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My Take: The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality
The author writes that it's fine for Christians to take certain biblical condemnations seriously while ignoring others.
May 21st, 2012
10:00 AM ET

My Take: The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality

Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

Are conservative Christians hypocritical and selective when it comes to the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality? With all that the Bible condemns, why the focus on gay sex and same-sex marriage?

Given the heated nature of our current debates, it’s a question conservative Christians have learned to expect. “Look,” we are told, “the Bible condemns eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics and any number of other things. Why do you ignore those things and insist that the Bible must be obeyed when it comes to sex?”

On its face, it’s a fair question. But it can be posed in two very different ways.

First, the question can be asked to suggest that the Bible’s clear condemnation of sexual sins can simply be set aside. The other way of posing the question represents a genuine attempt to understand how the Bible is to be rightly applied to life today.

In truth, those asking the question the first way really don’t want an answer.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

An honest consideration of the Bible reveals that most of the biblical laws people point to in asking this question, such as laws against eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics, are part of the holiness code assigned to Israel in the Old Testament. That code was to set Israel, God’s covenant people, apart from all other nations on everything from morality to diet.

As the Book of Acts makes clear, Christians are not obligated to follow this holiness code. This is made clear in Peter’s vision in Acts 10:15. Peter is told, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

In other words, there is no kosher code for Christians. Christians are not concerned with eating kosher foods and avoiding all others. That part of the law is no longer binding, and Christians can enjoy shrimp and pork with no injury to conscience.

The Bible’s commands on sexual behavior, on the other hand, are continued in the New Testament. When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible’s teaching is consistent, pervasive, uniform and set within a larger context of law and Gospel.

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

The Old Testament clearly condemns male homosexuality along with adultery, bestiality, incest and any sex outside the covenant of marriage. The New Testament does not lessen this concern but amplifies it.

The New Testament condemns both male and female homosexual behavior. The Apostle Paul, for example, points specifically to homosexuality as evidence of human sinfulness. His point is not merely that homosexuals are sinners but that all humanity has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The New Testament condemns a full range of sexual sins, and homosexuality is specified among these sins. In Romans, Paul refers to homosexuality in terms of “dishonorable passions,” “contrary to nature” and “shameless.” As New Testament scholar Robert Gagnon has stated, the Bible’s indictment “encompasses every and any form of homosexual behavior.”

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality?

Some people then ask, “What about slavery and polygamy?” In the first place, the New Testament never commands slavery, and it prizes freedom and human dignity. For this reason, the abolitionist movement was largely led by Christians, armed with Christian conviction.

The Old Testament did allow for polygamy, though it normalizes heterosexual monogamy. In the New Testament, Jesus made clear that marriage was always meant to be one man and one woman.

“Have you not read that He who created them made them male and female?” Jesus asked in Matthew. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” For this reason, Christians have opposed polygamy on biblical grounds.

Why are Christians so concerned with homosexuality? In the first place, that question is answered by the simple fact that it is the most pressing moral question of our times. Christians must be concerned about adultery, pornography, injustice, dishonesty and everything the Bible names as sin. But when my phone rings with a call from a reporter these days, the question I am asked is never adultery or pornography. It is about homosexuality.

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Christians who are seriously committed to the authority of the Bible have no choice but to affirm all that the Bible teaches, including its condemnation of homosexuality. At the same time, our confidence is that God condemns those things that will bring his human creatures harm and commands those things that will lead to true human happiness and flourishing.

In other words, we understand that the Bible condemns all forms of sin because our Creator knows what is best for us. The Bible names sins specifically so that each of us will recognize our own sinfulness and look to Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of our sins.

Christian love requires that we believe and teach what the Bible teaches and that we do so with both strong conviction and humble hearts. The Church must repent of our failures in both of these tasks, but we must not be silent where the Bible speaks.

Are Christians hypocrites in insisting that homosexual behavior is sin? We, too, are sinners, and hypocrisy and inconsistency are perpetual dangers.

The church failed miserably in the face of the challenge of divorce. This requires an honest admission and strong corrective.

At the same time, this painful failure must remind us that we must not fail to answer rightly when asked what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. Love requires us to tell the truth.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (7,995 Responses)
  1. b

    As a Christian, I know that we seem to be very hypocritcial in how we look at what we consider sin. At the end of the day, Jesus' teachings focused on how we are willing to put our own wants and needs aside and focus on the needs of others. As a teacher, I see daily how the effect of individuals putting their wants over the needs over their childrens' and others ends with children not learning how to behave as adults.

    At the end of the day, Christianity should and does revolve around the ability to put the needs of others over an individuals wants. I know that many times Christians do not do this well; however, that does not give people the right to do whatever they want. I want to apologize to all of those individuals who feel that Christians have been mean, rude, nasty, or idiotic to them;but please do not use that as an excuse to forget that you will be responsible for your decisions. The Christians will have to answer for their behaviors one day also.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  2. Lesson

    Good of CNN to bring in opinions from both sides.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • ally821

      So, MR. MOHLER, what was the point of your article? LBGT people already know why we don't like them. They know their actions are condemned in the bible and other holy text including the Torah and Quran. Therefore any moderate Christian, Jew or Muslim would stand against it as well. All you're doing is reemphasizing what we all know and adding more fuel to the fire.

