvious it was not divinely inspired. it was written by men a long time ago. it centers on 1% of the planet, a small pocket in the middle east. isn't it obvious that it's just a mythology, like any other. you seem like a smart guy. open your mind to the possibility there is no god. follow your logic and reasoning.

      any loving god would most certainly have outlawed slavery. it is arguably the most evil inst.itution ever inflicted on man by other men. you own people. they can be made to do anything you want, treated any way you want, beaten, r.aped, etc. wouldn't god have said in no uncertain terms that it was evil? instead the bible supports slavery over and over.

      Humanism offers a much better set of ethics to live by than Christianity. the leading principles of Humanism are logic, understanding and compassion. the pillars of religion are ignorance, fear and guilt. compare the two, i dare you.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  9. ME II

    LOL... Love it: http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/10/pf/gay-marriage/index.htm?iid=HP_LN is saying that legalizing gay marriage will be improve the economy, essentially because there is a pent-up demand for same-s.ex weddings and the people spend thousands on them.

    It's the economy stupid!

    May 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • ME II

      "...and the people spend thousands on them."
      should read:
      "...and people spend thousands on them."

      May 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Yes, you are correct, spending money does affect the economy. Your point?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • ME II

      Guess I need to spell it out.
      If conservatives really want to improve the economy, then one way would be to legalize gay marriage. Of course, I would guess that the first states would be the most benefitted (is that a word?), so maybe they should hurry up?

      I don't know about you, but I find that rather ironic.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      hard to believe? why? people who get married usually hire caterers, florists, DJs/bands, rent out venues, rent tuxes, buy gowns, etc. why would g.ays be any different? any of those professions will see more business. basic math says yes, it will do good for the economy.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Gotcha! Typically ironic.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  10. OnTheGround

    We Christians complain about big gov'ts, but we can't say that everyone's needs r met in our own churches by sharing as we did in the Acts. We have lost so much of our moral authority as we have not died to ourselves, nor do we want to serve, but want to be served (demanding our rights). This has resulted in unprecedented number of broken marriages, destroyed hearts vulnerable to untold varieties of exploitation, financial bankruptcies of even churches, etc. Our battle is not against other people (flesh & blood), but against...

    May 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • momoya

      Religions don't have a patent on "good deeds," but think how much it would show the world if just one religion actually took care of all its members?. If any of them could have done it, they'd have accomplished it by now.. The only "truism" I know in regards to religion is that Mormon teenagers are astoundingly respectful and thoughtful.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @momoya
      "The only "truism" I know in regards to religion is that Mormon teenagers are astoundingly respectful and thoughtful."

      And so I should assume that mormonism is the path to righteous teenagers?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Huebert

      @momoya

      Not all of them. I can promise you that.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • ME II

      "... if just one religion actually took care of all its members?"

      Mennonites? not sure.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      atheists have a lower divorce rate than christians.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @ME II

      I read a real good article about them recently and how we hold their archaic beliefs about society as a sort of romantic endeavor to retain some sort of "those were the good old days without electricity and cars" sentiment. When in reality it is quite the opposite and intolerant. Not good at all for anyone I think.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • ME II

      @Voice of Reason,
      I'm not that familiar with them, but what you say wouldn't surprise me. Usually being your brother's keeper entails being your brother's jailer.

      ... just an opinion.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • momoya

      No, not righteous, but maybe respectful and thoughtful.. Personally, I think its because they know how weird their views sound, so they make up for it by "acting good" according to what their parents have taught them.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • atomD21

