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June 14th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

My Take: More doubts about God doesn't mean religion is weakening

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

When it comes to doubt, sometimes a little skepticism is in order.

As CNN's Dan Merica reported earlier this week, a recent Pew Research Center survey sees doubt rising sharply inside the millennial generation. Between 2007 and 2012, this survey says, the portion of young Americans (those 30 and uner) who say they never doubt the existence of God dropped sharply between 2007 and 2012, from 83% to 68%.

This report has stirred up a chatstorm in the blogosphere, with 2600 comments and counting on Merica's Belief Blog post alone. But does this data really say what many atheists want it to say? Is American religion really heading for a fall?

Look carefully at the survey question. What this data is tracking is the percentage of young people for whom doubt has never creeped into their faith. I don’t know about you, but most of the religious people I know experience both doubt and faith over the course of their spiritual lives. So the fact that more than two-thirds of young people say they have never doubted God’s existence seems to me evidence of America's extraordinary religiosity, not its disbelief.

That suspicion is supported by the fact that this same Pew survey found that millennials who identify with a religion is not declining. Moreover, according to Pew's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, only 3% of millennials are atheists.

The takeaway, it seems to me, is not that religion is declining in America but that it is changing. Or, to paraphrase my Boston University colleague and sociologist of religion Peter Berger, what is shifting here is the how of religion. In short, doubt is a part of the spiritual lives of more young people than it has been in the past.

I have been spending way too much time lately with Google’s Ngram Viewer. This website allows you to see how prominent certain key words are in books published in various languages from 1800 forward. It’s also possible to see how these key words match up against one another over time.

I searched the Ngram database for the words “faith” and “doubt” in American English from 1800 to 2008. Here’s what I found:

For much of the nineteenth century, “faith” won out over “doubt.” But as Biblical criticism, evolutionary theory, and comparative religions started to chip away at traditional understandings of Christianity, “doubt” ran past faith in the late 1880s. For roughly the next century, the two terms tracked rather closely. During the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, however, faith bypassed doubt.

What matters here is not the horse race. More significant is the fact that, since the late Victorian period, doubt has become part of the landscape of faith in America. To see doubt as a denial of faith is to misunderstand how most Americans live their religious lives.

The fact that doubt is now a part of faith for a significant minority of American believers strikes me at least as a sign of faith’s maturity, not its demise. Perhaps, like the millennials themselves, American religion is growing up.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Faith • Polls • Trends • United States

soundoff (1,804 Responses)
  1. Prescott Small

    Just saw the Stephen Prothero interview with John King just now…
    “Only about 3% of millennials, people under 30, say that they are atheist. I really don't see a lot of evidence here for a kind of secularization problem in America."

    Based on the interview I just saw with John King I have to declare that Prothero has ZERO credibility. He made a subtle, yet distinctive statement that Secularism is a problem?

    That is really sad for people that think like him because our founding fathers created the first secular nation on Earth. Secularism is not a problem. It is a cure for the dogmatic lunacy that has gripped the world. Religion is the problem, the brand is irrelevant. The vast majority of evil, murder, wars and violence that are occurring worldwide are rooted in one form of religion or another.

    More people have been killed in the name of a god than by any single other cause in all of human history. Religion is the fuel that speeds ignorance on the way to stupidity, and turns stupidity into violence, hatred and bigotry.

    It is unfortunate that only 30% of millennials have ever doubted the existence of a supreme being. I look forward to the day that we can evolve beyond the need for magical imaginary friends to make us feel better. Religion belongs to the past and it should stay there.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Sue

      Great post Prescott. Thanks.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Aye, the only secular problem we have is that we are supposed to be a secular nation and yet we often look a lot like a theocracy more similar to Iran than to what the founding fathers set up.

      What most theists don't understand is that secularism is like saying everyone gets Sunday off work, but no one is going to force you to go to church, not prevent you either, it's your freedom of choice to be religious or not. As soon as you start demanding that your public officials and schools or populace in general attend a Church on Sunday because you think we are a "Christian Nation" or even insert yourselves into the legal system by giving Churches tax exemption, using the pulpit to influence your parishioners to vote one way or another, to try and pass laws governing what any of us do with our own bodies or that regulate what goes on in our bedrooms based solely on punishments in an envisioned afterlife, you have now just created a Theocracy and signed America's suicide note.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • FillaTX

      But you don't actually beleive that only 30% of them have wondered if there is no supreme being, do you? The religious protect themselves by exaggerating their certainty. Most of the ones who never admit their doubts wish that the ones who DO admit it would just quiet up.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Prove it–that more people were killed in the name of god than any other cause. 60 million killed in WWII and 15 in WWI–over imperialism (not to put too fine a point on it). Add up all the "turf" wars over the course of human history and I suspect you can double that number. How many people killed in the name of God–what is your source?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      @VanHagar – It would be hard to find any major wars or battles throughout history since about 400 a.d. that did not have at least one side or the other with a strong religious motivator backing them and blessing their troops and telling them they have God on their side. You can claim all you like that it was this King or that Emporer that started the violence for their own profit or ego, but all of them used the Church or religion in some form or fashion to justify their designs.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • fred

      Mass Debator
      Based on your own thought process atheists would lead the pack of killers then because Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot alone killed as many as 200 million depending on what source you want to pull up. It is evil that will twist the truth of God its own purpose and evil is in the hearts of these men not the love of God.
      Please no excuses for Stalin etc. because it was communism, etc. not atheism behind the extermination of believers.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'fred' is an instance of a Non Causa Pro Causa fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 15, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • fred

      Fallacy
      You are invited to my house anytime you want ! My causa U causa

      June 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  2. Jack

    All Atheists, you are welcome to view video #2 at – thestarofkaduri.com

    June 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • imrepostingthis

      again? Now you are getting hacked

      June 15, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  3. Jesse

    If there is no god how can you explain that Christians keep having children even thou they are all GAY.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • VanHagar

      LMFAO that is so funny. You are so witty. You must be a comedian by trade. I mean, that is so funny. Wow. That's funny. So insightful, yet funny all at the same time. I'm still chuckling...probably will be all night. I can't get over how funny this is.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  4. nuance

    nuance
    Why is it that atheists tend to sound so angry and condescending. . The fact is, no matter how arrogant and smug some may be we are all equal in our ignorance of what (if anything) lies beyond this life. Meanwhile, I'd much rather surround myself with humble, open minded people who don't feel the urge to correct others on their views and put them down to feel superior.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then you shouldn't be on this board.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I'd much rather surround myself with humble, open minded people who don't feel the urge to correct others on their views and put them down to feel superior."

      Except if they are gay right. LOL!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • nuance

      @Tom Tom: I rest my case

      @YeahRight: I won't even attempt a wild guess as to how that makes sense in your head.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @nuance: yet you are compelled to respond. Why is that?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • nuance

      I could redirect the question Tom Tom but then we'd be going in circles. Thanks for proving my point though.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I won't even attempt a wild guess as to how that makes sense in your head."

      When it comes to the gay issues Christians are NOT humble, open minded people and the DO feel the urge to correct others on their views and put them down to feel superior.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • eldono

      An open minded person would be a person who would logically think about the existence or non existence of "God" and come to the conclusion that there probably is no God.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, go ahead. You're here, aren't you? Then you already have seen what it's like. Obviously, you'd have left without posting if you really felt the way you claimed.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      theists purport to speak for god, and atheists are condescenting? puhleeeze

      June 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • nuance

      @eldono: So in your view, an open-minded person is one who comes to the same conclusion you have. Wow.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • sam

      So, nuance came in trying to get a specific response, and got it, and is now happy? I guess?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • nuance

      @sam stone Arrogance is in the behavior not the belief. I take issue with anyone who claims to have all the answers and belittles other people's opinions and/or beliefs. It just so happens that a lot of atheists here seem to take on this behavior but obviously it exists on both sides.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Berk

      nuance
      "we are all equal in our ignorance of what (if anything) lies beyond this life"

      If you're not worried about being reincarnated as a worm then why should I worry about going to Hell?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • LinCA

      @nuance

      So in your view, an open-minded person is one who comes to the same conclusion you have.
      I'm not speaking for eldono.