      What was the point of extracting a few Old Testament laws, only to say 'forget about them'– we don't have to follow them.
      However, if I may, I'll have you know that contrary to popular belief (including yours), Christians ARE required to follow the laws of the Old Testament. Did Jesus not say in Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV),

      "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. I tell you the truth, 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."

      Sorry to put a wrinkle on your mixed fabrics, but I think the above-mentioned verse is pretty clear.

      May 22, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • Chad

      @ally821 ""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. I tell you the truth, 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."
      Sorry to put a wrinkle on your mixed fabrics, but I think the above-mentioned verse is pretty clear.

      =>agreed, very clear.
      the law was in place "until everything was accomplished"
      the event that satisfied that final condition was the crucifixion.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  3. logan5

    I have nothing against people reading the bible. What does blow my mind is how many of us actually believe this compilation of Middle Eastern Bedouin allegory and metaphor was inspired by an anthropomorphic supernatural being. Billions believe this and that frightens and saddens me.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      It saddens me when an escort won't let me dip my balls in hot sauce and drop them on here eyes.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • mandarax

      Billions also believe that you catch a cold from leaving the window open at night – it's probably an overlapping demographic.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Fact

      " For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.". 1 Cor.1:18

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      Bible is, was, will never be fact. Fact.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Lesson

      Sounds like you have proof wrath! Care to enlighten us?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • logan5

      @Wrath of Zeus
      Did you try asking nicely?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      @Fact

      Your invisible friend is a vile creature and I stand solidly with those who reject his book of horrors and would fight against him were he actually real. Thankfully, you can produce no credible evidence that your god-monster even exists, much less can harm me after I "perish".

      May 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ Chad (who still can't get it through his cabbage-head); I don't know what caused either of those events, and neither do you. YOu seem to believe the fact that the causes are as yet unknown MUST mean a god did it.

      I'm sure that's what people thought of solar eclipses at one time, too.

      Doesn't it occur to you in your rare moments of sentience that 500 years ago, many things we understand now were "miracles" and "mysteries". Why would you be unable to imagine that in another few centuries, science exploration will continue to answer questions about the origins of life and the universe it hasn't yet?

      You really are a bore.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I think it's a hoot that the biggest threat you thumpers can think of is "you'll be sorry when you die and meet God." If that's the best you can do, save it. You are wasting your time here on earth preaching about what you think happens after death.

    If your life isn't worthwhile, enjoyable, full of family and friends, and all you do is whine about death, you might as well go do yourself in now.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • bren222

      you do understand that, yes we do have this life to live but there is also eternity ... many who follow Christ endure mockery because they actaully love you and don't want you to be eternally disconnected from God ... Who is life

      May 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • sybaris

      Right.

      They get so amped up talking about "the end times". Get all weepy and emo' and can't wait to be with jeebus but stop short of putting their money where their mouth is.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Keith

      1Ki 21:23 And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • bren222

      sybaris

      not sure what you're talking about ... who isn't putting their money where there mouth is? oh, are you now stereotyping two billion people?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, bren, what I understand is that you want to tell everyone that you know the one and only true way, that your beliefs about what god said are the only correct ones, that your god is the only god, that unless I believe EXACTLY what you do, there is nothing but brimstone and torture.

      Sorry, but I have to laugh at zealots like you. You can't even manage to live happy and productive lives here on earth, so you have to pin all your hopes on a better deal in heaven.

      Pathetic.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • sybaris

      and now we have bren who pulls out the persecuted christian card, brandishing the mockery sign. "I suffer for jeebus".

      If you people put half as much time into actually doing something rather than wasting your time praying and throwing your money away on corrupt and divisive religious inst.itutions and televangelists you might actually do some good.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • bren222

      Tom

      you are are also make broad assumptions ... yes, i do long for eternity where there will be no pain or suffering, but you don't know me ... i experience great joy in this life – work, family, friends, etc ...

      you know people who suffer with anorexia nervosa also don't see the reality of their situation ... but those who love them – prob to an annoying degree granted, do everything they can to help that person to see truth so they won't die ...

      May 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No kidding. Bren and HS are here on some blog instead of at church or at a homeless shelter or taking a meal to a shut-in, or having coffee with a woman who was recently widowed, or with someone who's sick in the hospital keeping them company. Of course, in HS's case, it's probably a blessing for others that she sits right here on her rump.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doofus, I know plenty about anorexia nervosa. I had a family member who suffered from it.

      Don't even bother trying to come up with a complete idea. You haven't the capacity.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • bren222

      sybaris

      i am not trying to be offensive, but you are truly ignorant and have probably had some bad experiences and read to much cnn ... there are lots of wonderful followers of Christ who do much good in this world ... cnn just won't cover those stories ... btw, you don't know me or what i do .... i'm actaully in a helping profession and donate money to the needy

      May 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      @bren222
      If no one else will, I will certainly step forward to stereotype not only the billions that follow your false god, but the billions who follow any of the Abrahamic religions, or any religion whatsoever that is not evidence based, for that matter – I call them all delusional and reality deniers. What do you think about them apples, bren?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • sybaris

      Heaven, where the faithful rejoice while loved ones burn in hell for an eternity.