      The problem in churches today is that we are all about ourselves and how we can get what we want from it. Jesus' example is one of putting others' needs before our own, and certainly before our wants. As I am a Christian (former evangelical), I can only speak to that end of things. Jesus called for no less than a complete shift in thought for his followers, and we have promptly rejected that and emulated the pharisees of the bible. We are concerned more with looking holy and bullying others to follow what we say. It is a disgusting thing that we are more concerned with denying whole groups of people rights than with ensuring starving people are being fed. The same gender marriage issue is not a religious one and should not be turned into one. The right of loving couples to wed and enjoy the rights afforded to married couples is not one we should be allowed to deny in our country. No one is forcing churches to perform the ceremonies, so they have no real say. It is a shame and a disgrace that we spend so much time and money on hate and almost none on love and doing good for all. Maybe someday we'll wake up and realize that we were never given the right to condemn and subjugate others.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  11. Voice of Reason

    Moral progress will only come about with the absence of religion. Religion can be taken literally, factually, fictionally, interpret the way you want but it still founded in the supernatural. Does religion have some sound moral attributes? Absolutely but it also has incredible immoral attributes that a normal reasoning individual would never consider.
    Organized religion credits their philosophy with morality. If so, then explain the atrocities. Morality was stolen from an evolving society to satisfy the underpinnings of control by the religious, period.
    With that said, if anyone wants my vote then speak reasoning, common sense and logic. Emulate freethinking, the foundation of our country's agenda. Step up to the plate and give respect to those that choose the supernatural but dismiss it for what it is, unproven and supernatural. There is no place in the seat of our government for anyone with any belief other than reason and logic to sit and make judgment. Religious people should not hold public office, period.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      "Organized religion credits their philosophy with morality. If so, then explain the atrocities" At the heart of Christianity is the doctrine of sin, "thinking for yourself" and acting accordingly. Free agency. All sin does violence to the divine image in ourselves. The atrocities are the result of people DISOBEYING the precepts of Christianity. That is obvious. And sure. People CAN be moral without religion, but WILL they? Examples: Left to their own devices, scientists conducted the Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiments (look that up). What about Oppenheimer and his "Fat Man and Little Boy" funded by a secular government? All of science's discoveries were turned into a meat grinder during WW1. Atrocities come from distorted human nature, not God, not religion.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @catholic engineer said:

      "Atrocities come from distorted human nature..."

      I would call religion distorted human nature, wouldn't you?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • GodPot

      Don't you mean "The atrocities are the result of Christians DISOBEYING the precepts of Christianity, all while using Christianity to condone or at a minimum excuse or forgive the atrocities."

      May 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      You mean atrocities such as sacrificing your eldest son or slaughtering entire villages becuase a voice in your head tells you to?

      I'll stick with the real world thank you.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @catholic engineer,
      What about all the Christian precepts of not suffering [insert group here] to live?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Voice of Reason,

      So, you would prefer to elect someone to public office who believes the way you do. Sound familiar?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Robert Brown

      Why do you attempt to place words into a place that are not even there? We need to face reality. If there was a nonbeliever talking nonsense (meaning there is no factual logic or understanding) then I would dismiss them just as quick as I would a believer, same thing, nonsense.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @Godpot "Don't you mean 'The atrocities are the result of Christians DISOBEYING the precepts of Christianity, all while using Christianity to condone or at a minimum excuse or forgive the atrocities'. That's exactly what I mean. Christianity is full of humans, and this is what people do. Slavery, for example. Some people used the scriptures to justify slavery (human trafikking still exists, BTW) The Bible wasn't written because people were nice. It was written because they weren't. AS for using the Bible to condone evil consider Sirach 7:21 "Show the same love to wise servants that you would show to yourself, and let them have their freedom." Lots of Christian missed this one (it's not in the Protestant Bibles).

      May 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • ME II

      ....an example of non-religious nonsense: homeopathy.
      Any candidate that "believes" in this sham, should be disregarded completely.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @Honey badger " I'll stick with the real world thank you." Nature and humanity are full of violence. Sticking with the real world can be dangerous.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • ME II

      ^ misposted... I think.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Religious people should not hold public office, period."

      As much as I'd love to see organized religion done away with, I'll have to disagree a little with you on this point. To be more accurate I think you should have said "Religious people who would inject their religion into policy decisions should not hold public office, period."