      If someone is open minded, and rationally evaluates what is presented as evidence for gods, he/she will inevitably have to come to the conclusion that there is no evidence for such creatures. While that doesn't prove that there aren't any gods, it doesn't make a case for them either.

      There are two very common, but incorrect ways to interpret the "evidence for gods" that will lead to a conclusion that there are any. The first is to fail to understand the evidentiary value of observed facts, the second is to accept as fact things that are not. Both are failures, and neither provides a rational case for gods.

      As an example of the first failure is the often presented argument of the finely tuned universe. The argument goes as follows: The universe is hospitable to life because it is finely tuned. If any of the basic fundamental forces had been different by even a very small margin, life would not have been possible. It is unimaginable that all these parameters happened all at once, therefore they must have been set at those values by some creator.

      The failure is in recognizing that, had the universe been slightly different, we wouldn't have been around to know the difference. It is like a puddle after a rain storm wondering that the the earth beneath it must have been created just for it, because it fits so perfectly. Not realizing that it formed only because the earth was formed that way.

      From within this universe we have no way of knowing if this is the only one. We don't even know if we inhabit the only planet that supports life, within our universe. The finely tuned universe is a prerequisite for life. It doesn't provide evidence for a creator.

      Examples of the second failure are, among other things, accepting the bible as evidence of the christian god, and the existence of Jesus as evidence for christianity. Only when one starts with that as a preconceived notion will that be convincing. Neither, of course has evidentiary value. Someone who starts with an open mind will see that.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      That should have said....

      @nuance

      You said, "So in your view, an open-minded person is one who comes to the same conclusion you have."
      I'm not speaking for eldono.

      .
      .
      .

      June 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • nuance

      @Berk : No one says you should be. To each his own.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "no matter how arrogant and smug some may be we are all equal in our ignorance of what (if anything) lies beyond this life."

      "I take issue with anyone who claims to have all the answers and belittles other people's opinions and/or beliefs."

      So you take issue with Christians and all world religions? Because they are the only ones claiming to have all the answers. If you had a friend who kept asking you to come down under the overpass and worship the creator of the universe whom he swears is real and alive, and is really a small shrivled skin tube that occasionally pops out of a homeless mans trousers and his method of worshiping invloves polishing God with his mouth...How long would you guys be friends?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • GAW

      Many of the atheists come here because they have a lot of time on their hands worrying about how the world isn't going their way. btw Their approach isn't winning a lot of people to atheism and neither is the preacher screaming at you at the corner of the street succeeding at winning people to Christianity.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • nuance

      @LinCA: That is a very thorough and well thought out response. The fact remains however that the point is moot because no one gets a response in this lifetime. The way I see it, if God exists it is in a form and manner which transcends our current knowledge and has nothing to do with logic and reality as we perceive it in the universe we currently inhabit. So the entire debate is pointless. This in my view is all the more reason why we should respect each other's points of view, choices and beliefs because no amount of knowledge we can acquire in this world will ever give anyone an an advantage or a better grasp of the truth about what may lie beyond it.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • nuance

      @Mass Debater : I wouldn't. No one is implying that we should be friends with everyone or share anyone's opinion. If I can't respect someone's view because they seem silly to me or are too far removed from my own I will simply not befriend this person but I will remain respectful and not spend my time trying to put him down or ridicule him.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • LinCA

      @nuance

      You said, "The fact remains however that the point is moot because no one gets a response in this lifetime."
      I don't expect to get a response even after this lifetime, but that doesn't mean that the point is moot. The point I was arguing was about having an open mind. In my opinion, having an open mind requires a step back from previously held beliefs and evaluating the case (for gods in this particular instance) on it's merits. Whether we get an "answer" is beside the point.

      You said, "The way I see it, if God exists it is in a form and manner which transcends our current knowledge and has nothing to do with logic and reality as we perceive it in the universe we currently inhabit."
      But to take that position, you have to close your mind. While that may be a very reassuring thought, it isn't supported by facts. It isn't based on anything tangible.

      You said, "So the entire debate is pointless."
      By stating that the debate is pointless you close your mind to alternatives and are contradicting your earlier statement about wanting open mindedness.

      You said, "This in my view is all the more reason why we should respect each other's points of view, choices and beliefs because no amount of knowledge we can acquire in this world will ever give anyone an an advantage or a better grasp of the truth about what may lie beyond it."
      I disagree. While I respect your right to hold those views, the views themselves don't automatically deserve that respect. Views need to earn respect. If views are worthy they will stand up to scrutiny. By shielding views from debate, you hamper progress and further understanding. By limiting the debate you do the exact opposite of what you claim to desire.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • nuance

      @LinCA You said, "The fact remains however that the point is moot because no one gets a response in this lifetime."
      I don't expect to get a response even after this lifetime, but that doesn't mean that the point is moot. The point I was arguing was about having an open mind. In my opinion, having an open mind requires a step back from previously held beliefs and evaluating the case (for gods in this particular instance) on it's merits. Whether we get an "answer" is beside the point.

      You said, "The way I see it, if God exists it is in a form and manner which transcends our current knowledge and has nothing to do with logic and reality as we perceive it in the universe we currently inhabit."
      But to take that position, you have to close your mind. While that may be a very reassuring thought, it isn't supported by facts. It isn't based on anything tangible.

      I disagree. Acknowledging that certain things may be beyond our grasp and understanding is not closing one's mind but simply having the humility to understand and accept that while we can and should continue to explore and reach a better understanding of certain issues we may be limited by our own limited two dimensional thinking.

      You said, "So the entire debate is pointless."
      By stating that the debate is pointless you close your mind to alternatives and are contradicting your earlier statement about wanting open mindedness.

      I am not closing my mind to possibilities or comprehension. Just making the points that arguing about something which neither side can provide any concrete evidence for has its limits.

      You said, "This in my view is all the more reason why we should respect each other's points of view, choices and beliefs because no amount of knowledge we can acquire in this world will ever give anyone an an advantage or a better grasp of the truth about what may lie beyond it."
      I disagree. While I respect your right to hold those views, the views themselves don't automatically deserve that respect. Views need to earn respect. If views are worthy they will stand up to scrutiny. By shielding views from debate, you hamper progress and further understanding. By limiting the debate you do the exact opposite of what you claim to desire.

      We will have to agree to disagree on this one. If views need to earn respect then who decides on the ones that are worthy and the ones that aren't? You can't get around the fact that the matter is subjective.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • LinCA

      @nuance

      You said, "Acknowledging that certain things may be beyond our grasp and understanding is not closing one's mind but simply having the humility to understand and accept that while we can and should continue to explore and reach a better understanding of certain issues we may be limited by our own limited two dimensional thinking."
      Yet you posit a god for which you have no evidence whatsoever. Just dressing it up as something we can't understand is simply an attempt to deflect. I know there are things we don't know. There are most likely things we can't know. Inserting magical beings doesn't bring us an inch closer to understanding the things we can know.

      You said, "I am not closing my mind to possibilities or comprehension. Just making the points that arguing about something which neither side can provide any concrete evidence for has its limits."
      Part of the problem is that "side" is that there is no evidence. That's the entire point. If "the other side" would stopped making shit up and stopped making claims about beings for which there is no evidence, the debate would be over.

      You said, "If views need to earn respect then who decides on the ones that are worthy and the ones that aren't?"
      That's pretty simple. If you are looking for me to respect your views, they will have to live up to my standards. They can only earn my respect if I deem them worthy.

      You said, "You can't get around the fact that the matter is subjective."
      There isn't much subjectivity about the complete and utter lack of evidence.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  5. Chad

    If God isnt real, how do you explain:
    1. The origin of the universe
    2. The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life
    3. The origin of life on earth
    4. Punctuated Equilibrium: the fossil record showing species experiencing millions, 100's of millions of years of stasis (no change, random genetic mutations are weeded out of the gene pool resulting in a pool 'wobbling about the genetic mean'), followed by extremely rapid change resulting in new species appearing fully formed in the fossil record.
    5. The empty tomb, and the unshakable conviction among followers and enemies alike that they had witnesses a resurrected Jesus. A conviction they held so strongly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth.

    btw, "I dont know for the first 4", and "it's all fake for #5", is not a response that provides data explaining anything...