      Which place is really hell?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • bren222

      Tom

      i chose that that example on purpose ... like you, i take that disorder seriously ... i take people's eternal lives even more so

      May 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      "Might as well do yourself in now" Tom Tom?
      Interesting that you suggested suicide, seeing as how suicide rates in the atheist community are significantly higher than the average population.
      I hope you're not thinking of harming yourself.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • bren222

      NeonKnight

      i am sorry for your ignorance ... i will pray that God will open your eyes

      sybaris

      you want your freedom of choice ... God is life and if one rejects Him then they experience death ... no one can blame God for their free choice and the consequences of their choices

      May 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you're here, bren, you're not out doing anything useful, and you know it. You won't convince a single soul of your belief on this blog, nor will you get anyone to follow you or your god by typing drivel here.

      If you want to help others believe in a god, then get off here and go do something useful for others. You're wasting your life on here if you think you an accomplish anything in this way. All your proselytizing and judging and whimpering about wanting to 'save' others just turns people off. Words you speak here are worthless. Your actions in the real world make more of a difference and they're best done in silence and secrecy. If all of you on here would stop pretending you care about anyone else and just want to 'save' them, and go away and do something concrete that wasn't just showing off in a public forum, your faith might be a lot more attractive to others. AS it is, I am repulsed by you.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      bfart, I wonder what Jesus thinks of you.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • LOL @ Atheism

      Atheism is a joke. You think you have something to offer Christians?? Let's see... You belittle Christians. You belittle their faith. You spin anything religious in the most negative light. Negativity, that's what atheism is all about. You see, they claim it's a lack of belief, but it is actually a negative belief, because all they do is belittle and insult. They must try to act intelligent you see, because everyone sees through their charade. They claim their intelligence has led them to a better way. But we all know that all they have to offer anyone is negativity, despair, hopelessness, hatefulness, and pointlessness. Gee, let's all jump at once! LOL, atheists, who d'ya think you're foolin'?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • bren222

      Tom

      again, you have no idea what i do with my life ... i help people for a living, so please don't speak ignorantly about my life – i give you more respect than to stereotype you, please extend me the same courtesy

      i'm not on here to try to 'win' arguments, but to talk to real people who have real lives, but you are right ... it would seem that many are here to battle and not listen ... i don't think i have, but i apologize if i've said anything on this forum that has been attacking or degrading to you.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Pretty funny, honey. Too bad the worst writing and the most convoluted thinking is found in the thumpers' posts almost invariably. They don't provide any cogent arguments, have trouble spelling words like "mud" and can't even articulate why they're so excessed about what others do in the bedroom.

      The laughing out loud? That's on the part of those of us who are amused by the dumb faction of Christians that post here. Too bad you can't recruit someone with a brain and at least a high school diploma.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Lesson

      @Tom, Tom: "You won't convince a single soul of your belief on this blog, nor will you get anyone to follow you or your god by typing drivel here."

      Do any of us honestly expect to change someone's mindset on a CNN article comment blog?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      No Tom, you don't wonder what Jesus thinks of me because you don't believe he exists.
      Please refrain from vain babbling.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You degrade an entire segment of the population by telling them that it is a sin for them to love someone and wish to marry them, simply because your limited understanding of religion says so.

      Stop it.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • LOL @ Atheism

      bren, Tom, Tom comments on every belief blog entry. He's proselytizing for atheism. He thinks he's more intelligent than you, see? He thinks "If only that bren could be smart like me." What he don't realize is that we don't want what he's got. But he's right in one thing. It ain't much use trying to talk to him. I think he even believes he's a lost cause.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're the one who believes he exists. What does he think of you, little boy?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, Cletus, "proselytizing for atheism". That's a good one. What exactly am I putting forth as a 'belief'? What requests will I make of "new members"?

      Go plow the north forty, dear.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • LOL @ Atheism

      For some reason Tom, Tom thinks its funny to tell a Christian how much time he's wasting proselytizing on CNN blogs, but I guess it's alrighty dighty for Mr. Big Pants. LOL.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • bren222

      Tom

      you sound quite angry and bitter ... psychologically anger is often a secondary emotion to hurt ... i am sorry for whatever hurt or disppointments you've experienced, perhaps by someone claiming to follow Christ ... Christ loves you and doesn't believe you're a lost cause

      May 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, there are no directives from some higher power to go do good. I'm just pointing out that such admonitions were made for believers like you by Jesus all the time. Since you assume I'm not Christian, I have no reason to follow such directives. You do.