      I think you can be a very effective, balanced, impartial public official and still have a religious belief. But unlike chocolate and peanut butter, you never want the two to mix. Mixing your religion in with policy making is like pouring anchovie sauce over a hot fudge sundae, you end up ruining both.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      While I agree with you at least we can test it scientifically and once it is disproved it will be known as fact in our natural world.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Voice of Reason

      This was for Me ll about homeopathy.

      While I agree with you at least we can test it scientifically and once it is disproved it will be known as fact in our natural world.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @GodPot

      How can a person separate their foundation of their existence (meaning their religious supernatural pinnings) and work within a supposed secular government? It doesn't make any sense. They will always referring to a higher power for direction and that direction will always sway towards dogma. If not they would not be religious.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • GodPot

      "How can a person separate their foundation of their existence (meaning their religious supernatural pinnings) and work within a supposed secular government?"

      I believe a person can make sound reasonable decisions based on the principles of their religion without injecting their doctrine. I am not saying that many people do, I'm saying I believe it is possible. Wheth it was Hello Kitty or Jesus that told you to treat others as you would like to be treated, it doesn't matter, its sound principle, but as soon as you choose to make cat topped erasers mandatory you have crossed the line into doctrine.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @GodPot

      I see your point but still disagree. Basically a good moral foundation is not religious in nature and there really is no need for a god to morally good. But, if you believe in a god there is no way out of the disorder of delusion and I'm not real comfortable with people predisposed to that type of behavior. That is just my personal opinion.
      Anyway, I do respect your opinion!

      May 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @GodPot, @Voice of Reason,
      Good discussion and good points.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • wait..

      The fundamental problem with religion is that it comes along with as many sh.itty rules as it comes along with good advice. And most of those sh.itty rules deal with how they should treat people of other faiths. Due to every religion's basic tenet of spreading itself to as many new people as possible, it typically encourages treating negatively the people of other faiths. Some directly and some in a passive aggressive manner.

      How that argument fits in to the current discussion is, if a leader/politician is devout religious person, he is expected to follow the rules of his religion (both the good and the sh.itty ones). Otherwise, he would not be considered a "true [insert religion]". So, how can you trust the person to do good for people of other faiths in his consti.tuency when his core values demand him not to?

      Which is why it is a good idea to keep religion completely separate from the state.. in all forms. Afterall, one can never satisfy the rules of all religions at the same time.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Crom

      catholic engineer said, "@Honey badger " I'll stick with the real world thank you." Nature and humanity are full of violence. Sticking with the real world can be dangerous."

      LOL So you admit you don't like the real world and prefer fantasy? LOL
      Atheists +1
      catholic engineer 0

      May 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • ME II

      " So, how can you trust the person to do good for people of other faiths in his consti.tuency when his core values demand him not to?"
      One aspect to many religions is that their rules/doctrine are often so convoluted that one can justify most anything. While this can allow for atrocities, it also allows for greatness. Essentially, if you believe a candidate has his consti.tuents best interests at heart and you agree generally with those "best interest" regardless of the foundation, then you are trusting that he can rationalize a reason, out of his particular religion, for them being the "best interest". There is allows a gamble, however.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  12. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Honey Badger Dont Care wrote on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm stating, "If the old testament is null and void then there are no sins and therefore the character Jesus' sacrifice was for nothing."

    Christ was crucified to fullfill the phophetic values and in His being raised back to Life after being upon His body's insdie cellualrized universes of smallness is a mysery for the ages to wrangle about and jostle with! Luke 17:21 says quite literally the the Kingomd of the Godly Domains are upon our bodies' insides and not of this realm and never will be!