    June 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If God is real, how do you explain microcephaly, childhood cancer, atrocities in Syria?

      Chad, when are you going to stop just repeating the same nonsense? Your claims that the universe proves the existence of God are not valid. Knock it off.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Jake

      If God is real, how do you explain:
      1. The origin of god

      June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • sam

      C'mon Chad, not this again.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Chad

      "If God is real, how do you explain microcephaly, childhood cancer, atrocities in Syria?"

      =>see Genesis 3, the fall of man.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life"

      It hasn't been fined tuned yet, it's why there are so many earthquakes, tsunamis turnarounds, wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, floods and the earth's axis has shifted over time, the universe continues to expand. Seriously, if your god created this place he did a crappy job.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "=>see Genesis 3, the fall of man."

      LMAO! LOL! LOL!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @Jake The origin of god

      =>God alone is without beginning and end.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @YeahRight ""It hasn't been fined tuned yet,""

      Dont think you understand what is meant when cosmologists refer to "fine tuning"

      "Physicist Paul Davies has asserted that "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life".[2] However he continues "...the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires".[2] He also states that "... 'anthropic' reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted, but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because biogenesis occurs frequently ..."[2] Among scientists who find the evidence persuasive, a variety of natural explanations have been proposed, e.g., the anthropic principle along with multiple universes.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • sam

      You got me, Chad. I'm convinced now. Thanks. Super good job.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Jake

      Chad, I didn't ask for a bible quote. I asked for an explanation as to how you explain the origin of god. "He's without beginning or end" doesn't explain anything. How did that come to be? And if you accept that as an explanation, then you have no business making your original post asking for explanations to anything because I could just as easily make up nonsensical explanations to all of your questions (although, it would be pretty easy to make them a lot less nonsensical).

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Leo

      Jake, How about you explain how life came to be? Abiogenesis?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad's absence had me wondering if he had been hit by a bus...yet here he is. Damn it!

      ..."I kid, I kid."
      Triumph, the Insult Comic

      June 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Kafir

      That can all be easily addressed.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...Dog

      June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @YeahRight –
      Chad asked you '"Dont think you understand what is meant when cosmologists refer to "fine tuning"'...obviously Chad doesn't understand that cosmologists don't mean "goddidit".

      June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...unless, of course, the particular cosmologist is a christian apologist.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • jeff_000

      First thing is where do you get your information Chad... And you can't say the Bible because there is no way to check for creditibility...

      So where do you get your information that what you are saying is true... You are the one that claims God created everything and got us to where we are, so sounds to me like you should be the one to prove it instead of me trying to disprove it...

      June 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad, using the Bible as proof is beyond stupid. I think you're a moron, but even a moron would know better than that.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • YeahRight

      ""Physicist Paul Davies has asserted that "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life".[2] However he continues "...the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires".[2] He also states that "... 'anthropic' reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted, but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because biogenesis occurs frequently ..."[2] Among scientists who find the evidence persuasive, a variety of natural explanations have been proposed, e.g., the anthropic principle along with multiple universes."

      Ok so your using wiki again which has been shown to be 60% of it is made up of bad information. Also you forgot to scroll down. Computer simulations suggest that not all of the purportedly "fine-tuned" parameters may be as fine-tuned as has been claimed.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Jake "I asked for an explanation as to how you explain the origin of god. "He's without beginning or end" doesn't explain anything. How did that come to be?"

      @Chad "he didnt "come to be", that's the entire point. He has no beginning and no end. Perhaps you are asking why does God exist? If that's the case, I dont have an answer for that question.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad, you're the one who insisted that something cannot come from nothing.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @jeff_000 "First thing is where do you get your information Chad... And you can't say the Bible because there is no way to check for creditibility..."

      =>none of those 5 unexplained questions are from the bible.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Chad

      "Chad, you're the one who insisted that something cannot come from nothing."

      =>exactly.
      God didnt come from anything, He has no end and no beginning, he always "is".

      June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "God didnt come from anything, He has no end and no beginning, he always "is"."

      What created your god?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stop being so frackin' dishonest, Chard. You do nothing to help spread the Word. Isn't that your goal? You're completely slimy and in that you closely resemble HeavenSent. Neither of you is the sort I'd care to emulate.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      With every post you write, Chard, you drive people who ask you for answers further and further away. Is that your purpose here? Because it certainly is what you're achieving.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @YeahRight "Ok so your using wiki again ..."

      =>sorry.. no.. from the International Journal of Astrobiology:

      There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned’ for life. This claim is made on the basis that existence of vital substances such as carbon, and the properties of objects such as stable long-lived stars, depend rather sensitively on the values of certain physical parameters, and on the cosmological initial conditions. The analysis usually does not extend to more than these broad-brush considerations – that the observed universe is a ‘well-found laboratory’ in which the great experiment called life has been successfully carried out (Barrow and Tipler, 198?). So the conclusion is not so much that the universe is fine-tuned for life; rather, it is fine-tuned for the essential building blocks and environments that life requires. Such fine-tuning is a necessary, but by no means sufficient, condition for biogenesis. Thus ‘anthropic’ reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted but is only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes in which life flourishes because biogensis occurs frequently, i.e. life forms from scratch repeatedly and easily.

      How bio-friendly is the universe P.C.W. Davies (Submitted on 2 Mar 2004)
      http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0403050

      June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • eldono

      So, then, what is the origin of God? And, why would we need a "God" to explain the Universe?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Tom, Tom –

      I'd wager, however, that Chad is smarter than HeavenSent, which actually makes him even more despi.cable.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "God didnt come from anything, He has no end and no beginning, he always "is"."

      There's no proof of that what so ever. It's just the excuse you use because you have no clue how your god was created, well here's a hint...man created it, just like man created all the other gods.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I agree with you. He only plays an idiot on the internet.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @YeahRight –

      Chad's lying again; he copied and pasted the Davies reference from Wikipedia (he doesn't seem to realize the endnote references are in his post) – he's just finally figured out that endnotes exist and he can use them to pretend he knows what he's doing. That Chad is one lying, dishonest SOB.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Oh, and in case it wasn't clear...Chad's BUSTED again!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      how do you make the logical leap from a creator to a god?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Busted Chard, what is your purpose in posting on these blogs? What is it you think you are accomplishing?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Tom, Tom and YeahRight –

      Is it gross arrogance, stupidity or both that leads Chad to assume other posters won't see through his bollocks? I think it's a healthy serving of both.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      1. The origin of the universe – No less mind boggling for the universe to have always existed as it is God always existing.

      2. The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life – This is almost the definition of evolution, the most suitable and adaptable survive which is itself fine tuning of survivable life.

      3. The origin of life on earth – Currently unknown but many speculations from comets to ancient aliens or a primordial soup.

      4. Punctuated Equilibrium: the fossil record showing species experiencing millions, 100's of millions of years of stasis (no change, random genetic mutations are weeded out of the gene pool resulting in a pool 'wobbling about the genetic mean'), followed by extremely rapid change resulting in new species appearing fully formed in the fossil record. – The small fraction of the fosil record we have is far to miniscule to make that kind of statement. There are creatures who are so adapted to their environs that virtually no change occurs for millenia, but there is also much evidence that time and unforseen occurance can rapidly change an environment and only those rapidly adapting life forms survived.

      5. The empty tomb, and the unshakable conviction among followers and enemies alike that they had witnesses a resurrected Jesus. A conviction they held so strongly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth. – It's sad that NONE of those people wrote about it at the time it supposedly happened and waited nearly three decades before writing it down, otherwise you might be on to something. You might as well claim Elvis didn't die and went on to be a Karate champion in Germany under sensei Jürgen Seydal and still runs a Dojo there at age 77... there are as many people who believe that as there are those who saw Christ return from the grave and wrote it down at the time...