      Why is it you ignore them and instead come here to show off what good Christians you are for the rest of the zealots?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • LOL @ Atheism

      Whazza matta? Devil got ya tongue? LOL That thar 'ol devil don't exist neither does he? I'm jus' a dum lil hick, Tom, Tom, ya got me thar. Yer sew intelligent bein' an atheist an' all that thar. He'z zo zmart 'cuz he'z an atheizt. He ain't got no beliefs at all, that's what he sayz. Coulda foooled me. By the way, when's your next atheizt chaptuh meetin? Ima guessin' I should attend to be all zmart and ztuff.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      bren, I'm sure you're a lovely person, but I don't believe gay marriage is wrong, I don't believe in an afterlife, a heaven or a hell, I believe the earth is here because of the big bang, not some god. I believe in evolution as the reason for the differentiation of species. I don't believe in sin; only in ethics and law. I don't believe abortion is a crime or that euthanasia is always wrong.

      I don't ask you to live by my beliefs; why should I live by yours?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      @bren
      I am definitely not generally ignorant – I am well educated. And I am certainly not ignorant of the Bible. I grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical family involved in youth bible studies, junior choir, youth group (The Agape Warriors!), and services on Wednesdays and twice on Sundays. I was a “born again” Jesus freak and I’m not ashamed to admit it because it was how I was raised and I knew nothing else. Then I went to college and learned how to critically think and quickly realized the error of my previous faith based ways. I am confident that I know the Bible as well as needs to be known to argue against it as a moral guide (or a true account of history for that matter) so please do not make the mistake of thinking me theologically ignorant or inept. And please don’t pray for me. Instead of wasting your time on that fruitless activity on my behalf – hug your wife and kids and tell them you love them.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • LOL @ Atheism

      I'm a happy little atheist, yes I am.
      Try to convince myself and others with spam.
      I try to pretend I'm good, I do.
      And I stick to my talkin' points like glue.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "I believe the earth is here because of the big bang, not some god."
      @Chad "but what triggered the big bang?"

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "I I believe in evolution as the reason for the differentiation of species."
      @Chad "But what caused the first life form?"

      May 21, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chad

      Look up the Miller-Urey experiment. Do some research instead of just assuming "Goddidit".

      May 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Robert F

      @Tom:

      "I don't believe in sin; only in ethics and law."

      What are your ethics and laws based on? Where do they come from? What is the foundation that your beliefs are built upon?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • LOL @ Atheism

      Hawaii, I look it up every time an atheist brings up the experiment, but that doesn't change that it was flawed. Or did ya know? Oh, you silly atheists....

      May 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      The Miller-Urey experiment showed that it was possible for complex amino acids (building blocks of life) can form on their own from relatively common and simple elements given certain conditions. How is it flawed? Where are the peer-reviewed papers on how it is flawed?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They're built on reason, thought, the code of Hammurabi, on the laws that existed in previous civilizations.

      Laws are not based on morality, but on the belief that people have certain rights that should be protected, and that those rights should not be infringed upon by others.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Robert F

      @those who are too lazy to look it up:

      "The Miller and Urey experiment (or Urey–Miller experiment) was an experiment that simulated HYPOTHETICAL conditions thought at the time to be present on the early Earth, and tested for the occurrence of chemical origins of life."

      May 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They're built on reason, thought, the code of Hammurabi, on the laws that existed in previous civilizations.

      Laws are not based on morality, but on the belief that people have certain rights that should be protected, and that those rights should not be infringed upon by others.

      Did you think the law was based on the Bible? It's not.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • bren222

      Neon

      Please keep in mind that there are follwers of Christ who are also well educated and brilliant – who think critically ... I actaully believe the President claims to be a Chrisitan

      In recent years I take much comfort from Phil 1:6 – you know what it says and I know that you and God will reconnect at some point ... so I do and will hug my kids and wife and also pray for you and your understandable disillusionment.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      @LOL @ Atheism
      You call us atheists silly, but it is you theists who believe that a deity (or deities for the polytheists) exists without any evidence to support that claim. If we're lowering ourselves to name-calling, I'd say you're not just sillier, but delusional to boot.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Chad

      @HawaiiGuest "Look up the Miller-Urey experiment. Do some research instead of just assuming "Goddidit"."

      🙂
      when scientists were able to synthesize some amino-acids it was thought that creating self replicating organic material would be right around the corner.
      of course, it turns out that wasnt quite the case was it..

      knowledge is a good thing, here's some:
      Criticism of Abiogenesis and Panspermia
      While the experiments carried out by Stanley Miller and others who have built upon his work show that life may have arisen from a primordial soup, that possibility remains theoretical. There is no evidence for pre-cellular life on Earth; what's more, critics of the RNA world hypothesis point out that the experiments that support the concepts were conducted with biologically created RNA. RNA can act as both a template for self-replication and an enzyme for carrying out that process, but these findings have been carried out in controlled laboratory experiments. This doesn't necessarily prove such delicate actions could happen in the seas of the ancient Earth.
      For reasons like these, the RNA world hypothesis has been largely abandoned by proponents of abiogenesis in favor of other hypotheses, like the simultaneous development of both proteins and genetic templates or the development of life around undersea vents similar to those currently inhabited by today's extremophiles. But there is one criticism that any abiogenesis hypothesis has difficulty overcoming: time. DNA-based life is thought to have developed on Earth beginning around 3.8 billion years ago, giving pre-cellular life forms about 1 billion years to carry out random processes of encoding useful proteins and assembling them into the precursors of cellular life [source 1="Discovery" 2="News" language=":"][/source]. Critics of abiogenesis say that simply isn't enough time for inorganic matter to become the theorized precellular life. One estimate suggests it would take 10^450 (10 to the 450th power) years for one useful protein to be randomly created [source 1="Klyce" language=":"][/source].