    May 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • GodPot

      Please keep spouting this nonsense you incestuous child abuser, it only serves to show how disconnected from reality you and many Christians are.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      Gee, I forgot all about God's Oldest Deviant's past

      May 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • GodPot

      When he admitted molesting his 3 year old brother and now being religious as some sort of penance i stopped trying to debate any religious policy with him. Using a clean hand to shake with someone who is covered in oil never gets the oil covered hands clean, it just gets your clean hands oily.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • ME II

      @GodPot,
      I missed that discussion. Can you say where it where/when it's posted?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  13. John

    Interesting article by Mr. Prothero. It seems as though he is writing as a greater authority, possibly greater than God. Yes there are going to be disagreements. One must choose for themselves who they will serve. God's laws in the old and new testaments really are not that complicated. It takes more than commonsense because you must understand all contexts.
    For the individual calling the bible fiction, the Word of God can and will be whatever you're preconceived beliefs are.
    Right or wrong many will have differing opinions. I would not force mine on you or anyone else nor would I expect the beliefs of others be forced on me. In the end we'll all see and know.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • BRC

      So you believe same gender marriages should be allowed?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      John,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Is it "not written" that the laws of the commandments and orinances were abolished for the sake of peace?

      (Read Ephesians 2:15)

      May 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      "In the end we'll all see and know."

      Not necessarily

      May 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • ME II

      "God's laws in the old and new testaments really are not that complicated. It takes more than commonsense because you must understand all contexts."
      How exactly do you know that you understand "all contexts"? And how is that "not that complicated"?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " God's laws in the old and new testaments really are not that complicated."

      Your god's law is that you go and kill gay folks. Not that complicated. Are you fundiots doing it?

      You god's law is that young unengaged virgins who are ràped must marry the ràpist. Not that complicated. Are you fundiots doing it?

      Your god's law says that women who are not virgins on their wedding nights must be stoned to death. Not that complicated. Not only aren't you doing it, you aren't even checking all these women for intact hymens.

      Seems like you guys are really shirking your god's commands.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Ok, Dreamer you are correct. He did abolish the commands and ordinances of the law by taking away the penalty of sin. 2 Timothy 3:16 should also be considered. The law is not null and void it is still useful in many ways.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Crom

      @John – "In the end" ?
      Do you mean death?
      There will be no end beyond snuffing out our consciousness. Nothing can be perceived past that point.
      Have you never noticed the similarities to what you believe about Jesus coming back and the same sorts of anticipatory delusions that any child feels about Santa coming to deliver presents?
      Don't you feel like Jesus is going to be like Santa and deliver lots of world-fixing things to everyone who was "good"?
      Please keep your feet on the ground. When you fly around screeching religious nonsense, nobody can make you listen to reason or even get you to stop flinging poo.
      There is nothing known about death beyond the fact that it is a cessation of biochemical processes of the subject organism.
      Not once has anyone returned from death. Not even once. There's a reason for that.
      It's called physics.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • momoya

      It depends on the decomp of the brain.. If the brain is still viable, sometimes "death" can be temporary, but then the resulting life is too.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  14. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Honey Badger Dont Care wrote on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm, stating, "If the old testament is null and void then there are no sins and therefore the character Jesus' sacrifice was for nothing."

    With the Kingdom of Godly Domains being upon the INSIDE of all Life regards, and our bodies are but buildings for the Godly to inhabit the roomminess upon the cellular levels of Fractal Cosmologies does so declare and deduce beyond revelries that there truly is life to be lived in abundancies upon the levels of inner fractals of cosmologic order!

    May 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  15. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Momof4,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

    The Bible/Gospel is made mentioning that He abolished the commandments so that peace might befall us! Care to elaborate on God's laws not being abolished when He did abolish them? Ephesians 2:15

    May 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      If the old testament is null and void then there are no sins and therefore the character Jesus' sacrifice was for nothing.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      The sacrifice of Jesus didn’t make the OT null and void. His sacrifice was and is the sacrifice for the sin detailed both in the old and new testaments. Just because Jesus has forgiven us and made the punishment for sin null and void for believers, that doesn’t give us a license to sin, rather out of love and appreciation, we do our best to live as he would have us too. Romans chapters 5 & 6