      "Perhaps you are asking why does God exist? If that's the case, I dont have an answer for that question." Thats not the question, the question is why do you feel you need a God so badly that you cover over and hide all the flaws and holes in your faith with religious rhetoric?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by Chad is an instance of a non sequitur fallacy and presents a series of Red Herrings or Straw Man Arguments.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by Chad also contains instances of the Begging the Question fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And as usual, Chad suddenly ceases posting, only to reappear in another thread with the same spam. It's like "Whack-a-Mole", only it's "Whack-a-Fundy" in this case.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "The origin of the universe – No less mind boggling for the universe to have always existed as it is God always existing."

      @Chad "The universe had an origin though, we know it hasnt always existed. see Big Bang.
      question still remains: how do you explain it?

      ======================
      @Mass Debater "he fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life – This is almost the definition of evolution, the most suitable and adaptable survive which is itself fine tuning of survivable life."

      @Chad "no.. you are comparing apples and oranges.. the fine tuning was built in from the beginning, cosmologists recognize that. It is not a reaction/adaptation to anything.
      question still remains: What was the cause of the fine tuning?

      ======================
      @Mass Debater "The origin of life on earth – Currently unknown but many speculations from comets to ancient aliens or a primordial soup"
      @Chad "aliens (Panspermia – who created the aliens/life on other planet?), primordial soup(RNA world- debunked)"

      ======================
      @Mass Debater "The small fraction of the fosil record we have is far to miniscule to make that kind of statement"

      @Chad "I didnt make that statement, see Gould- Punctuated Equilibrium.
      Darwin also applealed to an incomplete fossil record, an appeal that completely failed.. See death of phyletic gradualism.
      question still remains: how do you explain stasis- rapid development? Doesnt make any sense.

      ======================
      @Mass Debater "It's sad that NONE of those people wrote about it at the time it supposedly happened and waited nearly three decades before writing it down"

      @Chad "~20 years for Mark, and some of Pauls letters. Many first hand witnesses (other than the disciples) obviously still alive to challenge the accounts veracity at that time, as well Jewish authorities of the time persecuting the early church and would have jumped all over any unsubstantiated claim or hole in an recounting."
      question still remains: how do you account for the empty tomb and the belief by so many that they had met with a resurrected Christ?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Cq

      Chad
      If you are arguing that people sinning caused pain to enter the world how do you explain pain and suffering in the natural world. Surely the animals did not sin, and God would have been unjust to make them suffer because of something we did, right?

      BTW, it's the Adam and Eve story so you know I'm going to say that this is just another version of the Pandora myth. Just a nice way to explain why we men folk can't trust women in decision-making and laying blame on them for everything wrong in the world. Pretty primitive thinking by today's standards, eh?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Cq –

      Hey, as you're late to the party, I don't want you to miss Chad being stone-cold busted in a lie. Check out above –
      June 14 6:22, 6:46, 6:54, and 7:03. Just so you know who you're dealing with when you engage Chad.

      Cheers

      June 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cq "If you are arguing that people sinning caused pain to enter the world how do you explain pain and suffering in the natural world. Surely the animals did not sin, and God would have been unjust to make them suffer because of something we did, right?"

      @Chad " "unjust"?
      based on what?
      you're a relativist, you can only disagree with someone actions, you cant appeal to an absolute truth like "justice".

      yes, animals suffer through no fault (as far as I know) of their own.

      "creation" refers to everything not human:

      For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time Romans 8

      June 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Cq

      Chad
      So God gave pain to little puppies, but is still "just" in your books? Interesting! Everything is OK to do as long as you have a big t.itle, like "God". 🙂

      June 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Cq

      Chad.
      "God didnt come from anything, He has no end and no beginning, he always "is"."

      Yet you laugh when we say that time would have begun at the point where the universe began. Your idea has God being around before time began. How is that possible?

      June 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cq "Yet you laugh when we say that time would have begun at the point where the universe began."
      @Chad "??
      I can't count how many times I have used the argument that all of the matter in the universe, space and time itself came into being at the big bang.
      That God exists outside our time and space (capable of entering it) is a central aspect in all my arguments..

      Your reading comprehension is suspect to say the least.

      =======
      @Cq "Your idea has God being around before time began. How is that possible?"
      @Chad "um... because... He exists outside of time and space?

      June 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Cq

      Chad
      Do you have an explanation as to how anything could have existed outside of time and space, or are you just willing to let that idea slide under the mysterious category of things beyond our understanding? Tell me, is it rational to think that people should just have faith in the parts of the creationist model that defy explanation? Do creationists even try to explain these huge gaps in their idea?

      June 15, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Cq – "Do you have an explanation as to how anything could have existed outside of time and space"

      Of course Chad has an explanation – god is magic and therefore the rules do not apply. What part of this don't you understand?

      Sarcasm, of course, fully intended. How, Cq, can you hope to have a rational discussion with someone who is not only dishonest, but also builds his entire argument on a cotton-candy foundation. Seriously.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Chad

      @Cq "Do you have an explanation as to how anything could have existed outside of time and space"
      @Chad "not really, I've read some stuff, see http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/menus/existence.html

      @Cq "Tell me, is it rational to think that people should just have faith in the parts of the creationist model that defy explanation? Do creationists even try to explain these huge gaps in their idea?
      @Chad "how is accepting that God exists outside our time and space any more of an intellectual leap than positing the creation of our universe from a pre-existent "sea of virtual particles" that is outside our time/space like Krauss does?
      In both cases something exists outside our time/space.

      @Cq "Yet you laugh when we say that time would have begun at the point where the universe began."
      @Chad "did you ever figure out where that came from? Were you thinking of someone else?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Rachel

      Chad-Must admit that was a great thought provoking root post along with fantastic retorts.

      🙂

      June 15, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  6. realityville

    No matter how you dress it up, there are some fundamental difficulties with Christianity that are pretty hard to overcome.
    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.
    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.
    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.
    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.
    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.
    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.
    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).
    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.
    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.
    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.
    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.
    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.
    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?
    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Well said Realityville!!! I hope some thumpers make it through your entire post, but I doubt that they can handle it ...

      June 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      realityNOTville, the only thing you prove is that you're just another fool that doesn't know how to read, nor cross reference the books in the Bible.

      2 Peter 3:1-13 explains the 3 heaven and 3 earth ages (we currently reside in the 2nd earth age)

      3 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
      2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
      3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
      4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
      5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
      6 Whereby the world that then was [1st Earth/Heaven Age], being overflowed with water, perished:
      7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now [2nd Earth/Heaven Age], by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
      8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
      9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
      10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
      11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
      12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
      13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth [3rd Earth/Heaven Age], wherein dwelleth righteousness. 

      Note: verses 5 & 6 are NOT referring the Flood of Noah. 

      And your second witness to the above three divisions of the Ages is: 

      1st Earth/Heaven Age: Genesis 1:1-2a

      1 In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.
      2 And the earth was [became; Hebrew.#1961 hayah] without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep...  [this marks the end of the first Age]

      2nd Earth/Heaven Age: Genesis 1:2b-10

      [2b] ...And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
      3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
      4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
      5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
      6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
      7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
      8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
      9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
      10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 

      3rd Earth/Heaven Age: Revelation 21:1-3
      21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
      2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
      3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 

      Amen.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Bob

      Now that we've got HeavenSent dumping bible quotes on us again, let's look more closely at some of the nasty bits in that Christian book of horrors AKA the bible. Fine stuff like this, and you can find similar nastiness for sicko Christian god in both OT and NT:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 15, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • HamsterDancer

      That was indeed well said, realityville. I can't believe I actually read the whole thing. I guess its because I basically agree with you.

      I said in a comment a little earlier that scientist have actually found that the inclination for spiritual faith is hard-wired into the brain. I speculate that it could be there either as an evolutionary survival mechanism or it could possibly enable the sensing of "something" science hasn't yet detected. Whatever the case its obvious that even if it is a knowledge of something greater than ourselves behind the universe it becomes heavily polluted by human beings foibles and cultural baggage.