      May 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ Chad (who still can't get it through his cabbage-head); I don't know what caused either of those events, and neither do you. YOu seem to believe the fact that the causes are as yet unknown MUST mean a god did it.

      I'm sure that's what people thought of solar eclipses at one time, too.

      Doesn't it occur to you in your rare moments of sentience that 500 years ago, many things we understand now were "miracles" and "mysteries". Why would you be unable to imagine that in another few centuries, science exploration will continue to answer questions about the origins of life and the universe it hasn't yet?

      You really are a bore.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Robert F

      @tom:

      "but on the belief that people have certain rights that should be protected"

      Who determines what those rights are? You are following laws and rules written by someone else over 3000 years ago. Sound familiar?

      Mosaic law may be a re-hash of the same set of rules, but they at least have an ultimate authority they point back to... Where'd the good king get his ideas from? The Code of Ur-Nammu, the Code of Urukagina, we can just dig deeper and deeper.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I always imagine Chad jumping around like a 5-year-old who has to pee when he gets so excited about cutting and pasting some piece of an article he thinks 'proves' there's a god and he made everything.

      I'll bet even Chad looks cute holding his crotch.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      We determine what those rights are. They don't come from God or the Ten Commandments; they're the result of years of thought and study.

      If you have proof otherwise, then be so kind as to cite it.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Ok, so critics don't think there is enough time, so there wasn't enough time? If they want to invoke randomness, then I would propose that while there is any kind of chance that it could happen, then there is also a chance that it happened relatively quickly. Saying that it would take this long for something to happen, adding in a factor of randomness and chance would mean that it could have happened sooner. I didn't say Miller proved anything other than complex things can arise from simpler things, and that's it. There are many other avenues to explore, and nothing is for certain in that field of study. But like I said that doesn't give a good reason to turn your brain off and just say "Goddidit".

      May 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure Chad the Vegetable and our resident Legal Beagle Robert will have more blather to post, as will all the other nincompoops who deem themselves the authority on Christianity. (Odd that they aren't actually professionally engaged in these areas of expertise, but maybe it's the slow economy).

      I, on the other hand DO have work tomorrow and sleep appears far more valuable than watching these two hair-balls.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • bren222

      Tom

      it was good chatting with you ... i hope you have a great sleep/and work

      May 21, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Robert F

      @tom

      "We determine what those rights are."

      So, we return to "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"? Alas, there is no further proof can be cited than that we take in faith. We believe that there were laws determined earlier than we have record of, we believe the universe exploded into existence, we believe we evolved from the slime of that explosion...yet neither of us is any closer to the truth. We will part ways having shared our piece and ultimately believing what we will.

      Friends, I have enjoyed the opportunity to partake in this discussion for a brief time but nature calls and I have to work early in the morning. Look forward to speaking with you all again.

      Good night.

      -Robert F

      May 21, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      @bren222
      I appreciate the thought, but nothing is carrying on inside me in this area anymore – besides, I've already denied the Holy Ghost and you know what that means if I'm wrong. I'm certainly not calling you uneducated (though you did refer to me as ignorant), but you really should take some time to think rationally about your position. You are positing that a god exists, without any tangible proof. You then claim that of the thousands of gods that man has worshipped, yours is the one and only that exists. You believe that he left his instructions on how to live this life in a book, which is either his inerrant word, or at least divinely inspired word – and yet it is a book full of contradictory commands and fallacious statements (try John 14:13). Furthermore, you believe in an afterlife – again, an assertion for which you have no evidence to support. Bren, if you are indeed a reasonably intelligent, rational person, how can you believe these things without evidence (and don't pull the doubting Thomas card)? I challenge you to critically examine your reasons for your belief – if you are believing on faith alone, then I submit that you are not being rational. Indeed, if you believe on faith only, I ask you this – is there any other area of your life that you would believe something so important without evidence?

      May 22, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • bren222

      Neon

      I did not mean ignorance as you're overall stupid, but just not aware in certain areas [truest sense of the word] ... hey, i'm ignorant in many areas too

      It seems like your assuming i haven't critically analysed my relationship with God ... which i have and continue to do ... i've read lots, been around but continue to come back to the life – not just dogma – that Christ has given me ... the problem with the 'educated' is they think they will be able to 'become like God' in knowledge and although we can learn lots – which is great, we will never be God, which has been a historical and biblical problem

      In terms of rejecting the Holy Spirit ... my take is only on one's final breath does that become some concern .... your life isn't over yet and i put my trust in Him more than i do us ... hence Phil 1:6

      I gotta run, but good chatting with you

      May 22, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • bren222

      btw ... i read a great book written by – i believe a19th century theologian/philosopher [Bavnick] called 'Our Reasonable Faith' ... good read ... a more modern book is by Tim Keller 'The Reason for God'

      Night

      May 22, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Chad

      @HawaiiGuest "Ok, so critics don't think there is enough time, so there wasn't enough time? If they want to invoke randomness, then I would propose that while there is any kind of chance that it could happen, then there is also a chance that it happened relatively quickly. ..."