      May 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Then why are all of you cafeteria xtians picking and choosing which of your god's commands to follow?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;

      May 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  16. Honey Badger Dont Care

    @Prothero,

    Here's the deal. The bible is a work of fiction that is rife with contradictions and things that are just completely wrong that have no connection with reality. Anyone who tries to use the bible to justify any moral act in today’s world is just trying to catch a cloud.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Crom

      But his article wasn't about that. I agree with you, of course, but Prothero was talking about how the dialogue is still the same sort of dialogue we had during the years leading up to the Civil War.
      And that IS a good point and very important to point out, in my view, because the right-wing fundiots are doing almost everything in a similarly treasonous and vicious manner as the "antebellum South".
      That so much of their treasonous rhetoric is coming from the same places, using the same types of rhetoric, is just proof that we still have vicious racist bigots who hate our government, hate treating people like equals, and seek to destroy our country from within.
      We are, I believe, in the middle of another Civil War, only this time the criminals are more spread out and so there won't be a Mason-Dixon line to be drawn between states, but a line drawn between each traitor and the law of the land.
      When they are all in Federal prison, I will sleep soundly.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • just sayin

      The Christian Taliban types are truly enemies of freedom and our government. It is about power and people using the Jesus Moral card to impose it. We are not a Christian Nation, rather a nation with Christians in it. Christians are mirroring the Nazi playbook.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  17. camp

    Read any history by Durant and you will get an idea of how this plays out hisorically

    May 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  18. Momof4

    Graham was not wrong when he stated the Bible's definition of marriage. It is between a man and a woman. There are times in the Old Testament when polygamy was practiced, but it did not change the fact that marriage was still between male and female. There are many passages in the Old and New Testaments forbidding gay relations. The views of men may change but God's laws, as stated in the Bible are unchangable.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • BRC

      But the laws of "God" are not the laws of our nation.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Madtown

      God's laws, as stated in the Bible
      --–
      Man wrote the bible. So, did man create God's laws?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • ME II

      So, can Jews, or Christians, eat shellfish now? ever?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • GodPot

      "God's laws, as stated in the Bible are unchangable."

      "18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." Deut 21:18-21

      "33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” Gen 19:33-34

      "6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
      7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people." Deut 13: 6-9

      May 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Satan

      Milfof4

      Man created god, not the other way around. Do you eat shell fish? Leviticus states your not to eat shellfish. But I'm sure you know that and follow all the bibles strict rules.
      What a joke! Your antiquated 2000 year old book of fairy tales does not apply to us. We don't give a fvck about your bible and its non existent god.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @Madtown "Man wrote the bible. So, did man create God's laws?" No. Man discovered God's laws in himself.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • ME II

      One Rabbi to another:
      "Perhaps we should reconsider holding the Third Temple completion celebration at Red Lobster..."

      May 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      I have no problem with gay marriage but anyone using the shellfish argument shows a complete lack of understanding of the Mosaic Law and it's fulfillment.

      Good day.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • GodPot

      "10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee." Deut 18:10-12

      "She turned me into a newt!..."

      "I got better..."

      May 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Momof4 (I'm a proud Dadof4) Of course polygamy is not a good idea. But in the Old Testament and in Mormon history, all the wives and offspring were taken care of. In our "monogomous" society, we cast off wives and children, leave them to fend for themselves, then go find another spouse.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • GodPot

      "using the shellfish argument shows a complete lack of understanding of the Mosaic Law and it's fulfillment."

      "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.(W) 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.(X) 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands(Y) and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt 5:17-19

      May 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @ Momof4 "The views of men may change but God's laws, as stated in the Bible are unchangable." And as long as human nature does not change, God's laws for us won't change. When people speak of "getting with the times" , we have to ask "What? Has human nature improved?"

      May 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • BRC

      @Catholic Engineer,

      "What? Has human nature improved?"

      Medicine, communication, our ability to gather and produce food, our lifespan, survival rate of children, our recognition and understanding of human rights and equality, and improved systems of fair governance (though that still clearly needs work).