      In western culture we tend to anthropomorphize this something into a male God with a big white beard sitting on a throne on a cloud. He looks down and dictates all manner of rules and regulations and their various punishments. To me this is just as you stated, cultural and political influences shoveled on for years to this sensing and most have no connection to this something. I imagine its more akin to a process or underlying structure that maintains the universe than a being with personal likes and dislikes. We being creatures of finite minds add whatever we want on to that.

      It's like if a tribe worshiped the process of photosynthesis, the way plants convert sun and carbon dioxide into food and green leaves for plants. One year the crops are bad and they say, "Photosynthesis is displeased with us. Why? It must be that new tribe that moved in by the shore. They worship the river. Photosynthesis is angry about it. We must go down and convert them and if they don't we must kill them to appease him." They go down and slaughter most of the river people, ravish their women, kill their men and children, and take their land and animals. The next year the crops are better and they believe Photosynthesis is now pleased. The story gets passed down the generations until its put to paper and 2,000 years later followers are reading it as an example of how to stop infidels and spread the faith. Meanwhile, photosynthesis is just a process that happens, and like the honey badger it just don't care!

      June 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  7. dale

    Anyone who has read the Bible, I mean really read it, knows that the God most religous people profess to worship doesn't exist. The God in the Book of Life makes mistakes, he lies; he also is spiteful, hateful, vengeful, extremely jealous, disloyal,egotistical, and petty. Even Jesus, though to a much lesser degree, suffers the very same human frailties and weaknesses.

    Not to mention the very many inconsistancies and contradictions listed therein. The generation today is exposed to more science and information than ever, and a much less rigorous upbringing. Back in the "good old days", you could beat someone into submission and faith. When God-fearing really meant fearing for your own hide getting skinnned.

    The Bible is completely outdated and mostly unbelieveable. If God were real, he would surely craft a new one to live by.People do want to believe in God and worship him, myself included; life would seem to have more meaning. The only way to do that now is to selectively pick and choose specific biblical stories or quotes to fit your ideal. Further reading only leads to disappointment and heartache.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      but the bible has unicorns, satyrs, dragons and c.cokatrice - are you telling me those are real either? what about the talking donkey, like in shrek? the talking snake? hmmmm.... is the earth flat, like it says in the bible?

      man, this is a lot to take in....

      lol.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Leo

      Dale, Have you really read the Bible? Really?

      Most of the folks here who haven't simply read what others have taught them.

      Do you understand the Torah was compiled over 3,000 years ago and the Law was for man so that he could see how sinful he is?

      Do you know that there are two covenants in the bible? The first was the Law.

      The second was Grace through the sacrafice of Jesus on the Cross?

      Did you know that Christianity is Based on Grace, and Not the Law?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • realityville

      Leo, please prove that ANYTHING in the bible is real. Please, just ONE thing!!!!!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • jeff_000

      I grew up reading the Old Testament at my grandmothers house in the 60's and 70's... Yet the "New" testimate was already out at the time... What I want to know is why is the Old and New so different, and why is it that it was rewritten... Wasn't the original good enough... Since it was rewritten to be supposedly more easily interpreted, then how does anyone know that the interpretation is correct now...

      Face, people are all individuals... None of us are perfect... We all comprehend at our own level depending on intelligence, education and beliefs... So how can it be that one person can stand up in a church and preach their interpretation to someone else and then condem them if they don't agree... How is it someone can rewrite the the Bible with their own interpretation and still call it the work of God...

      So basically, how can anyone who has a brain and the capacity to think and reason for themselves blindly follow someone preaching the word of God who can't prove a word they are saying, and what they are saying comes from a book rewitten and interpreted from someone else besides God...

      Anyone???

      June 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Leo

      BootyFunk If Satan can talk through you, why would you be surprised if he also talked through a snake?

      Did you know that many of your points can be uderstood with very little effort, and by searching what the Hebrew word means for the english translation.

      You claim the following:

      "the bible has unicorns" yes and so does the existing world we live in (Rhinoceros Unicornis)

      "satyrs" (Hebrew word meaning hairy ones)

      "dragons" (First the Dragon is the symbol and Picture for Satan, second we have evidence that Dragons once existed)

      "c.cokatrice" (Hebrew word that means Viper)

      And where does the Bible say the earth is flat? Sorry, but that is once again your misunderstanding\twisting of the what the Bible teaches.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Joe

      Leo did you read the Bible? Really read it? Because its the worst book ever written from a scholastic point of view. The majority of what it tells you to do would land you in jail today. Yet people judge other by what this is written in it. I don't remember people in the US praising the mercy killings that happened not too long ago. Funny how the Bible would agree with the father on that one.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Leo

      RealityVille, Here is the very first line in the Bible. In the Beginning (Time) God Created (Energy) the Heavens (Space) and the Earth (Matter).

      3,000 years ago Moses wrote these words and didn't know that science would reveal these as the foundation of what we now know as Physics.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhahhhaaa! Really, that's your evidence?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • sam

      Leo, you lost us at 'satan'.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jake

      Leo, seriously...don't you see how crazy you sound? Nothing you write has any basis in reality. It is all based on a book. That's WAY worse than using wikipedia as a reference – at least wikipedia is based on the mediated input of real people. You are referencing a book that the majority of the world think is fiction as if it's an encyclopedia. Stop it please! Until you do, it's like trying to reason with a 2 year old.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Jack

      "RealityVille, Here is the very first line in the Bible. In the Beginning (Time) God Created (Energy) the Heavens (Space) and the Earth (Matter).

      3,000 years ago Moses wrote these words and didn't know that science would reveal these as the foundation of what we now know as Physics."

      Genesis 1:1-3 makes general statements about what God supposedly did, it provides no information regarding how he did it. Scientific explanations include information not only about what happened, but also about how (using only naturalistic mechanisms) it happened. Not only does Genesis get virtually everything wrong, it also leaves out far too many details to qualify as a source of useful scientific information on the origin of the universe.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      dale, you're just another lazy that has no clue how to read the Bible or cross reference the books within. Look above for my previous post to another fool that is clueless.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  8. anagram_kid

    Chrism wrote “…when it actually came from God's revelations .” This is circular logic. The existence of God is proven by the bible that was written by God.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    religion is going the way of the dinosaur. they'll go kicking and screaming, but education and reason are the shining lights that are pushing religion into the dark corners where it belongs.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Kafir

      Or maybe onto an island, where the visitors will get trapped, run around looking for safety, and ultimately get rescued. And maybe someone will lose an arm.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Bootyfunk, because man calls these beast dinosaurs, you decided to become clueless never to learn that God created them and called them behemoths.

      "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him."

      Job 40:15-19

      Amen.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Bob

      Keep on moving those deck chairs around HS.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Next, HS is going to tell us that dinosaurs co-existed with man....

      June 15, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  10. PaulieJ

    Watch the video for "Malignant Narcissism" on this page.
    http://www.bobbysbrane.com/animation-fun/animation-fun.html
    It's an animation by the site creator to go along with an instrumental song by the band, Rush. And I agree with what the creator asserts when he states: "Since I used Wikipedia as a primary resource, assumptions about absolute historical accuracy should be taken with a grain of salt. I maintain that the spirit of the thing is indisputable, however."
    It's interesting to see what all the various religions branch into.
    And people want to assume the one they've chosen (or have been indoctrinated into) have it right ...
    Time to sharpen up those axes of good. 😉

    June 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  11. Bob

    Since we've got HeavenSent yet again dumping stinky bible quotes on us, let's have a close look at some of the typical nasty stuff that Christian god is written to be demanding of its subjects, in the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible. Horrid, evil stuff like this:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    June 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Joe

      She really let out some coilers.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      here's jesus in the NT talking about murdering kids:

      And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Rev 2:23)

      sounds like a 'loving' guy to me...

      June 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      how do you think the brainstorming went down for picking the domain name for whywontgodhealamputees.com?

      "let's try whywontgodhealcancer.com. what? it's taken? dammit! okay....whywontgodhealcancer.com? also taken??"

      (8 hours later)

      "whywontgodhealmalepatternbaldness.com? you're kidding... whywontgodhealicecreamheadaches.com......no!!!"