      @Chad "Funny how comfortable atheists are with magic..

      May 22, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  5. Oneforall777

    JEAN: God doesn't write! He uses and used people to write things down. God is GOD, how dare you assume that he would write things down for you himself, he does it through others. We have to worship him, not the other way round, he doesn't worship us – where is your respect? The President of the United States delegates others to write things for him, to talk to the press etc. People don't go to the President and say 'write this down for me'. God doesn't NEED to write things down, we are HIS children, HIS creation, we obey HIM. No one could see his face because the light was so bright it would blind them and they would die! Goodness, I wonder what this Country is coming to, I am so sad that all of you blaspheme God in this way, it is heart-wrenching. Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee, he condemed Christians (Gentiles), he witnessed torture and did nothing. Then one day Christ (God) struck him with blindeness while he was walking on the Damascus Way, he was blind for 3 days. Christ asked him why he was persecuting his people. Paul was blinded, he realised what he had done. He became an advocate of Christ and condemned the tyranny of the Romans and the hypocrosy of the Pharasees, he turned over a new leaf so to speak. Christ spoke THROUGH him, Christ did not write, he used Paul as an example, a manifestation of God's love and grace. Paul understood this and became a great man of faith. He wrote what Christ told him to write. These are not made up stories, these are holy words and you need to respect them, God bless you.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • jungleboo

      coo coo

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • tony

      God seems to be able to manage to run his own mass slaughter tsunamis OK. Must be a reward for lots of worship.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Bet

      "these are holy words and you need to respect them"

      No, I don't. I don't have to believe in your made up invisible friend or your book of fairy tales.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      And you know this because??? The book told you so. The problem is you have to take the Bible by faith because it makes no sense logically. It contradicts itself. There is no confirmation and it constrdicts known facts.
      I was raised in an evangelical houshold and heard all the arguments. Any time it was clear that the Bible made no sense I was told you have to take it on faith. It doesn't take a very bright 12 year old to see through that one

      May 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Jean

      If God indeed dictated the Bible, one would expect the grammar, sentence structure, and word choices to remain fairly constant, unless those taking the dictation took some liberties and worded things as they wished. Does the language used in Genesis differ from that in Revelations? Why would it differ if God dictated both books? If I dictate a letter today and another next week and another next year, you will find them to be very similar, unless the person taking the dictation doesn't write what he hears, but rather what he wants to hear.

      May 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  6. dud

    If you really wish to argue the point, go to CARM dot oh-are-gee. Ask for Matt or write: matt at CARM dot oh-are-gee. Or you can call his radio show that he advertises as "full contact apologetics." But be advised, come prepared. He hits hard and you probably won't be able to keep up.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • logan5

      If you're talking about Matt Slick of CARM and his TAG (Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God), forget it. That argument is weak and does not come anywhere near providing support for the existence of the Christian god. Go to Youtube and search the Matt Slick vs Matt Dilahunty videos and watch Slick get his a** handed to him LOL

      May 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I watched that video. OMG Slick was a complete idiot. Fallacy after fallacy.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • sybaris

      CARM, just check your brain at the door cause there's certainly nothing of intelligence on that site.

      The Creation Museum is worse. Parents should get a visit from CPS for taking their children there.

      Religion is a filthy disgusting disease of the mind.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  7. DE

    Christians cite only the parts of the bible that suit their agenda ignoring the parts that completely contradict the parts they cite.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • well

      Much like atheists who deny every atheist government in history. (Stalin, Pol Pot, Robespierre and Mao)

      May 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      well. it is good to know Christians are as ill-informed as atheists. Was that really your point?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • well

      I personally find both dogmatic extremes to be of rather low quality intellect.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Yet you choose to voice one of them. Excellent.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • well

      This is interesting Lenny. A study in bias. Where did I voice one? I simply pointed out the silliness of an attack on Christians for cherry picking. Would you question my veracity if I were pointing out the stupidity of so called creation science?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • logan5

      @well
      What does atheism have to do with mass murder? Are you implying that atheism converts human beings into mass murdering monsters? Well, well, if you bothered applying just a teency bit of critical thought to the matter you would find that it is actually megalomania, avarice, and twisted ambition that drives human beings to mass murder, not a lack of belief in a deities. Drop the "atheism equals mass murder" argument! It is weak and tired. Try something new....