      Just to name a few.

      What has the Bible improved since it was decided?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • GodPot

      "And as long as human nature does not change, God's laws for us won't change. "

      Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

      What was truth back in ancient Israel is no longer truth today? If stoning your children to death for being disobedient was good back then, why not today? Have children become so much more obedient God no longer wants to murder them?

      If taking slaves from other nations as long as you don't beat them to hard was good back then, why not today?

      If forcing a r a p e d women to marry her r a p i s t was good back then, why not today?

      If killing someone for working on God's day off was good back then, why not today?

      If sleeping with your father to protect your family line was good back then, why not today?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Hannah

      To me this debate loses all weight whenever religion is used as a persons evidence to support his/her claim. Religion can not be argued on the basis of logic or fact because it is a belief. As the Bible is a book full of words all open to interpretation. nevertheless there are some passages that are pretty straight forward such as, the passage "Judge not lest ye be judged." This seems to be really easy for most christians today to just forget and I do not see how that can be misinterpreted. Regardless, human rights are rights afforded to all humans without prejudice. Marriage is not a right that is provided all people. Some states require blood tests before marriage to ensure the couple is not to closely related, there are age requirements, polygomy is not allowed etc. This is not discrimination against one group of people; the gay community. This is not a civil rights issue. Slavery was a civil rights issue because all people have the right to be free. All people do not have the right to be married because marriage is not a basic human right and it never was intended to be. Just because it is seen as unfair, which I will agree it is, doesn't make it a civil rights issue. A lot of things are unfair. Some people may think its disgusting to have multiple wives, love your cousin, be 15 and fall in love with a 25yr old, but those people may think its disgusting to be gay. None of those people are granted a marriage license, by the same logic as argued in this blog aren't their civil rights also being violated?? This is why I say Gay marriage, whether your for or against it, isnt a civil rights issue and we need to stop making everything into a civil rights issue just because its unfair.

      I support living in a representative republic where the views of the majority of the citizens of my country are what we adhere to. Even if these views conflict with my own at times because that is what it means to live in a country such as ours.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @catholic engineer,
      " When people speak of "getting with the times" , we have to ask "What? Has human nature improved?""

      Rarely is slavery accepted in current times. That seems like an improvement, to me, in human society, if not human nature.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      me thinks godpot should look up the word "fulfill".

      May 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The views of men may change but God's laws, as stated in the Bible are unchangable."

      Perhaps they weren't "God's laws", but iron age man's

      Of course they do not change. They are ink on paper. Ink on paper does not change

      May 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      The short answer for “why not today?’ is Jesus. You are focusing on the punishment for sin. Jesus took our punishment once and for all on the cross. That is one way he fulfilled the law. He became the ultimate final sacrifice for all sin.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • ME II

      @The Dog Delusion,
      "me thinks godpot should look up the word "fulfill"."

      I've always wondered what that means. How exactly does one "fulfill" a law? Isn't it a law a law regardless of what someone does. I don't get to disregard the speed limits just because I once obeyed them.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • GodPot

      "me thinks godpot should look up the word "fulfill".

      "until heaven and earth disappear" "will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished"

      Has everything been accomplished? Have heaven and earth disappeared?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      @ godpot the things you say shows how much you don't understand the Bible as a whole or the difference between the NT and OT. The old law and the new.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Rarely is slavery accepted in current times. That seems like an improvement, to me, in human society, if not human nature."

      "But sadly that is not the truth. One hundred forty-three years after passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constltution and 60 years after Article 4 of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery and the slave trade worldwide, there are more slaves than at any time in human history - 27 million." – Ben Skinner alternet.org

      May 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • GodPot

      "the things you say shows how much you don't understand the Bible as a whole or the difference between the NT and OT. The old law and the new."