      June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Joe

      whyisheavensentsuchastinker.com

      June 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • ME II

      I think the point about amputees not being healed is that regrowing a limb is really hard to fake, which also, not coincidentally, is why you don't hear many claims of God healing amputees.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Bob, it is not my fault that you deny your heritage through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Jesus' truth is about life and the hereafter. If you find fault with His truth, I've told you many times on this blog, YOU have issues you need to resolve.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oooh, advice from HS, who got fired from her job because she couldn't get along with anyone. Talk about issues!

      June 15, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  12. danielwalldammit

    I think you are on target with this.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  13. Rundvelt

    > Between 2007 and 2012, this survey says, the portion of young Americans (those 30 and uner) who say they never doubt the existence of God dropped sharply between 2007 and 2012, from 83% to 68%.

    > I don’t know about you, but most of the religious people I know experience both doubt and faith over the course of their spiritual lives. So the fact that more than two-thirds of young people say they have never doubted God’s existence seems to me evidence of America's extraordinary religiosity, not its disbelief.

    Wow. Just wow. Do you honestly think this?

    Let me show you why your position is silly professor.

    Let's say the pillar on the left here is people who have no faith. And the pillar on the right, is people who do have faith. And let's say that the star is the average level of faith american have.

    |---*-|

    Now, one would categorize those who don't question their faith as being more religious then those who do. Because if you question your faith, you may be for some things your faith objects to. For example, gay marriage or pro choice.

    When a study like this shows that there are less people who are as extreme, the average "religousoity" of the society goes down. It has to. I mean, religious people don't become atheistic because they don't question their faith. They become atheists because they do quesiton their faith and why they should believe.

    SO over time, the bar goes from...
    |---*-|
    to
    |--*--|

    America is slowly moving away from religion. Just like how we moved away from black magic, alchemy and all other nonsense from the intellectual childhood of our species.

    Don't get me wrong, we're still in our childhood (at least in my opinion), but at least we're moving forward. We're slowly giving up the concept that there's a monster under our bed.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 13:3-23

      Amen.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • jeff_000

      Excellent interpretation... Couldn't have said it any better...

      June 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HS, quoting scripture does nothing for people who don't believe the Bible is the word of God.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      exactly right, Rundveld. i was wondering how this "professor" came up with his conclusions based on the data at hand. like other christians, he's warping the message to suit him. religion is going away. they don't like it - but that's the fact. oh i forgot, christians hate facts.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Leo

      Hebrews 4:12
      For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Bob


      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      June 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Leo

      Yes, Bob as you read the chapters prior you see that God takes vengance on those that attack his people.

      Just as he will in the last days!! He gives you a clear warning so that you have no excuse in the end!!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @Leo

      yea? like when god killed all the first born sons of egypt? he was defending his people by killing babies? or when he drowned everyone and every animal on earth but one family? he drowned babies and pregnant women - but he was defending someone, right? make excuses for the biggest mass murderer ever - Yahweh, the christian god.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You took a long time to say that you believe the faith/doubt equation is linear. It's probably more coloidial

      June 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Leo, unless you can give any evidence that you're a learned scholar who's studied many interpretations of the bible, I can't do anything but laugh when you post.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Leo

      Tom, your own people think you are a hateful being that just goes around accomplishing nothing.

      Please once again tell us all what hope and purpose you have in your life!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • sam

      Leo, that's not nice. You go back into your crazy, dark corner and think about your words.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Your own people"? Who are "my own people", Leo Limpdick?

      If I gave a rat's patootie what anyone thought of me, I wouldn't post here.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, posted her blindness "HS, quoting scripture does nothing for people who don't believe the Bible is the word of God."

      Answer: TT, take responsibility for not seeing nor hearing His truth due to being lazy. Just chalk it up to religious folks learn (seek), then comprehend His wisdom to our live to produce righteous outcomes ... whereas, non-believers can't, therefore, don't produce anything but chaos.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  14. HamsterDancer

    I see no problem with those with a religious faith and those without.
    To those with it I would only ask that they realize their choice of belief is exactly that- THEIR choice. They should not impose it on others against their will or forcibly. This is especially true when using government power for it. Even within the Christian faith alone there are not only many formal denominations with their own beliefs but each individual within has their own ideas of it that shape their world. One fellow in a church pew believes the Bible literally and the earth was created 10,000 years ago in 6 days. The next person thinks evolution is the natural process that God used to make life millions of years ago. And sitting right next to him is a man whose mind is running between doubt and faith as the author speaks of. All are fine as long as its their individual decision. The vast majority of the religious in America are like this. It's only the small, vocal minority that mess things up.
    And to the atheists, science has actually shown that the inclination for spiritual belief is hard-wired into the human brain. You can Google for it by searching for the words "hard-wired", "brain" ,"religion" or "God" if you don't believe me. Why would this be? The most scientific reason would be that it could serve as some evolutionary survival mechanism. An early man lost from his tribe might struggle to live a little more if he believes some god loves him and wants him to be safe. Then he might survive long enough to find others or be rescued and be able to mate and propagate the species.
    The other way could be that this hard-wiring might be evolved to allow humanity to actually have some sense of a non-material "something" that actually does exist but so far our science hasn't been able to measure or detect. The choice is up to you how you see it.
    But I mainly want to say to atheists who constantly harp on the stupidity of the religious that the evidence shows that humanity as a whole is designed to seek the spiritual. No amount of indoctrination in pure rational, logical, scientific "that's the way it really is" is going to change the species en masse. So leave them be. If they don't bother you, you don't bother them.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Lady In Grey

      I very much share your view on this – well put. I would put a like here but there isn't an option.

      People need to just accept one another and their differences, and remember that there's a lot to learn from one another without the need to change. We don't necessarily grow as a species through conformity.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • QS

      Disagree – part of the human condition is being sentient, which includes curiosity and a sense of wanting to understand things. This in and of itself does not indicate that all humans are hard-wired to search for the spiritual, it just means we are genetically predisposed to search for answers....the problem is that religion claims to have answers when it doesn't, and it insists that those who have searched on their own and came up with a different answer other than religion are "lost" and need to be "saved".

      I'd love to leave them be, but they are indoctrinated, yes indoctrinated, to believe that they are obligated to "spread the word" as it were. When your very belief system demands that you seek to convert others, there is no middle ground and I refuse to simply accept that religious people will discriminate at whim and that we should just ignore that and move on.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      QS believes in converting people to his belief system

      June 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • QS

      Believing in converting people is reserved for the religious who are taught to do so.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      QS, We're not trying to recruit you. You have the right to remain foolish, we just ensure that you know about His truth. We're not out to save your soul, that's what Jesus does.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  15. Joe

    I love how people say God did this for me but ignore the real suffering in the world. God found you a job but the bus load of kids that went over a cliff, it was just their time. If there is a God he/she has no interactions with us. Those who get mad at that think of what you call one that interacts allowing great evil to happen.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • jeff_000

      I agree completly... It is no different than someone that says they are praying to God to get the job, or the house or whatever... I always ask them if they are praying for God to let them get the job, then aren't they also praying for God to let everyone else not get it... Isn't that asking God to put you above the rest...

      Now how does that work???

      June 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jake

      God is wise. He sends bus loads of children off cliffs, but the reasons are too complicated for us to understand.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Kafir

      On top of that, you'd think a highly moral christian would pray to see others lives improved, above their own.

      Or better yet, they'd implore their god to demonstrate his love by protecting those people, without the need to be asked.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      God hears the righteous and gives them what is needed which is a big difference from man wanting.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bob

      HS, uh right, so he leaves those poor kids in Africa to starve and die of horrid diseases. No thanks, you can keep your horrid sky fairy. To yourself. Quietly, please.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Kafir

      Then why do innocent people suffer? Innocent children? Innocent babies? Without intervention from an allegedly omnipotent, allegedly all loving creator?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • chrism

      Why does He allow suffering? Truly is your hubris so great that if you cannot think of a good answer then you think there is not a good answer? Of course God may have reasons you do not comprehend. God is saving all for eternal life. Even so God is with every person – He feels every one of our temporal sufferings. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He also wants us to be His hands. He wants us to feed those starving children. He also knows without suffering we would not grow. Long-suffering builds character. He has given us free will and that is part of it too – so much human suffering is caused by human actions. He also wants us to learn to forgive. There is so much and so much is beautiful. Praise God.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • jeff_000

      Good point Bob... I have always asked why is it that so may innocents suffer and or die so often if God is so richous... Why doesn't he punish the child molesters and abusers instead of the child... Why are their crack babies that are born and suffer for hours or even days before they die... Where is the richousness in that...