      May 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • well

      Logan, I don't mean to offend. If you know of an Atheist government that did not commit genocide, let me know which it was. Thus far, all atheist governments I've heard of from Stalin and Mao to Robespierre and Pol Pot have. But that wasn't my point. My point is how cute atheists are when they accuse Christians of hypocrisy while ignoring or denying every atheist government in history.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • well

      Further, while every atheist is very quick to make excuses for every atheist government in history, they are even quicker to blather on about the evils of the Crusades or the Inquisition. As if somehow they are not being raging hypocrites.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      well, the fference is that like all governments governments run by athiests may very well kill when they feel threatened. governmentsrun by believers in any religions does the same, in addition the believing governments kill to promote their faith. Actually Stalin probably wasn't an Athiest. Mao probably wes and no one knows about pol pot, though he probably was not a believer. Robspierre was a deist mich like James MAdison Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson,Thomas PAine, Benjamin Franklin and Gerrge Washington, believed in an impersonal God who set things i motion and then basically didn't interfere with people. What was described as the devine watchmaker. Basically they guy who pushed the button on the Big Bang. Personally the idea of either having a heartless ruler who killed because he felt his position threateneddd is less frighteing than one who kills for that reason and in addition kills on behalf of their support for a diety.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  8. Lenny Pincus

    Typical Christianist manure. All Al does is try to provide his own context for the Bible. Really? God immutable word is open to interpretation? Paul isn't really telling slaves to obey their masters. We must interpret his "Slaves, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ" to mean "Slaves, when dealt lemons, make lemonade."

    May 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • rch

      Lenny: what would you tell the slave to do? Spit in your master's face and die? Sounds much better.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Escape. Rebel. You know, live free or die.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • rch

      Maybe the Bible describes a freedom that is greater than this? Try escaping the slavery of your self-absorbed life on your own. Try escaping the slavery of death on your own. You can't. For a slave to obey his master as to the Lord shows that the slave truly is free.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      OK. Tell that to a slave.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • rch

      I just did.

      May 22, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  9. Andrew

    Tom, The fact is that people like you use anything that supports your argument to excuse your hatred of those (Christians) who don't believe exactly what you do.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      I have been around these boards a long time, and I can, with great confidence, say that Tom doesn't hate Xtians. He hates the fact that they are delusional and attempt to leverage all of their social and political power to force the consequences of their delusions on the rest of us. Keep your damm faith to yourself. We don't want to be witnessed to, and if you try to anyway, people like Tom and I will point out the repercussions of having such a hate filled POV towards life and other people, as well as the fallacies in your arguments that your god, or any other, actually exists. We don't hate you – we hate the character of your invisible friend because he is a muderous, jealous, genocidal, misogynistic, bigoted, and thankfully nonexistent, monster.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  10. Surthurfurd

    If you want to be called a Commie Socialist Liberal Elitist.. then quote Jesus without noting whom you are quoting. Always works.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Karla

      Great idea, I never thought of that. I think I might just give that a whirl. Should be fun.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  11. Robert F

    Jesus was a Jew. He followed Jewish laws and customs. The Jews are held to the standards that God gave them in order to set them apart from every other group of people. He came to fulfill those laws given by God and remind us that no one can follow them completely.

    Many of us here are not Jews and are not held to those same standards. So what do we do in this case? We are all guilty of something, right? We have all lied, cheated, stolen, or done something that we consider wrong in our life. Don't we deserve some sort of punishment for the things we have done? But what is our basis for determining what is right and wrong? Some of us choose by faith to accept that Bible as our foundation for what is right and wrong.

    Once you have decided where you get your sense of right and wrong from, you can determine if you need or want what is being offered by Christ or by some other source. Having chosen to base my beliefs of what is right and wrong on the Ten Commandments I went further still to accept that I was not looking forward to getting my just desserts for my wrong doings, but I realized that it was coming and that it would one day bite me in the ass…

    So where do YOU get your sense of right and wrong from? Christ said that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, it doesn’t matter what that sin is; we’ve all screwed up at one point based on any standard we accept. God holds all sin at the same level. Christ was sent to take all of the punishment that we deserve upon himself; to give us a clean slate and give us a second chance to live life as was intended from creation…to walk with God in glory.

    We can argue until we are blue in the face about who is right, wrong, or idiotic but until you decide and clarify what you base your sense of right and wrong on you will never be able to convince any other party of anything.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • tony

      And it harm none , do what you will.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Robert F

      @tony

      "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."

      The Rede, and all other statements similar to what I posted above, are the reason we do what we do as Christians. It is in response to the love we received that we wish to share that love with everyone else. Many have forgotten this or missed the point completely.

      We are not here to judge you for what you do or tell you what to do, we will however take every opportunity to shake things up and get you thinking about what happens next. 😉

      May 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  12. SSellinger

    At best, this article illustrates that, for an all knowing supreme being who exists outside both space and time, God is awfully fickle and has a hard time making up his mind. After all, Kosher is required in his covenant with the people of Isreal but not really necessary for Christians.

    More likely, however, it is all just man made which served a purpose as we moved from nomadic tribes of hunters and gatherers to sedentary groups of people choosing to live in close social confines.