      The things you say show you havn't read your bible as much as I have read your bible. I understand the doctrine completely. The christian concept of Christ coming in to fulfill the mosaic law and pay the ransom sacrafice that had been foreshadowed from Abraham almost sacraficing Issac, the slaughter of a firstborn lamb to be sprinkled on the dorrstep while the angel of death "passed over" their homes during the 10th plague, all leading up to Christ sacrafice to pay back the sin of Adam.

      But you miss my point, you sad little confused Christian. My point was that if God is so immutable, then why give one set of laws to the Israelites with penalties of death for many things, and then come in later claiming all that old stuff doesn't matter anymore as long as you follow the new law of love. You cannot say that God okay'd slavery for a while, but then later once his own law was fulfilled claim slavery is a sin and still say God is unchangeable. No matter what your view of the Abrahamic covenant or the Mosaic law or Christs law is, you must admit that you contradict yourself to say God has never changed his position. How can a perfect God regret things and be sorry for things and still claim he never changes?

      "I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command." Samuel was so deeply moved when he heard this that he cried out to the LORD all night." 1 Sam 15:11

      "The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them." Gen 6:6-7

      So much for infallibility and being so unchanging.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      robert: without the guilt of this supposed sin, the sacrifice is unnecessary and much of christianity is dead in the water.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • momoya

      As someone who studied the bible intently for almost half a century, I think Godpot has the doctrine as squarely as anyone.. Christians don't agree on points of doctrine, and the bible doesn't provide a method of self-checking, so it's not like there's only one, anyway.

      Carry on.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • ME II

      @Godpot,
      "Not accepted" is not the same as "not existing," while slavery happens in many places and is even "accepted" in various local or unofficial ways, there are no countries, that I'm aware of, where it is legal, by most definitions.

      If you are saying that slavery is as accepted to today as it was 200 years ago, much less 2000 years ago, I think you would have a very difficult time defending that position.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      @ godpot I have to go back to work now, but I will comment on this later.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      sam stone,

      Correct, if you don’t believe in God then you probably don’t believe what he says is wrong, sin. If don’t believe in sin you won’t feel guilty and see the need for forgiveness. If you aren’t guilty and in need of forgiveness, you don’t need Jesus.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Me II – I'll accept your argument. I was simply trying to point out that we certainly have not done away with slavery so we should not feel as if that fight has been won yet, and with 27 million slaves in the world today it seem's to me at least many people have not changed much.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • ME II

      @GodPot,
      Agreed... sad but true.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      Robert Brown: That is partially correct. It would be more correct if you were to start it with "If you don't believe in my version of god...." Not all that believe in god believe in sin. Sin is largely a function of the monotheistic gods of the fertile crescent

      May 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • GodPot

      "I support living in a representative republic where the views of the majority of the citizens of my country are what we adhere to. Even if these views conflict with my own at times because that is what it means to live in a country such as ours."

      This is a concept I believe most Christians either don't accept or don't understand. If your bible said no man should travel faster than 25 mph then by all means, stay in the slow lanes and drive 25 mph all you want so you can abide by your firmly held beliefs, but DO NOT try and enforce a 25 mph speed limit on everyone else around you just because you feel that is the best way to live. I'm sure you could come up with all kinds of statistics that show fewer fatal accidents happen at 25 mph but again, NOT THE POINT, it is simply not your place to attempt to enforce your religious laws on others in a free society.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      @ godpot: First off you attack me? To though me off maybe?...
      God doesn't change, ppl do. They way some read the Word take it the wrong way. Read those passages again and look for the setting and the tone they were in. You have to look deeper then just reading the Bible.
      Don't assume that I haven't read the Word of God. I was once athiestic but learning the truth walked into the light. God's plan has always been there. Its sad that you read the Bible but missed the Word.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • GodPot