      But most of all, why is it that God was fed up with the world and flooded it to start over with Noah and his family, yet lets worse eveil run rampant for the last few centuries... If he really does exist why hasn't he changed things to stop the weak and innocent from being the ones who suffer the most, while the strong and powerful do as they please...

      I have already hear the saying that the innocent are the chosen of God and they will rejoice in his salvation and that the other will face redemtion when they die... That doesn't make any sense either, especially, if you follow the Bible and the fact God clensed the world once already according to it...

      June 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Joe

      The devine copout. "We are too dumb to know why you kill those people but helped me find my car keys." So God kills innocent people but rewards those who follow him and is good for it. Satan kills innocent people but rewards those who follow him and is bad. Sounds like you are praying to the same thing.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Long suffering builds character." What a fracking moron you are. What kind of character is built when a kid is hacked to death in Syria?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Joe

      chrism, so much is ugly too. But why would a god need or want praise? Vanity, perhaps.

      And go google "secret decoder ring". If you get that, you might not dump out so much fallacious stuff.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Joe

      I count maybe 3 Joe's here. Fun!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      A man dies and goes to heaven in a dream. He asks God: "I never believed in you because you allowed all the suffering of the world. All the starvation and cruelty and evil that exist. What did you ever do to stop any of it?" God answers back. "I sent you"

      June 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Kafir

      But, needless, excruciating suffering does no indvidual any benefit, especially if it kills them. And this sort of suffering goes on all the time.

      You can't claim that an omnipotent creator who allows this sort of suffering is also all loving. It's either one or the other. That sort of love, plagued by impotence, is indistinguishable from apathy or hate.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, yeah, Bill, footprints in the sand, yada, yada, yada.

      Quoting "Precious Moments" crap doesn't answer the question.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK Tom, How about this one. What have you ever done to ease someone's suffering? Anyone's? Ever work in a soup line, Ever clothe a poor person or visit a person in prison? Ever forgive someone who harmed you when there was nothing in it for you? Have you ever shared your confidence that life was worth living with someone contemplating suicide? I'm just wondering. I've done each of those and while that doesn't make me better than you, I can tell you that my faith in Jesus and desire to follow Him moves me to these works. So how about it, share with us the Gospel of Tom. Or are you merely full of derision?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • sam

      @ Bill – yes, many of us have done that and much more. I personally have done much more. What's your point?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • sam

      Didn't need Jesus to inspire me to do it, either.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I've done each and every one of those things, you arrogant ass. And I didn't need "inspiration from God" to know that doing them was good. Furthermore, and of course you'll never admit it, the most compelling reason people give to charity and help others is because it make then feel good.

      You claim you only do it because God says you should. You're lying to yourself and everyone else.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bill, you use trite quotes in a ham-handed attempt to 'inspire' others to come to Jesus. It doesn't work. I've heard baloney like yours all my life. If you want people to follow Christ, then this isn't the place to fish for them. You can only inspire others by doing what Christ commanded. He never commanded you to come here and use vapid quotes to convince others that He is the way.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Read Joe's original post. His position is that God has ignored us in our suffering. My position is that He has not. He has sent us to help one another. I see Jesus as the ultimate model for that behavior.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon –
      In less than a year (hmm...maybe a month) of committed effort, any one of us – believer or non-believer – could do more tangible good for our fellow man than Jesus is credited with in the New Testament. Bill – please note that I said "tangible", which leaves out the whole soul-savior shtick.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Really-O?

      ...and no pigs need be harmed.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Bob, you're the one that needs to quiet your lying nonsense.

      Learn His truth:

      Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

      Deuteronomy 32:39

      "all things" are "of Him and through Him and to Him."

      Romans 11:36

      Any and all who die, die by the hand of God. For it is all His doing (Psalm 65:7-9; 66:1-12; 107; 118:22-24).

      It is all His work (Job 36:24-37:24; Psalm 104).

      And,

      The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. (1 Samuel 2:6)

      Amen.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  16. Libertarian Atheist

    When I was a young man, I was not allowed to join the Boy Scouts....being an Atheist saved me from being ra .ped by the Christian scout master.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i, too, was rejected by the boy scouts for being an atheist. yeah, real nice club - believe in the christian god or you can't be a member. real nice.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • QS

      "believe in the christian god or you can't be a member."

      Isn't that pretty much what they tell people in church? 😉

      June 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      I was an atheist Boy Scout back in the 70s and no one even noticed! There seems to be a HUGE misconception that the Boy Scouts of America were and still are some heavily religious "holy roller" kind of organization! They really aren't! Each different BSA district and troop embraces a variable amount of religious context in their day to day activities, which usually amounts to VERY LITTLE! You see, the National BSA organization pledges to equally accept and support ALL religions that any scout may belong to, so this means that by National agreement, they are forced to use VERY broad and vauge language and concepts that are presumed to be common to ALL religions! In reality, this is nearly impossible to acheive, so each group tends to take informal assesments of the different religions represented by their particular scout members and they try very hard NOT to offend any member by using vauge generalities such as referring to "God" as "the Great Scoutmaster" or referring to a soul as a "spirit", etc. The tiny "religious" portion of boy scout rank advancement is normally done in private with a scout speaking with a minister of his choice and that minister "signs off" his scout book signifying that the two of them had a personal discussion about what their particular religion means to them. I got around this by speaking to a minister friend of our family who already knew I was a non-believer and he simply "signed off" my "required" discussion about "reverence" and no one ever asked any questions. In fact NO ONE in our entire scout troop ever bothered to ask me if I even believed in god at all! It really wasn't a big deal. Now, on the other hand, if I had chosen to be open and vocal about my lack of belief, and announced loudly that I had no use for religion, they might have kicked me out, but the topics of religion and God just didn't come up very often during our meetings and outings since we were more concerned with aquiring camping, hiking, swimming, canoeing and woodsman skills as well as first aid, basic survival techniques and learning to be a good citizen! Those were the real reasons that I wanted to be a Boy Scout in the first place. There was , of course, a BIG stigma against openly declaring atheism back in the 70s, so I naturally tended to keep my mouth shut about religion, so as not to anger the adults or draw unnecessary attention to my point of view. You may call me a coward for that, but I view it as self preservation in the context of growing up in our culture during the turbulent 1970s. You would have done the same thing if you had been in my shoes...

      June 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I was an atheist Boy Scout back in the 70s and no one even noticed! There seems to be a HUGE misconception that the Boy Scouts of America were and still are some heavily religious "holy roller" kind of organization! They really aren't! Each different BSA district and troop embraces a variable amount of religious context in their day to day activities, which usually amounts to VERY LITTLE!"

      The one big issue you can't be gay and join this group. 😉

      June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  17. jeff_000

    The biggest problem I have with "organized" religion is that the priest, ministers, rabbi's etc... tell you how to believe according to the way they believe... I am an educated and intelligent person... I have read the bible (the old and the new)... Everyone I have ever met has been their own individual not exactly like the next person... I am just me, my reading comprehension and thought process is probably different from everyone else, yet I am suppose to believe the exact same way as the priest/minister instead of thinking for myself by my own understanding of what te Bible says to me...

    I consider that forcing their beliefs on me... I have been to different churches in my life that are Catholic, or Methodist, or Baptist, or whatever, and while the message is similar the individual that is preaching the message puts their aspect into it so while the message is similar from one Baptist church to another, they are not always the same due to the fact the person interpreting it reads it differently...

    Yet, if I read the Bible and it speaks to me different than it does to the organized religion people, then that makes me wrong... All this is evidenced by the difference in the different religions, yet they use the same book...

    So how anyone with any kind of intelligence can blindly follow it, doesn't make sense to me, especially when a few blocks down the road is another church of the same demonination that preaches it differently...