    Its once again time for humanity to evolve and look for understanding, moral and ethical rules of conduct outside of what the Bible strictly tells us.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  13. Peteyroo

    Jesus is in the backyard playing with the unicorns.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      there are unicorns in the bible.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      For real? Just like Pegasus' in Greek mythology?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • well

      Unicorns are real. They have them at the zoo. Rhinoceros are the obvious basis for the mythologized unicorn. Just look at the early descriptions. So are you saying Jesus is real too???

      May 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      well....your a retard.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • mandarax

      Where the heck would an ancient Hebrew have seen a rhinoceros? The unicorn, like so many biblical concepts, is derived from earlier Mesopotamian mythology.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • well

      Gee wrath. That was a well thought out retort. I am impressed with your intellect. Oh and you're a poopie head.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • well

      I'm sorry I suppose the Hebrews were totally isolated from Africa Asia and India, all of which had rhinoceros. Oh wait. They were right in between all three??

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • mandarax

      well, I'm gonna have to agree with Zeus on this one ... you're a retard.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      Your rhino theory like the fairy tales are easily dismissed.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • well

      Wrath, just do a Google search for Pliny the Elder describes unicorns. It might enlighten you.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • well

      By the way, dragons are derived from dinosaur bones in China and Crocodiles in Egypt. With tales filtering back to Europe.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • well

      Mandarax, I'm just going to have to ignore your opinion. You are so ignorant of history and geography as to think Hebrews would never have heard of Rhinoceros when countries in every direction from Israel had them? You're not exactly a font of wisdom yourself.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Leo

      Funk, Guess what? There are unicorns in the world today!! The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). Surprised?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Bet

      @Wrath of Zeus

      Pegasus is a winged horse, a unicorn is a horned horse, and you're an idiot.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • mandarax

      well:
      distance to rhino habitat in Africa from Israel: 1,800 miles.
      distance to rhino habitat in India: 2,400 miles.
      distance to rhino habitat in Asia: 4,200 miles.

      Ya think the Iron Age sheepherders of Damascus did a lot of vacationing 1,800 miles away across the Sahara? That's like saying that prehistoric Pueblo Indians in New Mexico probably knew about Walruses an polar bears.

      I don't know why I'm playing this game, it's absurd.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  14. JesusIsNotReal

    fk your fairytales.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  15. yo yo

    "Original sin," the greatest scam of all time.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sin is a disgusting concept that promotes self-loathing.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • bren222

      do you believe there is wrong in the world? sin is simply doing wrong ...

      May 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, it isn't.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • NeonKnight

      @bren
      Sin is a theologically derived word which means to break a religious law or command. It is a made-up concept by which flawed people try to tell other flawed people that they are horrible and will suffer eternal damnation if they don't repent and do as they're told. Original sin is an even more awe inspiringly cruel means of creating a mental desease in people who don't understand that immoraity isn't transmitted through our genome. Wake up and smell reality, bren!

      May 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Leo

      Yo Yo... next time you hold a little baby or spend anytime with the little guy or girl, and they don't get what they want and they throw a fit, be thankful God starts us off as little helpless things for if they we full grown they would be dangerous....

      May 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • bren222

      Neon,

      so you don't believe people harm [trangress, huty – sin] other people?

      May 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • bren222

      *hurt

      May 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  16. God

    Jesus: Love thy fellow man.
    Tea Party Jesus: Love thy fellow man, unless he is different. Then hate him with all thy might.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      And forcibly inserting wine bottles in butt holes then breaking them. Ya know?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Helena Hanbaskit

      Jesus: Sell your belongings and give the money to the poor.
      Tea Party Jesus: Git yer hand outta my pockets ya freeloader! Goddamm welfare eeelegals wantin my tax money.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  17. Colin

    I never saw this coming. I always thought that people would come to reject the Iron Age superst.itions of Christianity based on an increasing level of education and scientific awareness in the general population. It turns out that most young people are walking away from the faith based on something as trivial as varying interpretations of the human $ex drive.

    However you get there, I guess. Any path that opens minds and leads young people away from silly supernatural beliefs is obviously a good thing, I just never foresaw the opening coming from here.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • mandarax

      The conservatives have done a frighteningly good job of confusing the public with regard to science, and limiting the quality of science education. But it's harder to hide good people being mistreated.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tara

      Emotion is usually stronger than logic in influencing peoples' behavior.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • rch

      Glad your replies here are filled with logic then, rather than emotion. Score.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  18. Tom H

    I don't care what your views are or what your bible says. You have no right asserting your beliefs into my world, into our world, you have no right telling others how to live their lives. The church has far too much power in the government and that is truly terrifying. I'm sorry basing your rationale, your values, your principles, off of a 2000 year old book is the most illogical decision you could make but if you want to retard your progression go ahead, just don't get in the way of the progression of our nation.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  19. Emitr

    "In truth, those asking the question the first way really don’t want an answer."

    In truth, those who don't like the answer really don't want the question.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Wrath of Zeus

      like punting babies off of a bridge. The splat is larger than you think. Yep

      May 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  20. Surthurfurd

    Since we can not point to particular passages in the Bible to question the validity of Christianity.. I guess we can not do the same with Islam and the Koran?

    May 21, 2012 at 10:18 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.