      @ a person of name – I was not trying to "throw" you off. I did indeed lash out a bit for which I only apologize for letting my frustration with persons like yourself override my civility. I am glad for you that you think you have found truth in a sea of religious lies. And I don't just mean Christianity, but organized religion as a whole which you must have examined from many angles before coming to the conclusion that your now held belief is "The Universal Truth" right? Did you study every theology before settling on your current brand? You seem so sure of yourself because you have a insulated Christian group around you here in the US that keeps confirming your brand, but are you really ready to gamble your life on taking the first and only religious indoctrination you've ever been exposed to as fact? Wouldn't that be like making the claim that Ford makes the best vehicles ever and only buying Ford your whole life without ever test driving any other brands? I'm not saying you can't hold to that opinion if after testing other vehicles you still hold to your original belief, but not testing at all shows a lack of faith in your brand because you fear you might actually like driving a Toyota.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • ME II

      "...in is largely a function of the monotheistic gods of the fertile crescent"

      All the more reason to follow the god of the fertile Croissan'wich, although somewhat creepy with his overly large head with the Burger God, you can have it your way.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      @ godpot Thank you for being civil. For I do enjoy conversation.
      As a matter of fact I have looked into many religions but that's what they are. I heard it best as religion is a curse on man, made by men. You see, I'm talking of something more. A relationship with an all might God, who is looking to all of us. He had to make things the way they are. We had to have choice and there has to be balance. It the world was all good how would we know what good is?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • momoya

      Had you been born and raised in Saudi Arabia, how likely is it that you would have come to the same conclusion as you hold now?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  19. God's Oldest Dreamercommodes!

    Chilling the meat ever so well toward freezing is to clog up the derision of divisional B cups over D cups lattices! The fenders of lawtisms will remainder the obligatories reverences demeanors toward a shiny white knightedness fulcrums' measurings! Eat of your fill you pigs of the meat! Drink up the allnesses of liquors being licked up! Go down amid the serpentine villanies of being layed for Christ's sakes and God damn the ones who derail and delay! Eat drink and be of gay cheers for Time aleves all things in abundancies pleasures and pleasing want and want nots! Hopes' dopes on the ropes!

    May 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  20. St. Blammus

    And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large chu . . . And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it." Armaments 2:9-21

    Easily the dumbest, most unconvincing yet self-satisfied stupidity on these blogs is posting some bithering chunk of your scripture of choice.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • RAK

      To the writer who typed "but the laws of God are not the laws of men." That is why our nation is so messed up, we keep relying on the laws of man, which change as often as a man changes his underwear. Fortunately, God laws are unchangebale, always reliable, never questionable, and always focused on what is best for mankind. If we, who are His ultimate creation, would simply pay attention, we would never be having this devisiveness.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • BRC

      @RAK,
      So you're saying that during the times when "God's" law was followed to the latter there was no devisiveness? Absurd and innacurate. Also, how can you prove it's "God's" law, and not just laws written by men desiring power who attribute it to "God". I'm not asking you to prove he exists, I'm asking you to look at the terrible rules and all to human power games laced throughout the Bible, and think if the "God" who is so great as you claim he is would actually make something like that?

      Besides, here's another option. If NOONE followed "God's" laws, we all just followed the laws that as men we agreed on, there wouldn't be any devisiveness then either.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Hannah

      Amen that was retarded and embarrassing for anyone who calls themself a christian

      May 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > To the writer who typed "but the laws of God are not the laws of men." That is why our nation is so messed up, we keep relying on the laws of man, which change as often as a man changes his underwear. Fortunately, God laws are unchangebale, always reliable, never questionable, and always focused on what is best for mankind. If we, who are His ultimate creation, would simply pay attention, we would never be having this devisiveness.

      Yeah, those stupid laws written by men. Who needs freedom of speech. Who needs freedom of religion.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      RAK: What you are suggesting is cultural stagnation under the guise of piety. What do the supposed mores of an iron age, middle eastern agrarian society got to do with 21st century man?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      "If we, who are His ultimate creation..."

      What hubris to think that WE are god's ultimate creation. Not the rest of creation, man. We are above everything, eh?

      Oh yeah, that thought came from a book written by man.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:49 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.