    I know a lot of people who are religious, yet they will not go to certain churches because they don't like the way the minister of one preachs... Catholics are notorious for this, yet they will blindly follow their leader, but the one down the road from the same religion they won't unless they have too...

    So, like I said, anyone with any intelligence at all should realize, this is all just someones interpretation and not really the "Gospel"...

    June 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Jake

      Good points Jeff. The interesting thing about it to me is that because there are so many different religions, so many different variations of each religion, so many different opinions on each variation, etc...even if any one religious view is right (which I don't believe), that means the rest of religious people are still going to hell.

      So, we can conclude that if there is a hell, pretty much everyone is going to end up there, religious or not, because even most religious people will have picked the wrong one.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I've been a Catholic a long time. No one has ever told me how or what to believe. What they have done is invited me to a feast and encouraged me to get to know the host.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @Bill – if no one told you how or what to believe, how did you come up with such a silly explanation for everything? Are you suggesting that without the brainwashing your parents, friends and family obviously subjected you to, you would have come to the same conclusions about you being created in the same image as the force that created the universe? And that you have a soul? And that if you follow these rules, you will live FOREVER in the sky?

      No, someone taught you to think (actually, that is the wrong word), sorry ... someone taught you to BELIEVE such things. And you are spreading the mental disease that they shared with you.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      jeff_000, everyone is on their own level of comprehension when reading Jesus' letter He wrote to all of us (the Bible). Jesus asked us to humble ourselves in order to comprehend His spiritual truth. That means to rid yourself of ego which erases God out. Your ego will butt heads with His truth, keeping you blind and deaf to His teachings.

      God Bless.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  18. Jack

    All Atheists. Please view video #2 at thestarofkaduri.com

    June 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Jack – A man without religion is like a bear without a hat.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      ...or a fish without a bicycle.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bob

      Jack – A man without religion is like a brain without a tumor.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  19. anagram_kid

    If you believe in the Judeo/Christian god ask you self this question:
    If your parents, adult role models and 90% of the people you spent your childhood with believed in Zeus and not the Christian god, as an adult would you believe in Zeus or God?

    June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      genetic fallacy? ...yawn....

      June 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      The Dog Delusion,
      The question has nothing to do with genetics. You clearly don’t understand the purpose of the question and the obvious answer. If it helps you, add 'even if you were adopted' at the end.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • ME II

      @anagram_kid,
      I think the fallacy refers more to origins than actual genetics.

      @The Dog Delusion,
      That being said however are you claiming that @anagram_kid's argument is fallacious or are you identifying his argument as validly pointing out the genetic fallacy inherent in religion?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chance

      @ anagram_kid
      Ask yourself these questions "While growing up do life events mold your beliefs and thought process? When you grow up do you make your own decisions based on those life events?"

      You’re delusional if you believe kids grow up to serve God because their parents did. The tie between relatives and friends believing in God is not strong enough to keep someone serving God. This day in age information is easy to get a hold of and young people make their own decision on God. No one can genuinely serve God because of a traditional family value. I've never seen it work that way. People grow up and live life how they chose to. You can grow up with all the ingredients to be successful but it doesn’t mean you will be; you still have to put in the work. The same is for a belief system, at the end of the day the individual choses what’s best for them. People grow up and move out and move on and make their own life.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chance,
      I think the delusion may be yours if you don't think many people go to the same church their parents did strictly because their parents did.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      i'm saying it's irrelevant.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Where in my post do I state – “… kids grow up to serve God because their parents did”?
      I did not and you are missing my point.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Chance

      @ME
      The point is how long last does it last if it isn't self-motivated. I've never seen it last if the individual isn’t up for it. Do you know how much is required to have faith in God? Do you know how difficult the Christian life can be? My generation will not do religion for a lifetime if it isn't self-motivated. Your delusional if you think young people today with all the info we have will just do as what was done before them because of some phantom obligation. I know so many people whose parents believe but their kids don't, people grow up and make their own decisions. Get real...

      June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • ME II

      @The Dog Delusion,
      Never thought of it that particular way, but whether or not a person's religion is determined by where they grew up would not be relevant to whether or not a particular religion is actually true. Good point. If that's what you're saying.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      The question is somewhat silly because it makes many assumptions.

      First off, it begs the question, are adult role models, people a child encounters in youth and parents the only way a person becomes a Christian? The answer is most assuredly no.

      Second, the question does not take into account life experience, which as we know, can and does have a far greater impact than a person's parents. If it were not the case, there would be no atheists that had parents who were believers (regardless of religion).

      Third, the question does not take into account those who become believers (in whatever religion) in their adulthood. There are a large number of believers in various religions that have people who came to their faith once they were out of childhood.

      The question is trying to make a point, but fails on so many levels, that the question is...as stated above, irrelevant.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Chance

      @anagram_kid
      Your point is well taken; your post is stating that people just go with the most popular belief...I'm saying people grow up and make their own belief system based on their life. You can’t discount the wealth of information that people have now days. People will eventually make their own mind up no matter where they started.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  20. cjkloster

    Any logical person can see that god does not exist. If people would just think for themselves for once and not follow other people's writings or beliefs they would see that. A mystical being that just magically created everything with the snap of a finger who sends you to a wonderful mystical place with angels and clouds if your good and a fiery pit of torture if your bad. Yeah...uh huh.. right that makes sense. Faith is just the excuse religious fanatics use when they run out of arguments to convince you they are right. When has anyone actually SEEN proof of any religion, besides whats written in books by unknown authors. People just need a reason for being here and don't want to accept the fact that we are just here, we have no purpose besides the one we make for ourselves and when were dead it is going to be exactly the way it was before we were born, NON EXISTENCE.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Jake

      I'd put it slightly differntly: No logical person can see that god exists.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • chrism

      There's no logic in your post – only evidence that you mind thinks Christianity derived from people wanting to believe something, when it actually came from God's revelations and human reasoning and observations. In fact, if you want a dose of logic, start with your own ending. "Non existence." According to you, that's what's logical. Right? Non-existence is logical. It makes sense to you. Why should anything exist indeed you seem to wonder. Well, then, why are we here? Why is the universe here? Where is the logic in that? Did it ever dawn on you that if an intelligence existed, say even for much, much, much, much, much, much ... much longer than 13.7 billion years, that it may well have thought of things that seem smart to you a long, long... long time ago? Did it ever dawn on you that the existence of the universe for this long and this stable alone is evidence it isn't just a bit of chaotic nothingness? Did it ever dawn on you that it's order is evidence for a creator? Did it ever dawn on you that a being with the power to create and order a universe this vast and create intelligent beings maybe, possibly, just might have thought about eternal life as a desirable goal a long time before it ever dawned on you? Maybe such a being is working towards that goal? Hmmm? Possible? Well to me definitely. To you? Maybe just seems like me being illogical. I suppose I could never get a logical mind like yours to consider any of that.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      baseless assertions are fun!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • QS

      The bible is a collection of baseless assertions.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • cjkloster

      The universe is not random, maybe this will help you out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_expansion_of_space and just to clarify I don't know what caused the big bang, and I'm ok with that but I know I've never seen any evidence in my life to lead me to believe that a "god" did it. Also as I already said, we are not hear for any reason, we have no purpose, we are just here because supernova's explode, sending all kinds of elements into outer space and these elements form planets and on certain planets (earth for one) we have the correct elements and atmosphere to sustain life and evolution.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Jake

      chrism, Yes, you are being illogical. Did it ever dawn on YOU that even if you believe there was a creator, that doesn't leave us with any fewer questions? If the logic you're suggesting is, well, logical, then all of the same points could be made to "logically" prove that the creator must have had another creator that created him. And where did that earlier creator come from? According to your logic, yet another creator and so on.

      The fact is, the existence of a creator would create way more questions than it would answer.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      cjkloster, we already know you don't know how to read His truth (the Bible) or cross reference the books within. If you go back a few pages you will see that I posted how to uncover His 3 earth and 3 heaven ages ... so you can start to enjoy His truth about life and the hereafter.

      God Bless.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:36 am |
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About this blog

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